Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies (Doctoral)

1. Application Category ▼

Before applying, it is advisable to first determine which category you fall under as the requirements and deadlines differ. The categories are as follows:

● Overseas Applicants
All applicants residing outside Japan, excluding Japanese nationals.

● Domestic Applicants
All foreign nationals residing in Japan with a visa status other than short-term (for example, a Work Visa or a Dependent Visa) and all Japanese nationals whether living in Japan or abroad.
  • * Applicants who possess any visa which will expire before or during the application process will not be considered as domestic applicants.
● Internal Applicants
Applicants currently enrolled in Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) or Ritsumeikan University.

2. Number of Students Accepted ▼

Major Intake per year
Doctor of Philosophy in Asia Pacific Studies (Ph.D) 10

Please note:

The standard period of completion for the doctoral program in the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies is three years. This allows for in-depth study and research and provides greater freedom to create a structured course plan. However, if you fulfill certain requirements after enrollment, it may be possible to complete your Doctoral Program in less than three years. The total tuition fee for the program will not change even if you complete your degree before the standard period of completion.

3. Application Eligibility ▼

Applicants MUST fulfill the following requirements.

Requirement 1: Educational Qualifications

Applicants must fulfill one of the following conditions at the time of application.

  • 1. Applicants who have completed or are scheduled to complete a graduate (master's) degree.
  • 2. Applicants who are at least 24 years of age and have been individually screened by the graduate school to have the academic ability of a postgraduate level or higher.
  • * If you have other educational qualifications, please send your inquiries to the Admissions Office before applying.

Requirement 2: Language Proficiency

As English is the language of instruction in all graduate classes at APU, applicants must possess the ability to comprehend lectures, undertake independent research and produce well written reports in English.

Minimum English Proficiency Requirement

TOEFL iBT® Test TOEFL® PBT Test IELTS TOEIC® L&R Test PTE Academic Cambridge English Language Assesment
FCE Grade B

Requirement 3: Supervisor Confirmation

Applicants must select a doctoral faculty supervisor before submitting their application to APU. In order to apply, applicants must first contact their desired doctoral faculty supervisor by email and receive their agreement to act as the faculty supervisor for the duration the program. The current list of faculty supervisors and their contact information is available here.

After receiving the agreement of a faculty supervisor, applicants must also request a signed Supervisor Confirmation Letter* from the desired faculty supervisor. The Supervisor Confirmation Letter must be submitted with the rest of the application documents. You can download the form here.

* Receiving a signed Supervisor Confirmation Letter only guarantees your eligibility to apply to the doctoral program. It does not mean you have been admitted to the program.

4. Application Process ▼

The process for applying to the doctoral program is as follows:

  • 1. Contact desired doctoral program supervisor by email and request a signed Supervisor Confirmation Letter
  • 2. Receive the Supervisor Confirmation Letter by email
  • 3. Submit the Online Application (including PDF versions of the required hard copy application documents and the Supervisor Confirmation Letter)
  • 4. Pay the application fee
  • 5. Send hard copies of all required application documents to APU by post
  • 6. Submit the online video interview

5. Screening Schedule ▼

Screening results will be sent by post following result notification according to the schedule below. Screening and scholarship result notification will only be sent by post and are not available by telephone, fax or email. We will also send an email with the necessary login information to check the screening result on the admissions website a day after the result notification is sent. (If the day after is a holiday, the email will be sent two days after the result notification date.)

April 2020 Enrollment

Application Type Who can Apply Application Deadline Result Notification
Overseas Applicants Domestic/
Internal Applicants
Doctoral Application 1 October 23, 2019 (Tue) December 9, 2019 (Mon)
Doctoral Application 2 × December 10, 2019 (Tue) February 10, 2020 (Mon)

September 2020 Enrollment

Application Type Who can Apply Application Deadline Result Notification
Overseas Applicants Domestic/
Internal Applicants
Doctoral Application 1 March 31, 2020 (Tue) May 18, 2020 (Mon)
Doctoral Application 2 × June 2, 2020 (Tue) July 13, 2020 (Mon)

6. Video Interview ▼

As part of the screening process, all applicants must complete an interview when applying to APU. This interview will be conducted in the form of a recorded online video interview. After submitting the online application, APU will contact applicants via email with instructions regarding how to submit the video interview.

