5.3. The OIST Graduate Program
The OIST graduate school offers an integrated doctoral program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The degree of PhD is a research postgraduate degree. Such a degree shall be awarded to a candidate who
- meets admission requirements and receives and accepts an offer of admission, and is registered as a full-time PhD student for a minimum of three years and not more than ten years; and
- satisfactorily completes prescribed coursework amounting to at least 30 points (20 from courses, 10 from research work) or alternatively, has obtained the equivalent number of credits based on prior study; and
- presents a successful thesis representing the result of the candidate’s research which should constitute an original contribution to knowledge and contain material worthy of publication; and satisfies the examiners in an oral examination in matters relevant to the subject of the thesis.
5.3.1.Period of study
The standard period of study is 5 years but may vary according to the level of preparation of the student and the progress of their research. The period of study may be reduced if the student has previously undertaken study that provides appropriate preparation.
220.127.116.11 Admission with BSc.
The period of study for a student entering with a first degree is 5 years.
18.104.22.168 Admission with MSc.
A student who has already obtained an MSc or has significant, documented research experience may enter directly into the second or third years of the program. Such a student will be required to complete an approved course of studies.
22.214.171.124 Minimum period of study
The minimum period of study is stipulated in Article 35 of the University Rules.
126.96.36.199 Extension to the standard period of study
In exceptional circumstances the period of study may be extended beyond the standard period of 5 years. Extension requires approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. In case of extension of the period of study, extension of financial support is not automatically granted. (see financial support section [link: 5.4.1])
188.8.131.52 Maximum period of study
The maximum permitted period of study is 10 years, including Study Leave and Annual Leave [link: 5.3.17].
5.3.2 Academic year and dates of terms
The academic year begins in September each year. The school year is composed of three terms, with nominally 15 weeks of scheduled teaching in each term. This schedule was chosen in order to give enough time for completion of a meaningful project in each Research Rotation (See Article 17 of the OIST University Rules).
5.3.3 Course work requirements
The first two years of the integrated 5-year doctoral program comprise a combination of Research Rotations and courses, designed to prepare the student for his or her doctoral thesis work in a flexible way. In the first two years of the program students will undertake an individualized study program constructed from a combination of courses.
5.3.4 Course credits
The number of credits assigned to each course is stipulated in the Schedule of Courses. Students will be required to accrue at least 30 points before graduation. Courses include Professional Development, Basic, Advanced, and Research Courses. The subtotal of Professional Development, Basic, and Advanced courses amounts to a value of 20 points. Research courses include Rotations and a Thesis Proposal amounting to a total value of 10 points. International Workshop Participation may provide additional points. Credits may be awarded for graduate courses completed at other universities or at OIST prior to admission (Chapter 5.6.2).
5.3.5 Mandatory Courses
To maintain flexibility in the curriculum the number of mandatory courses (apart from the required research courses: Rotation and Thesis Proposal) is limited to two, each worth one credit. These courses are Professional Development I and II. These Professional Development Courses are designed to develop essential knowledge, experience, and abilities for successful completion of the graduate program and to prepare the graduate for a career in leading international academic or industrial research laboratories.
5.3.6 Basic and Advanced Courses
Each student will normally take at least 4 Basic courses and 4 Advanced courses. In general, Basic and Advanced courses are worth two credits. Information about Courses is provided in the Schedule of Courses [link: https://groups.oist.jp/grad/courses-term-0] and Course Approval sections [link: 5.3.10]. Course advising [link: 5.3.10.] is undertaken by an individual Academic Mentor for each student, to provide an individualized course of studies.
Rotations form a major part of the student’s work in the first year of the graduate program. In each rotation, the student will spend one term undertaking a specific project and will then move on to a different research unit. The Rotations provide a variety of experience in different laboratories that will broaden the student’s understanding of different disciplines, techniques, and ways of thinking. Rotations may include theoretical work or modeling as well as laboratory benchwork. They are intended to help the student select the most appropriate research unit and research question for their thesis research. Students will typically complete three Rotations before deciding on a thesis topic.
Three Research Rotations are always required, with a total point value of 9 points. There may be exceptions to this requirement in the case of equivalent prior research experience, in which case credit may be awarded in increments of 3 points as a cross-credit [link: 5.6.2.]. In general, not more than 6 points can be cross-credited for rotations, so that all students must complete at least one rotation.
The choice of Rotations is part of the approved course taken by the student, and requires discussion with the Academic Mentor [link: 5.3.10]. The number of students who may take a rotation in a given research unit is limited to 2 and not all choices will necessarily be available at a given time. Students should list in order of preference 5 rotations on the application form submitted with their proposed course for approval by the Dean of the Graduate School. Their top 3 will be accommodated whenever possible. If not possible, the committee will look further along their list to ensure they can complete their rotations during the first year.
Each Rotation entails completion of a meaningful project. The Professor in charge of the host research unit will assign the project topic, taking into account the interests of the student and the capabilities of the research unit. In the course of each rotation the student is required to:
- Write a rotation project proposal,
- Complete the proposed project in the research unit,
- Make an oral presentation to the research unit members, and
- Submit a written report on the project.
Rotations are evaluated by the Professor in charge of the research unit, and the student’s report together with the evaluation is forwarded to the Academic Affairs Section. The student’s progress and performance in each Rotation will be discussed in the Curriculum and Examination Committee to ensure cooperation among faculty members in facilitating individual student progress.
5.3.7 PhD Thesis Proposal
Students are required to complete a PhD thesis proposal, which is worth one credit. For details, see PRP 5.3.11.
The maximum the number of courses that can be taken in any one term is four. However, students will not normally take more than two Basic or Advanced Courses per term, in order to leave time for independent studies, reading, and research work during Rotations.
5.3.9 Overview of order of study
- Appointment of Academic mentor
- Course plan for Year 1 and Year 2 prepared (including rotations)
- Professional Development I.
- Complete approved Basic Courses and Advanced Courses if appropriate.
- Three Rotations.
(See separate note regarding additional professional development courses.)
- Prepare PhD Thesis Proposal.
- Complete approved Advanced Courses and additional Basic courses as needed.
- Professional Development Ⅱ commences
- Nominate PhD Thesis Committee members.
- Submit nominating forms and thesis proposal.
- Oral qualifying examination for progression to PhD thesis research conducted.
- Thesis research.
- Professional Development II.
- Workshop Courses.
Examination of thesis
- Notification of intention to submit Thesis
- Thesis Examination Committee nominated.
- Thesis submitted
- Thesis presentation and oral examination conducted at OIST.
5.3.10 Course advising
The particular selection of courses taken by any student is based on their educational background, intentions, and experience. Apart from mandatory Professional Development courses, there are no compulsory course requirements.
