Graduate School of Asia-Pacific StudiesWaseda University

About the School

Vision,Characteristics,Fundamental Policies


In the midst of the rapid globalization that marks the contemporary world, the presence of the Asia-Pacific region is becoming more significant than ever in the fields of international politics, economy, society and culture. The mission of the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies(GSAPS) is based on two principles: 1) To pursue academic research that balances global and regional perspectives in addressing the range of historical, political, economic, business management, industrial, social, and cultural issues arising among and across the nations of the Asia-Pacific region; and 2) To cultivate future professionals who are experts in their fields and who can apply their advanced training and knowledge to contribute broadly to improving the living standards and social conditions of individuals around the world.

Solving the various issues emerging out of the contemporary global society requires acquiring historical and cultural understandings of the region combined with analytical tools from the disciplines of international relations, policy studies, and international development. To this end, GSAPS is one of the few educational institutions in the world that offers an interdisciplinary International Relations program which trains students in three specializations: Area Studies, International Relations, and International Development/Policy Studies. Faculty and students come from diverse backgrounds, and as part of the vibrant GSAPS community students are able to experience a microcosm of the global society as they pursue a range of curricular and research activities.

The Six Characteristics of GSAPS

1.Japanese and English Bilingual Education

Since its founding in 1998, GSAPS has been the first graduate institution in Waseda University to offer a fully bilingual education in Japanese and English, allowing students to earn a degree in either language of their choice. Core courses can be taken in either Japanese or English, with Japanese versions offered in the Spring Semester and English versions offered in the Fall (depending on the course and the year).

2.An International Learning Environment with Students from over 50 Countries and Regions

Over 70% of the student body comes from overseas to study at GSAPS, allowing students to experience a multinational, multicultural educational environment with a diverse group of students from a variety of backgrounds. Many of the foreign students include those selected for highly prestigious MEXT Scholarships from the Japanese Ministry of Education, highly trained professionals who have already built careers in Asia and who are recipients of Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS), and government workers who are selected by foreign governmental agencies to study at GSAPS.

3.A Comprehensive Research Environment Specially Designed for Graduate Study

As an independent graduate research institution with no undergraduate program, faculty members are dedicated to mentoring GSAPS graduate students and conducting high-level research. In addition to the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, faculty members are also highly specialized researchers at the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (WIAPS). Together, GSAPS and WIAPS form a joint education and research institution which aims to address the momentous growth and changes in the Asia-Pacific region by constructing a network for international education and research and by becoming a center of research and information on the region. To this end, GSAPS/WIAPS is dedicated to producing research results of superior quality that rival those of the top researchers from around the world. These research activities are not limited to the faculty, as graduate students themselves become actively involved in the various research projects that are conducted at WIAPS, and students are thus enabled to further develop and enhance their own research in the process.

4.Faculty with Diverse, Real-World Experience

GSAPS faculty members are more than just researchers who are leading experts in their fields. In addition to academic research activities, faculty members are also researchers who have diverse, real-world experience as professionals in international institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and UNICEF, as well as in governmental agencies, business, and media industries around the world.

5.Active Support for International Activities

GSAPS actively supports a range of international activities including exchange programs, overseas field research, and internships. GSAPS has developed international academic exchange treaties with a variety of top-class institutions across Asia, and students are able to spend up to one full semester as exchange students. Moreover, students wishing to conduct field research in Southeast Asia are also able to take advantage of the Haraguchi Memorial Asia Research Fund to receive funding for their research activities. In addition, every year GSAPS students take advantage of Waseda University’s internship programs with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Asian Development Bank and are able to receive course credit as they gain hands-on professional experience.

6.A Global Network of Active Alumni

Since its founding 16 years ago, a total of 1,867 students have graduated from the MA Program and have gone on to become leaders in a variety of countries in the fields of international cooperation and development, international civil service and public affairs, international business, and advanced research. In addition, 223 students have received their Ph.D.s and are active in universities and research institutes across the world.

GSAPS Three Fundamental Policies

The fundamental ideology of the International Studies Program at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies; GSAPS, is as follows:

Admissions Policy

‘Focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, GSAPS seeks not only to conduct interdisciplinary research from the global and regional perspectives in the fields of regional history, politics, economics, industry, business management, society, culture and various international concerns, but also to deepen understanding of a growing Asia-Pacific region, and to mold future experts and researchers who can assume responsibility of the region’s future’.
GSAPS seeks students from both the domestic and international arenas, who are keen to learn and motivated to excel, and aim for a better future for the global society.
For our MA Program, GSAPS welcomes application not only from undergraduate students, but professionals who have relevant work experience, and seek to further enhance the well-being of global society, instead of just one’s home country. For our Ph.D. Program, GSAPS seeks candidates who have high-level of understanding and specialized knowledge in their field of research, and aim to become specialists and researchers who can contribute effectively to global society, including the Asia-Pacific region.
In respect of admissions evaluation, on top of agreeing to the fundamental ideology of the Graduate School, GSAPS attaches great importance to the following three factors.

  1. Accurate understanding of the various global problems and possess the knowledge to identify and formulate solutions
  2. Ability to think rationally and logically
  3. Communications capacity, including language abilities skills required in global society

Curriculum Policy

For the MA Program in International Relations, there are three fields of research – Area Studies, International Relations, and International Cooperation/ Policy Studies. Students will focus on one field and can choose to take courses from the other fields. Students can observe and analyze the growing Asia-Pacific region from various viewpoints, as it is organized systemically to facilitate the learning process. Classes are offered in both Japanese and English.
With an extensive network of internal, domestic and international partners, GSAPS has become an educational hub. Together with the students and faculty members, GSAPS works closely with the partners (‘external actors’) and implement the ‘Triangle Method’. Classes are divided into core, basic and advanced courses, and (free) electives. In addition, each project research advisor (faculty member) provides academic guidance on thesis writing and research methods to students in the form of a project seminar. GSAPS is currently implementing important curriculum changes in order to meet the needs of cultivating specialists of Asia, international civil servants, information and media specialists and experts of business in Asia.
For the Ph.D. Program in International Studies, GSAPS faculty members support the Ph.D. candidates in the penning of doctoral thesis (dissertation), in Japanese or English.
Students can choose to complete their master’s thesis or doctoral thesis (dissertation) in Japanese or English.

Diploma Policy

Focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, GSAPS seeks not only to conduct interdisciplinary research from the global and regional perspectives in the fields of regional history, politics, economics, industry, business management, society, culture and various international concerns, but also to further deepen the understanding of a growing Asia-Pacific region. GSAPS seeks to train future experts, specialists and researchers who can assume responsibility of the region’s future.
Graduates of the MA Program in International Relations will be able to view issues from a wide spectrum, possess an advanced level of professional knowledge and research skills with regards to the field of international relations, and obtain highly-sort skills required of a specialist. They will be conferred the degree of ‘MA (Master of Arts) in International Relations’.
Graduates of the Ph.D. Program in International Studies will be able to conduct independent research as a specialist of the Asia-Pacific region, in the fields of Area Studies, International Relations, International Cooperation/ Policy Studies. They will possess the required high-level research skills in order to carry out specialized tasks, and become an independent and learned scholar. They will be conferred the degree of ‘Ph.D. in International Studies’.

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