Sophia University

Academics Graduate Program in Global Studies (English-taught-program)

Overview

The Graduate Program in Global Studies is part of the Graduate School of Global Studies at Sophia University. The GPGS's English-taught curriculum offers master's degrees in Global Studies, International Business and Development Studies, and Japanese Studies, and a doctorate in Global Studies and Japanese Studies.

Founded in 2006, the GPGS reorients Sophia University's strengths in area and international studies to issues of globalization. The curriculum emphasizes inquiry into the contemporary world and its historical antecedents by integrating the themes of interdisciplinary global studies, theories and methodologies of academic disciplines, and the cross-cultural understandings and language training of area studies.

The approximately thirty faculty members hold advanced degrees from leading universities around the world and actively pursue research and publication in their specializations. They represent many different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, ensuring a diverse range of perspectives. Every semester about fifteen M.A. students and up to three Ph.D. student are admitted to the GPGS. The small size encourages close student-faculty interaction.

The master's degrees have two tracks; each track has different graduation requirements. Students in the thesis track write a research thesis while those in the credit track complete a graduation project. The selection of the track takes place after a student matriculates in the program. Those who seek to enter the thesis track need to apply for it, typically at the start of the second semester, with entry contingent upon academic performance, availability of a mentor for the proposed topic, and successful defense of a thesis proposal.

M.A. Thesis Track

Students who wish to write a thesis apply for the thesis track, typically at the beginning of their second semester in the GPGS. Acceptance into this track is a two-step process consisting, first, of the evaluation of a student's potential for writing a thesis after the submission of the "Thesis Intention" form and, second, evaluation of a student's thesis proposal at the proposal defense. Satisfying the graduation requirements of this track typically requires four semesters. Entry into the thesis track can be initiated after the second semester.

Overview: The thesis track enables a student to pursue independent research under the supervision of a faculty member. The final result should be a paper that makes an original contribution to knowledge in a designated academic discipline.

The Thesis: The thesis is an argument supported by primary data, and/or secondary data to which an original methodology/interpretation is applied that is positioned in and makes a contribution to a debate in a scholarly discipline. A thesis paper is typically 40–60 pages in length.

M.A. Credit Track

Overview: The credit track emphasizes coursework, with a graduation project. The project allows students to further their knowledge of a topic or issue they encountered in a course. The project is a research paper, unless the student requests another format and the advisor's agree. The research paper is undertaken in the student's final semester and is supervised and evaluated by a professor of the student's choosing in the student's degree area.

The Graduation Project: The graduation project typically expands on a topic that the student encountered in a course through further research and writing. Students can use secondary sources, primary sources or a combination thereof. The final paper is 20–30 pages in length, including notes and references.

Degrees

The Graduate Program in Global Studies offers five degrees that are accredited by the MEXT.

M.A. in Global Studies

The M.A. in Global Studies examines world systems, transnational processes, and global-local interactions from perspectives of anthropology, history, political science, religious studies and sociology. Students take 4 credits of Foundational Courses to acquire theoretical concepts and methodological approaches for the study of global phenomena. A range of thematic Elective Courses drawing on concrete cases in Japan, China, and the rest of Asia enables students to explore global issues and phenomena from an area-based perspective. Students proficient in Japanese may also choose from a range of area studies and international relations courses taught in Japanese that focus on Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Study of Japanese and other languages relevant for a student's research and future career is strongly encouraged.

M.A. in International Business and Development Studies

The M.A. in International Business and Development Studies emphasizes the acquisition of analytical skills to deal with a broad range of contemporary and development problems with a strong focus on Japan and Asia. It seeks to provide students with an integrated understanding of business and development together with specialized training in one of these fields. Due to globalization, business activities are increasingly worldwide in scope, requiring a deep understanding of conditions in both developed and developing countries as well as specialized management capability. International organizations, governments of developing countries, and businesses committed to sustainable development likewise need specialists capable of handling development issues from a business perspective. In pursuing this degree graduate students are advised to plan their course selection in consultation with faculty members so as to facilitate the acquisition of an integrated or specialized capability in business and/or economics.