In such a flexible program, in which each student has an individualized program, excellent advice in course selection from an experienced advisor is essential. To provide this advice each student will have an independent Academic Mentor.
184.108.40.206. Appointment of Academic Mentor
An Academic Mentor (also called General Advisor) is assigned to each student from the time of admission. The Academic Mentor is required to work carefully with the student to select courses and Research Rotations that reinforce the foundations of the field of study and also provide the breadth of study necessary to develop the ability to collaborate effectively across traditional boundaries. The Academic Mentor for each student will be appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, with advice from the Academic Affairs Section. The Academic Mentor should have the following characteristics:
i Significant prior experience in course advising and supervision of graduate thesis research. New Faculty may gain experience in course advising and supervision by serving on thesis committees as a committee member.
ii High level of competence in the field, able to give advice to the student on the choice of courses that will prepare them for their PhD thesis research.
iii Be a disinterested party charged with working for the best interests of the student
The Academic Mentor will continue to play a general mentoring role for the duration of the student’s studies at OIST. The Academic Mentor cannot also be the same student’s Thesis Supervisor. If a student elects to undertake their thesis research in the research unit of the Academic Mentor, a new Academic Mentor shall be appointed.
220.127.116.11. Duties of Academic Mentor in development of Course Plan
The Academic Mentor and student together will formulate a plan of courses and Rotations for the first two years. The course plan will take into account any previously established credits, specific experience and research interests of the student. The Academic Mentor will guide the students to choose Rotations that include exposure to both experimental and theoretical approaches, and an interdisciplinary experience.
18.104.22.168. Approval of Course Plan
The course plan will be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School on the required form. Each individual’s course plan will be finally approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
22.214.171.124. Approval of Research Rotations
Research Rotations are approved by the Dean of the Graduate School taking into account the student preferences, and availability of rotations.
126.96.36.199. Course assessment
Each course will be assessed as specified in the course. Examiners may examine by means of written, practical, or oral test, or by continuous assessment, or by any combination of these. Examination scripts and reports must be written in English.
A student who is unable to complete an assessment because of genuine impairment may be permitted by the Dean of the Graduate School to complete a supplementary assessment. In such cases an application for special consideration must be submitted within 48 hours of the assessment on the appropriate form.
There shall be no appeal against examination results. However, complaints about examination results will be considered by the Dean of the Graduate School and scripts will be checked for errors in marking. If errors are detected marks may be corrected up or down with the agreement of the examiner.
Formal assessment of courses will be coordinated by the Academic Affairs Section. The dates of examinations and due dates of major items of assessment will be coordinated to avoid timetable clashes. Such dates will be fixed at the start of each academic year and students will be advised of the examination and assessment timetable at the start of the year.
Examination questions must be provided to Academic Affairs Section at least one month prior to the examination for preparation of examination papers. Examinations will be invigilated. Entry to the examination rooms will only be permitted for candidates enrolled in the course.
188.8.131.52. Monitoring of student progress and student mentoring
In the first two years, before confirmation of the student to progress to thesis research, the Academic Mentor will meet regularly with the student to discuss progress or problems with Courses and Rotations. The grades obtained in courses will be reported to the Academic Mentor and Curriculum and Examination Committee by Academic Affairs Section. In cases of difficulty the Academic Mentor will organize help and support for the individual student as needed. If difficulties continue the Academic Mentor has the responsibility of alerting the Dean of the Graduate School, who may initiate proceedings related to poor progress or performance.
5.3.11 Qualifying for Progression to PhD Thesis Research
Before commencing PhD thesis research all OIST graduate students will be evaluated by the Curriculum and Examinations Committee to determine if they are qualified for PhD thesis work. To initiate this process the student prepares the PhD thesis proposal, as described in Section [link: 184.108.40.206] after selecting a Thesis Supervisor(s) and Research Unit, and nominates a Thesis Committee. The thesis proposal, Thesis Supervisor, and Thesis Committee must be formally approved by the Dean of the Graduate School before the student commences thesis research.
All students will be required to have a Thesis Committee - irrespective of the seniority of the Thesis Supervisor - to provide oversight of the thesis research supervision. The Thesis Committee will comprise the Thesis Supervisor, the Academic Mentor, and the cosupervisor or the third Thesis Committee member, selected from among OIST faculty members by the student in consultation with the Thesis Supervisor. If the cosupervisor is selected from faculty members external to OIST, an additional Thesis Committee member also needs to be selected from among OIST faculty members. The student is responsible for nominating the Thesis Supervisor and may suggest names for the other committee members. The thesis committee members should be nominated before appointment of the Examination Panel for the thesis proposal. The Academic Affairs Section will provide guidance and assistance to students in relation to this process.
PhD Thesis Supervisors must be full-time faculty members. Adjunct and visiting faculty members may be cosupervisors or Thesis Committee members. Faculty external to the university may be cosupervisors provided an institutional agreement exists with the university of the external faculty member. Information about such agreements is available from Academic Affairs Section.
In consultation with the intended PhD Thesis Supervisor and Academic Mentor, the student completes and submits the form for nominating Thesis Supervisor [link: Preliminary Thesis Research Supervisor] to the Graduate School. Furthermore, in consultation with the intended PhD Thesis Supervisor, Academic Mentor and prospective members of the Thesis Committee, the student completes and submits the form for nominating Thesis Committee members [link: Thesis Proposal Submission Cover Sheet] along with the thesis proposal to the Graduate School. The Thesis Supervisor and Thesis Committee members for each student will be appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, with advice from the Academic Affairs Section. If the proposed Thesis Supervisor is the same person as the Academic Mentor, a new Academic Mentor will be appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School to avoid any conflict of interest.
220.127.116.11 PhD Thesis Proposal Requirement
The PhD thesis proposal is the student’s plan for their thesis research, and forms an important part of the evaluation for progression to thesis research. A positive outcome of the evaluation means that the proposal is acceptable and that the Curriculum and Examinations Committee agrees that the student is competent to proceed with the plan under the supervision of the thesis committee. The thesis proposal must be the student’s independent work in which the student makes an original contribution to the development of the research question, design of the research, and review of the literature. In the course of developing the proposal the student is expected to discuss the intended research with the thesis supervisor. The supervisor should advise the student on what is possible in the research unit, and discuss the scientific questions, the relevant existing work, and the research design and methods.
Students must write the thesis proposal in their own words. In referring to the work of others correct citation and attribution of sources is essential. Plagiarism by copying or paraphrasing is strictly forbidden and if established may lead to a fail without further examination.
The student’s supervisor and proposed Thesis Committee must read the proposal before it is submitted. The student’s Thesis Committee may give feedback on one draft of the proposal and allow the student to make necessary revisions before submission. When satisfied that the plan is achievable and that the research goals are appropriate, the supervisor and committee members indicate formal agreement by signing the cover page. The proposal is then submitted for examination. The student must defend the proposal in an oral examination.
