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Distance-Learning Doctoral Program in Law (Distance-Learning LL.D.)
Please read all sections very carefully before applying for this program.
1 Overview & Purpose
Kyushu University's distance-learning LL.D. program offers students the unique opportunity of preparing a doctoral thesis in English whilst enrolled at a Japanese university but remaining resident in their home (or other) country.
The program is designed to provide students with the skills necessary to complete high-level research in law. Participants will pursue a closely supervised program of research for three years prior to submitting a final dissertation.
2 Program Duration
The distance-learning LL.D. program is taught on a full-time basis and takes three years for completion, beginning in April or October every year.
3 Program Requirements
Students are expected to write a doctoral dissertation of between 300-400 pages.
This is a full-time program, and the thesis must be submitted within three years of enrollment. Under normal circumstances, no extension is permissible.
There are some restrictions on the topic of the dissertation. Please see Section 4 below.
A number of measures are implemented to ensure progress of distance learning students. These include:
- "Virtual" online meetings with the main thesis supervisor are, under normal circumstances, held every two weeks
  - Distance learning doctoral students are required to submit a "Research Report" once every month indicating activities and progress.
  - A Comprehensive Research Seminar (CRS) will be organized every 4 months for distance learning students, at which students are expected to present their progress to faculty members.
  - Throughout the program, distance learning students are expected to come to Fukuoka in June-July to complete a two-weeks residential requirement and participate in the Summer Program. Further details on the Summer Program can be found in Section 5 below.
  - At the end of the first year, students are required to submit a substantive piece of research for approval by the thesis supervisors. This research should also be submitted to a peer reviewed (or equivalent) journal.
For extra information and advice on drafting a thesis proposal, please click here.
4 Thesis Topic
For the distance-learning LL.D. program, thesis proposals are only accepted in certain designated fields. Currently, we are inviting application in the fields of "Law and Culture" and "Law in a Smart Society", broadly defined. Unfortunately, we cannot accept research proposals from other fields of law at this time.
Below is an indicative list of themes:
Law and Culture
- Cultural heritage law
  - Creative industries and the law
  - Art law
  - Law and aesthetics
  - Law as culture / Legal cultures
  - Inter-disciplinary studies in law, culture and the humanities
  - Roman law and culture
Law in a Smart Society
- Information technology and the law
  - Disruptive innovation and the law
  - AI, robotics and the law
  - Transportation, mobility and the law
  - Climate change and the law
  - Sustainability and the law
We are particularly interested in proposals that link either of these two themes with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For more information on SDGs, please consult the following website:
If you are unsure whether your thesis proposal falls within the scope of these two fields, please consult with the Admissions Office before submitting an application.
5 Residential Requirement
All LL.D. distance-learning students are expected to participate in an annual two-weeks Summer Program organized in June-July every year:
In principle, two courses will be offered in the framework of the Summer Program, one related to "Law & Culture" and the other, "Law in a Smart Society".
There will be one 90 minutes class a day (Monday — Thursday) for a total of 8 classes per course. Credits will be awarded for completion of the courses.
The choice of topic and invited lecturer for the Summer Program course is driven by the research interests of distance-learning doctoral student and the program is designed to add value to their doctoral research.
An additional CRS will be organized during the Summer Program for distance-learning students.
6 Admission Requirements
For admission to the distance-learning LL.D. program, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- A Master's degree (in law or a related discipline) from an accredited university. All applicants are expected to have engaged in some form of law study at a graduate level.
  - A good command of English. A TOEFL score of 100+ (Internet-based) or equivalent (e.g., IELTS 7.5+) is required for non-native English speakers.
  - Sufficient financial support for the duration of the program. Further details on the costs of studying on the LL.D. program, including tuition and other fees, are available in Section 9 below.
7 Application Requirements
Application requirements and guidelines are available as follows.
- For 2022 October entry Application Form (16) & Thesis Proposal Form
  - For 2022 April entry Application Form (19) & Thesis Proposal Form
8 Application Procedures
After receiving the application, the Admissions Committee will hold an interview if the candidate passes a paper screening round. Interviews will be held either by Zoom or Skype, or in person (if it is convenient).
If the candidate passes the interview round, they will be invited to make a presentation of their proposed research to other faculty members. Again, this be organized via Zoom or Skype if an in-person presentation is not convenient. The final decision will be made after the presentation round.
Applicants will be informed of the result of their application by late July for October entry OR late January for April entry.
9 Tuition, Other Fees & Expected Living Costs for Residential Requirement
The various university fees and estimated living costs are approximately as follows. Exact amounts are available upon request:
- Kyushu University Registration Fee: 30,000 yen.
  - Kyushu University Entrance Fee: 280,000 yen (paid once on enrollment).
  - Kyushu University Tuition Fee per Semester (2x per year): 270,000 yen.
  - Monthly Living Costs: 100,000 yen (approx.).
  - Money for Arrival: Based on the experience of former students, we recommend new students to bring a minimum of 150,000 yen in cash if staying in university accommodation and 200,000 yen if staying in private accommodation.
Some additional information on fees is available here: https://www.kyushu-u.ac.jp/en/education/fees/exempt01
10 FAQ
Am I entitled to a waiver of the TOEFL etc. language requirement?
Our normal practice is to require all applicants for whom English is a second language to submit a TOEFL test or equivalent.
If I have taken an English test other than TOEFL, what score is required?
A conversion chart is available here. Please note, however, that for IELTS a score of 7.5 is required.
Do I need a law degree in order to apply for the LL.D.?
A law degree is not absolutely necessary in order to be eligible to apply, however, a significant part of your undergraduate degree and master degree must have been in law.
Can I spend additional time in Japan?
This is a distance-learning program, however, if you wish to extend your period of stay in Japan that is also possible.
Are there any opportunities for post-doctoral study?
The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science offers a number of post-doctoral study opportunities.
Is there any financial support available for this program?
Kyushu University does not currently offer any scholarships or financial support for this program. However, interested candidates may be able to secure funding from external sources.
11 Contact Details & Inquiries
Inquiries regarding this program should be addressed to:
Fax: 81 [Japan] -92-802-5407
E-mail: admission@law.kyushu-u.ac.jp
Application materials should be submitted to:
Admission Office of the International Programs, Graduate School of Law, Kyushu University,
744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
12 Privacy Policy
Before applying please read carefully the relevant Privacy Policy of Kyushu University:
For international applicants:
For applicants currently enrolled at Kyushu University:
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744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, 819-0395 Fukuoka Fax +81-(0)92-802-5407
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International Programs in Law,
Graduate School of Law, Kyushu University
744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, 819-0395 Fukuoka
Fax +81-(0)92-802-5407
Privacy Policy