Some typical questions from applicants to the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies (ASAFAS).

Here are some typical questions asked by applicants to the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies (ASAFAS), and answers to these questions. Please read the FAQs before making any inquiries.

The period of education and research in the Graduate School

Q1. Does the ASAFAS have Master’s degree program?

The ASAFAS provides PhD degree program for 5 years. However, it is possible to obtain the master degree after accumulating the minimum of 30 credits, submitting the pre-doctoral thesis, and pass the general examination.

Q2. Would you please provide me with an information about one-year Master’s degree program?

We do not currently have one-year masters’ course just as most of other Japanese universities. Details of our course are available below.
Application guidelines are available below.

Q3. Who qualifies for the transfer admission into the 3rd year of ASAFAS?

Transfer examinations are held only when there are openings. Applicants are required to have completed a master program or to have equivalent academic abilities. The most emphasized point in the entrance examination is whether the applicant has the ability or potential to complete their doctorate dissertation within three years. Information regarding the transfer examination of the year in question will be announced on the ASAFAS website in mid-September.

Applying for the entrance examination (including information of scholarship)

Q4. I am interested in applying for Ph.D. at ASAFAS. May I request for the process of application?

Are you applying for a MEXT scholarship? If yes, you should follow the process according to the MEXT application procedure first. If not (including the case that you are coming on any other scholarship or by your own means), you have to take the same examination in Japanese as everybody else. You thus need to learn Japanese before taking the examination. If you are entering as a first year graduate student, the examination will be in September next year. If you are entering with a Master’s degree, in pursuit of a Ph.D., the examination will be in January next year. It requires you only an interview, for which you can speak in English. Either way, I advise you to first get in touch with a faculty member whose research is closest to your interest and send her/him your CV and detailed research plan.

Q5. I will be graduating with a bachelor degree in December this year. Can I apply for graduate admission to begin studying at ASAFAS after that? Also, have I missed the deadline for the Monbukagakusho Scholarship for next school year?

For applying the Monbusho scholarship, please examine the following pages, and check your own deadline. As stated, deadline depends on your embassy which recommends you for the grant. The rule concerning deadline of submission is very strict here.

Q6. Can you provide the details of the admission procedures and materials?

Information of our courses is available in our website.

Preparation for the entrance examination

Q7. What should I study to prepare for ASAFAS entrance examination?

Unlike undergraduate entrance examinations, the primary focus of the entrance examination to this Graduate School is on testing your ability to think, not on testing your knowledge. In this sense, cram-style studying commonly employed in preparing for undergraduate examinations is not appropriate in this case.
ASAFAS is made up of interdisciplinary staff and hopes to open its door to students with various academic interests. Therefore, studying for the examination by focusing on conventional academic fields is not appropriate; applicants should instead work to improve their writing skills so that they are able to develop persuasive arguments.

Q8. Is there any way to get examination questions from previous years?

It is possible to get questions from the written examination only. Portions of them are viewable on our website. For other examination questions, you have to come to the Student Affairs Office of ASAFAS directly and make photocopies yourself. We do not accept any mailing requests for these documents.

Q9. Do graduates from universities other than Kyoto University face any disadvantages?

None at all. As you can see in the “list of universities from which our students came,” our graduate students come from a variety of different universities and undergraduate programs. This diversity is due to ASAFAS being an independent graduate program without an undergraduate program within Kyoto University.

Q10. I don’t have any academic or professional career in the geographical area in which I hope to do research. Will I be able to keep up with the program?

Candidates are not necessarily required to have experience in their region of interest. However, whether or not they have any experience, it is hoped that the applicant has some specific ideas regarding their research interests.

Q11. ASAFAS emphasizes fieldwork. Will I be okay without any field work experience?

Candidates are not required to have previous fieldwork experience, either. After entering ASAFAS, those who have not experienced any fieldwork will conceptualize and simulate fieldwork through lectures, practice and the stories of senior students, and build and develop their own views and methods of fieldwork. At ASAFAS we do our best to create a support system, providing on-site education by utilizing field stations in various countries.

Q12. Is it possible to contact professors before the entrance examination?

We recommend you to contact them by email or by mail. If you wish to meet them in person, please contact them beforehand and check that they are available for meeting. For speciality and email addresses of professors, please refer to the “Education/Courses” pages listed below. See the “Contacts” for the address of ASAFAS. When actually meeting them, make sure you prepare specific questions based on your own interests, intentions and future vision, instead of expecting to have a general conversation.

Education and research after entering the Graduate School

Q13. Can I have information about scholarships and exemption from tuition?

Please refer to theses pages of the website of Kyoto University.

Q14. I am interested in knowing what courses the ASAFAS will be offering.

Information of our courses is available in our website below.

Q15. To what extent does ASAFAS offer local languages classes?

Various language courses are taught by full-time and adjunct instructors, and course descriptions vary year by year according to whether or not there are students who wish to take the courses. This academic year, courses in Thai, Indonesian, Burmese, Vietnamese, Lao, Swahili, Amharic, Hindi, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Nepalese, Sinhala, and so on are offered. However, all these courses are only offered once a week, so students should make individual efforts to acquire the language they are studying.

Q16. Once I have entered ASAFAS, when do I choose my main and secondary supervisors?

Usually the main supervisor is selected around the third weekend of April, and the secondary supervisors in early-June in the year of entrance to ASAFAS. Supervisors can be changed anytime when it is necessary.

Q17. Once I have entered ASAFAS, are there any scholarships or research grants available for fieldwork?

Many students apply for and receive scholarship from Japan Student Service Organization (JASSO). Your supervisor will prepare letter of recommendation necessary for the application. At ASAFAS, support for fieldwork, internship, on-site language training etc. is provided through Center for On-Site Education and Research (COSER). Also, there are organizations outside the university who provide funding for educational training and research projects. Many students apply for and receive support from those organizations.

Q18. What kind of future career prospects are there for graduates?

ASAFAS counts among its alumni university professors (including associate and assistant professors), researchers at research institutes, UN workers, and NGO workers. Others are employed at Japanese companies as well as at foreign companies.

Visiting scholar and credit transfer systems

Q19. Does ASAFAS offer any study abroad programs or credit transfer systems for graduate students who studies at universities abroad or other domestic universities?

ASAFAS does not offer any study abroad programs for foreign students while ASAFAS partially offers credit transfer systems with universities (limited number) in Japan.

Q20. Does ASAFAS accept visiting researchers? If yes, what are the applications steps that I would have to take to be accepted as a visiting researcher?

Currently ASAFAS does not have any open application systems for visiting researchers with salaried positions. If you have your own fund to come and stay in Japan, we accept such visiting researchers on a basis of recommendation and application from our faculty members in accordance with policies and rules of Kyoto University, not from visiting researchers themselves.