Tokyo Metropolitan University Japanese Tokyo Metropolitan University

Education Reform Promotion Project

Globalizing Graduate School Education in Physics

An initiative under the Program for Enhancing Systematic Education in Graduate Schools (Graduate School GP)

The Department of Physics of Tokyo Metropolitan University’s Graduate School of Science and Engineering implemented two initiatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) together with the Department of Molecular Materials Chemistry: the “Attractive Education in Graduate Schools” initiative project from 2005 to 2006 and the “Support Program for Improving Graduate School Education” (Graduate School GP) from 2007 to 2009. These undertakings were executed under the leadership of Professor Yutaka Okabe of the Department of Physics (currently a visiting professor of TMU’s Department of Physics) and were founded on the Department of Physics’ past record in graduate school education and cooperation in the realms of research and education. They were titled “Fostering Researchers Possessing Broad a Perspective through the Integration of Physics and Chemistry” and “Developing Young and Independent International Human Resources Possessing a Firm Grounding in Physics and Chemistry,” respectively.

The key initiatives of these Graduate School GP initiatives were as follows.

  1. Internationalization of graduate students: Providing assistance in the sending of graduate students to international conferences and holding a summer school on a rotational basis with four universities in collaboration with an international joint graduate program of Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT). Also providing lectures on scientific English, English presentation practices, and overseas language training.
  2. Development of graduate students’ ability to plan independently: Enhancing the proposal-based research funding system, expanding the number of TA and RA positions, and utilizing their experience in education and research assistance to train researchers. Promoting independent planning by graduate students in courses for junior high and high school students.
  3. Graduate school education in partnership with private companies and society: Strongly encouraging training at external institutions in Japan and abroad and expanding the cooperative graduate school system. Holding a career seminar on “Possibilities and Opportunities for Doctoral Students in Companies” to expand the career paths of graduate students.
  4. Provision of broad education that reaches across departmental boundaries: Developing a cross-departmental education system that includes common lectures across two departments to foster researchers possessing a multifaceted perspective.
  5. Further systematization of the education system: Clarifying a systematic education plan and promoting faculty development activities in graduate school education. Also, providing educational guidance on researcher ethics by holding common lectures and seminars on scientific ethics among other activities.

Over the course of five years, we executed numerous projects through the “Attractive Graduate in Graduate Schools” initiative and the “Support Program for Improving Graduate School Education.” A total of 22 graduate students visited research facilities in Japan and other countries, including the United States, Finland, Italy, Germany, and France. Their experiences allowed them to make great strides in their research. In addition, a total of 42 graduate students were sent to international conferences to present their research. We also screened and subsidized the research expenses of graduate students who submitted their own research proposals. We adopted a total of 199 proposals (research plans accepted every six months) in this way. As for the four-university international summer school, four TMU graduate students participated in the first session held at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden in 2007, seven in the second session held at Seoul National University in South Korea in 2008, and eight in the third session held at TMU in 2009.

When MEXT’s subsidy for initiatives adopted as projects for improving graduate school education ended, we faced demand to continue them as independent initiatives in view of the outcomes and issues that arose during the subsidy period. Tokyo Metropolitan University responded by setting up the “TMU Education Reform Promotion Project” as an independent undertaking in the 2010 academic year. The Department of Physics and the Department of Molecular Materials Chemistry jointly proposed the “Internationalization of Graduate School Education in Materials Science” as a theme for this project. This proposal was adopted. Despite a limited budget, we focused on continuing to send graduate students to international conferences and implementing international joint graduate school programs. In August 2010, we invited faculty members and graduate students from Seoul National University to a 2nd Japan-South Korea Seminar and deepened exchanges through poster presentations by graduate students. We also invited Dr. Toshihide Maskawa, a Nobel laureate in physics, and organized a get-together with graduate students as well as a lecture for the general public.

The Department of Physics and the Department of Chemistry of Molecular Materials continued to conduct the joint graduate school education program “Globalizing Graduate School Education in Materials Science” between the 2011 and 2017 academic years. They thereby maintained and strengthened a cooperative framework for cultivating graduate students possessing a broad perspective who can succeed on the global stage. As a part of these efforts, we invited Nobel laureates Dr. Makoto Kobayashi, Dr. Akira Suzuki, and Dr. Takaaki Kajita to give lectures. And we provided opportunities for interaction between professors and graduate students and also held corporate seminars as needed to give students chances to talk to people from private companies. Additionally, we endeavored to “globalize” graduate students and actively supported and promoted their going to international conferences in cooperation with “Overseas Internships: Introduction and Practical Experience,” which is also an undertaking under “TMU Education Reform Promotion Project.”

Since the 2018 academic year, the Department of Physics has been implementing its own graduate school education program called “Globalizing Graduate School Education in Physics” to promote educational reform in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering. In this way, we will continue our efforts to globalize graduate school education and promote new initiatives to encourage students to enter the Doctoral Program and develop their planning skills.

Project reports


Professor Yutaka Fujita, Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science (GP Core Chairperson for academic year 2021)

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1-1 Minami-Osawa, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo, Japan 192-0397


Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University