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Just how likely is it to land a scientific/engineering job in Japan?

Kaldanis

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I'll start by saying how great this forum is. Very informative!
I'm here asking for advice because I'm trying to plan out my future. I'm a British student in the middle of a physics/math degree, but I'm also taking Japanese speaking, reading and writing classes. I have a few years left of each before I graduate with a BSc in Physics. What I do after that is the reason I'm here. (If this makes any difference, I also have a 2 year qualification in IT desktop/networking support with 1.5 years experience in supporting a company in this role.)
So, my questions.
1) What are my chances of finding employment in Japan with a physics and mathematical background and what I assume will be a decent level of Japanese at that time?
2) It's always been my aim to study to PhD level and focus in nuclear physics/engineering. I could potentially do my masters and PhD in any engineering field, would this increase my chances of employment at all?
3) Would it actually be better if I finish my BSc here and apply to study for my PhD at a Japanese university? At least that way I'd be in the country, improving my Japanese faster while making connections.
I realise some of these questions are quite specific and difficult to answer, but I'd really appreciate any advice and insight. Thanks.
 

Glenski

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I'd say with such minimal experience and (probably) less than JLPT2 level of Japanese, your chances are close to nil. You're "taking" J classes now, but those are textbook lessons, not fluency experience. What does the school say your level will be by the time you finish? (They probably don't say.)

Studying for a PhD in Japan means pretty darned high level Japanese language skills, too. Look at your current English textbook in particle physics or theoretical physics and imagine how little your current classes will allow you to learn the jargon in order to be able to read it well.

See what JSPS scholarships/fellowships say.
Look at what J universities in your field say about entrance requirements.
Look up the daijob.com web site for job requirements in your field.
See if there are any openings with your credentials in Tsukuba.

Unless you get transferred here to a branch office that uses little Japanese, or something similar, I'd say you have a very hard row to hoe.
 

Kaldanis

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Thanks for the reply. You're right, it doesn't say what level my Japanese will be at. When I finish my degree I'll have had 3 years of Japanese classes at that point, or 6 semesters of classes with 5 classes a week. Then, if I do my PhD at home, that will be another 3 years I could be taking classes and learning it. As for studying in Japan, I was almost certain there'd be an English speaking opportunity somewhere? I'll have to keep looking.


Experience... the thing that screws everyone over! I suppose the option that gives me the best chance is to stay and work in UK/USA for a few years. Transferring like you said would maybe then be possible but at the very least it would give me experience.


I'll look up the things that you suggested, especially JSPS and daijob since I'd never heard of them. I'm aware of how hard this will be and what little chance I have of making it work, but that's usually the case with the things worth having. I have to try.
 

Half-n-Half

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I myself have recently graduated with a BSc in Physics and a minor in Math from an American university. I'm biased toward this program because I was accepted and will attend in the Fall, but Tohoku University has a program called IGPAS (International Graduate Program for Advanced Science) that allows you to earn a Masters and PhD in Physics through English courses. Of course, you can also take the Japanese courses if you want and they offer free Japanese language lessons. You can also try googling Global 30 to find more programs in English.
 

Kaldanis

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Thanks Half, I googled Global 30 and I've found loads of graduate programmes through their website. If I did my PhD in UK it would take on average 3 years and the masters is included in that. I didn't realise it would take 2 years for a master and then another 3 for the PhD in Japan. I'll need to keep looking into it.

What Master/PhD are you doing?
 

Half-n-Half

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Thanks Half, I googled Global 30 and I've found loads of graduate programmes through their website. If I did my PhD in UK it would take on average 3 years and the masters is included in that. I didn't realise it would take 2 years for a master and then another 3 for the PhD in Japan. I'll need to keep looking into it.

What Master/PhD are you doing?

I think most Japanese programs are about that length and in the US it can be even longer since it depends on the student. If you have a few more years I would keep an eye on things because I think they are planning to add more universities to the Global 30 list. Plus, you can always apply to schools both in the UK and Japan. Does your uni offer any study abroad programs to Japan? I would not recommend applying for graduate school in Japan without having spent a semester or two in the country so you can gauge if it's really for you.

I'll be joining the Particle Theory and Cosmology group.
 

Kaldanis

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If you had a PhD in the appropriate area, the Toshiba fellowships are another option for UK researchers:
Toshiba Fellowship Programme (TFP)
Thanks, I never considered Toshiba.

I think most Japanese programs are about that length and in the US it can be even longer since it depends on the student. If you have a few more years I would keep an eye on things because I think they are planning to add more universities to the Global 30 list. Plus, you can always apply to schools both in the UK and Japan. Does your uni offer any study abroad programs to Japan? I would not recommend applying for graduate school in Japan without having spent a semester or two in the country so you can gauge if it's really for you.
I'll be joining the Particle Theory and Cosmology group.
I have 2 more years so I'll keep an eye out!

I actually applied and got accepted for the study abroad programme at my university. Unfortunately the only Japanese option was for political sciences so I couldn't even apply for that. I selected a few universities from USA and Hong Kong and I got accepted into one in USA, so I'll be spending a year in Illinois starting this August.

Good luck with your graduate work, I'm sure many people would kill to be in your place.
 

nekojita

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I forgot another UK specific one, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation scholarships:
General information - Daiwa Foundation
These are aimed at young graduates (could be done before or after doing a PhD) and consist of one year's intensive language study, one month homestay, and then six months work experience.
 
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