18.104.22.168.1. Format and Content of the Thesis Proposal
It is part of the student's training in research to prepare a concise, rigorous, and scholarly thesis proposal and present it in the correct format. There is no strict length requirement for the thesis proposal. It is anticipated that most students will need 8,000-10,000 words (about twenty pages of text) to adequately explain the motivation and goals of their project, review the relevant literature, and describe progress to date. However, concise proposals are encouraged, and a proposal of 5,000 words, which covered all these points, would be perfectly acceptable. The proposal should contain the following sections:
Front Page. This should include the name and logo of the OIST Graduate University, the words “PhD Thesis Proposal”, the title of the thesis proposal, the names of the student, primary supervisor (and co-supervisor if there is one), and the month and year of submission of the thesis proposal.
Abstract. This should be a single paragraph of not more than 500 words, which concisely summarizes the entire proposal.
List of Abbreviations
Introduction and Literature Review. This should include a statement of the problem, the overall aims, and background to the research including a review of relevant existing work (literature review). The literature review should be of publishable quality and provide a concise, scholarly review of the literature explaining the background to the proposed research. The review should provide the context for the aims of the proposed research in relation to existing work on the topic.
Research Plan. This should begin with the specific aims of the research and provide a concrete plan for completion of the research including the design and methods. This section should include an explanation of how the methods will address the aims and the significance of the results for the field.
Progress Report. This should be a report on the research achievements of the student in the laboratory of the proposed supervisor during preliminary thesis research. The report should not duplicate material previously submitted for evaluation as part of a previous degree, but may include work completed during rotations at OIST. The report may include examples of results obtained with the methods proposed. It is understood that results may not be available in projects requiring, for example, development of methods, sample preparation, or recruitment of participants, in which case other evidence of progress should be reported.
Bibliography. The bibliography should include all references cited in the text and should not include references that have not been cited. In preparing the bibliography, students may use any of the conventional styles of referencing that include the titles of articles, such as the Harvard, Vancouver or ACS systems. However, the style chosen must be used consistently and correctly throughout, both for in-text citations, and formatting of bibliographic entries
Appendices. These are optional and should only be used if necessary.
The examiners commit to read the proposal, but the Curriculum and Examinations Committee reserves the right to require students to rewrite excessively long, or poorly constructed, thesis proposals, without forwarding them to examiners. The student cannot assume that the examiners will read the optional appendices.
The complete doctoral thesis proposal document must be submitted to the Graduate School by the due date as nominated by the Dean, normally no later than four weeks (28 days) prior to the oral defense. An emergency exception to the standard due date deadline can be granted by the Dean on the basis of a written request from the supervisor.
An Examination Panel for the thesis proposal comprises three members: an External Examiner, an Internal Examiner, and a Chair appointed by the Curriculum and Examinations committee. The Examination Panel will conduct a three-hour oral examination that will include a defense of the thesis proposal. The Examination Panel will include an External Examiner who is expert in the field of the proposed thesis and external to OIST. Normally the examination will be conducted in person at OIST but if this is not possible the Dean of the Graduate School may permit electronic participation by audiovisual link. The Curriculum and Examinations Committee appoints the External Examiner taking into account nominations provided by the proposed supervisor. Similar conflicts of interest precaution apply as outlined in 22.214.171.124.1 below. The Examination Panel also includes an Internal Examiner from OIST faculty members, who is appointed by the Curriculum and Examinations committee. An OIST faculty member with knowledge of OIST standards and regulations concerning thesis proposal examinations is nominated by the Curriculum and Examinations committee and will chair the Examination Panel. The Examination Panel will not include the proposed thesis supervisor or student’s mentor. The Thesis Supervisor and other members of the Thesis Committee may attend the oral examination as observers but should not participate in the examination.
The only material normally permitted in the examination room is the thesis proposal itself. Additional material such as copies of additional results figures developed since the thesis proposal was submitted, are permitted provided they are supplied to the Chair at least one week in advance, and the Chair agrees to their inclusion.
The Chairperson starts the examination by announcing the start of the examination and explaining the examination process to the student and examiners. The Chairperson then invites the student to give a concise summary of the research proposal, which should normally take less than 15 minutes. The use of slides or other material for the presentation is not permitted. However, the student may refer to a hard copy of the thesis proposal during the examination. A white board and pens are also provided.
After the summary, the Chairperson invites the External Examiner to examine the student. The Internal Examiner may follow the External Examiner or, as appropriate, join the discussion with the student. As the expert in the field of the thesis proposal, the External Examiner is expected to play the principal role in the examination.
It is expected that the examination will comprise a balance of roughly equal parts: (1) defense of the thesis proposal and (2) examination of fundamental knowledge in the field or fields of study relevant to the thesis topic.
In the defense of the thesis proposal (part 1), the student is expected to demonstrate the necessary advanced knowledge and understanding to undertake the proposed thesis research and show their original and independent contribution to the proposal and the research question.
In the oral examination (part 2), the student is expected to demonstrate adequate fundamental knowledge in the field or fields of study relevant to the thesis topic, and the ability to organize, apply and convey that knowledge effectively.
In the conduct of the examination it is envisaged that part 2 will flow naturally from part 1. A rigid division into parts is not necessary and the balance of time spent on each part, while nominally equal, may be varied at the discretion of the examiners.
The examination shall not continue for more than three hours maximum, but may be concluded sooner if the examiners are satisfied that they have sufficiently examined the student and are able to make a recommendation. The Chairperson formally concludes the examination when the allowed time has elapsed or the examiners have indicated they have no further questions.
After the examination, the External Examiner and Internal Examiner independently provide brief written reports on the examination to the Chairperson within one week of the examination. The Chairperson then forwards the reports to the Curriculum and Examinations Committee. The report shall remain confidential and shall not be released to the student until after the Curriculum and Examinations Committee has formally decided on the outcome of the examination.
The examiners’ report is required to include one of the following possible recommendations listed below:
- Pass. The examiners recommend that the student be advanced to candidacy. The examiners may recommend additional course work or stipulate minor revisions to the thesis proposal.
- Defer. This outcome is possible only if the student’s academic preparation is sufficient, and the thesis proposal is not acceptable in its present form but could be acceptable pending major revisions. The thesis proposal must be re-examined in a second oral examination. In such case the Examiner’s report shall itemize the deficiencies of the thesis proposal that need to be addressed in the revisions, and any deficiencies in the scope and depth of the student’s knowledge that require remediation.
- Fail. This is the outcome when academic preparation is not sufficient or the thesis proposal is not suitable for re-examination, or has not met the required standard on re-examination. No re-examination is allowed in the case of a fail outcome.
