Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology
Space Engineering International Course
( S E I C )
The purpose of SEIC - and why it does well
Kyushu Institute of Technology (hereafter, “Kyutech”), an institute of higher education with “national-university status”, was founded in the Year 1909 in the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. Kyutech launched a new post-graduate program, the Space Engineering International Course (SEIC), in April of 2013. The primary purpose of the program is to graduate engineers who have well-honed inter-cultural communication skills and a keen sense of viewing problem-solving and solution-creation with a broad, global systems engineering perspective.
The program offers:  Research under supervision of a faculty member toward a Master or Doctoral degree,  a series of lectures (all in English) on space engineering by faculty members,  Project Based Learning (PBL) through concept development in collaboration with Japanese students, and  “hands-on” training on space environment testing using state-of-the-art engineering facilities. The program provides the on-the-job experience necessary to acquire basic capabilities in space technology (such as satellite design). In particular, SEIC graduates will have the know-how to develop satellite-development infrastructure in their own countries through the actual testing of nano-satellites. Hence, classroom learning is a small fraction of the SEIC experience. Most of the learning here occurs through “doing” or “designing”. You would spend far more time in the lab than in the classroom. Also, the SEIC experience is extremely international. In SEIC, there are more students from overseas than from Japan. (As of October 2018, there are 27 Japanese students enrolled in SEIC while 41 foreign students from 21 countries are enrolled in SEIC.)
Through the SEIC program, Kyutech answers the call for long-term educational opportunities for capacity building of basic space technologies made by the United Nation Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). As well, Kyutech answers the UN call for Member States to contribute to the promotion of the peaceful and innovative use of outer space through the participation of non-space-faring nations. Our enrollment figure for international students signify the success that we are achieving for answering the UN calls.
Space Engineering Education and Research at Kyutech
Since 1993, Kyutech has provided space engineering education to a class of approximately 30 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels under the Department of Mechanical and Control Engineering. In 2004, Kyutech established a new research and education center: The Laboratory of Spacecraft Environmental Interaction Engineering (hereafter, “LaSEINE”). LaSEINE is dedicated to R&D on spacecraft charging, hypervelocity impact, material degradation and on a wide variety of nano-satellite testing. Currently, LaSEINE is supported by twelve academic staff (and three administrative staff) who work with an annual research budget exceeding one million US dollars.
In 2010, a new research division, the Center for Nanosatellite Testing (CeNT) was added to LaSEINE. With the exception of radiation testing, CeNT provides all the environmental tests necessary for the development of small satellites (and satellite components) with size and weight up to 50cmx50cmx50cm and 50 kg. In 2011, Kyutech became a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the first among Japanese universities.
Kyutech has the distinction of being the No. 1 university in the world in terms of launched small satellites – this is according to a space industry annual summary by Bryce Space and Technology. At the end of 2019, the small sat tally for Kyutech is 18 satellites. Accordingly, all SEIC students have the chance to get involved in satellite projects – just indicate your interest in hands-on experience. So far, Kyutech has launched: HORYU-II, Shinen-2, HORYU-IV, Aoba Velox-III, BIRDS-1 (5 satellites), BIRDS-2 (3 satellites), BIRDS-3 (3 satellites), Spatium-I, Ten-koh, and Aoba Velox-IV. Many new satellites are under development right now.
Curriculum of SEIC
SEIC is open to any student, Japanese or non-Japanese, who registers as a full-time graduate student in the Graduate School of Engineering here at Kyutech. A student who registers for SEIC belongs to one of five departments in the Graduate School of Engineering as follows:  Department of Mechanical and Control Engineering,  Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering,  Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering,  Department of Materials Science, and  Department of Applied Science for Integrated System Engineering. (by 2018)
A student who registers for SEIC belongs to one of ten courses in the Graduate School of Engineering as follows:  Architecture Course,  Civil Engineering Course,  Control Engineering Course,  Mechanical Engineering Course,  Mechanical and Space Systems Engineering Course,  Electrical and Space Systems Engineering Course,  Electrical Engineering Course,  Electronic Engineering Course,  Applied Chemistry Course,  Material Science and Engineering Course. (from 2019) Under supervision of a faculty member who belongs to one of these departments/courses, the graduate student carries out thesis work towards a Masters or Doctoral degree.
The general requirements, such as the number of credits, thesis work, etc., to be satisfied by SEIC students are the same as other students who register for ordinary Graduate School of Engineering courses. SEIC students shall satisfy the course requirements by selecting from the subjects listed in SEIC Curriculum. The requirements for the Masters course are to obtain 30 or more credits from SEIC Master program subjects, and the requirements for the Doctoral course are to obtain 10 or more credits from SEIC Doctor program subjects. Upon writing and successfully defending a Masters or Doctoral thesis, the student will be awarded a Master of Engineering (or Master of Science) or a Doctor of Engineering (or Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering) degree by the Graduate School of Engineering.
You can download SEIC curriculum and the syllabus from the website.
Some subjects are given as lectures. Yet, Space Environment Testing Workshop, is given as a laboratory workshop utilizing facilities of the Center for Nano-satellite Testing (CeNT). Also, Practical System Engineering - Design is a project based learning class where students participate in a space-related project such as nano-satellite design, winged-body rocket, Mars airplane, etc. Very often the output of this class is an entry into UNISEC’s Mission Idea Contest (MIC).
Kyutech employs a semester system (two academic terms per year). The first (spring) semester starts on April 1st and the second (fall) semester starts on October 1st. Most Japanese students start on the first semester while most foreign students start their study on the second semester (in most countries the academic year starts in September, but not in Japan).
Foreign students who wish to study at SEIC shall follow the application procedure described on the Kyutech Official Website. Each year, two examinations are scheduled in July and January. The application periods are in May and December, respectively.
Fellowship opportunity (PNST)
In October of 2012, the SEIC of Kyutech, in collaboration with UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs), was selected as a "Special Program for Priority Allocation of Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarships". Each year from 2013 to 2017, six students (two for the Master course and four for the Doctor course) from 2018 to 2020, six students (three for the Master course and three for the Doctor course) can receive a MEXT scholarship to study in the SEIC program. This scholarship (or fellowship) is managed under the framework of the United Nations/Japan Long-Term Fellowship Programme. More specifically, this scholarship is called the Post-graduate study on Nano-Satellite Technologies (PNST). The application package for the fellowship programme is available at the UNOOSA website; the relevant PNST site will come up with a Google search on “PNST Fellowship”. Note that the PNST site is fully self-contained: it contains all of the information that you need to apply, as well as the application package itself. The use of this PNST site is the only way to apply to PNST. There is no other method or route.
Please download this pdf: Space Engineering International Course - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). This FAQ covers the cost of enrolling in SEIC, among many other topics.
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