Are you feeling overwhelmed by the process of choosing the right program and scholarship for your higher-degree study abroad? It can be tough, especially if this is your first time. It’s even tougher if you don’t have someone with relevant experience to talk to, and you might not know where to start. If so, you’re not alone. I went through the same thing when I applied for my graduate program. That’s why I’ve created this blog — to provide you with some necessary information to hopefully shed light on the Tokyo Tech application process.

— Disclaimer —
Before you continue reading, please note that this blog is based on my personal experience and research. When I applied for my current program, I conducted my own research, and I would now like to share my findings. For context, I am currently a master’s student in the International Graduate Program (IGP) C, and I received a scholarship from my home country. While I won’t cover every scholarship available, I encourage you to do your own research after reading this. With that said, let’s begin!

Which graduate program and scholarship is the best fit for you?

Part 1

Firstly, it is important to determine which graduate programs Tokyo Tech offers for master’s and doctoral degrees, depending on your requirements. Secondly, it is crucial to understand the distinctions between each program. Here are some key features of each program that may help you in your decision-making process.

[ International Graduate Program – IGP(A) ]

This program offers two degree options: a master’s program and the Integrated Doctoral Education Program. However, most majors or departments at Tokyo Tech only offer the integrated program. This means that after completing two years of the master’s program, you must continue with three years of the doctoral program. Even if you already have a master’s degree from somewhere else, you still need to complete the two-year master’s program at Tokyo Tech before moving on to the doctoral program. Therefore, this program is ideal if you have a clear vision to pursue your studies up to the doctoral level or want to start afresh and explore a new research interest. If you have a different goal, you may want to consider applying for IGP(B) or IGP(C), which offer only master’s or doctoral degrees, respectively.

It’s worth noting that this program only accepts applicants for the fall intake, with the application period from September to December — one year before the intended intake. That means you need to be well-prepared since it takes a year to apply. For a complete list of requirements and application steps for this program, you can refer to the past application guide available at this link:

[ International Graduate Program – IGP (B) ]

Tokyo Tech offers two designated IGP(B) programs: Early Application and Tokyo Tech–RIKEN. In this explanation, I will focus on the Early Application program, which is only open for the fall intake and offers a doctoral degree. It is designed for applicants seeking scholarships from their home governments. Some home-country scholarships, like the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP), require a written certificate from the university confirming admission to the program as part of the selection process for specific categories. LPDP, for instance, has a different selection process for candidates who already possess a letter of acceptance from the university, even though it is possible to apply without one under a slightly different process. If you wish to apply for a home-country scholarship, it is advisable to check if there is a similar process so you can better prepare your application.

The application period for this program usually begins in August and lasts until October, with results being announced in January. It’s important to ensure you align this timeline with the application period for any home-country scholarships you plan to apply for. To find out more about this program, you can visit the following link:

[ International Graduate Program – IGP (C) ]

IGP(C) offers master’s and doctoral programs, with enrollment periods available for both spring and fall intake. Unlike IGP(A), the program is not an integrated master’s and doctoral program. Instead, students can select a degree program that aligns with their interests and objectives. This program is ideal for individuals who have yet to decide if they will pursue a doctoral degree or those who have completed a master’s degree and wish to explore further and continue their research topic through a doctoral program.

The application period is from August to October for students who wish to enroll in the spring semester, and the application period will be from January to April for those who want to enroll in the fall semester. For exact and updated enrollment dates for each year, please visit the website through this link:

For more information on international graduate programs, including program schedules, timelines, tuition fees, and application procedures, please check the link below in addition to those above:

Part 2

After deciding on an international graduate program that interests you, it is essential to find out what scholarships are available for that program. Carefully read and understand the scholarship’s requirements, eligibility criteria, and benefits. In this part of the blog, I will share some of my research on three different scholarships I have applied for.

MEXT (Embassy Recommendation and University Recommendation)

Most of you might already be familiar with the scholarship provided by the Japanese government. There are two ways to apply for the MEXT Scholarship: the Embassy-to-Embassy track (Embassy Recommendation) and the University-to-University track (University Recommendation). Unlike some scholarships, this one doesn’t require you to return to your home country. Thus, it’s suitable for those who plan to have a future career in Japan.

  • The Embassy Recommendation is based on cooperation between the Government of Japan and your home country. It means you need to apply through the Embassy of Japan in your country and be recommended by them. The application process usually starts a year before intake and only lasts for less than a month. Hence, you must prepare all the required documents in advance, which might be more than a year before your enrollment. There are several stages of selection that applicants need to go through, including document screenings, written tests, and interviews. You need to check the embassy’s website for details on this track.
  • On the other hand, you can apply for the University Recommendation at the same time as your Tokyo Tech application. You must submit additional materials if you are applying via this track. Suppose you’ve passed the document screenings and selection stages, which can be written tests and multiple rounds of interviews. In that case, you will be eligible for a MEXT Scholarship recommendation by Tokyo Tech. However, you may note that this track is only available for the IGP(A) program. Hence, you may want to check other scholarships if you don’t wish to apply for IGP(A). You can find further details of the MEXT University Recommendation and the application process through this link:

