JDS China 中国年轻行政人员长期培养支援项目



University of Tsukuba (National)

Graduate School of Business Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Tsukuba
URL of Graduate School (English)
Name of Course/Program
Master’s Program in International Public Policy
URL of Course/Program (English)
Master of Arts in International Public Policy
Credit and years needed for graduation
30 credits, 1 and half years

Features of Graduate School

Since April 2020, the University of Tsukuba Graduate School has been fully re-organized into new degree programs. With the purpose of providing high quality education necessary for addressing many challenges facing the world today, our new degree programs have strengthened their design as competency-based education programs that grant a master’s or doctoral degree to those students who reach the level of competences judged as required for those degrees. Competences (general and specific) required for each degree are stated clearly in our diploma policies, curriculum policies, and admission policies. In terms of the academic organization, graduate students belong to educational organizations (graduate schools and degree programs), while professors belong to research organizations called “faculties” and provide educational services to educational organizations as needed. Under such arrangement, graduate students will be able to acquire a wide range of knowledge through the classes taught by professors belonging to various faculties. The cooperation between educational and research organizations extends the possibilities of learning. The new Degree Programs in Humanities and Social Sciences aim to produce researchers, educators, and highly-skilled professionals with excellent research skills in the humanities and social sciences who are also creative and flexible enough to cope with frontiers of academic development and changing social demands.

Since 1975, the Master’s Program in International Area Studies, the former home of the JDS program, has been providing comprehensive academic training aimed at producing highly skilled professionals with deep knowledge and understanding of major regions in the world. Our program adopted a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the study of world regions, emphasizing the process of historical development, natural environment, social structures and institutions, and culture. The instruction and research program has been designed to give both specialized knowledge of disciplines as tools of analysis, as well as training to produce specialists in a particular geographic region. Students have been expected to acquire a good command of a selected analytical discipline as a basis of their research, but at the same time obtain understandings of other related disciplines and subjects to comprehensively and critically analyze the issues at hand. The program has been offering both disciplinary subjects and area studies subjects. The former included international relations, public policy, comparative politics, development economics, social and cultural anthropology, among others. Since early 2000s, the Master’s Program in International Area Studies have accepted JDS fellows from many developing countries in Asia.

With the reorganization of April 2020, the JDS program, as a special program completely taught in English, is now placed within the new Master’s Program in International Public Policy. With this reorganization, the focus of our teaching and research has become more focused on public policy-oriented subjects. We have expanded faculty providing classes and academic advice for students in related subjects. Given the highly policy-oriented research interests of JDS fellows, we believe our new program has become even more suited for the needs of young civil servants who are seeking to strengthen their analytical skills to serve their respective countries.

Our graduate program is open to accept many motivated foreign students, and have various academic exchange agreements with universities around the world. Currently, over half of the enrolled students in our program are foreign students. This highly diverse student body helps the enrolled students gain a broad and international perspective. Our faculty composition is also international. JDS fellows will have ample opportunities to interact with other students from Japan and from around the world, which should broaden their perspective both professionally and personally.

In addition to the JDS Program, the Master’s Program in International Public Policy currently accepts foreign students for the following special English-language programs:

  • Special Program in Japanese and Eurasian Studies (SPJES)
  • ABE Initiative (African Business Education) Program
  • Program in Economic and Public Policy (PEPP: with the World Bank and ADB Scholarship)

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Features of the Course/Program

Objective of the Program:
The JDS Program is established as a special Master’s program where students can complete all the degree requirements in 18-months. (Regular Master’s Program is a two-year program.) The JDS Program aims to strengthen the analytical skills of the young professionals in developing countries, so they would become better equipped to tackle many challenges facing their countries.

Features of the Master’s Program:
This program is designed as a special 18-month Master’s program. Students are expected to combine their practical knowledge from their policy-related work experiences and the academic skills they gain in the program. Based on the expectation that fellows are ready to start their thesis research immediately upon entering the program, the program requires that the same number of credits and thesis submission are to be completed in 18 months, rather than the regular program’s two years. In the past cohorts, fellows usually completed most of the required course credits during the first year, so that they can concentrate on completing their master thesis during the remaining 6 months.

In order to obtain a Master of Arts degree in International Public Policy, fellows need to comply with the following requirements:

Gereral Foundation Subjects

  • At least 1 credit or more from [General Educations Courses for Graduate School]
  • At least 1 credit or more from [Common Specialized Foundation Courses of Graduate School of Business Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences]
  • 2 credits from [Common Subjects in Degree Programs in Humanities and Social Sciences]
    of two compulsory subjects (“Joint Outstanding Theses Seminar”, “Academic Writing and Research Ethics”)]

Foundation Subjects for Major

  • 2 credits or more from [Foundation Subjects for Major]

Specialized Subjects

  • 8 credits or more from [Specialized Subjects]
  • 6 credits from“International Public Policy Research Workshop A/B” 3 credits each
  • ◆ 30 credits or more in total
  • ◆ Completion and successful defense of a master’s thesis

The requirements of compulsory subjects (particularly “International Public Policy Research Workshop”) include carrying out research toward completion of the master thesis under the guidance of thesis advisors, presenting research progress in a mid-term presentation, submitting a completed master thesis and defending the thesis in oral examination.

More than 90 subjects are offered (in English) in the areas of public policy, international relations, area studies (history, politics, economics, culture studies, etc.), anthropology, and sociology. If it is considered valuable for the students’ research topics, additional subjects offered in other Graduate Programs may also be selected. Fellows can select any subjects from our offerings according to their research interest, with the guidance of their academic advisors.

