Department of International Relations (AY 2018 enrollment- )
In the Department of International Relations within the College of International Relations, students systematically learn three types of essential approaches to understanding global society: language skills, theories, and area studies. Throughout this learning process, students develop a high level of foreign language proficiency and the ability to think logically, while cultivating deeper intellectual capacities to better understand cultural diversity. The college seeks students who have the will to act independently and the desire to contribute to society in terms of governance, economics, culture, and peace.
To this end, the college admits students who already possess the following abilities and motivations:
- Basic academic skills necessary to analyze problems facing global society
- A deep interest in the problems facing global society and the self-motivation to pursue them
- Language abilities necessary to understand and explain the problems facing global society
The Department of International Relations has five educational goals (shown below), to help students acquire in-depth knowledge of International Relations and become people of action in the international community. A Bachelors of Arts degree is awarded to students who have achieved these five goals by completing the required credits in International Relations (including Graduation Research) needed for graduation (124 credits). Students are also encouraged to take advantage of off-campus learning opportunities, such as the studying abroad and/or internship programs, that are offered as credit bearing courses.
Upon graduation, students are expected to:
- Have awareness of, and intellectual interest in, diverse issues that the international community faces, including wars, armed conflicts, poverty, environmental degradation, and discrimination.
- Understand what the fields of International Relations include, and what research methodologies exist in these fields, including “International Governance and Peace”, “International Development and Sustainability”, “International Culture and Society”, and “International Administration”.
- Have the skills needed to scholastically examine and analyze problems of the international community that they have chosen to study, using research methodologies available in the fields of International Relations stated above.
- Demonstrate the advanced skills needed to collect, use, and process international information to determine their own aptitudes and careers to pursue.
- Be able to describe and discuss facts and ideas regarding the international community in verbal and written communication in Japanese and a foreign language, following logical steps and in the context of various cultures.
The Department of International Relations offers two majors: International Relations, and Global Studies. In the Department of International Relations, students learn the theories and practical realities of International Relations as an interdisciplinary field. The specialized courses in the International Relations major are generally offered in Japanese, and those in the Global Studies major in English.
Regardless of their majors, all students in the department are required to take General Education Courses to acquire the basic knowledge needed in higher education, and have develop their interests in a wide range of issues that the international community faces.
They are also required to select courses from the Foreign Language Courses and Elective Foreign Language Courses categories to hone the skills needed for communication and discussion in foreign languages, thereby developing their abilities to describe events and ideas concerning the international community. Students then enroll in Advanced Foreign Language Courses and Foundation Courses of the languages they are studying. These courses aim to help students solidify their foundations of understanding or what the theories within the various tields within international relations are all about, and which research methodologies are used in those fields.
Students majoring in International Relations select one of the four programs in their second year, “International Order and Peace”, “International Cooperation and Development”, “International Cultural Understanding”, and “International Administration”. They then select courses in their areas of interest from the Core Program Courses offered in that program to pursue the studies and the methodologies presented there. The Core Related Courses, also help them determine their own aptitudes and which careers to pursue. They then acquire more practical knowledge of International Relations in Area Studies Courses, and also the skills needed to collect, use, and process international information.
Students majoring in Global Studies take courses systematically to acquire knowledge of different fields of International Relations, with their understanding of the three Theme Clusters (Peace and Governance, Development and Sustainability, Culture and Society) within the Core Program Courses being the foundation of this. They also select courses in Area Studies that focus on Japan as well as Asia overall, to learn about International Relations in their areas of interest and the methodologies used in these fields.
While students are studying these specialized courses, they are also required to take Introductory Seminar in their first year, and Advanced Seminar in their third and fourth years. In these seminars, they learn to examine and analyze the problems of the international community that they have chosen to study, using research methodologies within the fields of International Relations. In their second year, International Relations and Global Studies majors work together in the Global Simulation Gaming (GSG) and the Global Studies Seminar classes, and attend other small group educational programs.
The Department of International Relations gives priority to each student’s aspirations. The foreign language courses are designed for active participation, and students may take courses outside their majors. In addition to these courses, the study abroad and internship programs also serve as a major part of the International Relations studies offered by Ritsumeikan. To complete their undergraduate study of International Relations, students take Advanced Seminar and complete a Graduation Research project.
American University Ritsumeikan University Joint Degree Program
The Global International Relations Joint Degree Program is looking for globally minded students who can be effective leaders both on and off campuses. We expect our graduates to take an active role in their professional fields and contribute directly and indirectly to the deepening of mutually beneficial relations between the U.S., Japan and the rest of East Asia, as well as to the peace and prosperity of the international community.
