Application Overview

Application Overview – U.S. Fellows

Students are encouraged to check back to our website in Fall 2018 for more information on next year’s program. If you would like to receive an email when the online application opens, send an email to with your full name, home university, major, and year in school. You can also follow our Facebook page for announcements regarding the opening of the application cycle for 2019. For information on other international study, research, and internship programs see the Other Related Programs for U.S. Students page.

Tentative Schedule for 2019 Program

Date Activity
Mid-to-Late November Online Application Opens
Mid-January 2019 Online Application Deadline & 2 Reference Letters Due
mid-February Finalist Interviews
by early to mid-March Notification of 2019 U.S. Fellows

Before Starting the Online Application

Prior to beginning the online application, students are strongly encouraged to review the following:

How To Apply

The information below provides an overview of the information you will be asked to submit as part of the online application.  Please review and then click the link at the bottom of this page to go to the online application form.

Personal and Background Information

  • Name and Contact Information
  • University & Major/Field of Study
  • Status at time of Application (Freshman or Sophomore)
  • Information on Any Prior:
    • Study Abroad/International Experience
    • Science or Engineering Research Experience
    • Japanese Language Experience

Preferred Host Laboratories in Japan
You will be asked to list, in ranked order, three preferred host laboratories in Japan that you would be interested in working with.  Please see our Potential Research Hosts in Japan page for more information.

You will be asked to submit three short-essays as part of your online application.  We strongly recommend you compose your essays first in Microsoft Word or other word processing software and that you save a copy of your essays to your computer. It is also highly recommended that you ask a trusted advisor or mentor to proofread your essays prior to submission.

  1. Maximum Length for All Essays: 2,500 character limit, including spaces
  2. Why Nakatani RIES?
    • Please introduce yourself and tell us why you have decided to apply for this program.
  3. Why Research?
    • What are your specific research interests and what type of research are you most interested in doing while abroad? Why have you selected the three potential host labs listed above?
  4. Long-term Goals?
    • What are your long-term goals?  How will participating in the Nakatani RIES Fellowship further your long-term goals?

Once you have finished all edits/revisions to your essays in your Word document,  copy and paste  your saved essays into the online form. Remember, there is a 2,500 character limit, including spaces, for each essay. There may be differences in how Microsoft Word counts characters and how the online form counts characters. Carefully review your essays in the online form to make sure they are not cut off and make any final edits to meet the 2,500 character limit in the text boxes.

Supporting Documents
At the end of the online application,  you will be asked to upload the following documents in your online application.

  • Resume* (Required)
  • Unofficial Copy of University Transcript** (Required)
  • Scanned Copy of the Photograph Page of your Passport (Optional/If Available)

* If you do not have a resume, or are unsure of how to format a resume, consult the Freshman Resume Guide on the Rice Center for Career Developments website under the ‘Professional Communication’ section.

** We strongly encourage students to wait to submit their online application until their Fall semester grades have posted to their transcript. Please contact your university’s Registrar’s Office to request your transcript in advance of the application deadline as it may take 1 – 2 weeks to prepare. If you are unable to submit your transcript by the application deadline email 

Two Letters of Reference by Mid-January (Required)
Your application will not be considered complete until we have received two letters of reference in support of your application to the Naktani RIES Fellowship Program.  The individuals you ask to provide these letters should know you well and be able to write about your interest in studying abroad in Japan, interest in science & engineering research, and/or how this program will influence your future goals.

Contact the individuals you would like to ask to provide a letter of reference in advance, and provide them with information on the Nakatani RIES Fellowship and why you would like to apply.  Ask them if they would be willing to write a letter on your behalf. Provide them with the link to the Reference Letter Submission page and be sure they are aware of the submission deadline (by 11:59 PM in the letter writer’s U.S. time zone). The online application form/program will not send out automatic requests for letters, you must provide the individuals you list in your online application with a link to the Reference Letter Submission page.

These letters can be submitted by:

  • One letter must be from a professor, advisor, mentor, or other individual at your current university or college
  • If you have previously done science or engineering research, one letter must be from your prior/current research advisor/professor or mentor.
  • Letters may be submitted by a current or previous employer, volunteer/internship supervisor, or director/coordinator/faculty member of any prior study abroad or international programs you have participated in.
  • Letters may be submitted by a high school teacher or counselor.
  • Reference letters cannot be submitted by family or close friends.

Alumni Profiles

From 2016 – 2018, a total of 38 U.S. students from 24 different institutions nationwide have participated in the Nakatani RIES Fellowship for U.S. students.  Institutions represented to date include:

Institution Name Participants Institution Name Participants
Bethel University 2 St. Joseph’s College (NY)  1
Brown University 1 Stevens Institute of Technology  1
Carnegie Mellon University 2 University of Florida  1
Case Western Reserve University 2 University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa  2
College of William and Mary 1 University of Massachusetts, Amherst  1
Columbia University 1 University of Pittsburgh  1
Cornell University 2 University of Rochester  1
Georgia Institute of Technology 1 University of Texas, Austin  3
Pennsylvania State University 1 University of Wisconsin, Madison  1
Purdue University 1 Washington University in St. Louis  1
Rice University 8 Willamette University  1
Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale 1 Yale University  1

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review our alumni profiles and the PDFs of past student research posters to learn more about the experience of doing research in Japan as a Nakatani RIES U.S. Fellow.

If selected as a participant,  your experience will be unique and different from our past participants.  Research host labs and projects may vary, the members of an individual research group will change as students graduate and new students join, and each participant’s motivations, personality, and attitude will be different and influence your experience in Japan. No two student’s Nakatani RIES experiences will be exactly alike.

Ready To Apply?

Students are encouraged to check back to our website in mid-to-late November 2018 for more information on next year’s program. For information on other international study, research, and internship programs you may be eligible to apply for see the Other Related Programs for U.S. Students page.

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