Find friends and rivals of a lifetime
The following is a message to the new Waseda students from Kaoru Kamata, Waseda’s University President.
Dear newly admitted students,
I extend my warmest welcome to you all. Our institution was founded over 135 years ago by Shigenobu Okuma, a well-admired politician who served five times as foreign minister and twice as prime minister of Japan. He achieved major fiscal reforms and aided industrial development by negotiating amendments to unequal treaties formed with Western powers, unifying Japan’s currency system, and establishing the Board of Audit of Japan and so on. He then stepped away from politics in 1881 and founded Waseda University on October 21, 1882. To learn more about the University’s history, I recommend you to visit the History for Tomorrow Museum, which just opened this March.
The University was founded upon the following three principles: 1) the independence of learning, or the dedication to free and creative research for the advancement of civilization; 2) the practical application of knowledge, a practical utilization of knowledge for the public good; and 3) the promotion of good citizenship, a contribution to the welfare of society through educational and research opportunities and preparing individuals to become global leaders. Under these principles, Waseda has set its eyes on the world from the start, exemplified by the University accepting its first group of international students in 1884, which led to the establishment of the School of Chinese Students (1905), the International Affairs Division (1963), and the School of International Liberal Studies (2004), and the introduction of the English-based degree programs (1998 and onwards). Through active participation in intercultural exchange, Waseda has played a pioneering role in internationalization in Japan.
Leading globalization in education and research
More recently in 2012, the University formulated Waseda Vision 150, a strategic plan which aims to implement university-research-community relation projects and structural reforms in university management that meet global standards. As a result of executing this plan, we have concluded academic exchange agreements with more than 800 universities worldwide, and have expanded our English-based degree programs to 7 undergraduate and 13 graduate degrees. Also, Waseda’s educational programs such as the Double Degree Program and diverse study abroad options has proven effective, for more than 7,100 international students come to study here throughout the year while 4,100 students go abroad. Additionally, we are pushing forward with conducting innovative research for the future, and in the latest QS World University Rankings, Waseda placed in the top 50 across 4 different subjects.
For better classroom experience, the number of interactive, small-size classes that focus on problem solving has increased, and over 80% of the classes now enroll less than 50 students. We have also increased opportunities in experience-based learning, such as volunteering, fieldwork, and internships. Today, more than 30,000 students participate in these activities annually. Further, there are 2,300 courses open to all students to stimulate their intellectual curiosity, and through the diverse study abroad options available, more than 40% of the students go abroad before graduating.
To facilitate independent learning, the University has upgraded its facilities as well. For instance, Building 3 at the Waseda campus is equipped with information and communication technology (ICT) facilities and multipurpose rooms to boost interaction among students and hone their problem solving skills. The Learning Commons in Building 7 (known as W Space), Building 61 at the Nishiwaseda campus, and the Tokorozawa Library all serve as a space for students to study individually or in groups. Not to mention, the Waseda Arena, a multifunctional sports arena with an adjoining Learning Commons, is scheduled to be completed at the Toyama campus in 2019.
Learning together with students from all walks of life
Lastly, freedom and diversity have been traditionally valued at Waseda University. In addition to your studies, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourselves in academic and cultural activities, as well as sports. You will also meet unique and exceptional students from across Japan and all over the world who will greatly influence you to challenge yourselves. We strongly encourage students from provincial areas and nontraditional students to apply for creating an inclusive and diverse Waseda community. Currently, more than 38% of our undergraduate students are female (37% when including graduate students), and over 40,000 working adults study at Waseda. In this sense, Waseda is unique because you can expect to grow as a person and build character through interactions with people from all walks of life.
I hope that you will take full advantage of the finest education and research environment we have to offer while developing your talents and shaping your personalities through in-depth learning, discussions, and understanding together with your peers who come from different backgrounds and embrace different values. I also sincerely hope that you will become innovative as researchers and experts by making diligent efforts in your studies and research. To realize the ideals presented by our institution’s principles, my advice for you is to find friends and rivals who will walk together with you along this long road ahead.
Welcome to Waseda University!
President of Waseda University