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Graduate studies in Japan

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Graduate studies in Japan

Postby Sunken » Tue 12.05.2006 8:34 am

This is something of a longshot, but it can't hurt to solicit the expertise of this eminent forum:

I'm thinking about enrolling for Ph.D. studies (in robotics/artificial intelligence) somewhere. Since Japan is 1) cutting edge at robotics and 2) the golden land of lollipops, I've been having a look at robotics research institutions around the country.
Does anyone here have experience or informed advice on such a decision?
1: Is it impossible to get into the universities as a foreigner without absolutely mind-boggling credentials?
2: How much of a problem is language likely to be? I think my Japanese can be categorized as "fair", and perhaps researchers are more likely to be adept at English than the general population?
3: How expensive is it likely to be?
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RE: Graduate studies in Japan

Postby keatonatron » Tue 12.05.2006 9:24 am

1. Not at all.

2. Quite. You must get a certain score on a (quite challenging) Japanese language test (equivalent to that of the JLPT 1 from what I'm told) in order to enter most Universities in Japan. Graduate programs will simply have a higher score requirement. You may also be required to take the math, history, and/or other sections of the test.

3. Mind-bogglingly. I'm planning to just barely get by on $60,000 USD for two years at a technical college. A "real" university is quite a bit more expensive, and a doctorate program is... well, let's just say it's arm-and-a-leg expensive in the States, and even moreso in Japan.
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RE: Graduate studies in Japan

Postby Sunken » Tue 12.05.2006 9:37 am

That's not altogether encouraging... but not too far from what I expected to hear.
Can you say anything more about those tests?
And what are the expensive bits?
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RE: Graduate studies in Japan

Postby keatonatron » Tue 12.05.2006 2:06 pm

Sunken wrote:
Can you say anything more about those tests?


No, but these guys can:
http://www.jasso.go.jp/eju/index_e.html

Direct link to the example questions:
http://www.jasso.go.jp/eju/img/shikou_a ... ou_all.htm

The first part appears to be listening comprehension. Check the later pages (e.g. 94 or so) for reading comprehension.

And what are the expensive bits?


Just... everything. I'm assuming you will want to study in Tokyo, because, hey, it's the city of lollipops and robots. I'm sure they have robotics in other cities as well, but Tokyo would probably be the best.

And it's one of the most expensive cities in the world. Rent for a teeny one room apartment will cost you $800 USD or more (not including utilities), and you can easily spend $20-30 a day for food and transportation. One night out will probably cost anywhere from $50-150.

I have no other specific examples of tuition costs, but I can predict they would be insanely expensive for a doctorate. The most expensive of all the bits :D
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RE: Graduate studies in Japan

Postby Dehitay » Tue 12.05.2006 3:45 pm

Sunken wrote:
I'm thinking about enrolling for Ph.D. studies (in robotics/artificial intelligence) somewhere. Since Japan is 1) cutting edge at robotics and 2) the golden land of lollipops, I've been having a look at robotics research institutions around the country.


Out of pride and stuff, I just have to say that Japan has the world's leading android robotics, but it doesn't quite lead the world in robotics in general. Japanese makes awesome android humans and pets with the AI ability to learn a little that goes far beyond what the US has invested. However, the US leads in navigational AI (the major example being NASA). I think all Computer Science majors (at Texas Tech at least) have to design a program that can navigate a robot or remote control car that allows it to follow a path without crashing into obstacles. I've done it twice so far.

If you're interest is in humanoid AI, then Japan is probly the best for you. But the US usually will have a lead in most other areas.
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RE: Graduate studies in Japan

Postby Sunken » Wed 12.06.2006 6:54 am

Thanks, keatonatron! I'll check out that link all じゅっくり-like.
I wonder, though, what kind of money you can make while working at your Ph.D... teaching and so on.
It's hard for me to grasp all the economic considerations of university studies in other countries, as I'm from a country where college tuitions don't exist and you basically get paid just to study.

Yes, I'm aware that the US is on the frontline in many areas, and I'm giving consideration to American universities as well, though I wanted to concentrate on Japanese conditions in this forum.
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RE: Graduate studies in Japan

Postby Sunken » Wed 12.06.2006 10:10 am

Heh, I couldn't help but smile at the second "essay" question. It's just my area of interest - robotics - and I did a survey on exactly that subject a couple of years ago - partly in Japan, no less.
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RE: Graduate studies in Japan

Postby keatonatron » Wed 12.06.2006 12:01 pm

Sunken wrote:
I wonder, though, what kind of money you can make while working at your Ph.D... teaching and so on..


Well, on a student visa you can only work up to 19 hours per week... that is, if you have even that much spare time apart from your studies.
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