7. Application Documents ▼

All of the required documents below must be filled out online or submitted as PDF files through the APU Online Application System. Documents that are marked with a PDF and POST icon must also be submitted by post.


  • 1. Applicants are to complete the application form and related documents by themselves. All information required on this form and all required documents MUST be submitted in English.
  • 2. Applicants must submit either original certificates or certified documents*. For documents that are not written in English, please attach an official translation with the translator's name, address, contact details and signature or official seal for documents. ONLY translations by document-issuing organizations, translation companies and certified translators will be accepted.
  • 3. APU will not return any of the submitted certificates (regardless of the certificate type). Therefore, please submit certified documents for original documents that cannot be reissued. Please note that submitted certificates will be discarded under APU's Document Preservation Regulation.
  • 4. Acceptance to the University will be revoked if any false information or forgeries are found within the submitted documents, even after enrollment.
  • * A certified document is one that has been marked as being equivalent to the original with a stamp or seal by the issuing institution (preferred) or a notary public. Detailed information about how to get a document certified can be found here.

Required Documents for All Applicants

1. Graduate School Application Form
Applicants must complete all forms by themselves and attach a photograph directly to the application form in the provided space.
2. Personal Statement
Please follow the instructions on page 3 of the application form.
3. Research Proposal / Study Plan
Please follow the instructions on page 5 of the application form.
4. Certificate of Eligibility / Resident Status Questionnaire
Please follow the instructions on page 6 of the application form.
5. Proof of Application Fee Payment PDF and POST
Note: Payment by credit card is strongly preferred. You may pay by bank transfer (international or domestic) only if you cannot pay by credit card.
  • 1. Credit Card
    • Please complete the payment online by registering with the APU Online Application System. Please include your APU Online Application System login ID in Section VI. Application Fee on your application form. You do not need to send a receipt by post.
  • 2. Bank Transfer (international or domestic)
    • Please send a copy of your payment receipt by post.
6. University Graduation Certificate(s)/Certificate of Scheduled Graduation (original or certified copy) PDF and POST
All applicants must submit proof of graduation from every university attended. If you are currently attending a university for a bachelor's or master's program, you must submit proof that the program will be completed prior to your intended date of enrollment at APU.
*High school certificates are not required.
7. Academic Transcripts (original or certified copy) PDF and POST
All applicants must submit a transcript of grades for all university study to date along with information about the grading system.
8. Documents Proving English Proficiency (original only) PDF and POST

Please submit the original results from one of the required English language proficiency exams.

Period of Validity

・April 2019 Enrollment: Only scores of examinations taken on or after June 1, 2016 will be valid.
・September 2019 Enrollment: Only scores of examinations taken on or after September 1, 2016 will be valid.

  • Please provide the following information for TOEFL iBT® Test, TOEFL®PBT Test, IELTS and PTE Academic on the application form, if possible.
    TOEFL iBT® Test: Registration Number
    TOEFL® PBT Test: Registration Number
    IELTS: Test Report Form (TRF) Number
    PTE Academic: Registration ID
  • For TOEFL® Test results, applicants must request the test center to send the score reports to APU directly. The institution code of APU is 2791.
  • If you provide your IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) number in "Section V. Language Proficiency" of the Application Form, you do not need to submit the original test report.
  • For PTE Academic results, please visit the PEARSON website and register to send your score report to APU. Paper or PDF results will not be accepted.
  • For Cambridge English Language Assesment test results, please prodive the ID Number and Secret Number in Section V. Official Test Scores of the Application Form. Please send a copy of the result statement together with your application documents.
  • TOEFL®-ITP, IELTS (General Training Module), TOEIC®-IP are not accepted.
  • "Institutional" test results from institutions other than APU and Ritsumeikan University will not be accepted.
The following are exempt from having to provide documents proving English proficiency:
  • Applicants who can certify that they have graduated or are scheduled to graduate from a bachelor's program offered in English.
  • Applicants from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Clear documented proof must be included with the application. Proof may be in the form of an official letter from the institution or any other official document such as a transcript indicating the language of instruction.
Applicants who do not meet the above requirements will not be considered. No exceptions will be made.
9. Supervisor Confirmation Letter
Applicants must submit a completed Supervisor Confirmation Letter before the application deadline in order for the application to be considered.
The Supervisor Confirmation Letter can be downloaded here.

