Master’s (Doctoral) Program in International Relations

Studying the World During the Age of Globalization

The Graduate Program in International Relations was established in April 1971 as a Master’s Program based on the staff and faculty members of the Institute of International Relations, the Ibero-American Institute, and the Departments of German, French, Hispanic, Russian, and Portuguese in the Faculty of Foreign Languages at Sophia University. In April 1973, the Doctoral Program was established and the post graduate course became the Master’s Program.

Since its inception, the program has educated more than 400 master’s degree recipients, with many of graduates active in research and educational institutions in Japan and abroad (for example, more than 60 are full-time university faculty members) and in international organizations such as the United Nations. By fiscal 2020, 44 PhDs will have been awarded, and the number of PhDs is expected to increase in the future.

The world has experienced many wars, conflicts, and civil wars, and it is sadly said that “the 20tth century is the century of wars.” As a Catholic university, Sophia University’s founding philosophy is to avoid the devastation caused by such wars, and to strive for mutual respect and understanding among nations and peoples of the world for a free and humane existence. Therefore, the Graduate Program in International Relations was established to study the causes and processes of these events and their effects, as a pillar of the discipline.

As is the evident from the history of its establishment, the mission of the Graduate Program in International Relations is to train researchers and specialists who can actively address issues of peace and justice in the world, prevent war, build a diverse and free international society, and actively contribute to solving the various problems facing the international community today.

Curriculum

The Graduate Program in International Relations conducts research that can actively contribute to solving the problems facing today’s international society through the study of global society, global politics, and global economics. The research areas of this major are divided into: international politics, international political theory (with a focus on international political history, etc.), development economics, international political economy, global sociology, comparative sociology, civil society/international coorperation (with a focus on international cooperation, etc.)

Granted Degree

  • Master’s Program: MASTER OF ARTS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
  • Doctoral Program: DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Available Teaching Licenses and Subjects

  • Junior High School (Social Studies)
  • High School Specialization (Civics)

※Only Master’s degree programs are eligible to obtain a teaching license. In addition, only subjects for which a Type 1 license has been obtained or for which the requirements for obtaining a Type 1 license have been met can be obtained, not necessarily all subjects.

Program Features

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Research

The study of international relations consists of interdisciplinary research methods. Themes such as international integration, transnational relations, globalization, international security, war and peace, development and poverty, and international environmental protection can only be tackled by utilizing various research methods developed in international politics, economics, law, and sociology. Themes such as democratization, civil society, genocide, gender, migration and refugees, human rights, and foreign policy also require analysis from the same important perspectives. This program seeks to bring together wisdom from various corners to achieve peace, freedom, and security.

Comparing the International and Domestic

When we observe people living in different nations and societies, we see similarities in their political and social systems while discovering their different cultures and customs. Comparative research methods allow us to discover such homogeneity and heterogeneity and to question their origins and meanings. Through comparison, we explore political systems, democratization, conflicts and population movements, economic development and development, language and culture, and the history, diplomacy, politics, culture, and economic phenomena of specific nations.

Regional and Globalization

One way to understand the world is to consider each region of the world or the entire globe as a unit, transcending national boundaries. In this program, we explore and understand phenomena that are becoming more complex in the process of globalization, such as peacebuilding, security, global environmental issues, regional conflicts and world wars, cross-border migration, international trade and unequal distribution of wealth, culture clashes, global civil society and the state, and offer pathways to solutions.

Selected Thesis Topics

  • Good Governance in Timor-Leste through Improved Coordination System between Offices of Ombudsman and Inspector General of State”
  • Okinawan Diaspora in Hawa‘i i:The Social,Political,and Historical Connections with their Ancestral Homeland after WW Ⅱ
  • Competition for Better Fiscal Transparency: A Study of E-Government Development in the U.S. States
  • The Ethnic Identity of the “Manchu People of the Mongolian Flag” in Modern Northeast China: The Case of the “Lao Jia” in Buye County, Jilin Province
  • China’s Military Diplomacy – China’s Strategic Actions as Seen in Joint Military Exercises and Drills
  • Social Mobility of Okinawan Migrants in Brazil – Ethnic Business in the Cantareira Market
  • Determinants of Election Strategies in the U.S. Presidential Election – Spending amounts in all 50 states
  • Rethinking Reform of the U.S. Marine Corps after the Vietnam War – Through an Analysis of Multiple Dynamics
  • Transformation of Corporate Governance and Changes in Labor’s Share in the Workforce as a Factor in Japan’s Growing Inequality

Educational Policies

Master’s Program

The program aims to nurture researchers and specialists who are actively engaged in world peace and justice issues, who have an interest in preventing war and building a diverse and free international society, and who can actively contribute to solving the various problems facing the international community today. The following are the abilities and knowledge that students must acquire to complete this program. Upon satisfying requirements and passing the thesis examination, students will be recognized as having acquired these skills and will be awarded a degree:

 

