The University of Tsukuba was established in 1973 as the first comprehensive university in post-WWII Japan to spearhead nation-wide university reform policy. The main campus is located in the northern part of Tsukuba City, 60 km northeast of Tokyo with one of the largest campuses of the country (2,700 hectares). The City center is only 45 minutes from Tokyo by train or bus. There are direct bus services to the Narita International Airport, the Haneda Airport, and Tokyo Disneyland!
The University has emphasized openness, innovative systems for education and research, and new university self-governance in undertaking the reform policy. Through its unique curriculum and research incentives, it has cultivated many leaders and scholars with advanced knowledge. The size of the University has expanded since its foundation and, as of May 2016, 9,909 undergraduate students and 6,743 graduate students are studying in degree programs. Among them were 1,759 international students from 110 countries. The total number of faculty members is 2,895.
We have always strived to be a unique, active, and internationally competitive university with superlative education and research facilities. Our effort has proved to be successful as the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology recognized in 2009 our University as one of the thirteen “leading universities” in Japan. As of 2015, the University has produced three Nobel Prize laureates in physics and chemistry along with many distinguished scholars in sciences and humanities. Our distinguished kinesiology and sports department has produced several Olympic medalists.
Another distinctive characteristic of the University is to have many affiliated universities and several overseas offices throughout the world. As of June 2016, there are more than 322 MOUs, which encompass 62 countries.
Tsukuba City is known as “Science City,” as it houses more than 290 leading research institutions or 40% of Japan’s research institutions. These include the National Institute for Environmental Studies, the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. In addition, several private research institutions are located in Tsukuba. A close collaboration has been established between these research institutions and the University of Tsukuba through joint course/program at graduate levels such as the Cooperative Graduate School System for the Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences and the Doctoral Program in Sustainable Environmental Studies with the National Institute for Environmental Studies.
The University of Tsukuba has the on-campus industrial liaison center, which facilitates R&D cooperation between academic institutions and a number of on-campus venture companies. As of 2016, 93 ventures are operating on campus (e.g., software, biomass conversion substances of biological resources, and medical analysis equipment). The University also has about 30 inter-department education institutes, including the Agricultural and Forestry Research Center, the Terrestrial Environment Center, the Shimoda Marine Research Center, and the Gene Research Center.
The Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences was established in 2000 by incorporating five preexisting graduate programs: Structural Biosciences, Functional Biosciences, Appropriate Technology and Science for Sustainable Development, Biosphere Resource Science and Technology, and Life Sciences and Bioengineering. The founding concept was to nurture researchers and train practicing professionals in the field of basic, applied and interdisciplinary studies in earth, life and environmental sciences.
Since then the Graduate School has expanded by adding more programs, including the Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences, which was originally established as the first graduate school in Japan on environmental studies. This program has uniquely merged science-technology studies with arts and humanities. The strength of this program is also seen in its diverse field-oriented internship studies in Japan and overseas.
The Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences offers nine doctoral programs and four master's programs with more than two hundred full-time faculty members. Of these programs, the Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences has accepted JDS Fellows since 2007. Interdisciplinary education and research institutions, international cooperation and international competency are important goals of this Graduate School.
After admission, JDS Fellows will belong to the Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences, and they will set out the process of acquiring master’s degree in environmental sciences in two years. In order to receive the degree, they need to acquire 30 credits or more from the courses that are recognized by the Master’s Program. They also complete master’s thesis and pass oral examination as partial fulfillment of the degree requirement.
One unique aspect of our Master’s Program is that compulsory seminar and fieldwork courses encompass wide-ranging topics, including hydrology, meteorology, forestry, ecology, agricultural sciences, biology, environmental engineering, waste management, environmental economy, soil sciences, remote sensing, history, and environmental ethics. Here students have rare opportunities to understand that rural/urban development and environmental issues are interconnected. This education process is uniquely heightened by a set of field activities, in which students learn how to examine some specific case in the field within this interconnected context.
With this basic training as their intellectual foundation, students then focus on some specific topics for their research interests. Here JDS Fellows can choose to take a certificate program, “Sustainability Science, Technology, and Policy (SUSTEP),” which aims to foster science communication skills with broader interdisciplinary understanding.