The purpose of evaluating qualification for progression to PhD thesis research is to determine whether the student has an adequate fundamental knowledge in the field or fields of study relevant to the thesis topic, and can organize, apply and convey that knowledge effectively. The Curriculum and Examinations Committee will make this evaluation taking into account the completed program of study and the student’s performance in courses and rotations at OIST, the thesis proposal, and the student’s performance in an examination. The thesis proposal forms an important part of the evaluation. The thesis proposal must be the student’s independent work and clearly show the original contribution of the student to the research question. The evaluation may occur when requested by the student and normally before the end of the second year of study, and at the latest within 12 months of the start of preliminary thesis research. When evaluating the student, the Curriculum and Examinations Committee will consider the following materials:
- The student’s PhD thesis proposal.
- A report from the examining panel as separately described (126.96.36.199).
- The student’s academic record at OIST.
- Write-ups of Rotations.
- An Endorsement of the thesis proposal from the proposed thesis supervisor, the student’s academic mentor, and other members of the intended thesis committee, on the prescribed Thesis Proposal Submission Cover Sheet
- Further material deemed relevant to the evaluation.
At the next available meeting of the Curriculum and Examinations Committee after the examination, the committee considers the reports from the examiners and makes a recommendation. The Curriculum and Examinations Committee will reach one of the three decisions listed below and record the decision in the student’s academic record:
Pass. The student is advanced to candidacy. The committee may require additional course work or stipulate minor revisions to the thesis proposal.
Defer. This outcome is possible only if the student’s academic preparation is sufficient, and the thesis proposal is not acceptable in its present form but could be acceptable pending major revisions. The thesis proposal must be re-examined in a second oral examination after which the committee must reach a decision of either pass or fail. The committee will stipulate a deadline for submission of a revised proposal and date of re-examination. If the student fails to resubmit by the deadline the outcome will change to fail.
Fail. This is the outcome when academic preparation is not sufficient or the thesis proposal is not suitable for re-examination, or has not met the required standard on re-examination. No re-examination is allowed in the case of a fail outcome.
This outcome is sent to the student and the Thesis Committee as soon as it becomes available, together with the reports of the examiners. If revisions are required, a timeline for their completion is described in the outcome letter. Revisions must be submitted by the deadline, for consideration by the responsible person (usually the Examiner or Chair). Once revisions have been accepted, the student is notified after ratification at the next available meeting of the Curriculum and Examinations Committee.
Procedures for appeal against the outcome of the evaluation are separately described (188.8.131.52).
A student who, after evaluation for progression to PhD thesis research, fails to meet requirements for progression to PhD thesis research may submit a thesis for consideration for award of the MSc degree in accordance with Article 37, paragraph 3 of the University Rules. An MSc may be awarded if the candidate has successfully completed the following minimum requirements:
i. at least 30 points (20 from courses, 10 from research work),
ii. submission of a thesis describing their own research work at a level judged to be suitable for the award of MSc by a panel of examiners including at least one external examiner.
There is a time limit in such cases. The student must achieve the necessary course credits and submit their MSc Thesis for examination within six months of being informed of the outcome of the Evaluation.
The examining panel will include an external examiner, an internal examiner, and a chair appointed for this purpose by the Curriculum and Examination committee. The examiners will examine the written thesis and submit a report within 3 months of receipt of the thesis, including a recommendation of either “passed” or “failed”. The Curriculum and Examination committee reviews the recommendation and considers whether all academic requirements for the award of the degree have been satisfied. In the case of a “pass” outcome the procedures for conferment of the degree (5.3.15) shall be followed. In the case of a “fail” outcome the Individual Student Record shall be updated with an entry on the next day, stating that the outcome is “fail”. At the time when the individual Student Record is updated, the candidate is sent a letter advising of the outcome.
184.108.40.206 Exit with MSc prior to progression to PhD thesis research
Under exceptional circumstances, when deemed necessary by the Dean of the Graduate School, a student who, prior to evaluation for progression to PhD thesis research, requests early exit from the program may be allowed to submit a thesis for award of the MSc degree in accordance with Article 37, paragraph 3 of the University Rules. Early exit must be requested within two years of enrolment and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. An MSc may be awarded if the candidate successfully completes the following minimum requirements:
i. At least 30 points (20 from courses, 10 from research work).
ii. Submission of a thesis describing their own research work at a level judged to be suitable for the award of MSc by a panel of examiners including at least one external examiner.
iii. Having been enrolled in the University for at least two years.
The student must achieve the necessary course credits and submit their MSc Thesis for examination before the end of the third year of enrolment. The examining panel will include an external examiner, an internal examiner, and a chair appointed for this purpose by the Curriculum and Examination committee. The examiners will examine the written thesis and submit a report within 3 months of receipt of the thesis, including a recommendation of either “passed” or “failed”. The Curriculum and Examination committee reviews the recommendation and considers whether all academic requirements for the award of the degree have been satisfied.
220.127.116.11 Appeals procedure
A student who has failed the qualifying examination (or MSc thesis examination) may lodge an appeal. Grounds for appeal include incorrect application of the procedures, but objections to the evaluations in the assessment by the examiners, the decision of the Curriculum and Examinations Committee, and the composition of the examining panel are not a basis for appeal. The qualifying examination is a confidential process, and this confidentiality must be maintained throughout any appeals process. The appeal must be in writing, include a concise statement of the reasons for the appeal, and be lodged with the Manager, Academic Affairs Section, within 28 days of the date of the letter advising the outcome of the qualifying examination. The appeal will be referred to the Dean of Faculty Affairs, who will determine the course of action to be undertaken, taking into consideration the grounds for the appeal stated by the candidate. This may include a review of the examination process. The Dean of Faculty Affairs will determine the outcome of the appeal as either:
The Dean of Faculty Affairs will determine the outcome of the appeal as either:
ⅰ.The procedures for the qualifying examination were applied correctly, and the appeal is unsuccessful.
ⅱ. The procedures for the qualifying examination were not applied correctly, but the variation in procedures did not influence the outcome of the examination, and the appeal is unsuccessful.
ⅲ. The procedures for the qualifying examination were not applied correctly, and the variation in procedures did influence the outcome of the examination, and the appeal is successful. In this case, the Dean of Faculty Affairs will determine further action to be taken, which may include re-examination.
The outcome of the appeal will be determined within 28 days of the date the written appeal was received by the Office of Academic Affairs Section.
5.3.12. Monitoring the student’s progress in research
From the commencement of the thesis research period, the Thesis Supervisor will take primary responsibility for monitoring progress of the student, assisted by the Thesis Committee. The Academic Mentor will continue to act as a support person and an advisor who can act in a confidential manner in case of problems between the student and the Thesis Supervisor.
