Graduate School of Social SciencesWaseda University

About the School

Policy and History

Social Sciences Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Research & Education

Since the nineteenth century, the various fields of social sciences have become increasingly fragmented and specialized. While this has undoubtedly allowed many sophisticated theories to be developed, it has also led the way for the individual fields to become independent and shut off from each other – a state of affairs that has been detrimental to fields spanning multiple disciplines. In marked contrast, globalization, regionalization, and the shift towards an information-orientated society continue to accelerate, and the entire world now faces many common problems such as environmental issues. To resolve problems related to government, economy, law, and culture, the social sciences must adopt a more comprehensive approach instead of just focusing on individual disciplines.

Academia must never lose touch with real society. In addition to mapping society (which is changing rapidly) and the current state of academia, the Graduate School of Social Sciences aims to cultivate human resources with the ability to act as knowledge coordinators. These human resources will be trained to acquire and develop specialized knowledge, to recognize problems and to work to solve them from a wider, more comprehensive perspective by systematically utilizing expertise from a wide range of fields.

Higher Education for the Public

By providing both day and evening courses, the Graduate School of Social Sciences is also open to members of the public. In order to cope flexibly and practically with changes in society, it is necessary for the academia to develop ties with persons who play an active role in various areas of society. By providing a means for mutual exchange between society and academia in terms of the expertise and hands-on experience of the former and the results of research and education of the latter, this graduate school aims to produce specialists with practical, multidimensional capabilities. Since its establishment, we have conferred degrees on a great number of individuals, including both students and members of the public. Many of them have obtained master’s degrees and a number of these graduates have advanced to the doctoral program. Then, the members of the public having completed these studies often put their newly-gained knowledge to practical use in businesses and research organizations.

Furthermore, this graduate school also opens its doors to international students. In addition to foreign academic staff, we have a large number of Japanese instructors with specialist research expertise in the fields of international economics, society, and culture. By promoting intellectual exchange between students and academic staff from Asia and other countries all over the world, this graduate school aims to provide graduates with the necessary skills to view issues from a much wider perspective and to play an active role in global society.

Structure

The Graduate School of Social Sciences offers a choice of two majors – one in Global Society, the other in Policy Sciences. As massive migration of people, goods, and information causes our global community to draw ever closer together, students majoring in Global Society will principally adopt an all-encompassing, international approach to their research activities. Given the level of interest in regional integration such as the East Asian Community, geographical imbalances in wealth and widening economic disparities, and the trend towards the resurgence of local identities (as shown by ethnic conflicts and religious hostilities), it is not hard to see that today’s global society often behaves in a way that contradicts the ideals of globalism. The Major in Global Society provides students with an opportunity to do research in six areas: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Social Sciences, International Studies, Area Studies, Policy Design for the Welfare Society, Sustainability Science, and Contemporary Japanese Studies, so that they may examine the related global-scale problems from a more comprehensive viewpoint.

While facilitating globalism and further development of the information society, the steady march of technology represents both an opportunity for the growth of new businesses and real wealth together with changes in population structure. It is also a potent force capable of transforming the roles and methods of systems, organizations and groups that directly affect our daily lives such as governments, the public sector, civil society, corporations communities, families, and mass media. The major in Policy Sciences provides students with an opportunity to do research in seven areas: Public Policy, Civil Society, Human Resource Management and Empowerment Studies, Policy Design for the Welfare Society, Sustainability Science, Modern Management and Enterprises, and Urban Community Planning and Design. Here, students consider the constantly evolving problems of modern society in the context of specific themes such as medicine, welfare, human rights, urbanization, social solidarity, gender issues, corporations, business administration, distribution, and accounting in order to gain an understanding thereof from a broad range of different standpoints, and thus, to develop the ability to formulate more precise, tangible policy proposals.

Currently, the Graduate School of Social Sciences offers research in eleven areas, including Policy Design for the Welfare Society and Sustainability Science which are available for both majors. We plan to add further research areas and reorganize the current ones as needs arise.

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