How Do I Extend the Scholarship When I End My Current Course and What are the Conditions?

Written by: Ly Techsrun

* This article will be divided into the following groups for the scholarship extensions for:
A. Specialized training colleges to undergraduate courses
B. Bachelors to Masters’ courses
C. Research students

The conditions for scholarship extension as below may be changed in the next application process. Please be sure to check the conditions in the application guidelines in the year in which you wish to apply.

A. Specialized Training College to Bachelors

SUMMARY
There are two conditions which need to be met:

  • Grades:
    • GPA of at least 2.8 of 3
    • Attendance rate of at least 95%
  • Choices:
    • You only can apply for 2 choices:
      • Two universities; or
      • Two courses in one university
    • One additional condition for specialized training colleges to undergraduates:
      • You can only apply for schools which accept 3rd year transfers from specialized training colleges.

DETAILS

  • Since only certain universities accept transfers, you should find this information by going to the website of the universities and find out information about transferring. (The relevant Japanese term is 大学3年次編入)
  • We are not aware of books which collect the past papers of the different universities. These need to be collected by ourselves.
    • Some universities have them downloadable directly on their websites.
    • Some will send past papers by post if we ask for them.
    • Some require us to go directly to the university campus to get them.
  • Prepare for the entrance examinations using books which have content directly applicable to the past papers.
    • E.g. If you want to transfer to a department of Economics or Commerce, I would suggest books called 速習ミクロ経済、マクロ経済 by 石川 秀樹。
  • Some proficiency test might be required – in particular some universities require JLPT N1 and a certain score in the TOEIC. So please take these exams early enough.
  • You also are required to submit the application and a personal statement.
    • This should not be very difficult. Sometimes you can ask your supervisor at your college to help you with this.
  • Universities publish brochures about the transfer exam earliest around July. However, this varies with some universities doing it in September. This also means that universities organize the exam at different times.

B. Bachelors to Masters’ Course

SUMMARY
There are two conditions which need to be met:

  • Grades:
    • GPA of at least 2.5 of 3
  • Choices:
    • You only can apply for 2 choices:
      • Two universities; or
      • Two courses in one university (See below)
        • When applying, each COURSE counts as a choice even if they are in the same faculty / university.
        • Same university, faculty A, course X → Choice 1; same university, faculty A, course Y → Choice 2.)

DETAILS

  • Finding past-year questions for the choices you are applying to is crucial to prepare for your examinations
    • E.g. For those applying to the University of Tokyo, make a trip down to the Tokyo U. co-op to buy past-year questions. The co-op sells a whole collection of questions dating back to maybe 5 years. This is also probably applicable to other universities.
  • Also, if you major in natural science, paying a direct visit to the lab you want to study at is believed to be very useful.
  • Some universities also “strongly recommend” applicants to take the GRE. What this often means is that it is compulsory to take the GRE and get high scores if you want to be seriously considered.
  • In addition to the application and personal statement, you also need 2 recommendation letters, preferably from your undergrad course coordinator/faculty head and thesis supervisor.
    • These will be about 1-1.5 pages long each.
  • On top of that, you will also need to submit a research plan which clearly states what you intend to research in masters and how you will go about doing it.
    • This should be at least 2000 words long in Japanese, complete with proper references and a proper bibliography.
  • The timeline for the undergraduate extension goes like this:
    • Early-mid Nov – Official information from MEXT arrives at the universities.
    • Early Dec – Deadline for all documents (i.e. forms, personal statement and recommendation letters)
    • Mid Dec – Interview
    • Early Mar – Announcement of results for scholarship extension.

C. Research Students

SUMMARY

  • Schools should inform you about in a few months of entry about the procedure for extending your research term
  • The process for the extension from research to Masters’ / PhD however depend heavily on the school.
    • Most MEXT candidates do pass through this though.
  • Choices:
    • You only can apply for 2 choices
    • When applying, each COURSE counts as a choice even if they are in the same faculty / university.
      • I.e. Same university, faulty A, course X → Choice 1; same university, faculty A, course Y → Choice 2.)
    • If you are a MEXT scholar recommended by the Japanese embassy in your home country(大使館推薦)you are able to apply to 2 different courses in different universities.
    • If you are a MEXT scholar recommended by your university(大学推薦), you can only apply within your university. (You are not allowed to change universities)

DETAILS

Relevant scholarship extensions for research students can be divided into the extension of the research term (up till 2 years for spring enrollment students or 1 and half years for fall enrollment students) as well as the conversion into a full masters / PhD course.

The graduate school that you take your research course should inform you about the first within a few months after your arrival in Japan. The process might vary between graduate schools. This requires your academic advisor’s recommendation, which is not too difficult to get.

The process to change your status from a research student to a regular graduate student is more complex. Every graduate school also has their own criteria and process for accepting graduate students, so we cannot generalize.

What we can share is that some graduate schools only require you to submit your research plan whereas some others require candidates to take entrance exams like a written test and an interview or even ask for a presentation of the research plan.

However, in general, most of the MEXT candidates up to now have been able to pass this process from what we know about your seniors’ experience these past years.

If any research student faces difficulties, they should consult their academic advisor. It is one of the advisor’s duties to guide their research students through the process of becoming a regular graduate student. Graduate students work closely with their academic advisor and usually see them multiple times a week, so you should ask your advisor about anything you want to know.

One thing you need to be careful about is that you should confirm whether your courses will be done in English or Japanese. There have been cases that students did not confirm before arriving in Japan – only finding out that they are required to do the courses in Japanese after coming to Japan. This can cause trouble if the student is not adequately prepared to study in Japanese.

 

(Image taken from flickr.com (2017/11/16))

These guide articles are meant to be advice based on the experience of current and previous scholars. Given how situations may change depending on the school, region or year etc., we urge any scholars to approach the relevant authorities in your school if you have any doubts or concerns.


2 thoughts on “How Do I Extend the Scholarship When I End My Current Course and What are the Conditions?

  1. Nichole Reply

    Hi! Thank you! What about a master’s course to phD course?

    1. Anastasia Bender Reply

      Dear Nichole,
      Thank you for your comment.
      For extending your scholarship from MA to PhD, you need to submit a research plan, your transcript and a letter of recommendation written by your academic advisor. Your university will inform you about the required documents and the deadline for submission a few weeks up front, so you do not need to worry too much about it! Some universities require you to pass an interview, others do not, but again your university will inform you about everything!
      Best regards,
      MSA

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