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Admission Process

The Physics Major Course of the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Science runs two separate admission procedures, one for international students and the other for domestic students. This page is about the admission process for international students. (See the official page for a fine print definition of who is counted as an international / a domestic student.)

Pre-selection by prospective advisers     and     Selection by the Physics Major Course

At the Physics Major Course, we ask graduate students here to choose a thesis adviser already in the admission process. There is no choice to decide whom to take as an adviser after entering the graduate school. So, the first task in the admission process here is to visit web pages of individual faculty members appointed at the Physics Major Course and gather information. The official page of the Physics Major Course provides a list of those faculty members and the links to their web pages.

The official decision on which student to be admitted is made by the Physics Major Course as a whole, where we set a common standard on academic qualification, and also decide whom to be awarded scholarships. Students need to submit a set of application materials including GRE physics score, TOEFL score, essays (personal and scientific), grades at the university, reference letters etc. etc., as indicated in the official page.

Prior to this application to the Physics Major Course, however, the applicants are supposed to contact prospective advisers and go through a pre-selection process specified by them. Some faculty members find passion on their experimental projects and/or team spirit more important, while other faculty members think that solid understanding of quantum mechanics and/or mathematics more important. So, what is required in the pre-selection process will vary from one faculty member to another. It is only after securing an intention to be an adviser from one of our faculty members that the applicant can go to the official application process of the Physics Major Course.

Application Procedure and Scholarship Options

The application procedure at the Physics Major Course is closely linked to scholarship options. So, here is a summary table.

Courses enrollment number of places pre-selection applicat'n period selection notified scholarship
regular (apr) April next year can be many   (*2) October late Dec. (*3) (*4) (*5)
Gov. scholarship (emb) (*1a) Apr./Sep. next yr (**1a) (*1a) July-August ? 140k JPY/mo
Gov. scholarship (unv) (*1a) Apr./Sep. next yr (**1a) (*1a) October late Dec. 140k JPY/mo
GSGC (*1b) Sep. next year 5 at Phys.Maj.Course see below Nov.-early Jan. next yr early March next yr 180k JPY/mo (*5)
regular (sep) Sep. next year can be many   (*2) see below Apr. next year late June next yr (*3) (*4) (*5)

The official page shows the precise date of the application period; the dates written in the table above should be considered only as an approximation. Applicants need to submit the various documents (GRE score etc.) to the Graduate School of Science during this period. Applicants also need to clear the pre-selection process until then.

A quick summary: in the order of higher chance of admission,     regular course > GSGC, Gov. scholarship.

(*1a): Gov. scholarship (also known as MEXT fellowship, Monbu-kagaku-sho fellowship and similar aliases) is a scholarship provided by the Japanese government. One way to apply for this (emb) is through an embassy or consulate of the Japanese government at cities around the world. The selection process by those embassies/consulates can be regarded as a pre-pre-selection before the pre-selection process by the individual faculty members of the U. Tokyo Physics Major Course. The other (unv) is to submit application documents to individual Universities (such as the U. Tokyo) directly. The Foreign Ministry? runs a post-selection after the Graduate School of Science chooses students for the Government scholarships. Either way, the applicants need to pass the three-stage selection process to get a Governement Scholarship (so long as the U. Tokyo Graduate School of Science is concerned). For more information, visit the official page (application process) by the Government, and the official page provided by the Graduate school of Science, the University of Tokyo.
(**1a): Every year, a little more than 100 graduate students come to the University of Tokyo, from natural science to humanity, under the Government scholarship.

(*1b): GSGC stands for "global science graduate course." It is a course set-up within the University of Tokyo. Visit the GSGC official page for more information.

(*1a, 1b): There is no essential difference in daily academic training, whether you are under the Government scholarship, in the GSGC or in the regular course. If you are under the Government scholarship, then the tax payers of Japan wish you to get acquainted with Japanese culture and society and to strengthen cultural tie between your home country and Japan in the long run. (It may be compulsory to learn Japanese language; check with official information if necessary.) If you are in the GSGC, then the University of Tokyo appreciates that you bring in diversity to the campus of the University of Tokyo. Apart from that, there is not much difference, probably.

(*2): The Physics Major Course welcomes 100--120 new graduate students every year through the two admission procedures; one is for international students and the other for domestic students. There is no policy to set an upper limit or a minimum quota for international students and/or domestic students.

(*3,*4,*5): If you enter the University of Tokyo graduate school in the regular course, there is no guarantee for a scholarship at the time you receive a notice of admission. There are a few chances after that, however, to get a scholarship upon competition as described in the following.
(*3): GSS fellowship (Graduate-School-of-Science fellowship) is a scholarship provided by the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Science. The recipients of this fellowship are chosen from the applicants of the regular courses enrolling in April/September, and are notified one month after the notification of the admission. So, it means that you have a chance to secure a scholarship by the end of January/July, before you have to make a final decision (by paying the admission fee in March/September) to enroll into the University of Tokyo. The GSS fellows are awarded 150k JPY/mo for five years in the Ph.D course. Unfortunately, only a few applicants to the Graduate school of Science (including Physics major, Chemistry major, Information Science major, Bio major, Planetary Science Major, Astronomy major and Geology major) will be chosen as GSS fellows every year. Here is the official page. [comment on 2019/Oct: it is likely that this fellowship is no longer provided. More solid information will be written next year]
(*4): Leading Graduate school Programs are run by the Japanese Government. The Japanese government lists up a limited number of graduate school departments that maintain high standard, and provide generous support to them. The Physics Major Course has been given this status from the beginning of this program. Graduate students of the Physics Major Course can apply for a Leading Graduate school Program (LGP) fellowship. Students write the application documents in June--July (2 months after enrollment for students in the regular (apr) course, and 2 months before enrollment for those in the regular(sep) course), and if chosen as LGP fellows, start receiving scholarship in early autumn, which is half year after (regular(apr)) or soon after (regular(sep)) the enrollment into the graduate school. If an LGP fellow maintains reasonable level of performance, then the scholarship of about 150k--200k JPY/mo is provided until the end of the 5th academic year after enrollment.
(*5): JSPS fellowship is for graduate students in the 3rd--5th academic year (= in the doctor course). JSPS (Japan Society for Promotion of Science), which is an agency of the Ministry of Education, provides scholarship of about 200k JPY/mo. Graduate students write application documents in April, 1 year / 1.5 year after enrolling into the graduate course in April/September.
(*4, *5): During the last few years, about a third of the graduate students in the 2nd academic year are covered by the LGP fellowship at the Physics Major Course of the University of Tokyo, averaged over all the subfields in physics. About 60% of the graduate students in the 3rd academic year are covered either by the LGP fellowship or the JSPS fellowship.
This coverage rate, however, can be maintained in the future only if the Physics Major Course continues to be counted within the limited number of high-achievement departments eligible for the generous government support (LGP). We are determined to maintain this status by high performance in research and education.

For more information on scholarships, see Living Costs, Dormitory, Scholarships.


The pre-election process is run by individual faculty members appointed at the Physics Major Course of the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Science. Some of them may run a pre-selection process jointly.

A joint pre-selection scheme for the GSGC + regular (sep) course by Hamaguchi (A1), Hellerman (A1), Hori (A1), Ibe (A1), Moroi (A1) and Watari (A1).

Any other joint pre-selection schemes in the Physics Major Course?