ADB JSP (Asian Development Bank – Japan Scholarship Program)

The Asian Development Bank is offering a scholarship for master’s program students, specifically for the IGP(C) program (only for fall intake). The scholarship is for one year, with the possibility of an extension to a second year based on the student’s performance. However, there are some eligibility criteria that you need to be aware of before applying. Firstly, you must have at least two years of full-time professional working experience at the time of your application (internship experience does not count). Additionally, you must be a national of an ADB borrowing member country. You also need to agree to return to your home country for at least two years after graduating. To obtain additional information, such as application procedures, when to apply, and benefits, please visit the following link:

LPDP Scholarship (Home-country scholarship for Indonesian citizens)

If you are an Indonesian citizen who wants to apply for the IGP(C) program for either a master’s or doctoral degree at Tokyo Tech, you may consider applying for the LPDP Scholarship. However, before applying, you need to confirm whether Tokyo Tech is still on the LPDP university list as it may change every year. For example, when I applied for the scholarship in 2021, Tokyo Tech was on the list, but it was not included in 2022. However, it was back on the list for the following year. There is an eligibility requirement similar to the ADB JSP Scholarship, which you should consider. After graduating with either a master’s or doctoral degree, you need to return to Indonesia and stay in the country for a specified number of years. You need to check if the scholarship in your country also has such a requirement.

Additionally, another scholarship option for IGP(A) is JASSO. For further information, please refer to this link:

Crucial things prospective students tend to overlook: preparing your research plan and finding your academic supervisor in advance

If you have decided which scholarship and program you want to apply for, the first step is to check the application timeline and requirements. In my opinion, the most important thing you should do before applying is to create a proper research and study plan. Tokyo Tech is a research-oriented university, so although you will attend classes, conducting research is integral and counts towards your course completion. You will be part of a laboratory and need an academic supervisor to guide you throughout your studies at Tokyo Tech.

It’s best to start creating your research plan well in advance, especially if you want to pursue a different research topic or have never created a research plan before. This can be time-consuming, as you must read multiple research papers for reference. In my case, it took a few months to create a research plan as I was also working full-time. Remember that a well-prepared research plan is critical for your application, so take the time to create a comprehensive plan that showcases your research goals and abilities.

The second most important thing is to obtain a consent letter from a faculty member at Tokyo Tech. This letter confirms that they are willing to accept you as a student and laboratory member if you pass the university’s selection process. Please note that you won’t be able to apply for any graduate program without submitting this letter as part of your application. This process can take up to a year, depending on your situation. Some students find it challenging to contact professors, while others find it easier. Therefore, it is surely better to start as early as possible.

The list of Tokyo Tech faculty members, along with their laboratory information, is on each Graduate Major Faculty page through the link below.

After clicking the link, navigate to the “Faculty” page, and you’ll find a list of faculty members like in the picture below.

Photo 1. Example of the faculty member list for my department (1: Link to the professor’s laboratory website; 2: Link to the professor’s profile on STAR Search)

You can check laboratory websites to see details about each professor’s research topic (Link 1). To obtain their consent, you first need to contact them. For this, you may see the professor’s contact details, such as an email address, in the Researcher Profile as well (Link 2). Some professors provide further information on how to contact them, usually requiring you to send particular files besides stating your intention to join their laboratory. Please check their laboratory website to see if there is such information. However, some professors, – for instance, my current supervisor – don’t provide such details. If that’s the case, I believe you can send your research plan and CV when you first reach out to them, as I did.

Then, if the professor is interested in you, they will reply by either arranging a video call interview to get to know you better or asking you to send them additional files, or it can be something else, depending on the professor, so just follow their instructions. They also may arrange multiple rounds of interviews with their candidates.

One issue could be if your email has not been replied to. It’s better if you have some other supervisor candidates in mind, but I don’t suggest you email all of them at once. Stick with the one who interests you the most, but if you haven’t gotten a reply after several weeks, try to nudge them first. However, if you still haven’t gotten a reply and there are other professors whose labs you’d like to join, you may want to try contacting them.


Here are some key points to remember from the lengthy explanation provided above:

  • It’s important to have a clear vision for your future after completing your studies. This means knowing what you want to do and where you see yourself in the next few years. Having a clear plan will help you determine if pursuing a master’s degree only is the right choice for you to achieve your goals. You also should consider whether you see yourself working in Japan or returning to your home country in the future. Once you have a clear idea of your goals, you can then filter scholarships based on eligibility and requirements.
  • Prepare everything well in advance. Do your own research on the application process and learn about all the programs you are interested in, so you can make informed decisions. Don’t wait until the application deadline is a month away to start looking for a supervisor or creating a research plan. Instead, start preparing a few months or even a year earlier. As the saying goes, success requires starting before you are ready, and your dreams won’t come true unless you work for them. Therefore, be prepared and ready ahead of time.

Finally, I hope this blog post will be helpful to you. Good luck with your application, and I look forward to seeing you at Tokyo Tech!