COLABS Curriculum

1. Course Offered in Academic Year

In the Tohoku University COLABS program, the core course, which is only one required course, and elective courses are totally offered in English. Students interested in taking elective courses should discuss necessary courses with their academic advisors of their home institutions and should take care to make sure of the content completed by students and of the course schedule etc. COLABS students are required to take the course of Individual Research Training in Lab. Some elective courses may not be opened during your term (semester) of study here. Detailed information of courses will be obtained from Tohoku University. If you want to take elective courses, please contact us through your Exchange Program Coordinator in advance. A few courses may not be opened in case students taking lectures are very few.

CORE COURSE (Required)

・Individual Research Training in Lab (12-30 ECTS equivalent)

Participation in the research group activities counts as 12-30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) equivalent for the IRTLab course each semester. According to the ECTS-compliant School hours table for IRTLab, ECTS equivalents will be awarded based on "Total School hours", after successful performance as determined by the committee in charge, although the students are not required to complete a thesis. IRTLab offers four categories to students who participate in semester-based (short-term) exchange study programs, each of which has different "Total School hours." Students are required, after consulting with their academic advisors, to submit abstracts and reports concerning the results of their IRTLab before the prescribed deadlines, and to present orally the results of their IRTLab near the end of the program. In order to obtain the maximum outcome in the Individual Research Training in Lab course, students should discuss their results with their academic advisor and get the feedback.

Each theme of Individual Research Training will be decided at the start of Individual Research Training in Lab (IRTLab), consulting with your academic advisor.
IRTLab Theme Titles:
Themes of IRTLab2014-2015
Themes of IRTLab2015-2016
Themes of IRTLab2016-2017

For further information, please see "2. Course Description of Individual Research Training in Lab".


Courses of International Graduate Program for Advanced Science (IGPAS) in the Graduate School of Science

IGPAS offers graduate-level classes in English, and the classes are open to COLABS students. Please note that the availability of the classes may vary by semesters and departments.

・Courses in English of Master course programs in the Graduate School of Engineering, of Information Sciences, of Environmental Studies and so on
There is information about the Master course program on the website of each Graduate School ; For example, Graduate School of Engineering.
Though the International Doctoral Program is provided for doctoral students, COLABS students may take the classes in that program. There is information on the International Doctoral Program here.

Courses in the Junior Year Program in English (JYPE): undergraduate program 

Courses of JYPE are undergraduate level, but "Nuclear Physics”, “Solid State Physics and Statistical Physics” and “Material Science” and “Individual Research Training courses” are advanced courses. Students can take courses on Japanese language, culture, and society aimed at promoting understanding of Japan's language and social customs. Cultural and intellectual exchange with professors and Japanese students is an integral part of the program. There is information on the JYPE Program here. (All courses are given in English)

2. Course Description of Individual Research Training in Lab

For short-term exchange international students only.

Course categories:
The IRTLab course for short-term exchange program at Tohoku University offers four categories for students who participate in semester-based (short-term) exchange study programs, as shown in the school hours (Workload) table below. Though short-term international exchange students are not degree candidates at Tohoku University, a similar experience is offered by special arrangement.

As mentioned above, students are required to submit abstracts concerning the results of their IRTLab in each semester and reports (papers) on their research at the end of exchange term, and to orally present the results of their IRTLab near the end of the exchange term. While "IRTLab 4" requires full School hours (750 hours per semester or 50 hours per week) for 30 ECTS Equivalents, students who register for category 1, 2, or 3 ("IRTLab 1", "IRTLab 2" or "IRTLab 3") must take other courses offered either in English or Japanese for 30 ECTS Equivalents. A certificate of completion of COLABS will be awarded to the students who earn 30 ECTS Equivalent or more in each semester including the ECTS Equivalent of IRTLab.

Information on courses taught in English will be available at the beginning of the semester. Many IRTLab supervisors may require registration in "category 4" for students to achieve satisfactory outcomes from their laboratory experiences. Students are thus required to consult with their supervisors prior to course registration, and to discuss their requirements for IRTLab and their needs for courses other than IRTLab.
COLABS students are strongly advised to take "IRTLab 4" (category 4) or "IRTLab 3" (category 3).