The SUSTEP Program developed as a result of 8 years of past experience in administering 4 certificate programs. After completing requirements, a student will receive a certificate and supplement. The supplement verifies the contents of inductee’s learning history, including GPS.
Another distinctive feature of the our certificate program is that students have rare opportunities to meet and interact with distinguished leaders and experts from not only Japan but also Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, and other countries at seminars the SUSTEP Program organizes a few times a year. Through these opportunities, JDS Fellows can establish international networks that can benefit their future career development. In addition, the Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences has established a consortium with graduate schools in Asia, Europe and Latin America that stimulates JDS Fellows’ research progress. In 2015, the SUSTEP Program joined the world-wide university network, “the Global Universities Partnership on Environment for Sustainability (GUPES),” which is one of UNEP’s flagship programs. As part of membership activities, we send a number of students to Tongji University each year for sustainability conference and workshops.
However, global leadership and expertise do not simply mean that students take courses and listen or go abroad for conferences. In our degree program, JDS Fellows actively participate in learning processes. We provide courses that foster their presentation, writing and debating skills in English. The quality of these courses can match the ones at North American graduate schools. In addition, JDS Fellows have opportunities to present their research topics and engage in debates at international internships in Asia. These opportunities have successfully enhanced the confidence and international competitiveness of our past JDS Fellows. The SUSTEP program also offers the academic writing support center, which provides professional support and advice for JDS Fellows and other students in writing in English. In addition, JDS Fellows can take academic writing seminars for writing reports and journal articles in English.
Our educational activities for the JDS Special Program have focused and will focus on four major areas: (1) academic seminar, (2) overseas seminars and field surveys, (3) internship trips in Japan, and (4) the improvement of the educational environment. Each year the SUSTEP Committee of the Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences discuss and decide detailed plans for seminars and activities that meet the needs of JDS Fellows each year. All Fellows will receive guidance about how their special program is going to be administered. This “tailor-made” practice has become norm among our committee members.
Another good news for upcoming JDS Fellows to our Program is that the entire building that our program uses (Natural Science Buildings) are completely renovated with enhanced earthquakes resistance and security. The Fellows have a free WiFi access in their study rooms. There is also a lounge space with kitchen facility. Laboratories and classrooms are designed for multiple purposes to facilitate group discussion or study.
For all students who belong to the Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences, the basic requirement for course work is to take 30 credits or more, including 18 credits from compulsory courses. Most of the compulsory courses are directly relevant to thesis completion, which is also required to complete the degree.
Introduction to Environmental Sciences (1 credit)
Exercises in Environmental Sciences (1 credit)
Field and Laboratory Practices in Environmental Sciences (1 credit)
Seminar in Environmental Sciences 1S, 1F, 2S, 2F (1.5 credits each)
Thesis Seminar in Environmental Sciences 1S, 1F, 2S, 2F (3 credits each)
(1) Applied Environmental Ethics (Introduction to English Presentation and Debate);
(2) Climate System Study I;
(3) Climate System Study II;
(4) Cultural Ecology;
(5) Ecological Soil Resources;
(6) Environmental Analytical Chemistry;
(7) Environmental Field Appraisal;
(8) Environmental Health Perspective;
(9) Environmental Law;
(10) Environmental Microbiology;
(11) Environmental Policy Appraisal;
(12) Environmental Remote Sensing;
(13) Environmental Risk;
(14) Environmental Science Practicum I;
(15) Environmental Science Practicum II;
(16) Environmental Science Practicum III;
(17) Integrated Water Science and Technology;
(18) International Field Appraisal I;
(19) International Field Appraisal II;
(20) Introduction to Environmental Governance;
(21) Introduction to Environmental Policy;
(22) Introduction to Environmental Stress;
(23) Introduction to International Health;
(24) Introduction to Waste Management;
(25) Introduction to Water Environment;
(26) Integrated Water Science and Technology;
(27) Landscape Planning;
(28) Policy and Planning for Forest Conservation;
(29) Prevention and Mitigation of Sediment Disaster;
(30) Regional Air Pollution;
(31) Simulation of Environmental Policy;
(32) Soil and Water Environmental Colloid Science;
(33) Spatial Information Engineering in Environmental Science;
(34) Terrestrial Ecology;
(35) Utilization and Recycling of Bio-resources;
(36) Vegetation Science.