Educational Goals/ Diploma Policy
The BA in Global International Relations from AU and RU aims to cultivate individuals who have the ability to critically examine IR from multiple theoretical, historical, cultural, national and disciplinary perspectives and standpoints; possess a deep understanding of global and regional challenges, especially those related to East Asia and the United States; and have the ability to lead within the international community in fields such as international organizations, governments, global business, media and non-governmental organization.
The Joint Degree Program establishes the following 5 degree goals for preparing students to critically examine challenges facing the international community and to deepen their understanding on Global IR. For fulfilling the educational goals, students will spend two full academic years (4 semesters) at both institutions and must take the designated credits from courses either taught at Ritsumeikan University or American University and Courses Jointly Designed. The Bachelor of Arts in Global International Relations will be awarded to students who have completed the requirements.
Students should, by the time of graduation:
- Have the ability to critically examine IR from multiple theoretical, historical, cultural, national and disciplinary perspectives and standpoints
- Possess a deep understanding of global and regional challenges, especially those related to East Asia and the United States
- Have the ability to lead within the international community
- Are able to design and conduct research questions and research projects
- For non-native Japanese speakers, demonstrate at least intermediate proficiency in Japanese.
The curriculum for the BA in Global IR has been carefully designed by faculty from both institutions, and students in the joint degree program are completing one set of requirements. American University and Ritsumeikan University propose the establishment of a joint degree in “Global International Relations.” The degree awarded by this program is called Global IR in the sense that this program puts great emphasis upon the significance of learning about both the Western and non-Western perspectives of approaching international studies in a global sense. This program establishes its curriculum based on the following policies:
- Study at American University and Ritsumeikan University
- Program students in the GIR program will spend two full academic years at their home institution and two years at the host (partner) institution. Students will take advantage of the strengths of both their home and host institution. At the host institution, Program students will access a carefully delineated subset of course offerings that will best complement and develop their critical faculties.
- Core Courses
- The curriculum will offer core courses for program students from the first year in order for them to gain broad range of liberal arts background knowledge. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to acquire the critical and basic intellectual dispositions to learn about Global IR from multiple theoretical, historical, and cultural perspectives, and help them to think critically and clearly about the most pressing global issues.
- Foundation Courses
- The GIR degree will offer foundation courses that consist of Basic Economics, World Politics, Cohort classes and International Economics. Basic Economics are foundation courses on international economics. World Politics offers a grounding in basic theories of International Relations, history, and contemporary issues of international politics. The Cohort classes are solely for program students in the sense that they will form a cohort within and across academic years and take a number of cohort-specific classes together, which are designed to promote cross-cultural interaction in the classroom. In the Cohort system of the program, the jointly designed courses of “Cultural Awareness and Communication” and “Japanese Culture” will be offered at RU as its required courses. Full-time RU faculties will be engaged in both courses. RU and AU Home Students will jointly take these required courses at RU, enabling them to learn Japanese culture from global perspectives and cross cultural communication with diversified cultural backgrounds. AU will also offer the First Year Seminar which is designated as course jointly designed. These studies are considered as imperative elements comprising the foundation of Global IR. The curriculum will require Program Students to take the foundation courses which are correspondently offered at both institutions either at RU or AU. Though not designated as required course, the foundation courses will be offered equivalent to the required courses.
- Research Methodology Courses for the Study of Global IR
- The GIR program will offer research methodology courses for program students to obtain appropriate research methodology skills for the study of Global IR. The first research methodology course includes training in data gathering, research design, and statistical analysis. Program students will take the advanced research course, which focuses on a specific research methodology, or subject area. Methodologies covered include both qualitative and quantitative methods such as comparative case study analysis, game theory, discourse analysis, and ethnographic research methods.
- Thematic Areas
- In addition to the foundation courses, in order for students to learn specialized topics within Global IR systematically, the GIR degree will offer three thematic area courses: “Peace, Global Security and Conflict Resolution (PGSCR),” “Identity, Race, Gender and Culture (IRGC),” and “ Global Comparative Governance (GCG).” Each thematic area will incorporate its own gateway and upper-level courses. Program students take gateway courses in order to systematically study more advanced Global IR courses.
- Area Studies and Language Courses
- The GIR degree will offer diverse area studies courses for students to deepen their understanding on global and regional issues. American University will offer various area studies courses covering virtually all parts of the world. Ritsumeikan University will offer Japan and East Asian studies related courses in order for students to gain knowledge and improve their understanding about Japan and its surrounding region. To realize the vision of this joint degree program, this program also offers Japanese language courses on which students will obtain at least intermediate level Japanese.
- Senior Capstone Project
- The senior capstone requirement in the last semester of a student’s degree program will build upon the sum total of the undergraduate educational experience of the student, and research guidance and supervision within a specialized area will be given. Students will design and conduct research and complete their projects under the guidance of faculty members from both institutions.