18.104.22.168. Research progress reports
Confirmed students are required to submit an annual progress report on the progress of the student’s thesis research. The student will prepare the report, which will be endorsed by all members of the Thesis Committee, and forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School.
Satisfactory progress is required for continuation in the program. In case of lack of progress or poor quality of research, the Dean of the Graduate School may intervene and suggest solutions. If the lack of progress or poor quality of research continues, the Dean of the Graduate School may, in consultation with the Curriculum and Examination Committee, order discontinuation.
A candidature may be discontinued:
if academic progress is not satisfactory; or
if the student has failed to meet the requirements as stipulated elsewhere[link: 5.4 ].
5.3.13. Ph.D Degree Completion
The Ph.D. degree is conferred by the University in recognition of completion by the candidate of original research that makes a significant contribution to scientific knowledge. The degree is not awarded for completion of certain courses or a fixed period of enrolment, or for directed work as a technician. The work for the degree consists of original research and systematic studies that advance knowledge, conducted by the candidate with an appropriate degree of independence. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the ability to communicate the results of their research and scholarship effectively in both oral and written English. The candidate must present their work in a thesis and defend it in an oral examination. A candidate may not submit for examination work that has been included in a thesis or dissertation that has been previously submitted towards a degree qualification.
Course credit requirements are listed in PRP 22.214.171.124.
126.96.36.199. Thesis Requirements
The thesis must present original research that makes a significant contribution to scientific knowledge. The thesis must form a coherent narrative that includes a statement of the problem, a scholarly review of the relevant literature, and must present, in detail, the methods, results, discussion and conclusions of the research. A collection of published articles, irrespective of their impact on science, falls well short of what will be considered acceptable. The thesis must be formatted in chapters and submitted according to the OIST Guidelines on the Preparation of Theses (“Guidelines”).
Students are strongly advised to publish peer-reviewed articles in international journals based on their thesis work in a timely fashion and preferably before submitting the thesis. Such publication of thesis research is evidence of a significant scientific contribution that will be taken into account by thesis examiners, and is essential for future career prospects. Published, archived or submitted articles must be included as an appendix of the written examination version of thesis. In the absence of a published, archived or submitted article, the thesis for examination must append at least one manuscript, drafted by the student, of publication quality and ready for journal submission. Previously published papers and manuscripts for submission must not be included in the final version of the thesis, for copyright reasons.
When papers based on work completed as part of the PhD thesis are submitted, are in press, or in print, it may be possible to modify and include material from them as chapters in the thesis, providing that the thesis as a whole presents a coherent account of the research. For details concerning these matters refer to the Guidelines.
188.8.131.52. Final Examination
A candidate is examined both on the written thesis and in an oral examination.
The examination process is strictly confidential.
The candidate must submit to the Academic Affairs Section written Notice of Intent to Submit a Thesis with enough time for the examination to be arranged before the proposed submission date.
The Graduate School will provide guidance on the time required in each case. Before submission of the thesis, the Graduate School must confirm that the course credits necessary for graduation have been completed.
If there are insufficient course credits, the required additional credits must be completed before the final examination.
184.108.40.206. Appointment of the Thesis Examination Panel
After receiving the Notice of Intent to Submit a Thesis, the Curriculum and Examinations Committee (CEC) will appoint thesis examiners from within and outside the University, to form a Thesis Examination Panel, as follows:
i. Two Examiners selected from two different working-countries, who are expert in the field of the proposed thesis and external to OIST. The CEC appoints the examiners taking into account nominations provided by the Thesis Supervisor. The CEC is responsible for determining if the nominated examiner is expert in the field of the proposed thesis research, taking into account the publications of the examiner in international peer reviewed journals.
ii. A Chair selected from the OIST faculty members with knowledge OIST standards and regulations concerning PhD thesis examinations.
The Thesis Supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the nominated examiners meet the specified conditions. The Academic Affairs Section of the Graduate School is responsible for checking that the specified conditions are satisfied. If the conditions are not satisfied, the nomination shall not be submitted to the CEC, and the Supervisor shall be advised on the grounds for declining the examiner and asked to nominate a new examiner by the Academic Services Affairs Section.
The CEC may alternatively appoint an examiner who has not been nominated by the Supervisor.
220.127.116.11.1 Conflicts of interest in examinations
The CEC will not appoint examination panel members who have or appear to have conflicts of interest. For OIST faculty members, a conflict of interest is deemed to exist if the faculty member is involved in the supervision of the thesis research of the candidate, or is collaborating in the research project of the candidate. For non-OIST faculty members a conflict of interest is deemed to exist if they:
i. Are involved in the research
ii. Have current collaborations with members of the thesis laboratory, or previous collaborations in the past 5 years.
iii. Have had prior or ongoing contact with the supervisor that may appear to compromise objectivity, such as having been in the same department as the supervisor, having been a thesis or postdoctoral supervisor (or vice versa), or having joint publications or grants with the supervisor in the past 5 years
iv. Have had prior contact with the candidate that may appear to compromise objectivity, such as having been in the same department as the candidate, having supervised the candidate in academic or project work, or having joint publications or grants with the candidate at any time.
18.104.22.168. Examination of the Written Thesis
The two external examiners read the thesis, separately prepare a report and make a recommendation from the following choices:
i. Proceed to oral examination (no revisions, or minor revisions required).
ii. Defer (minor revisions required). The thesis as presented does not meet the required standard but has the potential to do so if adequately revised. Reexamination of the written thesis is required before oral examination.
iii. Consider for an MSc degree [see: 22.214.171.124.1]. The thesis does not contain material sufficient for a PhD degree but qualifies for an MSc.
Examiners submit their report and recommendation to the Chair of the Thesis Examination Panel, through the Graduate School, at least 7 days prior to the scheduled oral examination. The Chair reviews the recommendations. Where necessary, the Chair may formally seek advice related to the thesis research from other OIST faculty with relevant knowledge of the field.
If both examiners recommend (i) the student is permitted to proceed to the oral examination.
If one or more examiner selects either (ii), (iii) or (iv), the Chair convenes a meeting of the Thesis Examination Panel by teleconference to determine a recommendation, which is passed to the Curriculum and Examinations Committee along with the examiners’ individual reports. The Curriculum and Examinations Committee then decides on the course of action from among the listed options (above).
In the case of Defer, the thesis must be re-examined after the revisions have been completed. Examiners then choose a recommendation of:
i. Proceed to oral examination
ii. Consider for an MSc degree (see 126.96.36.199.1)
In all cases the examiners' reports will be retained by the Chair until after the oral examination, at which time they will be transmitted to the student as outlined in PRP 188.8.131.52.