Category Name IRTLab1 IRTLab2 IRTLab3 IRTLab4
School hours for Indivisual Research Training in Lab (IRTLab)
Implementation Hours (Research time) 150 240 300 420
Participation Hours in laboratory activities 150 210 250 330
Total School hours (hours) 300 450 550 750
ECTS Equivalent of School hours
12 18 22 30
Total credit units of elective courses per semester necessary for completion
(Tohoku University credits)
9 6 4 0


Numbers for school hours indicate workload (hours) per semester, 15 weeks. Implementation Hours for IRTLab 1 to 4 will be 2.0, 3.2, 4.0 and 5.6 hours per day on the average for each category. The ECTS-compliant school hours table (Workload table) is provided to facilitate credit transfer between partner institutions and Tohoku University. ECTS equivalents will be awarded based on the "Total School Hours" above, after successful performance as determined by the committee in charge. However, students are not required to complete a thesis. The above School Hours are estimates that depend on discipline, school/department, and laboratory.

The following particulars will be required concerning the IRTLab course.

-Abstract for the presentation of the IRTLab course (A4 one page)
-Oral presentations of results of the IRTLab course near the end of the exchange term
-Poster presentation at the end of the first semester (students who stay for 1 year only)
-Summarizing research paper for the IRTLab course (A4 30-40 pages) and abstract of the research paper (A4 one page)

Description of the School hours for IRTLab

1. Implementation Hours
Implementation hours are spent by students working with the support of the research groups (laboratories) to which they are assigned, to do the individual research on current topics closely related to their majors, as a part of a Master/Doctor thesis. During implementation hours, students conduct experiments, calculations, theorizations and related activities, and are expected to acquire basic research-related knowledge and techniques for doing real research.
To achieve IRTLab course goals and objectives, which emphasize fundamental and high-quality research experiences, the implementation hours are set at 150-420 hours/semester in the four categories, more than 50% of the total School hours.

2. Participation Hours in laboratory activities: oral presentations, seminars, meetings, tutorials, independent studies, others
Students are assigned to laboratories with consent of the faculty member in charge, and will be encouraged to participate in various activities of the laboratory.

During the participation hours in laboratory activities, students are expected to prepare for a few oral presentations, which will be required as compulsory activities. In the oral presentations, students are expected to show their understanding of basic theories in their major, to come up with solid research proposals, to analyze experimental results, and then to combine ideas and laboratory research results into creative and academically self-consistent works.

Students are required to participate in a seminar, which is an important part of laboratory activities, usually once a week for 90-120 minutes. Active participation and good preparation are needed to acquire comprehensive knowledge and to develop the ability to think analytically and critically.

Meeting with academic advisors is one of the most important aspects of the laboratory activities. Students can ask various questions, discuss with their advisors and receive suggestions, concerning their research projects. Sometimes, students may be given assignments by their supervisors, which will greatly enhance their research projects.
Each student is supported by a tutor in the laboratory, who guides him/her greatly in research and daily life. Tutorials conducted as laboratory activities are opportunities for discussions and group work with the tutors and other laboratory members, during which senior students often instruct juniors. Students are encouraged to discuss the results of their research with labmates to receive feedback, while doing the same concerning the work done by others. Through tutorials, students are motivated and learn from each other, to be competent and responsible members of the laboratory.

The independent study for laboratory activities includes completing assignments, reading relevant papers, analyzing research data and preparing to submit papers on research to the supervisor at the end of exchange term.

Other laboratory activities allow students to interact intellectually and culturally with other students and professors, and to acquire intercultural understanding. This allows students to form life-long friendships and future close relations.

The allotment of these participation hours in laboratory activities depends on the assigned laboratory, discipline, school and/or department.
Detailed information on the laboratory schedule will be provided from the professor of Tohoku University.


3. Related Graduate Schools and Research Activities for IRTLab

Students will be formally registered in either of the following graduate schools as special research students.

Graduate School of Science  
Graduate School of Engineering 
Graduate School of Information Sciences 
Graduate School of Life Sciences 
Graduate School of Environmental Studies 
Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering  
Graduate School of Agricultural Science 
Graduate School of Medicine 
Graduate School of Dentistry  
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Students will take the courses of Individual Research Training in the assigned laboratory. The research group (laboratory) becomes their home base in their university life. Students do research on current topics centered on their major (as a part of their Master/Doctoral Thesis) with the support of Professors and research groups. Students participate in various laboratory (research) activities.

You can find academic research staff and courses at Tohoku University here.