  • When contacting desired faculty supervisors, please be sure to include the Admissions Office email address ( in the CC field.
  • All contact with desired faculty supervisors should be conducted by email. Faculty members cannot send a signed Supervisor Confirmation Letter to you by post.
10. Two Letters of Recommendation (original only) PDF and POST *
One letter must be written by a university instructor who knows you well enough to write the recommendation.
The second letter can be written by another instructor, an employer, or someone else who is a non-relative and knows you on a professional or academic level. Both letters must be written in English. If the letters are written in another language, please attach an English translation.

* Letters of Recommendation can be accepted by email if they are sent by the referees themselves. Letters of Recemmendation sent by referees can be sent to
11. Passport Copy *not necessary for Japanese nationals PDF and POST
Applicants are required to submit a copy of their valid passport, showing their photo, name, passport number and date of expiration. If you already have a valid Japanese visa, please submit a photocopy of your visa. Applicants who do not have a valid passport are still eligible for application.
12. Two Identical Photographs (4 cm X 3 cm) or (1.57 in X 1.18 in) (original only) PDF and POST
Two identical photographs taken within 3 months, showing a front view above chest level with a white background. No cap or hat is allowed. The photograph size MUST be 4 centimeters high by 3 centimeters wide (1.57 inches × 1.18 inches). Photographs may be in color or black and white. Please write your name and nationality in English on the back of the photographs. Please affix one of the photographs directly to the application form.

Additional Documents for Submission (If Applicable)

1. APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship Application
Applicants who wish to apply for the APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship are required to complete the application by themselves according to the guidelines in the application form.

This scholarship is made available by the financial contributions of domestic and international companies and individuals, together with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), that support the ideals of APU, and its purpose is to help reduce the financial burden for outstanding international students of lesser financial means. Students awarded with this scholarship are expected to maintain a good academic record, complete the tasks assigned to them, and serve as role models for other student .

A review of academic performance and other criteria will be conducted each semester to determine whether or not recipients qualify for renewal of the APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship. Provided that the recipients maintain a good academic record, complete the tasks assigned to them on time and avoid any misconduct unbefitting of a scholarship recipient, the scholarship will remain valid until the standard number of credits required to graduate has been reached. In cases of inappropriate behavior or conduct that tarnishes the reputation of the University, the scholarship will be revoked. Interested applicants are to submit their scholarship application upon understanding of the above. An overall evaluation of all submitted documents will be conducted along with the application and scholarship screening and the scholarship result will be notified together with the application result.
  • The scholarship will be decided based on the evaluation of the documents submitted for application.
  • Major areas of the application to be evaluated when awarding scholarships are English language proficiency, previous academic records, research proposal/study plan and professional experience (especially for MBA).
  • Tuition reduction only covers the least amount of credits required to graduate within the standard period of time.
  • The amount of scholarship awarded is final and will not be reconsidered under any circumstances.
2. Certificate of Residence (original only) and Copy of Alien Registration or Resident Card (both sides) PDF and POST
Domestic applicants who are neither Japanese nationals nor permanent residents of Japan must obtain a "Certificate of Residence (住民票)" at their local city hall or municipal office. Applicants should also provide a copy of both sides of their certificate of alien registration or resident card.
*Current APU students need only submit a copy of their alien registration or resident card.
3. Certification of scholarships received from organizations other than APU (original only) PDF and POST
Applicants who are due to accept scholarships offered by organizations other than APU after their admission are required to submit proof of the scholarship award.
4. GRE® Results (original only) PDF and POST
If you are taking or have taken the GRE® test, you can have your score forwarded directly to Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU). Our GRE® Institution Code number is 7116. Test results are valid for five years from the test date. If you do not currently have a GRE® score, or taking this exam poses significant difficulties for you, we will accept your application without it. For more information regarding how and where to take the GRE® test, please refer to the following website:
5. List of Research Achievements/Sample Work PDF and POST
Applicants must submit a list of previous papers written or presentations made which are relevant to their proposed field of study. Applicants should also submit a copy of their master's thesis. If the sample work is in a language other than English, please submit an English abstract.

