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Japan Table of Contents

Japan

Graduate Education and Research

Graduate schools became a part of the formal higher education system only after World War II and are still not stressed in the 1990s. Even though 60 percent of all universities have graduate schools, only 7 percent of university graduates advance to master's programs, and total graduate school enrollment is about 4 percent of the entire university student population.

The pattern of graduate enrollment is almost the opposite of that of undergraduates: the majority (63 percent) of all graduate students are enrolled in the national universities, and it appears that the disparity between public and private graduate enrollments is widening. Graduate education is largely a male preserve, and women, particularly at the master's level, are most heavily represented in the humanities, social sciences, and education. Men are frequently found in engineering programs where, at the master's level, women comprise only 2 percent of the students. At the doctoral level, the two highest levels of female enrollment are found in medical programs and the humanities, where in both fields 30 percent of doctoral students are women. Women account for about 13 percent of all doctoral enrollments.

The generally small numbers of graduate students and the graduate enrollment profile results from a number of factors, especially the traditional employment pattern of industry. The private sector frequently prefer to hire and train new university graduates, allowing them to develop their research skills within the corporate structure. Thus, the demand for students with advanced degrees is low.

Data as of January 1994