*In alphabetical order by course title.
*potential supervisors for JDS Fellows
Please see: http://www.envr.tsukuba.ac.jp/~jds/people03.html
ZHANG Zhen Ya*
|TAKAMI Akinori||TIN TIN Win Shwe|
|Cooperative Associate Professor|
|SUGATA Seiji||KOIKE Eiko||NAGASHIMA Tatsuya|
The Master’s Program in Environmental Sciences has adopted the advisory committee system for the instruction of individual study/research. The standard time frame for the completion of the Program is two years or four semesters. The following table shows the academic schedule that is applied to JDS Fellows:
|Pre-admission guidance (curriculum, campus life, etc.)
Domestic internship for all JDS Fellows (September)
|FIRST YEAR (October 2016-March 2017)|
Fall semester (October-March)
|SECOND YEAR (April 2017-March 2018)|
Spring semester (April-September)
|THIRD YEAR (April-September 2018)|
Spring semester (April-September)
On the main Tsukuba campus, where JDS Fellows study, there are 60 student residence buildings, which can accommodate 4,000 persons (3,446 single rooms; 153 couple units; 250 family units). It is possible that all regular students, including JDS Fellows, can find a room. These housing complexes are conveniently located within the campus.
The University of Tsukuba libraries hold more than 2,600,000 books (more than 1,022,062 foreign language books) and 31,687 journals (12,804 foreign language ones, mostly in English). This open-access holding is the largest in Japan. There are also 27 research databases and 25,721 e-journal/book titles (non-Japanese title 25,092). The library website uses OPAC search catalogue, which allows to explore all forms of information (e.g., newspaper articles, magazine, journal articles, and electronic resources) by simple keywords. Considering that Japanese libraries tend to have relatively small collection of books in English, our university libraries offer the best research conditions in English. The main library offers guidance for researchers and students in both English and Japanese (about 148 times a year).
The International Student Center of the University of Tsukuba is one of the largest international student support facilities among national universities in Japan, offering wide-ranging services. It offers a good range of courses on Japanese language and culture. Past JDS Fellows have taken some of these courses. Another service is the consultation for international students, including concerns about their job search and living. The Center’s full-time faculty members and office personnel regularly consult students. The Center also provides information and services for those who are interested in studying at the University of Tsukuba.
The University of Tsukuba has provided world-class sport facilities for many Olympic athletes on campus. Not only Olympians but also many other athletes joined professional sports as well. Some of these facilities, including swimming pool, track fields, and gymnasiums are open to all students. Some JDS Fellows have regularly taken advantage of these facilities.
In June, those of us who have taught JDS Fellows in this master’s program come together and listen to JDS Fellows’ final presentations about their thesis researches. We recollect then how these Fellows started their studies. Some of them looked anxious without fully comprehending what was expected in graduate education for “masters.” Now, in less than two years, we see that the Fellows can communicate with us about their research results in English almost fluently. We also see confidence in their faces. All audiences, including faculty members, now listen to them carefully and learn from their presentations. We see that the Fellows now have much larger capacities, knowledge, and insights than they did two years ago. If you decide to join us, this is probably what you expect to see yourself in two years, a very small fraction of your lifetime.
Ms. Swapna Begum, 14th Batch (2015-2017)
Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges
Course : Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences
The University of Tsukuba is a cosmopolitan university that strives for openness, innovation and International competitiveness in education and research. Located in Tsukuba City (Science City), it is ranked among the top thirteen leading universities in Japan. This prestigious university in 2015 produced three Noble Prize laureates in Physics and Chemistry and other distinguished scholars in the sciences and humanities.
As one of the recipient of the JDS awards, it is an overwhelming experience for me to be enrolled on the Master’s programme in Environmental Sciences, in a leading university. The two years mater’s programme, which is awarded upon successful acquisition of thirty credits or more and a successful completion of graduate defensed thesis, exposes students to a wide range of global environmental issues. Students have the opportunity to explore practical experience with real world issues on air/water pollution, climate change effects, waste management and rural/ urban development, which set them on the course of becoming global environmental leaders.
