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 Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Tsukuba
Name of Course/Program
Master’s Program in International Area Studies
URL of Course/Program (English)
Master of Arts in International Studies
Credit and years needed for graduation
30 credits, 1 and a half years

Features of Graduate School

The Master’s Program in International Area Studies aims to provide a comprehensive academic understanding of the major regions in our rapidly changing world. The concept of area studies varies from one institution to another. Our program provides a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the major regions of the world, emphasizing the process of historical development, natural environment, social structures and culture. The instruction and research program is designed to give both specialized knowledge and professional training. Students are 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.  We offer both disciplinary subjects and area studies subjects. The former includes international relations, public policy, comparative politics, development economics, social and cultural anthropology, among others. 

We are eager to accept many foreign students, and have various academic exchange agreements with universities around the world. Currently, over half of the enrolled students are foreign students. This helps the students gain a broad and international perspective. The faculty is also international, and they come from about ten different countries. Additionally, as part of the globalized human resource development program specially funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the university has established ‘Area Studies Innovation Program (ASIP)’designed to train experts of developing and emerging countries in the world. JDS fellows will have many opportunities to interact with other students from Japan and from around the world, which should inspire their respective research.  

In addition to the JDS Program, we conduct the following special English programs;

  • Special Program in Japanese and Eurasian Studies
  • Special Program for Central Asian Countries in International Relations and Public Policy
  • ABE Initiative (African Business Education) Program
  • Program in Economic and Public Policy (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 18-month Master’s Program within the Master’s Program in International Area Studies. (Regular Master’s Program is a two-year program.) The JDS Program aims to strengthen the analytical ability of the young professionals in developing countries, so they would become better equipped to tackle the challenges of their countries’ development.

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

  • 8 or more credits from “Foundation Subjects for Major” and “”language and culture subjects”
  • 12 or more credits from “Area Studies Subjects”
  • 5 or more credits from “General Foundation Subjects”
  • 30 credits or more in total
  • Completion and successful defense of a master thesis

“General Foundation Subjects”consist of two compulsory subjects: “Research Workshop I (2 credits)” and “Seminar on Special Topics I (3 credits)”. The requirements of these compulsory courses include: carrying out research toward completion of the master thesis under the guidance of thesis advisors, present research progress in a mid-term presentation, submitting a completed master thesis and defending the thesis in oral examination.

About 98 subjects are offered (in English) in the areas of international relations, area studies (history, politics, economics, culture studies, etc), development studies and other related disciplines. If it is considered valuable for the students’ research themes, additional subjects offered in other Graduate Programs may be also selected. While fellows can select any subjects from our offerings according to their interest, we particularly recommend subjects such as “International Relations” “International Politics” “Public Policy” “International Development” “Comparative Culture” and “Comparative Politics”.

JDS fellows will be guided to develop their respective 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 topics. In addition, a weekly JDS seminar (Special Seminar in Area Studies), which is attended by all JDS fellows and advising professors, gives the students 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, in the past years, Hokkaido, Okinawa, and Hiroshima). 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 respective research is required, JDS fellows will also have ample opportunities to seek advices and instructions from the faculty. Additionally, each JDS fellow will have assigned a tutor (from among senior graduate students), who can help the fellows with their school life.

Features of the Master’s Program:
This is a special 18-month Master’s program. Students are expected to combine their practical knowledge of their respective policy areas and the academic knowledge that 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 regular program’s two years. Fellows are expected to complete 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.


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Necessary Curriculum to Obtain the Degrees

Courses taught through English language for the 2018 academic year (English Course)
Please see the Class Catalogue (appendix 1)

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

Faculty Members (2018 Academic Year) and Specialization (REFERENCE)
Core Faculty Members for the JDS Program

*means who can supervise master’s theses

  • Mari Minowa*Development Economics, Economics of Latin America
  • (Chair of Master’s Program in International Area Studies / JDS Program Coordinator)
  • Kenichi Kashiwagi*Development Economics, Middle East and North Africa
  • Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki*Political Communication, New Media and Politics
  • Jeet Sapkota*Southeast Asian Politics, International Development
  • Murod IsmailovCentral Asian Studies, Politics and International Relations in Post-Soviet States
  • Aki MouriContemporary Chinese Politics, International Relations

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

Faculty Members Teaching in the Master’s Program in International Area Studies
Please see the Member Lists (appendix 2)

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Academic Schedule (2018 Oct - 2020 Mar)

Date Targeted students Event & things to-do
(Month) (Day)
September 25 JDS Program Guidance (TBA)
  28 Whole
Entrance Ceremony
October 1   Classes begin (Autumn Semester)
  Early JDS TWINS Orientation (registration on internet)
  Early JDS First session of JDS Seminar
  Mid   Due date of registration for Autumn Semester’s courses
November 2   (~4) University Festival
December 27   (~Jan.6 2019) Winter Break
Early   Okinawa Study Tour (TBA)
  14   Last day of classes for the Autumn Semester
  17   (~31) Spring Break
April Early   Classes (2019) Begin (First week in April)
September Late JDS MA Thesis Midterm Presentation
November Mid Prospective
Thesis title submission
December Late Prospective
Thesis submission
Mid JDS Thesis Oral Defense
February   JDS Study Tour (tentative)
March Mid 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-months 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 an academic researcher, 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 whatever their future professional career may be.

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.