Overview of the Program

School of Human Sciences/ Graduate School of Human Sciences

The School of Human Sciences was established in 1972 covering three academic disciplines: psychology, sociology, and education. It was the first school or faculty to carry the name ‘human sciences’ in Japan. In 1976 the Graduate School of Human Sciences was created offering Master and Doctoral level programs. The school offers interdisciplinary courses that aim to foster a better understanding of human beings and build a more humane and just society. Areas of study include sociology, anthropology, philosophy, education, behavioral sciences, psychology, human development, and area studies. Our focus is the development of an interdisciplinary, international, and problem-solving orientation to research and education.

Human Sciences International Undergraduate Degree Program

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) of Japan launched the Global 30 project in 2009 to increase the international competitiveness of Japanese universities in the context of high levels of global student mobility. Global 30 is part of the Ministry’s plan to increase the number of international students in Japan to 300,000 by the year 2020 and is shorthand for MEXT’s Project for Establishing Core Universities for Internationalization. We are expected to develop programs in English at undergraduate and graduate levels, and to create an enabling campus environment for international students. At the same time, internationalization of these university campuses is expected to help Japanese students and researchers increase language skills and foster the confidence to become active players in today’s increasingly global world.

The School of Human Sciences offers an undergraduate degree program taught in English – the Human Sciences International Undergraduate Degree Program. The program aims to cultivate self-motivated and reflective students with a sophisticated knowledge base and the necessary practical skills to meet the challenges of our fast-changing, globalized world. It will also provide students with a well-defined area of expertise and a high level of inter-cultural competency.

Political and Global Studies

Knowledge of Politics and international relations is more important than ever in today's interconnected world. The Political and Global Studies focus offers students a rigorous selection of courses covering domestic politics, international relations, and political economy. Examples of courses include Peace and Conflict Studies, East Asian Politics, Globalization , as well as courses on Japanese politics. Students will synthesize the knowledge they gain from advanced study into writing their 4th year undergraduate thesis. Overall, the Political and Global Studies focus offers students a range of knowledge, training, and critical thinking skills appropriate for a politically or international focused career.

Diversity and Inclusion Studies

This focus asks students to address issues of equality, participation and inclusion for people who are very differently located in society. Students will be expected to explore the questions of what system and practices are needed to create greater equality, participation, and inclusion across diverse setting such as education, health, and business. Examples of courses include: Human Rights; Health, Education and Inequality, Civil Society Movements, Sociology of Migration, and Gender and Development. Students focusing on Diversity and Inclusion Studies will gain skills and knowledge that will provide a good foundation for further study leading to a future career working in international organization such as UNESCO, non-profit organization charities and corporate social responsibility sections, and human resource manegenant in companies.

Japan Studies

Economically, technologically, and culturally, Japan has a major impact on global society. Healthy living and a universal system of health care have helped Japan achieve the longest life expectancy in the world, yet this has come hand-in-hand with the challenge if hyper-aging. In a society that has 'too-few-children', demographics and how to better balance work and family life are major issues. The Japan Studies focus invites students to study Japan from a number of angles including its culture, social systems,and institutions, as well as its global influence, Examples of courses include: Contemporary Educational Issues in Japan, Social Stratification in Japan, Religion in Japanese Society, Popular Culture, and Japanese Law. Students who take this concentration will be well positioned to seek employment in Japanese organizations and Japan-related fields overseas

Shared Vision for the Three Studies

The Human Sciences International Undergraduate Degree Program aims to give students a well-defined area of disciplinary expertise that can be applied in different settings to bring workable solutions to a variety of problems and issues. After taking shared foundation courses in the first three semesters, from the fourth semester students will begin to take advanced courses. At that time, we will invite students to choose one of the above three areas. At graduation, students are awarded a Bachelor of Human Sciences.

We encourage you to:

  • Think about facts and data from comparative and multiple perspectives, and to look at contemporary Japan from a variety of viewpoints and to recognize that it is in a process of dynamic transformation;
  • Compare your home country and Japan, and examine both in historical, regional, and global contexts;
  • Study and analyze contemporary issues as a global citizen, and present your own views and ideas logically using relevant terms and theoretical frameworks;
  • Engage in constructive dialogue and deliberations with other students, faculty members, and a variety of social actors in order to take necessary action independently and/or in collaboration for effective problem solving;
  • Acquire high-level Japanese language proficiency sufficient to take elective courses offered in Japanese in different human sciences-related disciplines in your senior year.

The Program features highly interactive and innovative teaching with students having close contact with international professors across a wide range of human science disciplines. The research, linguistics, and high-level academic skills that this Program sets firmly as learning outcomes will make you attractive to a variety of future employers once you graduate. We see some of you staying on to work for companies in Japan, while others may choose international companies with a Japan portfolio or with a global orientation. Regardless of which area you eventually take you will have numerous opportunities to continue studies at the post-graduate level at Osaka University, or at other top-level universities in Japan or overseas.