The Double Degree Program

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Student Voice 4

Double Degree Program (DDP) Student Report

DDP Participant: Mr. P. I.
Major at Niigata University: Life and Food Sciences
Area of Specialization at Niigata University: Agriculture and Bioresources
Dispatching Institution: Mahidol University (Thailand)

I am a Double Degree Program (DDP) student under collaboration between Mahidol University, Thailand, and Niigata University, Japan. At this point in time, I had finished one year research at Niigata University and have been continuing a research at Mahidol University. I would like to express my opinion about the DDP program through my experience.

1. The difference of Ph.D. program between Mahidol and Niigata University

The main difference is the number of course work and the way of study. At Niigata University, there is only few coursework, and each of them was provided only in a short period. But Mahidol University requires more coursework, and we have to attend a class all semester long. So, during the 1st and 2nd semester, we have to concentrate in our coursework because if we get the grade below the regulation we will be dismissed from the program. Therefore, we only have a little time to do a research during that period.

2. Double Degree Program: Advantage and Flaw

The clear advantage of Double Degree Program is that I can get two degrees at the same time from both Niigata University and Mahidol University. This program provides a chance to do research at both universities. I can get the experience of conducting research at a different university with different colleagues.

However, the key success point of the DDP is the collaboration between the same areas of the research. As in my case, before I attended this program, my supervisors from both universities discussed very hard in order to fulfill this program because we had limited time. At Mahidol University, my research is about the enhancement of artemisinin by mutation and gibberellins treatment in Artemisia annua plant under the supervision of Assist. Prof. Kanyaratt Supaibulwatana. Correspondingly, Assoc. Prof. Masaru Nakano from Niigata University is doing a research on mutation by ion beam and gibberellins genes transformation in the flowering plant. Both advisors have had collaboration and set a topic by integrating our knowledge together, and as a result, my DDP research topic focuses on the genetic manipulation of Artemisia annua by the application of ion beam irradiation and transformation with gibberellin gene. So I can use my plant materials to do a research at Niigata University in order to save some time.

In conclusion, because one year of exchanged study period is very short, it needs a good collaboration. Therefore, both universities should have some meetings and events that encourage members to show their research work in order to make a good collaboration match.

3. Collaboration with Japanese Professors and Students

As mentioned above, both of my supervisors had talked about the collaboration before the DDP started. Therefore, my professor at Niigata University already prepared every necessary thing for the experiment. During the period of doing an experiment at Niigata University, my professor allowed me to freely discuss with him at any time. So, I could progress my work or discuss my problem with him immediately. We exchanged our idea and opinion, and he kindly gave me a lot of suggestions. I also had a chance to exchange the laboratory techniques and discuss the results with other Japanese students as well (especially my Lab mates). Moreover, every week I attended the laboratory seminar and discussed about the paper with other students.

4. Research Environment at Niigata University

Because we are conducting the same research areas, the research environment at both universities is very similar. At Niigata University, my advisor has assigned Mr. O., a master student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology (at that time) to be my lab partner. He was very kind and helpful. He helped me to do many things including lab work, preparing official documents and daily life. We always discussed and exchanged our knowledge. Furthermore, all students and other professors also kindly helped me every time I needed.

5. Valuable Experience in Niigata

The most valuable experience I had were Japanese life style and culture. I was impressed on how they work, how they enjoy festivals, how they dress, how they eat, etc. Especially, the way Japanese people take responsibility to the society and pay attention in punctuality. I really love the way Japanese people work.

6. My Current Situation

I had finished the coursework at both universities and finished one year research at Niigata University. Now, I have been continuing research at Mahidol University and preparing for the first manuscript. During this time, I consult with my professor at Niigata University via E-mail.

I am very glad to be a DDP student at Niigata University. During my stay in Niigata, I had gained many life experiences, met many good professors and friends. Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all DDP staffs at Graduate Schools of both Niigata University and Mahidol University for their hard work in order to create this good program.