A graduate university is a university providing doctoral programs only, without undergraduate courses and is called an independent university. Our university, or the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, founded in 1988, pioneered such academic institutes in Japan and was followed by Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (founded in 1992 in Ishikawa Pref.) and Nara Institute of Science and Technology (founded in 1993 in Nara Pref.)
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, founded in October 1988, was the 96th national university in Japan. Known as SOKENDAI, it is the first university to exclusively offer doctoral programs in Japan. Generally, universities and departments are named after the places where they are located or their fields of study. Differing from such traditions, SOKENDAI uses some symbolic names to express its policy, such as "the Graduate University for Advanced Studies" or "School of Advanced Sciences."
SOKENDAI is unique in concept in the world as a university affiliated with research institutes and museums administered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (called Inter-University Research Institutes, or IURIs). Most professors and students work on their research and study as members of IURIs. The IURIs (also called parent institutes) support the best researchers and the finest facilities in the nation. SOKENDAI aims to apply such privileged academic environments not only to research (creation of new science and technology) but also education (fostering researchers).
SOKENDAI has no special facility in the IURIs. Instead, academic staff members including professors of SOKENDAI (sometimes concurrently) belong and work there. Thus, students, mentored at SOKENDAI both by faculty of SOKENDAI and of the IURIs, can do their research and study using the most advanced large research systems, including data, resources, manuscripts, artifacts, and archives unavailable to other scholars.
SOKENDAI is connected with the IURIs, which cover a wide range of fields from cultural to natural sciences. They individually foster creative approaches and comprehensive understanding in researchers. SOKENDAI has been active in promoting joint study programs and academic exchange programs between the institutes to integrate academics and create cross-border and innovative projects of study. Theses inter-school academic exchanges bore fruit when the School of Advanced Sciences, including the Department of Biosystems Science and the Department of Photo Science was established and began accepting students in 1999.
The Coordination Center for Research and Education and the Information Center for Research and Education play the important role of organizing academic activities.
The headquarters, the School of Advanced Science, The Center for Educational Development (CED) are located in the Shonan Village (Hayama-machi, Miura-gun), at the heart of Miura Peninsula in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Each department is housed in its parent institute.