Study with us
Do you want to study in our group? Great! I'm waiting for your message!
Before you e-mail me, though, take a complete look through this page. It may answer some of your questions, and will help you and me to communicate more efficiently. Even if I cannot receive you in my group, I'd be happy to provide advice to students thinking about doing their grad school in Japan.
Please use a clear subject in your e-mail, and start your e-mail by saying in a few sentences who are you, and what is your goal. Do you want to do an internship? Do you want to be a MEXT student? Are you just asking for advice?
Please do not use template mails, as they assume a lot of things that I don't agree with about the nature of graduate school (and maybe you don't either!). There is a particularly common template e-mail that says "when I am not doing research, I spend my whole free time studying at the library" -- that is not what I'm looking for in a student!
I believe that a good graduate school depends on a good personal relationship between advisor and student. So write with your own voice!
What am I looking for in a student
The most important thing is passion for an idea. What is/are the topic in CS that really sparks your curiosity, that makes you want to read about it, learn about it, make it come true? When sending me an e-mail, make sure to tell me what do you want to study. (Ideally it is something related to my own research areas)
Also tell me a bit about what you are good at. Good programmers are always welcome, of course, but there is space for all kinds of talents: people who can draw, people who can speak in public, people who have work experience, people who did a lot of volunteering, etc. Let me know what you think you can bring to the team!
Be clear about your situation: Do you want to join as a Master Student? PhD student? Exchange student? Are you planning to apply for a scholarship, or are a self-funded student? When are you graduating?
Students who know Japanese, or who are making a serious effort to learn the language, are very appreciated.
I am always happy to support students from countries in the Global South, and minorities in Computer Science;
Student Limitations and Application timing.
My advising style includes a lot of back and forth with students, and frequent meetings to discuss progress. Because of this, I cannot supervise too many students at once. In general, I try not limit myself to 4 or 5 new graduate students every year.
Even if you are a perfect student from my point of view, if I already accepted too many students, I would be a disservice to both of us to accept you to a crowded laboratory, where I don't have enough time (both real time and mind space) to give you proper supervision. That said, I would be happy to give you pointers to other professors that might supervise you.
MEXT Student Contact Timing:
The best time for a first contact with me is between April and May, each year. The first application period for self-funded students is in July, so I have to give them an answer up to June. Even if you are planning to apply for Embassy MEXT, which recommends students to contact professors after the first stage, I encourage you to contact me beforehand, so I can "save a spot for you" when I consider the self-funded students.
As a general rule, I cannot provide financial support for students. You should either be able to support yourself, or apply for scholarships.
For graduate students, the MEXT scholarship is the main way to obtain financial support for studying in Japan. It is a fully funded scholarship that covers your tuition and gives you a stipend.
There are two types of MEXT scholarships: Embassy Recommendation and University Recommendation.
In the Embassy Recommendation route, you apply at the Japanese embassy of your country of nationality, and they will choose a few students to recommend based on document analysis and interviews. I am always happy to provide advice to students taking this route, but make sure to check the embassy's webpage first.
In the University Recommendation route, it is actually the professor (me) who does the application. It is an enormous amount of work, so I only take students in this route who I know personally, or who are recommended to me by someone I know personally.
For short term exchanges, students at partner universities can sometimes apply for JASSO scholarships, and don't have to pay tuition at Tsukuba. To find out if your university is a partner university, and other possible support routes, contact the International Relations Office at your institution.
For internship students, I usually cannot fund you, or support a visa application.
Frequently Asked questions
These answers are from my own experience, and may be outdated. I recommend that in addition to these answers, you also do a healthy dose of searching the internet for more information.
Q: What is the application process for the Master / PhD programs?process for application in Graduate School?
The admission process is detailed in page of the Master Program in Computer Science
Q: I want to study in the Undergraduate program
Then you should head to the webpage of the University of Tsukuba Global Programs. You do not need a supervising professor to enroll in an undergraduate program.
Q: How much is the tuition fee at the University of Tsukuba?
Tuition fees are listed in the university's main webpage.
You should also account for your living expenses. Of course, this changes from person to person, but you can think of 80.000 JPY per month as a minimum value for a person to live frugally.
Q: Does Tsukuba University offers Japanese classes for International Students?
Yes, the International Student Center offers a variety of Japanese Language classes for international students. After you arrive, you will take an entrance examination to determine what level of classes you should take.
Q: Do I need to Speak Japanese?
You do not need to speak Japanese to take graduate school classes, or to do research in our group.
However, as I always say to my students: "Your professors and some secretaries may speak English, but the Bus Driver, the Baker, the Barber will only speak Japanese, so you'd better learn some for your own quality of life".
I generally expect my students to make a serious effort at learning Japanese while they are in the group.
Q: Does the university have dormitories for International Students?
Yes, Tsukuba University has four dormitories for students (foreign and Japanese). The dormitories are assigned by lottery, and International students have priority in their first year. Usually you have to move out of the dorm at the end of your first year, but see below.
Q: Can I rent my own room? How much it costs
Yes, many students choose to rent rooms by themselves, or sharing it with other students. The rent of a small 1-room apartment around the university goes from 30.000 to 50.000 yens a month, depending on location, size, etc.
Q: Can I talk to some of your students?
Ah, so you want to know the dirty little secrets of the university I won't tell you about? Do you want to know how terrible of an advisor I am behind my nice facade?
No, actually that is a great idea, and I recommend it even if you are considering other laboratories in Japan. I'd be happy to ask my students to see who would like to answer your questions. Just let me know in the e-mail.