History

The Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University was established in April 1987 to meet strong social and academic needs in the various fields of natural science. The Graduate School began with only a three-year doctoral program, comprising five divisions (Science and Technology for Materials, Science for Engineering and Agricultural Technology, Bio-resources Science, Biopharmaceutical Science, and System Science), which was established based upon four master’s Graduate Schools of Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Engineering, and Agriculture. In April 1992, the Division of Science and Technology for Intelligence was newly opened, and the Division of Science for Engineering and Agricultural Technology and the Division of System Science were reorganized.

After the Faculty of Environmental Science and Technology was newly established and its first students were admitted in April 1995, the University formulated a plan to open a master’s course in the Faculty of Environmental Science and Technology in April 1999. This plan also involved a reorganization in which independent master’s and doctor’s courses were integrated into the doctor’s courses, transforming our postgraduate organization into a graduate school comprising the first- and second-term doctoral programs. As a result, the existing four master’s courses of science, pharmaceutical sciences, engineering, and agriculture, including two courses in the Faculty of Environmental Science and Technology, were reorganized into 12 divisions of the first-term doctor’s course of the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology. At the same time, the Division of Science and Technology for Energy Conversion was newly added to the second-term doctor’s course with the four core departments in the Division.

In association with the reorganization of Japanese national universities into independent agencies in April 2004, Okayama University drew up a strategic plan to reorganize the existing graduate schools into four; the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, the Graduate School of Health Sciences, and the Graduate School of Environmental Science. In April 2005, the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology was reorganized from 8 divisions into the 4 divisions of Frontier and Fundamental Sciences, Industrial Innovation Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Bioscience. This aimed to divide the divisions into two groups; one to promote long-term advanced basic researches, and the other to cover a diversity of academic fields in order to strategically respond to national needs in focused scientific and technological fields. In addition, the Division of Geoscience and Materials Science, which was based on the Center for Earth and Materials Sciences, was added to the doctoral program in April 2007.

In April 2012, the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology underwent further reorganization, with the aim of establishing a new education and research system under which to realize both “deepening” and “integration,” or “functional specialization” and “cooperation.” The doctor’s course was reorganized from 22 departments of 4 divisions - mainly in the fields of science, engineering and agriculture - to 12 departments of 4 divisions, mainly in the fields of science and engineering. Furthermore, in April 2015, a new division “Medical Bioengineering” was opened as an independent division, followed by its integration into a newly established graduate school “the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in Health System” in April 2018. At this moment, an additional division “the Interdisciplinary Basic Sciences” was added to the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, and currently its doctoral program consists of 12 departments of 5 divisions. Through these reformulations and integrations, the Graduate School was streamlined into the present postgraduate institute that intensively pursues fundamental science and applied engineering. The Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology will keep on “deepening” knowledge in each discipline and on producing synergistic effects through the “integration” of science and engineering.