Graduate School of Letters, Arts and SciencesWaseda University

About the School

From the Dean

 Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences

From the Dean

Miho Matsunaga

 It is 130 years since the founding of Tokyo Senmon Gakko (Tokyo College), the predecessor of Waseda University. Over its long history, Waseda University has remained the foremost institution in Japan for educating and nurturing researchers of thought, letters, and history, along with creators of culture. The Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, equipped with diverse courses and theoretical streams, has produced a steady stream of outstanding and individually gifted graduates.

As a follow-up to undergraduate education, the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences offers 22 diverse courses (specialized fields). This is where postgraduate students, highly motivated to deepen their specialist knowledge and conduct research from unique perspectives in a variety of academic fields, engage in their studies. In the academic year 2020, the Graduate School had more than 150 admissions in the Master’s Program, bringing its total number of students – including those in the Doctoral Program – to over 600. In recent years, the percentage of international students has also increased, and today stands at 20%. This makes us unique among graduate schools in the field of humanities in Japan in terms of both size and international flavor.

Despite possessing a long tradition and accumulation of research, the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences aims to turn its attention to new fields of study and transmit more research achievements into an increasingly globalized and digital world. Waseda University was selected under the Top Global University Project by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2014, giving further proof of how Waseda is regarded as a world-class education and research institution. Within the Top Global University Project, the International Japanese Studies course was launched as a core initiative. Together with the foundation of a new research institute and the invitation of researchers, the Graduate School newly launched the International Japanese Studies course in September 2018. Following on from the Doctoral Program, we are now accepting new admissions in the Master’s Program. In this course, for which we have invited the world’s foremost teachers from Columbia University and the University of California, we require in principle that doctoral dissertations be written in English. Moreover, in the International Japanese Studies course and all other courses offered by the Graduate School, dual-degree programs have been adopted whereby students can acquire dual degrees at both Waseda and an overseas partner graduate school.

Having partner universities around the world, Waseda University also offers an abundant selection of overseas exchange study programs, as well as various types of scholarships. Having a library that boasts one of the largest collections in Japan – including works that are regarded as national treasures – Waseda is also endowed with various tools for conducting research.

However, tools have no meaning without people using them. We hope that many young, budding researchers who are highly motivated and appreciate the joy of pursuing academic truth will continue to gather at the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Research is similar to mountain climbing; it takes time and requires physical exertion, but the more one progresses and climbs one step at a time, the more the scenery changes. Some views cannot be seen unless one is willing to climb. In the same way, some truths can only be seen if one is willing to engage in research.

Of course, one of the goals of the research is to produce results, but learning is also an exercise in confronting oneself. We live in a busy world at a time of bewildering change, but research entails patiently working and deepening one’s thinking on a single theme. It also involves being guided towards the innermost secrets and discoveries of learning through dialog and interaction with faculty, research laboratory peers, and researchers around the world. I hope that the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences becomes the setting for just such rich experiences.

 

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