The academic year begins on April 1 and ends on March 31 of the following year, and consists of two semesters.
Second Semester: October 1 - March 31
In principle, each course in the program (undergraduate and post-graduate) consists of 15 class sessions per semester. However, classes in the Second Semester are usually completed in the end of February.
University Foundation Day: May 1
Summer Vacation: The beginning of August - September 30
Winter Vacation: About 2 weeks including New Year's Day
Spring Vacation: The middle of February - March 31
The Department of Physics at Osaka University offers a four-year course in Physics leading to a Bachelor of Science in Physics. The program is designed so as to give the students the opportunity to tailor their study of Physics to their individual career goals, i.e., to pursue a professional career in Physics, e.g., in academic and industrial research, or to have a deep interest in the subject, but who may not intend to become professional physicists. Thus, a very wide range of career options are made available to graduates of this program.
An important objective of the four-year course in Physics is to develop an understanding of “Core Physics” at successively deeper levels, each stage revealing new phenomena and greater insight into the behavior of matter and radiation. The courses are also distinguished by their being exercise and hands-on intensive in nature.
The Department of Physics at Osaka University offers a two-year graduate course in Physics leading to a Master of Science in Physics, and a three-year course in Physics leading to a Ph.D. degree in Physics. The degrees are awarded on successful completion of the required advanced courses in Physics, submission of an acceptable thesis, and success in an oral examination.
A minimum residence of two semesters (about one year) is required to obtain the M.S. degree. At least 4 consecutive semesters of residence in the University is normally required for the Ph.D. degree.
The M.S. course is designed to provide further study and training in research in Physics. It includes lectures and relevant practical work, occupying up to the equivalent of one semester. For the remainder, the student pursues a course of supervised research on an approved subject in Physics. The examination consists of a thesis, and an oral examination of the thesis and the general field of Physics into which it falls.
The Ph.D. course mainly consists of research work. Each student is assigned to a research supervisor, a specialist in part or all of the student's chosen research field, and joins a research group. Although the supervisor is responsible for the progress of a student's research program, the extent to which a graduate student is assisted by the supervisor or by other members of the group depends almost entirely on the structure and character of the group concerned. The research field is normally determined at entry, after consideration of the student's interests and facilities available. A list of current research projects is published and available on request from the Admission Office of the Department of Physics, and more detailed information about specific research areas can be obtained from the relevant academic staff. The student, however, may work within a given field for a period of time before his or her personal topic is determined.
Graduate students in Physics are actively engaged in research in the forefront of Physics, in collaboration with faculty who are acknowledged leaders in their respective fields. Learning takes place in both formal and informal settings with a broad spectrum of colleagues, including faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, and graduate student peers.
Graduate work is largely a matter of independent research and successful graduates require a high degree of self-motivation. Lectures and classes are arranged, and students are expected to attend both seminars (delivered regularly by members of the University and by visiting scholars and industrialists) and external conferences. Final examination involves the submission of a thesis followed by an oral examination assessed by both internal and external examiners.
Lectures within all the faculties of the University are open to any member of the University, and a Physics graduate student has the opportunity of attending lectures not only within the undergraduate Physics and Theoretical Physics course, but also in any other subject area or faculty. In addition, graduate students carry out first- and second-year physics undergraduate supervision and assist with practical work and theoretical examples classes in the Department. This can provide a source of supplementary income and an opportunity for the graduate student to consolidate his or her knowledge of physics.
It is possible to be admitted as a member of a research group at the Department of Physics, in order to study a specific topic for research. Prospective international students are usually advised to enter as a research student to prepare for the graduate school's regular course. However, such students are not entitled to receive a degree. They can also be admitted as auditors to one or more subjects offered by the Department of Physics, subject to certain qualifying conditions.
Applicants to the undergraduate and graduate programs must satisfy the following basic admission requirements.
All applicants must possess a minimum level of competence in Mathematics and the Sciences. In addition, they must possess either a High School Diploma, International Baccalaureate Diploma, French Baccalaureate Diploma, General Certificate of Secondary Education, Advanced Placement Tests, or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution. Equivalency is determined by International Evaluators in the University Admissions Office. (Also, cf., Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, MEXT, http://www.mext.go.jp/english/).
The minimum graduate admission requirements are: (1) a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution; (2) a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0; and (3) enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in Physics. Satisfying minimal standards, however, does not guarantee your admission, since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available. As a result, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated.
Admission decisions are based on departmental review, using a combination of factors, including academic degrees and records, the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, test scores, and relevant work experience. The Department of Physics also considers the appropriateness of your goals to the degree program in which you are interested and to the research interests of the program’s faculty. In addition, consideration may be given as to how your background and life experience would contribute significantly to an educationally beneficial mix of students.