8. Application Fee ▼

It is preferred that you pay the application fee by credit card. You may pay by bank transfer (international or domestic) only if you cannot pay by credit card.

  • * Doctoral applicants currently enrolled in an APU master's program are not required to pay the application fee.


  • 1. Applications will not be processed untill the application fee is paid. Please make sure to pay the application fee before the application deadline. Please take note that credit card payments will not be available after 23:59 Japan time on the day of the deadline.
  • 2. The payment must be made in Japanese yen (JPY) . If you pay by bank transfer (international or domestic), include a copy of the payment receipt along with your application documents.
  • 3. The application fee is not refundable under any circumstances.
  • 4. Cash or postal money orders will not be accepted. Please do not send cash with your application forms.
  • a. Credit Card
    Fee Amount:
    3,500 JPY for Overseas Applicants (excluding Japanese nationals)
    36,800 JPY for Domestic/Internal Applicants (for non-Japanese nationals currently living in Japan and all Japanese nationals whether living in Japan or abroad, as well as applicants currently enrolled in APU or Ritsumeikan University)
    Payment Method:
    Register an account with the APU Online Application System and complete your payment. Please include your APU Online Application System login ID on the application form. You do not need to send a receipt by post.
  • b. Bank Transfer (International or Domestic)
    Fee Amount:
    5,000 JPY for Overseas Applicants (excluding Japanese nationals)
    35,000 JPY for Domestic/Internal Applicants (for non-Japanese nationals currently living in Japan and all Japanese nationals whether living in Japan or abroad, as well as applicants currently enrolled in APU or Ritsumeikan University)
    Payment Purpose :
    Application Fee
    Contact Details :

    Applicant's Name
    Bank Name :

    Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
    Branch Name :
    Oita Branch
    Branch Address :
    1-3-22 Chuo-machi, Oita-city, Oita-Prefecture, 870-0035 JAPAN
    Tel : +81- 97-532-5161
    Account Number :
    1001673 (Ordinary Deposit Account)
    Account Name :

    Swift Code :

    *IBAN Code:
    (if necessary) JP28 SMBC 0721 XXX2 4029 0868
    Paying bank transfer fee :
    Borne by remitter
    • * If the application fee is paid in Japan, please send a copy of the payment receipt to the Admissions Office. Please make sure to write the applicant's name and telephone number in the contact details when the payment is made.

9. Application Submission ▼

Please send all applications directly to APU by registered airmail or express mail service (DHL, FedEx, OCS, EMS, etc), which must be postmarked by the application deadline .

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Admissions Office (International)
1-1 Jumonjibaru, Beppu, Oita, 874-8577 Japan
Tel: +81-977-78-1119

  • * APU will not bear responsibilty for any loss of the documents in the course of delivery.

10. Screening Method ▼

All applicants are evaluated based on the information provided in their application and the video interview. If deemed necessary, the Admissions Office may also carry out the following: contact the applicant's place of study or the person who wrote the Letter of Recommendation; ask the applicant for an explanation regarding their original submitted documents; require the applicant to submit additional documents relating to academic background, transcripts and/or language proficiency.

  • Overseas applicants are evaluated solely on the information provided in their application and the online video interview. (Japanese nationals residing overseas and non-Japanese nationals who do not require a Certificate of Eligibility must apply as domestic applicants.)
    *In some cases, an additional interview may be required for overseas applicants. In this situation, the Admissions Office will contact the applicant.
  • Domestic/internal applicants (applicants residing in Japan) must first submit the application documents and the video interview. Domestic/internal applicants who do not possess Japanese citizenship must have a visa which is valid until the time of enrollment. Domestic/internal applicants who pass the initial document screening may also be required to attend an interview conducted by APU as part of the application process. (Alternate interview arrangements will be made for domestic applicants not physically present in Japan. If this applies to you, please inform the Admissions Office.)