184.108.40.206.1 Exit with MSc (“Award lesser degree” outcome of PhD thesis examination)
A student who fails to meet requirements for the award of a PhD may be awarded the degree of MSc on the recommendation of the Thesis Examination Panel, provided they have fulfilled the necessary requirements set out in PRP 220.127.116.11.
18.104.22.168. Oral Examination
It is a requirement that all examiners participate in the oral examination. Exceptionally, if an examiner is not available in Okinawa at a time convenient for a meeting of the Thesis Examination Panel, the Dean of the Graduate School can approve remote participation of an examiner by teleconferencing.
The examination is conducted in two parts:
An open presentation. This is a 45-minute presentation of the thesis work followed by a 10-minute question period. The external examiners form part of the audience but must not ask questions nor begin the examination at this point.
An oral examination. Immediately after the research presentation, the student and the Examination Panel conduct the oral examination in private, for up to two hours. The Thesis Supervisor and other members of the Thesis Committee may attend the oral examination as observers but must not participate in the examination, nor take part in discussion.After the oral examination the Thesis Examination Panel confers privately. The Examiners may modify their reports in light of the oral examination or confirm there are no changes. The Examination Panel then determine a recommendation from the following options, using the standard form provided by the Graduate School.
ii. Pass subject to satisfactory revision
iii. Defer and reexamine
iv. Consider for an MSc degree [see: PRP 22.214.171.124.1],
In the case of a “Pass” outcome, the student is informed by the Dean of the Graduate School and must lodge the final version of the thesis with the Graduate School as an electronic document, ready for publication in the OIST institutional repository.
In the case of “Pass subject to satisfactory revision” outcome the report specifies the revisions to be made, which may be by reference to individual examiner’s reports. The Dean of the Graduate School informs the student of the required revisions.
After the student has made the revisions the Chair of the Thesis Examination Panel approves the final version of the thesis or, if the revisions are unsatisfactory, returns it for further corrections. If necessary the Chair may ask the external examiners to evaluate the revisions. When the final version of the thesis has been approved the student is informed by the Dean of the Graduate School and must lodge the final version of the thesis with the Graduate School as an electronic document, ready for publication in the OIST institutional repository. Students are required to remain at OIST until the final version of the thesis has been accepted by the Graduate School.
In the case of a "Defer" recommendation, the report specifies the reasons for the defer recommendation and the required revisions, and the student is referred to the Curriculum and Examinations Committee for setting a new timeline for revision and reexamination. Where possible, the same examiners are involved in the reexamination of the written thesis and the oral defense.
In the case of a "Consider for MSc" recommendation or a "Fail" recommendation, the Report specifies the reasons for the outcome and the student is referred to the Curriculum and Examinations Committee. The Curriculum and Examinations Committee may decide to consider for an MSc degree [link: PRP 126.96.36.199.1] or fail the student.
A student who has failed the thesis examination may lodge an appeal. The procedures for an appeal are separately stipulated in PRP 188.8.131.52.
184.108.40.206. Public presentation
There is no requirement for a public defense of the degree thesis as part of Doctor the examination process. As part of Philosophy. their professional development candidates are expected to give a final presentation of their research for the OIST community, but this does not form part of the examination.
220.127.116.11 Summary of Completion Requirements
In order to graduate with the PhD degree, a student must have been registered as a full-time student for a minimum enrolment period stipulated in Article 35 of the University Rules and successfully met the following minimum requirements:
i. completed and passed at least 30 course credits (20 credits in case of MSc graduates)
ii. submitted a PhD thesis for examination,
iii. obtained a PASS outcome of the Thesis Examination
The academic record for the student will record the name of the Thesis Supervisor and list separately the names of the members of the Thesis Committee.
A student who fails to meet requirements for the award of a PhD may be considered for the award of a degree of MSc if they have successfully completed the following minimum requirements:
・at least 30 credits
・submission of a thesis describing their own research work at a level judged to be suitable for the award of MSc by a panel of external and internal examiners.
18.104.22.168 Appeals procedure
Appeals will be managed by the process stipulated in 22.214.171.124.
The graduate university may establish prizes.
126.96.36.199 Conferment of Degree
On confirmation of receipt of the final version of the thesis via the Graduate School, the secretary of the Curriculum and Examinations Committee passes to the faculty assembly the recommendation to award the degree. The recommendation shall be sent electronically. If there are no objections within three working days, the recommendation shall be considered as having been confirmed by the Faculty Assembly. In the case that there are valid objections the matter shall be put on the agenda for the next Faculty Assembly meeting, and the student and members of the thesis committee shall be informed. The Dean of the Graduate School shall prepare a recommendation for the Faculty Assembly after hearing the nature of the objection.
Once the Faculty Assembly has approved the recommendation, the minutes of the Faculty Assembly hold a record of the names of the students, the date of conferment, and title of the thesis. The Individual Student Record shall be updated with an entry by the end of the month in which the Faculty Assembly approved, stating that all requirements for the degree have been satisfied and the degree has been conferred. The record includes the date, the title of the thesis, the name of the Thesis Supervisor, and the names of the other members of the Thesis Committee.
At the time when the individual Student Record is updated, the student is sent a letter confirming that the degree has been conferred and that the student may receive their degree certificate at the next graduation ceremony or “in absentia”. The degree certificate is presented by the President at the graduation ceremony (see PRP 188.8.131.52). A student who chooses to graduate in absentia is provided with the degree certificate after the graduation ceremony. The format of the certificate is as per Form 1 (for PhD Degree) and Form 2 (for MSc Degree) .
When a Doctoral degree is conferred, it shall be reported to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the abstract of the thesis and the result of the examination shall be publicized on the internet within 3 months following the day of the conferment of the Doctoral degree.
When a Doctoral degree is conferred, it shall be reported to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the abstract of the thesis and the result of the examination shall be publicized on the internet within 3 months following the day of the conferment of the Doctoral degree.
The entire text of the thesis related to the conferment of the Doctoral degree shall be published within one year following the day of the conferment of the Doctoral degree; provided however, that this shall not apply to the thesis published prior to the conferment of the Doctoral degree.
The student may request that the full text not be published, and instead only publish a summary of the contents of the thesis in lieu of the entire text of thesis when there is significant reason and with approval of the Supervisor. In this case, the University will make available for inspection the entire text of the thesis in response to a request, in hard copy and on University library premises. When necessary for intellectual property protection or other reasons, this inspection will be subject to a non- disclosure agreement. When the Dean of the Graduate School judges that the significant reason no longer exists, the entire text of thesis related to the conferment of the Doctoral degree shall be published through the medium specified by the university.
184.108.40.206 Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science
The OIST Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) Degree recognizes those who have made profound and enduring contributions to science, culture, or improved quality of life in society. It is important that recipients be persons of great integrity, as the choices we make reflect our values as an institution. The Honorary DSc Degree is awarded to the recipient in person at the Graduation Ceremony at the OIST Campus. The Honorary DSc Degree may not be awarded in absentia.
