Message from the Dean

Dean
Graduate School of Policy Science
Tamihiro SHIGEMORI

Ritsumeikan University’s Graduate School of Policy Science (GSPS) was established in 1997 with a view to develop students’ essential research skills to correctly understand the policy issues that we face in today’s society, work out for optimal solutions, and upgrade their practical competence.

Policy science is a discipline that explores solutions to various policy issues that affect us while pursuing innovation of social science itself. Through policy science study, the GSPS aims to train both new types of researchers with practical skills and competent policy practitioners.

Then, what is policy science in the first place?

The name “policy science” itself implies that this discipline has its own theoretical system. Policy science requires the ability to make an exact understanding in various policy issues. It also involves appropriate solutions to such policy issues. Since each of policy issues has various social and natural aspects, research achievements in a wide range of academic fields such as political science, economics, law, business administration, urban planning and environmental engineering must be served for studies in policy science. In this sense, policy science is supposed to be interdisciplinary research, encompassing many different academic disciplines. With this comprehensive nature, we must develop each own specialized field.

As a research institution to study the solutions to policy issues, the GSPS places special emphasis on the interaction with real society. To be specific, we have opened research sites called “Regional Co-Creation Centers” in local public bodies in several regions and other social institutions where graduate students are given opportunities to observe, as part of their researches, administrative personnel implementing policies firsthand.

Furthermore, we are going to register the achievements of such field researches in our “Policy Base” database on case-by-case basis and make such data globally available. In this way, researchers and graduate students of the GSPS can contribute to the enhancement of this database through their research activities.

The process of solving policy issues involves the steps of: collecting, analyzing, and interpreting information; developing options for solutions and predicting outcomes; making decisions; implementing the decisions; and conducting post-evaluations special skills are also required for each of these steps. The curriculum of the GSPS is designed to provide graduate students with such skills through hands-on learning.

The GSPS also offers a project-style joint research program, which was conceived in consideration of the integrated nature of policy issues, the object of policy science research. This program is called “Research Project” in the Master’s Program and “Research Seminar” in the Doctoral Program. Under these programs, several faculty members conduct research activities jointly with graduate students and offer research guidance to them.

By carrying out policy science research by making the most of these opportunities unique to the GSPS, we hope to train high-caliber personnel capable of finding optimal solutions to all social issues.