What is the School of International Studies?

The School of International Studies (SIS) was established in 2008 to meet the needs of an increasingly global society of the 21st century. Since it inception, our primary objective has been to provide our “internationally-minded” students with broad insight into the workings of the international community and to enhance their ability to “coexist flexibly” with other cultures. Our students have a keen interest in foreign cultures and a strong desire to travel and spend time living abroad. Through their training and overseas experiences students develop excellent communication skills and learn to excel in international environments both in Japan and abroad.

Our graduates often continue their exploration of foreign countries and cultures and are expected to play an active role in international affairs in the future. The School of International Studies offers two fundamental courses, the Global Studies Course and the Japanese Studies Course, as well as three area studies courses, which include the Asian Studies Course, The American and British Studies Course, and the European Studies Course. In each of these courses, students gain valuable insight into the complexity of the international environment, detailed knowledge of various international issues and an enhanced understanding of Japan while receiving advanced foreign-language skills.

  • To train truly internationally-minded individuals who can excel on the international stage
  • To Cultivate a high-level of communication skill
  • To Understand international society from a comprehensive and multidimensional perspective

Philosophy and Goals

In the 21st century, with the development of transportation, communication methods and information technology, the exchange of people, products and information has been dramatically increasing at the global level. There is a need to develop “internationally-minded” individuals who possess the capacity to overcome the potential “clash of civilizations” and who are empowered to pursue “flexible co-existence” with other cultures. The School of International Studies seeks to address these new and immediate “global” challenges.

Admission Policy

We are looking for students interested in studying various issues related to the international community, issues of culture, questions related to Japan and Japanese identity and those who wish to study Japanese, English or other foreign languages. We are particularly interested in students that constantly strive to promote mutual understanding and that desire to excel on the international stage, through interaction with Japanese and other international students.

Educational Goals

We provide highly specialized knowledge about various issues pertaining to the international community, Japan and other countries as well as history, culture, language, politics and economy through the use of a multifaceted and comprehensive approach so that the students can attain good insight and judgment about each specific issue. We also teach students to develop international communication skills and dialogue and negotiation skills in other languages in order to supply a pool of talent capable of working with foreigners in and outside Japan. Training students to become Japanese language teachers is also one of our goals.


In the first year, students take general academic subjects. At the beginning of the second year one course is chosen from the two fundamental courses of “Global Studies” and “Japanese Studies” or from the three area studies courses of “Asian Studies” “American and British Studies” and “European Studies” Regardless of the course selection which is made in the second year, common scholastic subjects from international studies, Japanese culture studies and English communication studies are all required. In the third and fourth years, specialized subjects are offered within each course. There are two types of specialized subjects: core subjects (compulsory) and course-expanded subjects (elective). For the course-expanded subjects, additional general academic subjects, school common subjects or course core subjects may be taken or subjects from other courses, “sub-major” subjects or subjects from other schools may be chosen. A foreign language in your chosen field is also a required subject (In the Japan Studies Course, the “Practicum in Teaching Japanese to Speakers of Other Languages” can substitute for this.). The “Graduation Thesis” is also compulsory.

Field of Study

International Studies is a new interdisciplinary field of study. It attempts to integrate various fields of study comprehensively in an integrated view of international society or area study (including Japan) such as international politics, international economics, international communication, world history, foreign languages (including Japanese language for international students), foreign cultures and Japanese culture, which have conventionally been studied separately in Japan in the law, economics, literature and education departments. Extensive cooperation among the different newly created schools within Kanazawa University has made the establishment of this new field possible.

Careers after Graduation

National or local government, foreign assistance organizations, NGOs, private companies, teacher, journalist, Japanese teacher, interpreter-guide, interpreter, attorney for external affairs (after finishing law school), international civil servant, university professor, etc.

Acquirable Certifications

Bachelor (in International Studies), junior high school teaching category 1 (Japanese, social studies, English), senior high school teaching category 1 (Japanese, Civics, English), Japanese Language Education major or sub-major equivalent qualification, English interpreter

Advancement to Graduate Schools

First term doctoral program in human and socio-environment studies (social system major, human culture major), masters program in pedagogy (Japanese language education major), law studies

A Message from a Faculty Member

“I have lived in Sweden, the U.S. and Japan. Through this experience and my doctoral research into US-Japanese relations at Kobe University, I have discovered that people from different countries can have radically different views about the same events. A solid understanding of politics, social problems and cultural differences can thus dramatically alter one's perception of reality. I believe that by studying international politics students cultivate a worldview that is indispensable for living in the globalized 21st century.” -Andrew Beaton, Associate Professor

Unique Features of the School

There are only a few national universities in Japan that have a similar faculty or department which include Tokyo University, Tsukuba University and Utsunomiya University. There are a few prefectural and municipal universities like Akita International University, the Prefectural University of Shizuoka, Hiroshima City University, which have an International Culture faculty or department. However, international studies or international relations studies must contain the essence of social science. Although this can be found in many private universities, their tuition fees are very high and their class sizes are large. The School of International Studies at Kanazawa University has an excellent feature in that there are a large number of professors who teach a large variety of classes.

The School's Curriculum System

The selection of a Course in the SIS is made assuming sufficient progress through the second year and student preferences are respected as much as possible. It is also possible to change courses after having started a particular course. Language study abroad is recommended during the summer or spring vacation of the first or second year. If a short study abroad program is carried out at one of our partner universities for six months or one year in the second or third year, and if it is ascertained that sufficient language skills have been attained, it is possible to transfer the credits earned from our partner university to Kanazawa University, thereby making graduation possible within 4 years. In addition, within the School of International Studies a number of classes are also taught in English.

Common Scholastic Subjects

International Studies: Introduction to International Studies, History of International Politics, International Relations, International Communication, International Economics, World System Theory, International Trade, International Assistance, Cross-Cultural Understanding. Japanese Culture Studies: Japanese Culture, Japanese Religion and Philosophy, Japanese Literature in the Modern Age, Introduction to Japanese History, Japanese Economy, History of Japanese Education, Japanese Traditional Performing Arts, History of Japanese Politics and Diplomacy, Japanese Politics and Diplomacy, Japanese Folklore and Culture, Language and Culture of Japan, Japanese Language Structure, Introduction to Japanese Language Education, History of Japanese Modern Literature, Japanese Classical Literature. English communication studies: English Public Speaking, Representation in English, Translation Theory.