Within Japan there are many Inter-University Research Institutes that are not tied to any specific university. They promote top level research activities as centers of academic exchange and collaborative experiments between scientists, while functioning as repositories for large scale research equipment. They are also places where graduate students receive training and education. The National Institute for Basic Biology is one such institute, where dozens of graduate students receive advanced training while doing important work in a first class research environment. The majority of these students are attached to the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI).
Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI)
The standard image of universities is of old buildings lined up together while students of various subjects commute between them pursuing their education. SOKENDAI however, has no single unified campus. Instead, the university is made up of 18 member organizations from around the country (mainly Inter-University Research Institutes) where graduate training and education take place. SOKENDAI students who enter the School of Life Science with a Basic Biology major undertake their studies and research at the National Institute for Basic Biology in Okazaki city, Aichi Prefecture. Entrance and commencement ceremonies for all majors are held at the central campus in Kanagawa Prefecture, giving the students a chance to mingle with those of other departments, and to gain a sense of unity as research students.
School of Life Science, Department of Basic Biology
Basic Biology is one of the three majors that make up the School of Life Science of SOKENDAI. The remaining two majors are Physiology (held at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Okazaki) and Genetics (held at the National Institute of Genetics in Mishima city, Shizuoka Prefecture). Considering the number of teachers, and the extent of the facilities and equipment, the Graduate School of Life Sciences of Sokendai can be said to be Japan's largest life science graduate school. It is possible to take the entrance exam for multiple majors at the same time. Also "Joint Seminars" are held where students and professors from all three majors gather to share ideas.
Basic Biology Major Curriculum
Within the Basic Biology Major there is a five-year Doctoral program for university graduates and a three-year senior Doctoral course for students who have already completed a Master's Degree course. Semesters begin in October and April.