Note for Prospective Applicants: Each successful applicant will be matched with an appropriate intake faculty advisor. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to review each faculty member’s research/teaching expertise and indicate, in their statements of purpose, a potential faculty advisor under whom they wish to conduct their graduate study.

M.A. in Japanese Studies

The M.A. in Japanese Studies offers an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to the study of historical and contemporary aspects of Japanese history, literature, religion, art history, society, and culture. Courses are organized in two categories: Arts and Culture (art history and Japanese literature) and Thought and Society (Japanese history, religion and philosophy, anthropology). For a balanced understanding and exposure to the themes, methodologies and research materials of the different disciplines, students are required to take at least four credits from each of the two categories. All students are advised to take advanced Japanese language training to facilitate use of Japanese sources in research.

Ph.D. in Global Studies

The Ph.D. in Global Studies is designed for the advanced study of specific areas or locales in the context of global processes and transnational connections. While the questions and lines of inquiry in global studies are interdisciplinary, research and writing agendas emphasize methods and concepts from the disciplines of history, political science, and sociology. The degree is intended to prepare persons for academic positions in area, international, and global studies programs, or for research positions in foundations, NGOs, and companies that need advanced analysis of countries and regions in global contexts.

The Ph.D. program, which requires a three-year residency, focuses on the writing of a doctoral dissertation. For students entering from 2018, earning 6 credits from the specified number of courses is mandatory for the attainment of the doctorate. Candidates first pass several qualifying exams and then, upon successful defense of a dissertation prospectus proceed to dissertation research and writing. To enable close guidance of the dissertation, only a few candidates are admitted each year.

Ph.D. in Japanese Studies

The Ph.D. in Japanese studies is designed for the advanced study of Japan in a transnational, regional and global context. Research and writing agendas emphasize methods and concepts from the disciplines of art history, literature, history, religion and anthropology. The degree prepares candidates for academic positions in Japanese Studies programs, for research positions in foundations, NGOs, and companies that need advanced analyses of countries and regions in global contexts.

The Ph.D. program, which requires a three-year residency, focuses on the writing of a doctoral dissertation. For students entering from 2018, earning 6 credits from the specified number of courses is mandatory for the attainment of the doctorate. Candidates first pass several qualifying exams and then, upon successful defense of a dissertation prospectus proceed to dissertation research and writing. To enable close guidance of the dissertation, only a few candidates are admitted each year.

Past Theses

List of M.A. Theses(19.96 KB)

List of Ph.D. Theses

List of Ph.D. Theses(18.14 KB)

Curriculum

The small scale of the GPGS and the diverse specializations, broad experience, and research interests of the faculty enable flexible course selection. In consultation with faculty members, students select courses designed to meet their individual interests and to further the acquisition of specialized knowledge in their chosen fields.

The master's degrees have two tracks; each track has different graduation requirements. Students in the thesis track write a research thesis while those in the credit track complete a graduation project. The selection of the track takes place after a student matriculates in the program. Those who seek to enter the thesis track need to apply for it, typically at the start of the second semester, with entry contingent upon academic performance, availability of a mentor for the proposed topic, and successful defense of a thesis proposal.

Doctoral students work on their dissertation under the guidance of an advisor. Candidates participate in workshops and other activities and also have to complete six credits of coursework.

English is the language of instruction. However, the study of Japanese is encouraged. Students may take advantage of the comprehensive Japanese language courses offered at Sophia. Those with a sufficient level of Japanese language proficiency as determined by a language examination may also take courses taught in Japanese as part of their studies. Additionally, students may study other languages at Sophia that are relevant to their studies, depending on availability of space in the courses.