220.127.116.11.2 Degree Awarded
Honorary Doctor of Science
Nominations or suggestions for Honorary Degrees may be sent direct to the Chair of the Honorary Degrees Committee by any member of the University community. Nominations will normally be considered by the Committee three months before the Graduation Ceremony.
Nominations for the Honorary Degree are considered by the Honorary Degree Committee, which makes recommendations to the President. Nominations are made on the Honorary Degree Nomination Form[Link]. If the nomination is supported, and the President agrees, and the recipient accepts the offer, the Degree is awarded at the next Graduation Ceremony.
18.104.22.168.4 Honorary Degree Committee
The Honorary Degrees Committee consists of the Provost, who chairs the committee, the Dean of Faculty Affairs, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Dean of Research and the Chair of the Faculty Assembly. The duty of the Committee is to select persons to be recommended in writing to the president for the Honorary Degree. The final decision is made by the president, who is not bound by the recommendation.
It is important from the beginning of the process of nomination through to the point at which a decision is reached and the successful candidates have been invited by the President, that a high level of confidentiality be maintained.
22.214.171.124.6 Format of Nominations
(i) a supporting submission which contains an introductory statement providing the grounds for the award;
(ii) a brief account of the nominee’s life and work;
(iii) an outline of the nominee’s most significant academic or other achievements;
(iv) an assessment of his/her international standing;
(v) OIST connection or link, or if none any tangible association with our values; and
(vi) any other information the proposer would wish to bring to the attention of the Committee. If relevant, nominations should be accompanied by details of the nominees’ published works in an Appendix.
126.96.36.199 Graduation Ceremony
The University holds an annual Graduation Ceremony, to which all eligible PhD graduates from the preceding year are invited. The President will present those graduates in attendance at the ceremony with their degree certificates in the presence of the assembled faculty of the University. Graduates who choose to graduate in absentia will be mentioned at the ceremony and their certificate will be sent to them by mail.
OIST official academic dress comprises a black gown with red border and white piping, together with a black velvet tam and tassel. PhD graduates of the OIST Graduate University augment the university gown and tam with a hood, presented at the graduation ceremony. Academic dress is made available by the Graduate School for rent or purchase by faculty members, students, and graduates. The rental fee covers cleaning and other costs, while the purchase cost reflects the actual cost of academic dress manufacture. Graduating students may elect to rent for the graduation ceremony and purchase at a later date. Academic dress rentals are not permitted for off-site use.
Under the OIST travel rules, the Graduate School will pay for airfare for the OIST graduates attending the ceremony to receive their degree certificate. In addition, the Graduate School will cover the cost of guest rooms in Seaside House for the graduates and family members for their accommodation if available.
5.3.16. Student professional development
188.8.131.52. Careers Advice
The OIST Graduate School has a dedicated Careers Development Coordinator in the Academic Affairs Section. The Careers Development Coordinator provides individual careers advice, as well as help with CV and resume writing, job searching and career exploration to students.
184.108.40.206. Teaching Assistantship
The OIST Graduate School offers OIST PhD students and Special Research Students opportunities to gain experience and develop skills as Teaching Assistants. Teaching Assistants may contribute to various educational activities such as:
1. Assisting an OIST faculty member in the delivery of an official OIST Graduate School course. Teaching Assistants may contribute in activities such as laboratory classes and tutorials and preparation of materials under the supervision of the faculty member. It is expected that the OIST faculty member is present for the scheduled teaching hours to provide mentoring and quality control; this should not be used to replace faculty in teaching. Selection as a Teaching Assistant for a course is decided by the faculty member in charge of the course.
2. Acting as tutors in OIST International Workshops and Courses, or in preparatory or remedial courses for OIST students. Selection is decided by the faculty member in charge of the Workshop or Course.
3. Contributing to educational outreach activities such as open campus, school visits, children’s science. Selection is decided by the organizer of the outreach activity.
4. Assisting in educational activities at other universities, by agreement between the universities. Selection is decided by the graduate school in consultation with the other university.
5. Assisting in other educational activities organized by the Graduate School.
Teaching experience is important for an academic career. The graduate school will keep a record of Teaching Assistant activity for each student. A record of teaching experience will form part of the Professional Development course requirements.
Teaching Assistants are expected to prepare thoroughly for their teaching activity by reading all materials and studying necessary background. Preparation of material may be required. Attendance at training provided as part of Professional Development courses is also expected. Because of the course requirements in the first years of the PhD program, Teaching Assistants will normally only be appointed after successfully completing their qualifying examination.
Students wishing to apply for Teaching Assistant appointments should discuss their request with the faculty member or organizer of educational activity and submit a completed Teaching Assistant Application Form to the Student Support desk. This form is necessary for recording the Teaching Assistant activity of each student. The form should detail the contact hours and be signed by the proposed supervisor. A CV should be attached.
Service as a Teaching Assistant is normally unpaid because students receive financial support by other mechanisms. Exceptional cases and other necessary items are separately stipulated.
5.3.17. Leave of Absence and Holidays
Research study in the Graduate School is considered a year-round activity that continues between teaching terms. A student who wishes to be absent from Okinawa and / or the approved course of study and research, or who proposes to take vacation, shall be required to submit a written application for leave of absence. There are four types of leave of absence, namely, Annual Leave, Study Leave, Non-study Leave and Special Leave. Apart from Sick Leave, a student must seek and receive approval BEFORE going on leave.
In addition to University Holidays(220.127.116.11), Students are granted 20 days of Annual Leave per Academic Year, adjusted pro rata from their first day, or 10 days if the entire period of study is less than one year. At the start of each Academic Year thereafter, students are granted an additional 20 days Annual Leave. For students taking courses, this leave must be taken in the designated break periods between terms; Annual Leave will not usually be approved during term. For students engaged in thesis research work, the approval of the Thesis Supervisor (or in the case of Special Research Students, the University supervisor) is required for Annual Leave, which may be taken during term time. Annual Leave newly granted and not used in the current year will be carried over to the following year. The carried over Annual Leave must be used prior to the Annual Leave newly granted in the following year.
A student may be granted Study Leave for the purposes of study while taking approved courses at other institutions outside Okinawa. A student may be granted Study Leave for the purpose of research outside Okinawa only at a partner institution with which the University has entered into a formal exchange agreement. Any period of Study Leave granted shall be counted towards the period of study. Conference, summer school and workshop attendance outside Okinawa, and field work are not normally considered as Study Leave but as a business trip.