Integrating into the Japanese system, especially as a student and a mother were difficult for me from the onset. However, once I had learned the Japanese way of efficient time management, my worries become a thing of the past. Moreover, Japan is a friendly and safe environment where children can interrelate with others from diverse cultural backgrounds; learn from their ways and take advantage of new experiences. My son has adjusted very well to his new environment, so taking care of him as a mother and a student at the same time, has become less burdensome.
The study environment here in University of Tsukuba very flexible and interesting. I am very hopeful that by the end of the programme, I would add into my current knowledge base, as well as establish a good network between students and professors (sensei), which will go a long way to contribute to my personal, carrier and national development. I would encourage all upcoming recipients of the JDS from Bangladesh, to be of good cheer and prepare for an exciting journey of educational experience in a technologically advanced environment, cultural diversity and good friendship. The University of Tsukuba in Japan is the most idea destination spot for good education and practical experience. I warmly welcome you all to my University-Ganbatte (Do your best in Japanese) JDS fellows!!!
Mr. Kisinger Chakma, 12th Batch (2013-2015)
Upazila Nirbahi Officer,
Ministry of Public Administration
Course : Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Studying in Japanese universities is always enriching. If the university is located in such a place where you feel like a cosmopolitan in a Japanese multifaceted culture, then of course you should be the luckiest one. I think I was one of them who enjoyed the nectar of Japanese traditions and scientific advancement during my study in Japan. Under the JDS scholarship program 2013-2015, I was enrolled in the two year’s Master’s program at the Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences of the University of Tsukuba. Yes, it was that university which offered an ample of possibilities for student who want to invest themselves in unique aspects of the Japanese culture. There are over thirty of Japan’s leading national research institutes and more than 200 private research institutes in Tsukuba which is regarded as the science city of Japan. In addition, 1 out of 10 residents is a researcher in Tsukuba. However, let me give you a very short picture of my Tsukuba university campus in Japan. The well planned campus sustains harmony with academic atmosphere and abundant of natural environment. A pedestrian and bicycle way connects the campus to all the stations and huge greenery parks in the central area. The campus provides the environment to deepen your study and network with researchers at institutes in Tsukuba.
However, my goals when going to Japan were basically to discover Japan as much as I could, and to deepen my studies in the area of environmental sciences. When I returned to Bangladesh, I realized that I had a reasonable balance and was able to fulfill all my goals.
My friends and professors of the university would often call me a ‘living Shinkansen’ meaning a living bullet train. The reasons were that I used to travel from one place to another in Japan at every weekend and travel at time when my classes were off. Under both the university and my personal arrangement, I visited almost all renowned Japanese places and institutions having historic, academic and cultural importance. Giving the list of places I visited in Japan is meaningless, because the list might be never ending! Out of all experiences, the most vibrant was the home stay at the house of Mr. Takamura (a very traditional Japanese farmer in the Hitachi Omiya village of Hitachi city). A welcoming hot ‘miso soup` and hospitalities with traditional Japanese foods at Mr. Takamura’s house still get me back to those days.
Under academic programs, I had opportunities to present my research work as well as to represent my Bangladesh before the international scholars at the University of Kyoto, the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, the Ryukyu University in Okinawa, University of Water Resources in Hanoi of Vietnam and many more research institutions of Japan. Having known all my experiences, you may think that I only had my time in Japan by traveling! That is very natural. For the readers, it is to inform that I scored grade point average of 3.83 out of 4 which was the highest among all JDS scholars in the University of Tsukuba. Experiencing Japan never interrupted my study, rather boosted up my courage to study more. However, studying in Japan was one of the most enriching of my life. Getting to know much more about a culture, as different from my own as the Japanese culture, was nothing short of awesome. As for words of advice for new JDS fellows, I would say that make an effort to integrate, and try to get information about living especially about everyday life. So get ready, experience Japan and have an essence of the advance world. Good luck!
Mr. Mohammad Tanvir Akkas, JDS 12th Batch (2013-2015)
Assistant Director (Water Sub-sector),
Ministry of Planning
Course: Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Studying in University of Tsukuba for me, in fact, was an extraordinary experience, which was full of auspicious events and cherished memories. I recurrently recall those sweat days and sometimes it makes me nostalgic.
