Tokyo University of Science to offer free doctorate programs

The Tokyo University of Science is bucking the trend with a decision to offer its graduate school doctorate courses for free starting next academic year.

With facilities in the greater Tokyo area and Hokkaido, the private educational institution believes the move, which is highly unusual, will bolster the school’s reputation as a “world-class science university.”

Starting in April 2016, doctoral students will be exempt from paying admission and equipment fees.

The students will also be given scholarships that cover all three years’ worth of their tuition. The policy applies to new students in doctorate programs as well as those currently enrolled.

According to the university, a doctoral student at the university typically pays 3.24 million yen ($26,000) for the three-year course. That figure breaks down as follows: an admission fee of 300,000 yen, annual equipment expenses of 180,000 yen and annual tuition of 800,000 yen.

The university will also shore up programs to provide financial assistance for students.

Under the new policy, about 30 percent of the doctoral students will be eligible for employment by the university and awarded an annual payment of 1.05 million yen.

Furthermore, three or so young researchers will be hired each year on a trial basis and be given a fund of 10 million yen during the first year of their research. If their research produces results, the university will hire the individuals with the status of associate professor or regular employee.

“The new policy will attract outstanding human resources to the university and allow the institution to achieve even higher research capabilities and international acclaim,” said Yasutaka Moriguchi, a vice president of the university. “We should also be able to gain more undergraduate applicants as a result.”

Moriguchi added that benefits for the school will accrue by collaborating with companies through research projects that prove fruitful.

The Tokyo University of Science intends to become an institution that does not overly rely on tuition to operate, similar to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is known for hosting research work in collaboration with corporations.

MIT earns 9 percent of its revenue through tuition fees, whereas the figure for the Tokyo University of Science is 70 percent.