  1. A clear awareness of issues facing the international community, such as security and conflict, poverty and development, migration and refugees, and the nature of international cooperation, as well as the ability to appropriately set themes and contribute to knowledge in international relations and related fields
  2. An understanding of international relations theory and related fields, and the ability to analyze contemporary international relations events or global issues with an acute awareness of the issues and a critical spirit, and the ability to make recommendations
  3. A broad interest in the global environmental and international society issues and to approach the understanding of international relations from an interdisciplinary perspective, such as international politics, international economics, international and comparative sociology, and international cooperation theory, as well as from a comparative perspective concerning different nations, societies, and regions
  4. Ability to write clear, logical and persuasive academic papers with precise organization, detailed analysis, based on previous research

Doctoral Program

The program aims to nurture researchers and specialists who can actively address issues of peace and justice in the world, prevent war, build a diverse and free global society, and can problem-solve issues facing the international community today. Upon satisfying the requirements and passing the thesis examination, students are recognized as having acquired these abilities and knowledge, and are awarded a degree:

 

  1. Clear awareness of the problems facing the world, their appropriate thematic setting, and the ability to discover new knowledge in the subject area or to present new interpretations of existing knowledge.
  2. Original and cutting-edge research in their chosen field of study, and the ability to conduct independent research
  3. Ability to have major parts of papers published or submitted to scholarly journals, etc.
  4. Ability to write academic papers that are precisely structured, meticulously analyzed, clear, logical, persuasive, and original, based on methodology and previous research in their area of expertise

Master’s Program

The curriculum of this course is organized by two groups of subjects aimed at achieving the Diploma Policy, and includes the following objectives.

 

  1. In order to acquire interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, this program consists of two major study groups: International and Comparative Politics and International Society and International Cooperation, with students earning a certain number of credits from each group to conduct systematic and wide-ranging research on international relations.
  2. In the International Politics and Comparative Politics, students will conduct research related to the security of nation-states, such as international relations, international and comparative politics, peace studies, and security. In the International Society and International Cooperation, students will conduct research related to human security beyond the borders of nation-states, such as international economics, international and comparative sociology, and international cooperation theory.
  3. Based on an understanding of international relations theories and previous research, students are required to prepare a master’s thesis that contributes to the advancement of knowledge in international relations and related fields, with a clear awareness of issues facing the international community and an appropriate theme, in accordance with their original research interests.
  4. In order to promote research in the master’s program, research guidance is provided to each student through a multiple guidance system consisting of a primary supervisor and a secondary supervisor. The guidance system is designed to enable students to gain broad knowledge and perspective through the guidance of multiple faculty members to facilitate their original research.

Doctoral Program

In line with the Diploma Policy, the curriculum in this program is organized by courses that incorporate the following objectives to deepen students’ awareness of the originality and academic contribution of individual research and to achieve academic research results.

 

  1. Students will conduct research according to their own curriculum developed with their academic advisors, present their research at academic conferences, and submit their research to academic journals. Through this process, students will not only acquire specialized knowledge, but also deepen their original research with a high level of originality.
  2. In this program, students are expected to study multiple areas to be able to carry out interdisciplinary research. The first stage of the doctoral dissertation is to pass the Doctoral Dissertation Qualifying Examination, tests students in their two selected courses offered in International Relations to ensure they gain broad knowledge and perspectives on multiple specialized subjects.
  3. The second stage of the doctoral dissertation is to prepare a doctoral dissertation plan. The student will independently prepare a plan under the guidance of their advisor, present the report at academic conferences and submit them to academic journals, and submit a specific and systematic plan for writing the doctoral dissertation based on the results of this research, which will then be reviewed. The doctoral dissertation plan is the final stage of writing the dissertation.

Master’s Program

The program seeks students with the following qualities:

 

  1. Students with a strong interest in research and a strong desire to contribute to the preservation and safety of the global environment
  2. Students who aim to study various issues in international relations from various perspectives and are recognized as having sufficient research ability to do so
  3. Students who have a clear awareness of the issues and themes involved, and have the opinions and ability to independently sustain and develop their research in international relations and related fields

Doctoral Program

The program seeks students with the following qualities:

 

  1. Students with the research ability and academic knowledge that can be expected to actively contribute to solving the problems facing the international community today through research on various issues in global society, global politics, and the global economy.
  2. In addition of 1. , students who aspire to write an excellent doctoral dissertation and obtain and doctoral degree based on the above are sought
  3. Students who can demonstrate leadership not only in their own research but also in their field by presenting their research at conferences and submitting papers to academic and academic journals

Faculty Members

Yuko ADACHI Professor

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Mariko IIJIMA Professor

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Takeshi KAWASAKI Professor

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Takeshi KISHIKAWA Professor

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Christoph Goro KIMURA Professor

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Masatsugu SHIMOKAWA Professor

Kazutoshi SUZUKI Professor

Ryo TAKASHIMA Professor

Masataka NAKAUCHI Professor

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Takeshi YUASA Professor

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Machiko KOJIMA Associate Professor

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Kosuke SAITO Associate Professor

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Tobias WEISS Associate Professor

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