Each graduate student must complete the prescribed subjects in his/her respective disciplines and prepare a master's thesis or target research report for the master's program. A dissertation must be prepared for the doctoral program.
In Japan, a degree is conferred typically after completing two years of required coursework in a master's program. An additional three years is required for most Japanese doctoral programs. However, Osaka University's graduate school maintains the flexibility to grant a master's degree after one year in its master's program. At least three additional years must be completed to earn a doctorate.
Any student in the master's program must receive research guidance, obtain 30 credits, and provide a master's thesis or target research report that is subject to evaluation. Graduate students in their first year will normally acquire (through prescribed subjects) strong analytical skills and theoretical/empirical knowledge, which are required for the preparation of a master's thesis or target research report. During the second year, they will participate in seminars, present their research findings, and receive comprehensive guidance from the faculty regarding the formulation of a high-level master's thesis or target research report.
The master's degree will be awarded to each student who passes the evaluation of his/her master's thesis or target research report and the final examination (oral exam) on subjects related to the thesis or research report. Students who are highly advanced in their research will be able to acquire the prescribed credits and present a master's thesis or target research report to obtain the master's degree in one year. The MOT course, established for management and business majors in 2004, has paved the way for the Master of Engineering degree.
Those who have successfully completed the master's program may advance to the doctoral program through an admission examination. However, students majoring in economics or management and business (Business Research) who have obtained a certain grade point average and who have passed successfully both the evaluation of the thesis and the oral examination are allowed to advance to the graduate school's doctoral program without taking the admission examination.
There may be certain cases in which people who are judged to have sufficient experience in research without master's degrees may be allowed to enter the doctoral program. In such cases, special treatment may be granted to those who have already performed remarkably in any research institute or organization, and they may be allowed to finish the doctoral program in a shorter period.
Along with the internationalization of knowledge, a doctoral degree ensures licensing for researchers and professionals not only in academia but also in the business community. With this in mind, we have promoted clarification and transparency regarding the conditions concerning awards of doctoral degrees, while further strengthening the guidelines for the preparation of academic theses, timelines for completion of doctoral dissertations, and required academic standards.