Requirements for the M.A. in Global Studies

A total of 30 credits are required for graduation, to be distributed as follows:

Thesis-track students
            Foundational Courses in Global Studies
            Elective Courses in Global Studies
            Research Guidance
            Thesis Seminar
            Master's Thesis
 
4 credits
22 credits
0  credit
4 credits
0  credit
Credit-track students
            Foundational Courses in Global Studies
            Elective Courses in Global Studies
            Research Guidance
            Graduation Project

4 credits
26 credits
0  credit
0 credits

List of Global Studies Courses

Requirements for the M.A. in International Business and Development

A total of 30 credits are required for graduation, to be distributed as follows:

Thesis-track students
            Core Courses in International Business category or Development Studies category
            Elective Courses in any BD category
            Research Guidance
            Thesis Seminar
            Master's Thesis
 
12 credits
14 credits
0  credit
4 credits
0  credit
Credit-track students
            Core Courses in International Business category or Development Studies category
            Elective Courses in any BD category
            Research Guidance
            Graduation Project

12 credits
18 credits
0  credit
0 credits

List of International Business and Development Studies Courses

Requirements for the M.A. in Japanese Studies

A total of 30 credits are required for graduation, to be distributed as follows:

Thesis-track students
            Introduction to Japanese Studies
            Arts and Culture category courses
            Thought and Society category courses
            Elective courses in any JS category
            Research Guidance
            Thesis Seminar
            Master's Thesis
 
2 credits
4 credits
4 credits
16 credits
0  credit
4 credits
0  credit
Credit-track students
            Introduction to Japanese Studies
            Arts and Culture category courses
            Thought and Society category courses
            Elective courses in any JS category
            Research Guidance
            Graduation Project

2 credits
4 credits
4 credits
20 credits
0  credit
0 credits

List of Japanese Studies Courses

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Global Studies / Ph.D. in Japanese Studies

A doctoral student begins working towards the degree upon matriculation in the GPGS. With the completion of qualifying exams and the successful defense of the dissertation prospectus, typically in the third semester, the graduate student is considered a doctoral candidate.

The general requirements for completing the Ph.D. are a period of enrollment, and the writing of a satisfactory dissertation that is defended and accepted by the dissertation evaluation committee.

A student is expected to be enrolled for a minimum of three years in the GPGS, with a possible two years extension of enrollment. Therefore, the total amount of time that a student can be enrolled in the Ph.D. program is 5 years (M.A. and Ph.D. in total) in order to complete the dissertation. A student who has completed all requirements except the dissertation can also request Withdrawal by Completion. The Request for Leave of Absence and Request for Withdrawal by Completion forms are available at the Academic Records Section, Center for Academic Affairs. A student should carefully discuss these options with his/her supervisor.

<Process>
Step 1: Earning Credits (Students entering from 2018)
A doctoral student must take at least 6 credits from the specified courses in Global Studies/Japanese Studies area during the enrollment period.

Step 2: Qualifying Exams
A doctoral student is examined for knowledge and training to research and write a dissertation. There are three qualifying exams – global/Japanese studies, disciplinary, and language. The timing of the exams depends on the student's background and the supervisor's judgment, but they are usually taken in the second or third semester.

Step 3: Dissertation Prospectus
Upon successful passage of the qualifying exams, a student develops a dissertation prospectus under the guidance of the supervisor and defends it before the faculty.

Step 4: Research and Writing
Upon successful defense of the dissertation prospectus, the candidate is considered a doctoral candidate and embarks on researching and writing the dissertation. The candidate may choose, upon consultation with the supervisor, to leave for extended fieldwork. (S/he must continue to pay full tuition until satisfying the three-year minimum enrollment requirement).

Step 5: Dissertation Defense
The dissertation is submitted by the end of the semester prior to the semester in which the candidate intends to defend the dissertation, and at least four months before the intended defense date.

Double Degree Program

Double Degree Program Sophia (GPGS)-SOAS

Sophia University's Graduate Program in Global Studies (GPGS) and the Department of Japan and Korea, Department of Politics and International Studies, and MA in Translation (Department of Linguistics) at SOAS (School of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of London) have a Double Degree Program (DDP) that enables students to benefit from the combined resources of the two schools, located in two major world cities – Tokyo and London.

