Examining the question of “environment” with a clear focus on the human perspective In order to address this question, in addition to studying the natural environment we need to totally investigate a variety of relationships between the environment and people.
People require a variety of “environments” in the process of living and developing. An interdisciplinary, multi-field approach is used to research the huge range of ecologies, systems, cultures, people, societies, mentalities, and human behavior that make up these “environments”. By their nature, all environments require a focal point. The elements that surround this “core” are what make up the “environment”, and the Department of Human Behavior and Environmental Sciences considers these different “environments” from an open and broad perspective. Our focus is on humanity and human society, but this does not mean we are anthropocentric. What’s more, there is a need to consider environments not only in spatial terms but also across a timespan. For example, geological and archeological approaches are useful in trying to understand how people related to the environment in the past.
In order to explain the targets of research, the Department has set out four separate research areas (fields): “Biology and Environment, “Society”, “Culture”, and “Psychology and Behavior”. However, there is no need for students and teachers to be limited by these frameworks. They are free to carry out research with a focus on one area, or to study a broad cross-section of different areas. By encouraging students who join the department to acquire new environmental perspectives and work hard alongside our teachers to broaden their knowledge of each field, we aim to build a department that is truly capable of exploring human behavior and environmental science.
Three characteristics that explain learning at the Department of Human Behavior and Environmental Sciences
A large number of specialist courses to choose and study
Students are free to select from numerous environment-related themes and to build their own curriculum. Even if a student took the entrance exam or entered the University in a humanities subject, he or she is able to study the sciences from the basics, and vice versa. It goes without saying that students can takes courses with a focus on humanities or science subjects, and decide a balance between the two that suits them. This is one of the unique characteristics of a human behavior and environmental sciences department that blends the humanities and sciences. The Department also offers foreign language courses in addition to English, such as French, German, Spanish and Chinese.
Fostering human resources with problem-solving skills
We aim to foster human resources equipped with comprehensive knowledge of the human environment obtained through study with multi-faceted approaches and multiple perspectives, and with the ability to identify and solve problems independently. Students who go on to study at graduate school are able to take study and research into the humanities and sciences of “people and the environment” to the next level.
An emphasis on field work and practical courses
In addition to lecture-based specialist courses, there are compulsory courses in “experimental and survey research methods” and “seminar” courses with a focus on practical experience. Many members of the teaching staff carry out research in environmental, social and cultural fields both in Japan and overseas, and this provides students with opportunities to experience field work. At the same time, students have opportunities to carry out psychological and ethological experiments on campus, to carry out laboratory analyses in the field of biology, and to learn the basics of computer simulations. A variety of research methods are offered to suit both outdoor and indoor types.
The Department of Human Behavior and Environmental Sciences is made up of four different research areas.
Biology and Environment
Students research the types of environments in which people, animals and plants live, and questions related to food, agriculture and the environment from different perspectives, such as networks between global resources. Instruction is provided by teachers with expertise in fields such as environment ecology, global ecology, environmental management, environmental geology, behavioral ecology in animals, environmental economics and agricultural economics.
Students research a variety of problems related to the social environment in a range of sociological and anthropological fields. This field of research is supported by teachers with specialist knowledge in areas such as family sociology, work sociology, urban sociology, theories of Asian society, social anthropology, demography, and environmental sociology.
The environment is studied from the perspectives of archeology, culture and language, and students investigate relationships between people, and the relationships between people and things. Students can tackle a variety of different themes thanks to the diverse lineup of teaching staff, with specialisms in areas such as French culture social theory, German regional culture, Japanese archaeology, cultural anthropology, transcultural pedagogy, history of science, and Spanish area studies.
Psychology and Behavior
A person’s house, home town, family and local community form his or her “environment”, and students use environmental science to carry out active research into the question of how people’s feelings and behavior are formed and changed within this environment. The teaching staff is composed of specialists in fields such as the psychology of motivation, developmental sociology, environmental psychology, building environmental engineering and architectural design.