A student may request or be asked to take Non-study Leave when he / she is best advised for personal, health, or other reasons to have time completely away from his / her academic responsibilities. Under no circumstances shall leave of absence under this category be granted on each occasion or cumulatively for a period of more than two years for the entire period of study. Any period of Non-study Leave granted shall result in the extension of the period of study by the period of absence.
Students may be granted Special Leave for a variety of reasons with approval by the Graduate School. The table below indicates acceptable reasons and length of leave:
Unable to work due to injury or illness. Medical certificate is necessary when more than 2 consecutive days are taken. Extension beyond 6 days is considered to be Non-study Leave, with approval.
2 to 6 days
Up to 5 days
Up to 2 days
Up to 7 days
Up to 5 days
Up to 3 days
Special arrangements for reduced study load, etc., for students before and after birth of their child are available. See Childbirth Accommodation Policy, Chapter 5.3.18.
Up to 2 terms
Special arrangements for reduced study load, etc., for students before and after birth of their child are available. See Childbirth Accommodation Policy, Chapter 5.3.18.
Up to 2 terms
Up to 3 days
Up to 5 days
Child Medical Care
To provide care to a child who has not entered elementary school when the child is sick or injured or when the child takes vaccination or medical check-up.
Up to 5 days for one child or up to 10 days for two or more children per calendar year
To provide care to a family member with a condition requiring care.
Up to 5 days for one family member or up to 10 days for two or more family members per calendar year
To serve as juror or supplemental juror, or to become a candidate for jury duty.
Days and hours necessary for the purpose
Bone Marrow Donor
To register as a bone marrow donor, or to offer bone marrow to a person other than family members, or to take examinations and hospitalizations required for bone marrow donors.
Days and hours necessary for the purpose
18.104.22.168 University Holidays
University holidays shall be as follows:
i. Saturdays and Sundays; and
ii. Holidays specified in the Act on National Holidays (Act No. 178 of 1948).
iii. Year-end and New Year Holidays (from December 29 to January 3 of the following year)
iv. The president may specify extraordinary holidays when deemed necessary.
5.3.18. Childbirth Accommodation Policy
The OIST Graduate University promotes diversity and supports balance in work and family life. It recognizes the need to accommodate the demands on students associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and the care of children. The University encourages women to undertake postgraduate education and supports women who decide to have children while at graduate school. It also recognizes the demands on partners who share in the care of a newborn child, on parents who adopt, and foster parents. The Childbirth Accommodation Policy comprises a set of measures designed to accommodate these needs, supporting family life during graduate studies.
The measures are designed to make it possible to maintain the mother’s full-time, registered student status before and after childbirth, and to facilitate her return to full participation in class work and research in a seamless manner. It is also designed to support partners, adoptive and foster parents sharing in the care of a newborn child.
This policy is intended to complement and not replace the communication and cooperation between student and academic mentor, thesis supervisor, and course coordinators in their good-faith efforts to accommodate the new family needs. It is the intention of this policy to reinforce the importance of that cooperation, and to provide support where needed to make that accommodation possible. A faculty member may not discontinue supervising a student’s thesis research on the basis of the student’s decision to give birth to, adopt or foster a child.
Prenatal Leave. Research Assistants who expect to give birth within 6 weeks (14 weeks for multiple pregnancies) are granted prenatal maternity leave. When the actual delivery is after the expected delivery date, the additional days are included in the maternity leave.
Postpartum Leave. Research Assistants are granted 8-week paid postpartum maternity leave after giving birth. In this period, the University may not require them to work. However, up on their request, the Research Assistant may return to work for duties approved by a doctor.
An Academic Accommodation Period can be granted to the father of the child or partner of the mother in cases where graduate student couples share the care of newborn children and the partner is the primary caregiver for the infant.
An Academic Accommodation Period can also be extended to the new parents after adoption, fostering a child, or the birth of a biological child using a surrogate to bring to term.
It is essential that students undertaking thesis research consult with the thesis supervisor well in advance of the birth. It is the student's responsibility to make arrangements with faculty and with graduate school administrators for course completion and for continuation of educational, research and professional development activities before and after the Academic Accommodation Period.
One of the purposes of the Childbirth Accommodation Policy is to make it possible for women to maintain their full-time student status. By remaining full-time students, the visa status of international students is not affected. Careful consultation should be undertaken to ensure that the implications for academic progress, visa status, and financial support have been thoroughly investigated. In completing the application for the Academic Accommodation Period, the student may optionally request up to two terms of part-time enrolment. If part-time enrolment status is approved, the student will retain all privileges of the Childbirth Accommodation Policy. Independent of making this request for part-time enrolment, if a serious medical problem were to arise for mother or newborn, the woman student would be eligible for extension of the period of Childbirth Accommodation Policy until the medical problem is resolved.
The expectation is that the student will be in residence in Okinawa, and, assuming good health of the pregnant woman or new mother and the infant, will remain engaged in class work and research, even if at a reduced level.
Childbirth Accommodation Policy for students who are not in residence
A student may choose to take leave from the Academic Program and not be in residence for a period of time. In such a case a period of Non-study Leave may be granted in accordance with the Non-study Leave regulations ( PRP 22.214.171.124) up to a maximum of two consecutive academic terms around the time of the birth. The student may postpone course assignments, examinations, and other academic requirements during the period of absence and extension of the period of study by the period of absence. Registration as a graduate student with continued access to OIST facilities and housing will continue during the Non-study Leave period. Financial support will be in accordance with the provisions for Full-time employees for prenatal leave and postpartum leave as detailed in the Maternity Leave provisions.
The office of the Dean of the Graduate School will notify the student, the student’s academic mentor, and the relevant University administrative offices that the Academic Accommodation Period has been approved, along with the dates for the accommodation period.
During and After the Academic Accommodation Period
Once a student submits an application, the office of the Dean of the Graduate School will ensure that students whose applications have been approved will see no change in their financial support as Research Assistants.
Students who are supported by fellowships external to OIST must adhere to the rules of the granting agency with respect to absences from academic and research work. If the granting agency requires suspension of fellowship benefits the student will be eligible for substitute payment from OIST under the terms of a temporary Research Assistant agreement.
The student, academic mentor, and thesis supervisor (if applicable) should recognize that it might not be feasible to return to a regular research assistant assignment immediately after the accommodation period. In that case, arrangements should be made to assign limited on-site duties. These issues should be negotiated sensitively with the student’s needs in mind. The student should work with the academic mentor, thesis supervisor, and Dean of the Graduate School to make arrangements for ongoing support beyond the accommodation period if unable to return to normal duties immediately.
The maximum duration of the Academic Accommodation Period is two consecutive academic terms. If need extends beyond this limit due to ongoing issues associated with childbirth, different leave provisions may apply depending on the nature of the issues. In such case the affected student should make the situation known to the Dean of the Graduate School as early as possible so that measures can be taken.