Students will typically study one year at GPGS and one year at SOAS and, after fulfilling the requirements of the two programs, receive two degrees: an M.A. from Sophia and an M.A. from SOAS.
The DDP allows students to fully utilize the resources of both schools to widen their intellectual horizons by taking classes at two leading institutions in the field of Japanese Studies. Prominent scholars affiliated with the two institutions will supervise the students’ theses or graduation projects, enabling them to explore Japanese studies from a variety of perspectives.

Sophia University students entering in April will need to apply separately for admission to SOAS during their first semester and would typically spend their second and third semesters at SOAS. Students entering Sophia University in September have to apply for admission to SOAS in their second semester, spend their third and fourth semesters at SOAS and complete Sophia requirements in their fifth semester.

Typical sequence for Sophia GPGS students participating in the DPP

The application deadline for the DDP is in May. Detailed information about the application procedure is available at the GPGS office.

*Applicants must have achieved a GPA of at least 3.3 or higher (out of 4.0) in undergraduate education. Also students will obtain entry to the DDP based on the following TOEFL/IELTS results:
TOEFL : iBT 105 with at least 22 in each sub-score
IELTS : Overall 7 (with 6.5 in each sub-score)

*The Japanese government sponsored (MEXT) students will not be able to apply for this program.
*During the two semesters a student studies at SOAS, a special scholarship which deducts the tuition fee of Sophia except the Semester Enrollment Fee (30,000 yen per semester) is available.
*The Japanese government sponsored (MEXT) students will not be able to apply for this program.
*Up to 10 credits obtained at SOAS can be transferred to Sophia.

For Applicants

Application Overview

Applications are accepted twice a year for matriculation in spring or fall semesters. Admissions decisions are based on documents an applicant submits by regular mail. Applicants for the Ph.D. whose documents are positively evaluated will be interviewed at Sophia during a specified period (applicants residing abroad can be interviewed by telephone). (Note: there is no interview for M.A. applicants). Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members, especially for the doctoral degree. Applicants are notified of results by letter send about six weeks after the application period ends.

For Further Information

Please go to Admissions page.

MEXT Scholarship

If you are interested in MEXT scholarship, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

