Education in the Department of Physics


Students in the Department of Physics systematically study physics and are taught how to gain a scientific understanding of nature. Particularly, the objective is for students to learn an approach that questions things according to the principles specific to physics and to think logically, as well as an empirical approach. With this education, we bring up many leading researchers in various branches of physics and send out capable human resources into an ever more sophisticated and complex society to contribute to the development of society, learning, and culture.

Entrance exam and choice of department for regular undergraduate programs

(1) Entrance exam

Applicants are admitted as students of the School of Science (enrollment limit 270), rather than of any particular department.
There are two types of entrance exams:
Regular entrance examination
Entrance examination on recommendation
(Applicants are also required to take the Center Exam, which is a nation-wide common exam)

For information on entrance exams see

(2) Choosing the Department of Physics

The first year is the time when students choose the direction they want to head in (physics, mathematics, chemistry, life science, and earth and planetary science), while studying the basics. This means that lectures and experiments are inter-departmental, and students can make their choices according to their personal interest (in some departments, however. certain subjects are required for graduation). In order to be admitted to the desired department (departmental admission) in the second year, students must have established a solid record in their first-year coursework. The enrollment limit for the Department of Physics is 90 students. In the event that the number of candidates exceeds the enrollment limit a selection will be made based on academic standing.

Curriculum and course design in the Department of Physics

The three main contents of the curriculum are lectures, experiments, and tutorial exercises. The specific courses are described below.

(1) Lectures

Courses are built up systematically starting from the basics.

First Year & First Half of the Second Year

Students will study classical mechanics and electromagnetism, the basis of all modern physics. This is not the kind of physics where one memorizes subjects, but where students have to master calculus and other subjects to understand the natural world through the eyes of physics. There will also be lectures in mathematics, often called the language of physics. In addition, we offer lectures providing an introduction to the most advanced topics of modern physics.

Second Half of the Second Year & Third Year

From the latter half of the second year, the content of study moves on to the heart of modern physics. The main subjects in this area are quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics. Students will spend a year and a half learning the basics, employing all of the knowledge gained by studying classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and mathematics from previous years. From the third year, lectures get down to specifics in fields such as elementary particle physics, astrophysics, condensed-matter physics, and biophysics. Students also learn how to apply the gained knowledge to concrete research and deepen it further.

Fourth Year

Students will be assigned to one of 25 research labs to engage in research. At the same time, lectures dealing with specialized subjects will be held.

(2) Experiments

Modern science is the study of proof. No matter how beautiful a theory is, unless it is experimentally proven, it is meaningless to physics. Students come to know the fascinating aspects of experimenting by going repeatedly through a process of trials and errors. They will be provided with an understanding of verifiability and quantifiability, the operation and operating principles of apparatus, data processing and other subjects. This is to give them a hands-on experience of how the processes examined in the basic physical experiments of the first year and the experiments in quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics in the third year actually occur.

(3) Tutorial exercises

Students are made to solve concrete problems to ensure that the lecture content is mastered. Putting their knowledge into practice is to give them a still better understanding of how to think and how to calculate. The main objective is for students to acquire the ability to express their own thoughts in a logical and accurate manner through a process of finding solutions by discussions among students.

Student Advisors

In the first year, students are divided into twelve classes, each of which is assigned student advisor (class counselor). These will counsel students on problems related to their studies and daily lives.