JDS fellows will be guided to develop their research topics that are policy relevant and clearly defined so they can complete their Master’s theses within 1 and a half years of research. Given the availability of faculty who are specialized in many different international area studies, a perspective of comparative analysis may be adopted in the theses. Each student will have one main advisor and two sub-advisors selected according to their respective research topic. In addition, a weekly JDS seminar (“Special Seminar in Public Policy”), which is attended by all JDS fellows and advising professors, gives the fellows opportunities to present their research progress and receive advice and suggestions on a regular basis. The students are encouraged to adopt empirical research methods, such as fieldwork and primary data collection.

During the academic year, one or two study trips are organized, visiting different parts of Japan (We have visited Hokkaido, Okinawa, Hiroshima, and Nagoya in the past years,). Throughout the academic year, various special seminars by invited outside lecturers are organized. The JDS fellows work closely with their advising professors. While an independent attitude to advance their research is required, JDS fellows will also have ample opportunities to seek advices and instructions from the faculty. Additionally, each JDS fellow is assigned a tutor (from among senior graduate students), who can help with their school life.

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Necessary Curriculum to Obtain the Degrees

Courses taught through English language for the 2023 academic year (English Course)
Please refer to the attached Class Catalogue (appendix 1)

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List of Faculty members capable of guiding JDS China Fellows and their Research Specialties

Core Faculty Members for the JDS Program

  • Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki*Political Communication, New Media and Politics, Website Analysis, Internet Studies
    (JDS Program Coordinator)
  • Mari Minowa*Development Economics, Economic Development in Latin America
  • Kenichi Kashiwagi*Development Economics, Economic Development in Middle East and North Africa
  • Abdul Malek Mohammad*Development Economics, Policy Impact Evaluation
  • Abu Girma Moges*African Economy, Income Distribution and Inequality, Fiscal Federalism
  • Hajime Akiyama* Constitutional Law, International Law, International Politics, Peace Studies
  • Aki Mouri*Politics of China, International Relation

*Advising committee for each fellow will be determined after the second JDS seminar around mid-October.
Each student will have one main advisor and two sub-advisors selected according to their respective research topics.

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Academic Schedule

Date Targeted students Event & things to-do
(Month) (Day)
September Late JDS Program Guidance (TBA)
  30 Whole
Entrance Ceremony
October 3   Classes begin (Autumn Semester)
  Early JDS First session of JDS Seminar
  Mid   Due date of registration for Autumn Semester’s courses
November 4   (~6) University Festival
December 29   (~Jan.5 2022) Winter Break
Early   Study Trip (TBA)
  14   Last day of classes for the Autumn Semester
  17   (~31) Spring Break
April Early   Classes (2023) Begin (first or second week in April)
September Late JDS MA Thesis Midterm Presentation
November Mid Prospective
Thesis title submission
Early JDS Thesis submission
January Mid JDS Thesis Oral Defense
February   JDS Study Trip (tentative)
March Late Whole
Graduation Ceremony

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Facilities (ex: Library, PCs, Gymnasium etc.)

Since a student dormitory is not available for JDS fellows on campus, fellows will live in privately-owned rental apartments. On campus, students will have a full access to all the library facilities and Internet-connected computer rooms. Each fellow will also receive an individual copy card, which allows the student to make a set number of document copies in the Program photocopy room. JDS fellows will also be assigned an individual desk in the study room on campus. In the room, Wireless LAN is available and a desk-top PC and a printer are equipped for joint use of the fellows. Individual lockers are also available for storing personal belongings.

University campus has various cafeterias, mini-shops, book stores, a post office, a travel agency office, the foreign language center with language laboratory, the university medical clinic and International Student Center. A full range of exercise facilities on campus can also be utilized.

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Advice for our Graduate School Applicants

One of the important characteristics of the JDS Program at the University of Tsukuba is that it is an intensive 18-month program for the Master’s degree. JDS fellows are expected to complete all the requirements for the degree in 18 months, while regular Japanese students complete these requirements over two years. Therefore, it is important that fellows are prepared to spend 18 months of very intensive academic work. While it is challenging, our experience with the past cohorts of JDS fellows demonstrates that it is quite feasible to successfully complete the program obtaining the Master’s Degree in International Studies at the end. All of the JDS fellows arrive in Tsukuba with several years of experience in working for the government or other public organizations. Therefore, they have fairly clear motivation and understanding of the issues they want to investigate. This certainly helps the fellows to quickly focus their study plan. For those of you who are considering applying to the JDS Program at the University of Tsukuba, our advice for you is to think very concretely about the important policy issues that are relevant for your country and your respective work areas, which also interest you. It will help you a lot, once you start your study, to have as specific and concrete a research topic and research question as possible before you arrive in Japan.

While the JDS Program does not intend to train individuals as academic researchers, a strong analytical ability that the fellows acquire during their study in our graduate program should be a valuable asset to all the graduating fellows regardless of their future professional career.

University of Tsukuba is very international, and you will have many chances to meet students from around the world as well as opportunities to make Japanese friends. The faculty of our program is also international. Professors are open and approachable, and very happy to help the JDS fellows make the best of the time they spend in Tsukuba.

The living environment of Tsukuba is not as hectic as in a big city like Tokyo, and you will enjoy comfortable and relaxed atmosphere of the large and beautiful campus and the surrounding areas. If you are successfully selected to become one of the JDS fellows to come to Tsukuba, you are certain to have a very intensive and productive, and also quite memorable 18 months.