First of all, I want to mention the educational system of University of Tsukuba. It is very much upgraded having updated curriculum. University's laboratories are well equipped with advanced technologies and other modern facilities. Undoubtedly, in Japan, one must has to put extensive effort for gaining a good result and making a standard research paper in the light of competent international education system. Despite that, the continuous and devoted support especially from the part of Professors and lab members made my study easy and comfortable. One more interesting thing is that, this University emphasized on the presentation based performance evaluation rather than tradition written examination system.
In my Masters programme, Environmental Sciences, I collected groundwater sample from my study area, Dhaka, Bangladesh. I made some chemical experiments including Ionic composition and Isotopic analysis of those groundwater samples through modern equipments in the University laboratory. Supports, what I got, from my Professor and others lab members was really astounding. One by one presentation in lab seminar and brain storming among the professors and students enriched and refined the research paper several times.
My study in Japan was not only limited to the University campus. It was extended round the country. We had a number of study tour all over Japan, arranged by both University and JDS special programme. In fact, we studied, learned and enjoyed.
Life is very easy in Tsukuba. The safety and security measurement of University of Tsukuba is unparalleled. Basically, staying in Japan is very safe and sound. It is noticeable that, students irrespective of gender can move over the night in the University campus and its adjacent places very safely and without any anxiety. I used to come back my dormitory late night from University lab. Convenient store and some super shop are opened 24 hours. There is an excellent bus service facility in the University campus. Usually, I used to ride bicycle to go to university campus.
I had another good experience of performing my religious activities in Japan without any hassle and objection. There is a Masjid in Tsukuba which is close to the University campus. There is a halal shop in the Masjid from where we could buy not only the halal food but also Bangladeshi food as well. I was also involved in different types of community based activities. It was in fact, an experience of different flavor that I never had in my home country even.
In Tsukuba, the Bangladeshi community is big enough and very much vibrant. We had so many get together parties on several occasions like Eid reunion, Bengali New Year celebration, annual barbecue party etc. In Ramadan, every weekend we had Iftar party in the Tsukuba Masjid arranged by different Muslim communities by turn.
Japan is really interesting for its natural beauty, wonderful tradition, distinctive culture and fabulous food. I experienced lots of Japanese luscious dishes including Sushi, Soba Noodles, Sea food, Tempura etc. Time to time we had party in the University like as, new student welcome party, class party, farewell party, lab party etc. which gave us opportunities to be introduced ourselves with Japanese culture and food. I also got opportunity to make friendship with international students of different countries and also got familiar to their own unique culture.
In conclusion, indubitably, Japan is the one of the best places for higher study for international students. It is not only for its educational quality but also for its amenability, rich educational facilities and finally, safety and security. Educational system as well as student life in Japan, parallel to its social life is edified and enlightened. Good wishes for the forthcoming students, willing to study in Japan.
Mr. Md Tofail Miah, 11th batch
Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges
Course : Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences
It is really a great pleasure and opportunity for me to complete my Master’s in Environmental sciences in the University of Tsukuba. The university campus is really enchanting and blessed with natural panorama having colorful leaves in autumn and cherry blossom “Sakura” in April. University of Tsukuba located in the science city of Tsukuba in Ibaraki prefecture. A lot of research institute like JAXA, AIST, NIMS, NIES, ICHARM are to be found in Tsukuba. I attended some lectures taken by the guest speakers from different research institutes. Besides, I have visited some of these institutes which helped me to understand about the ongoing and successful research activities related with environmental issues.
I found all the faculty members and staffs are supportive and cordial to the students. My sincere gratitude goes to my supervisor for her support throughout my stay in Japan. This university has a vast collection of e-books and journals in its library fabricated with large computer room, seminar and reading places which was useful for my study and research.
I spent my two years in Tsukuba with innumerable good memories amid friends and family. I was captivated while enjoying “Matsuri”(festival) in Tsukuba Festival. People brought out colorful carnival along with drums, dummy monsters in the street during Matsuri. I enjoyed some domestic study trip in different parts of Japan like Hokkaido, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima where I experienced Japanese history, culture and traditions. During an internship at Minamata in Kumamoto prefecture I came to know that they faced severe environmental problems during their economic growth in 1960s.
I appreciate Japanese people for their enthusiastic cooperation and respect to each other which made my daily life ease and smooth. Needless to say, life in Tsukuba will remain vivid in my memories.