What is the Program for Leading Graduate School?
It is part of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) project to help promote drastic reform of higher education in Japan. It is a 5-year doctoral program to develop leaders who combined creativity, the ability to see the big picture, and the initiative in industrial, governmental, and academic spheres on a global basis. To go beyond the conventional framework of academia (university faculty staff and researchers), this program also intends to create a broader range of career paths involving enterprise.
The MEXT website
What is SIGMA?
The School of Integrative and Global Majors (SIGMA) was initiated in December 2011 as an institution to provide and administer undergraduate and graduate interdisciplinary degree programs. SIGMA directs and administers degree programs selected by MEXT as Programs for Leading Graduate School as well as independently launched interdisciplinary degree programs by the University of Tsukuba. To manage all the degree programs and to provide an education equivalent to existing educational departments on a university-wide basis, our university’s Vice President of Education has been installed as the head of SIGMA.
What is a 5-year doctoral program?
It is a five-year degree program, which integrates Master’s and Ph.D. courses. This Ph.D. program is designed so that the enrolled students can proactively and subjectively develop their abilities necessarily for receiving the Ph.D. degree by manifesting the specific achievement goals of each academic discipline. A holder of a master’s degree is allowed to enter the program in its 3rd year and expected to finish the program in 3 years to receive Ph.D., which is identical to a conventional 3 years course of Ph.D. program.
This program is distinctive in its interdisciplinary curricula. What degree is obtained upon completion?
The degree is "Doctor of Human Informatics". Human informatics is a field of informatics comprised of human interface/interaction, cognitive science, perceptual information processing, intelligent robotics, and kansei science.
What specific career paths are typically available to graduates of this Program?
Successful graduates should be well qualified for careers in industrial sectors that integrate supplementation, harmonization and extension of human functions, such as industries related to medical, welfare, nursing, advanced automobiles, smart consumer electronics, and creative industry. Examples of such career paths include a healthcare consultant for an international think-tank, a manager of robotic therapeutic instruments in a global venture, a manager of international standardization at a multinational automobile company, and a chief design engineer at a consumer electronics industry. Thus, graduates of this program are expected to become a global leader in an advanced technological industry.
How to do I apply for this program?
Please refer to the application guidelines for details. Prior to applying, you must consult with the faculty member you desire to be your supervisor. Please note that applicants for general admission to the Ph.D. Program in Empowerment Informatics (EMP) should apply via our web entry system.
I am a student in my second year of a Master’s course at another university. Am I eligible to be admitted to the year equivalent of the doctoral course?
Yes, you can sit the General Admission Examination for third year enrollment. Please note that this is a five-year doctoral program, and the requirements for its completion are more rigorous than those of conventional programs. If you are thinking of applying for this program, you are expected to contact a prospective supervisor (a faculty member from whom you wish to receive academic instruction).
Is this program open to working adults?
Yes, the program is open to working adults; we welcome motivated mature students. Please note that this is a five-year doctoral program, and the requirements for its completion are more rigorous than those of conventional programs. If you are thinking of applying for this program, you are expected to contact a prospective supervisor (a faculty member from whom you wish to receive academic instruction).
What are the requirements to complete this program?
To complete this program, you must earn 50 credits (or if you are a transfer student, 52 credits including credits previously earned) in 14 compulsory subjects from basics, specialties, practicums and practicals. You must also earn an additional 20 (18 if you are transfer student) credits in advanced subjects for a total of 70 (or more) credits. In addition, you must pass a Qualifying Examination of basic abilities for the Ph.D. thesis preparation, the 1st and the 2nd Assessment of Student Achievement, Ph.D. thesis examination, and the Final Assessment of Student Achievement. Please check here for more details.
What are Assessments of Student Achievement?
This program stipulates that the 1st and 2nd Assessment of Student Achievement will occur in the second and fourth year, respectively. These evaluations are based on your portfolio and self-examinations of preset Assessment of Student Achievement items (six items). Each evaluation is followed by an interview to confirm your level of achievement. You must pass each evaluation to proceed to the next stage. The system is arranged to guarantee the quality of education, which is the goal of this program.
This program enforces the ordinance for the amendment of part of graduate school setting standards (Ordinance No. 6 of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) issued on March 14, 2014). Accordingly, in lieu of a thesis preparation to earn a Master’s degree upon completion of the Master’s course, a comprehensive examination of basic abilities necessary for Ph.D. thesis preparation is conducted before engaging in intensive Ph.D. thesis work. Similar to a conventional Master’s course, this examination system is intended for liaising the Master’s level with the doctoral level. Students who have passed this Qualifying Examination after completing two-year Master’s course can proceed to the third year of this doctoral program course, which is equivalent to the conventional doctoral course.
Can I attend the lectures of other graduate courses?
Yes. To receive credit, you must submit the prescribed application form and obtain your program leader’s approval.
When I enroll in this program, how can I receive the Financial Support as a Special Fellow?
To receive the Financial Support as a Special Fellow, you need to submit a research plan during the application period (March). The fellowship period is for 12 months from April to March every year. After being admitted as a Special Fellow, you must submit a summarized interim report on your coursework and research work every month. At the end of the academic year, you must submit an annual report in which you reflect upon your coursework and research activities over the fellowship period and summarize your findings and future themes.
Can I receive the EMP Financial Support even if I am receiving other form(s) of financial aid?
No. If you are receiving another form of financial aid such as the Japanese government aid and JSPS Research Fellowship for Yong Scientists (DC), you are not entitled to receive the EMP Financial Support. Additionally, if you work and are paid salary, you are not eligible.
Can I work part-time while receiving the EMP Financial Support?
In principle, you are not allowed to work part-time during the fellowship period. Only if the program leader deems part-time work is an essential part of study, can you work as a teaching assistant or research assistant for a maximum of five hours per week.
Is the EMP Financial Support taxed?
Yes, the Financial Support falls under the category of miscellaneous income. You are liable for income tax and residential tax. The annual income tax and residential tax are imposed on the total sum of Financial Support received (during the period from January 1 to December 31) after necessary expenses for study, research, and social insurance premiums are deducted. Thus, you are strongly advised to keep all deduction-related receipts and make a final tax declaration by yourself during the period from mid-February to mid-March every year.
The National Tax Administration Agency website
What exactly is the support for overseas travelling expenses?
If your overseas or domestic travels conform to this program’s goal of developing talents and producing beneficial results, expenses are approved as official trips made in connection to this program and are paid by the program. If you wish to make a trip under this program, you must discuss it duly with your supervisor in advance and have your supervisor submit the proper application to the program leader.
Is residence in the dormitory obligatory?
This program provides the Empowerment Dormitory as a place for students to live together and work in a friendly rivalry as well as to promote collaborations. Thus, all first and second year students must live in the dormitory.
Can I visit the dormitory?
Yes, you can see the dormitory building from the outside and visit the common space. Please contact the Office of the Ph.D. Program in Empowerment Informatics prior to your visit.
If your query is not listed above, please contact the Office of the Ph.D. Program in Empowerment Informatics.