M.A. FAQ
  1. Can I transfer credits from previous graduate work?
    You can, subject to approval, transfer up to 10 credits from graduate study at another institution. The GPGS faculty will determine whether some or all of the credits can then count towards fulfilling the graduation requirements in the M.A. that are enrolled in the GPGS.
  2. Which track is appropriate for me, credit track or thesis track?
    This depends on a combination of what you hope to get out of graduate education and your career plans. The credit track emphasis on course work and will deepen your knowledge of those subjects that interest you. The thesis track will deepen your research and analytic skills for scholarship. Also, close work with faculty members enables them to write more insightful recommendation letters on your behalf. In sum, if you want a master's degree as a career credential, then the credit track could be sufficient but if you are planning to seek a doctoral degree, or a future position that emphasizes research, then thesis track could be more appropriate.
  3. How do I select the topic of my thesis?
    A key criteria for acceptance into the thesis track is the availability of a faculty member to supervise your proposed topic. Therefore, you should select a thesis topic within the specialization of at least one faculty member in your degree area. You can access information on faculty specializations by clicking the names of a professor in blue font under the faculty listing for each degree. You should also consult with the coordinator and professors in your dgree area.
  4. Can I take courses outside of my M.A. degree curriculum?
    Yes. Up to 8 credits earned outside your degree curriculum will count towards fulfilling the graduation requirements for your degree. Credits in excess of 8 will not count towards fulfilling your graduation requirements but they will appear on your transcript and be calculated into your GPA.
  5. Can I take more than 30 credits of courses?
    Yes. The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 30 but you may take more. The tuition rate is flat (fixed) so there is no extra charge for exceeding 30 credits.
  6. Can I study Japanese language?
    Yes. International students are encouraged to study Japanese language. GPGS courses are mostly scheduled in the afternoon to enable you to attend Japanese language courses in the morning. There is no extra tuition charge for taking language classes so because of the flat (fixed) tuition. However, credits earned in language study do not count towards the 30 credits required for graduation while they will be calculated into your GPA. As Japanese language courses have a heavy work load, you are advised to limit your course enrollment to 4 to 8 credits of GPGS courses.
  7. How many semesters does it take to obtain a M.A. degree?
    Both the credit track and the thesis track typically require four semesters. However, a student may apply for Early Graduation with legitimate reasons and good academic standing (see the Bulletin of Information for details).
  8. Can I complete my M.A. degree while working full-time?
    The program is not designed to accommodate students with full-time jobs. Most of the courses are scheduled for daytime on weekdays and the course work is quite heavy.
  9. After completing the M.A. can I enter the Ph.D. in Global Studies at Sophia?
    You are eligible to apply to enter the Ph.D. in Global Studies/Japanese Studies. The Ph.D. is supervised by many of the same faculty members as the M.A. in Global Studies/Japanese Studies. Therefore obtaining an M.A. in Global Studies/Japanese Studies is a good way to prepare for applying to the Ph.D. in Global Studies/Japanese Studies. However, entrance into the Ph.D. program is highly competitive and completion of the M.A. in Global Studies/Japanese Studies does not guarantee advancement to Ph.D..
Ph.D. FAQ
  1. What kind of educational background should I have to apply to the Ph.D. program?
    <Global Studies Area>
    Preference is given to applicants with background in a social science discipline (history, political science, and sociology/anthropology). Key indicators of such a background are the courses and majors of your undergraduate and master's studies. Preference is also given to applicants who have done an undergraduate major in Global Studies. One way to gauge your eligibility is to contact the professor whom you are interested in working with.
    <Japanese Studies Area>
    Preference is given to applicants with background in the following disciplines: anthropology, art history, cultural studies, history, literature, philosophy, and religion. Key indicators of such a background are the courses and majors of your undergraduate and master’s studies. Preference is also given to applicants who have done an undergraduate major in Japanese Studies or have strong ability in Japanese language. One way to gauge your eligibility is to contact the professor whom you are interested in working with.
  2. Can I work on my Ph.D. while holding a full-time job?
    Balancing a full-time job with doing a Ph.D. is extremely difficult. As a Ph.D. candidate you are expected to participate regularly in various activities on the campus until your dissertation prospectus has been approved. The only that is conceivable, is if your working hours are flexible or you are preparing for an extended dissertation candidacy.
  3. Can I submit a manuscript that I have already written elsewhere for my Ph.D. dissertation?
    No. You are expected to develop a dissertation prospectus and research and write your dissertation under the supervision of your faculty supervisor in the GPGS. A dissertation written elsewhere cannot be submitted for the Ph.D. in GPGS.
  4. Can I study a language as part of my Ph.D. work?
    It is expected that doctoral students will enter the Ph.D. possessing the language skills that they intend to use for the Ph.D. research. However, they may be able to take a language course in Sophia in addition to the Ph.D. work if they successfully obtain the permission from their advisor and the language teacher.
  5. Can I take content courses as a Ph.D. candidate?
    For students entering from 2018, earning 6 credits from the specified number of courses is mandatory for the attainment of the doctorate. If you want to take more than 6 credits, you should consider applying to the M.A. in Global Studies or in Japanese Studies.
  6. How do I find out the research interests of faculty members?
    Clicking on a faculty member's name will take you to their university research profile that lists her or his research interests and publications.
  7. How long does it take to complete the Ph.D.?
    University requirements stipulate that you must enroll in the GPGS for a three year residency period. However, students will most likely take longer to finish their dissertation.The amount of time from matriculation to conferral of the degree depends on such factors as when you take your qualifying exams and the character of your research. You can extend your affiliation with the GPGS beyond the three-year residency through such options as extension, leave of absence, and withdrawal without completing a dissertation (manki taigaku).

Contact

Graduate Program in Global Studies Office
gpgs_office-co@sophia.ac.jp