FAQs for doctoral Program: Pre-Admissions

General Questions

Q1 What is the difference between the doctoral Program of the Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP) and the doctoral Program of the Graduate Schools for Law and Politics or the Graduate School of Economics at the University of Tokyo?

A1 GraSPP doctoral Program graduates are expected to be policy professionals equipped with the intellectual instruments to take the lead in the real world. For that purpose, GraSPP doctoral Program trains students in skills which are necessary in order to develop original questions from their research, to construct and assess potential solutions that synthesize expert knowledge from various disciplines, and to move these solutions quickly into practice with an international perspective, communicating with diverse stakeholders, in addition to advanced research skills. During the coursework, in the Research Design Seminar, students learn to communicate with experts in different fields, and in the Project Seminar, students design and implement research projects related to real-world policy issues receiving input and feedback from actual practitioners. Students must also acquire basic knowledge of both Law and Politics and Economics. In the final examination of the doctoral thesis, the policy implications and implementation challenge of those policies will be also discussed.

Q2 Do I need to get an approval from a professor by whom I would like to have as a supervisor prior to application?

A2 No. You may contact our faculty if you would like, though pre-approval from professors before application is not necessary.

Q3 I have a full-time job position. Can I enroll at GraSPP doctoral Program?

A3 Standard duration for completion is 3 years. Those who have a difficulty in completing the program within the standard duration for personal reasons such as employment may extend the duration of study up to 6 years. The application for the extension is available only at the time of the enrollment procedure.

Q4 What kind of specialized knowledge foundation should I have prior to the enrollment?

A4 Foundation of specialized knowledge of either Law and Politics or Economics at master level is required to begin the program. In the field of Economics for example, if you are enrolled at a master or a professional degree program of a graduate school at the University of Tokyo, you should take and earn credits for at least two of the courses in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics held at the Graduate School of Economics. Excellent grades are expected for those courses. Applicants who have previously graduated from a graduate school at the University of Tokyo or at another institution, should possess a background knowledge comparable to the one delivered by the courses indicated above.


Q1 I obtained a master's degree in a graduate school whose language of instruction was in English. Do I still have to submit a TOEFL score?

A1 Yes. In the case of a master's degree (not a bachelor's degree) received abroad, students will not receive an exemption.

Q2 Can I submit a GMAT score instead of a GRE score?

A2 No. We do not accept a GMAT score instead of a GRE score.

Master thesis or its equivalent

Q1 What kind of paper/publication is regarded as an equivalent to the master thesis?

A1 Please send any material that is relevant to the research proposal you are envisaging to GraSPP. This may include any thesis written at the professional degree program at GraSPP or any published academic papers or policy papers. Revised thesis or research paper etc. are acceptable as well.

Letters of Reference

Q1 Who should I request to write the letter of reference?

A1 Those who can evaluate your performance properly. At least one letter must be written by your academic supervisor.

Q2 Can the two letters of reference be submitted separately from the rest of the application documents (i.e., submitted directly by the referee)?

A2 Yes. The referees can send letters of reference directly to the admission office. In this case, please ask the referee to make sure that your name is clearly written both on the envelope and on the letter.

Certificate of Graduation

Q1 My university does not issue a “Certificate of Graduation.” However, there is a date of graduation (MM-DD-YEAR) on my official transcript. Is that sufficient to prove successful completion of my degree or is a separate document necessary?

A1 If the graduation date is included on the official transcript, we will accept it as a substitute for a certificate of graduation.

Q2 Is it possible for my college to send official proof of graduation and any official transcripts directly to the admission office? My college would prefer to send such documents directly to you by express mail.

A2 Official proof of graduation and official transcripts can be sent directly to the admission office from your school. Please inform us if your school will be sending these documents directly to the admission office.

Payment of Examination Fee

Q1 I do not have a credit card for e-payment. Can I directly deposit the examination fee into the University of Tokyo's bank account?

A1 Firstly, you should know that the credit card used for payment does not have to be your own. A relative or acquaintance may execute the payment on your behalf. In this case, please clearly state the credit card holder's name as well as your own name on the checklist of your application package to let us know that the payment is from you. Please refer to the https://e-shiharai.net/english/ for more detailed information regarding e-payment. If you cannot make the payment through e-payment for any reason, remittance to the bank account of the University of Tokyo is also acceptable. You can get the account information from the admissions office.

Q2 I have relatives who live in Japan. Can I ask them to make payment on my behalf at the admission office?

A2 No. We do not accept cash payments. Please remit your payment to the designated bank account.

Q3 I am a non-Japanese resident in Japan. Do I still have to pay the JPY 30,000 examination fee for applicants residing in Japan instead of the JPY 10,000 for applicants residing outside of Japan?

A3 Yes. Your examination fee will be JPY30,000 if you reside in Japan at the time of application.