Studying at Ritsumeikan University

The Area Studies Program (undergraduate) and the Geography Major, Graduate School of Letters, at Ritsumeikan University offer excellent opportunities to pursue area studies. Undergraduate course majors are geography, regional tourism, and Kyoto studies. The Graduate School of Letters provides both master and doctorate levels of geography study.

Ten Reasons to Pursue Area Studies at Ritsumeikan University

1. High-Quality Study and Research Environments

The Area Studies Program employs 19 full-time academic staff members who have expertise in various subjects and rich educational and research experience. Moreover, we offer high-quality study environments, both in terms of hard (e.g., a state-of-the-art research laboratory, GIS, and cartographic computers) and soft (e.g., friendly staff members, scholarships, and an educational support system) perspectives. We are committed to offering high-quality study and research environments.

2. Global Center of Excellence

The Geography Major in the Area Studies Program plays a key role in the Research Center for Disaster Mitigation of Urban Cultural Heritage and Kyoto Art Entertainment Innovation Research, which are Global COEs (Centers of Excellence) of the twenty-first century promoted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology. We conduct interdisciplinary and cutting-edge research in cooperation with researchers who belong to other departments, such as Japanese literature majors and Japanese history majors at the Graduate School of Letters and other graduate schools, such as the Graduate School of Science & Engineering.

3. Research that Integrates the Humanities and Sciences

Our education and research on area studies integrate humanistic perspectives with scientific perspectives. Several of our academic staff members are experts of physical geography, geographical information science, mathematics, and statistics. Specifically, integrated researches make significant contributions to several fields of area studies, such as disaster studies, spatial behavior science, and tourism development modeling. Students can take mathematics and statistics classes that are designed to proceed from an introductory level to an advanced level step by step.

4. Unique Curriculum

Our lectures in the Area Studies Program range from introductory classes in area studies and basic writing and reading to introduction to fieldwork and advanced GIS, cartography, and remote sensing classes. We offer a variety of study options, which means that students can take lectures in accordance with their interests and needs. Several modules are especially unique.

5. Advanced Geographic Information Science

We offer an excellent environment in which to use a Geographic Information System (GIS). Students can use a variety of GIS software on all the educational computers at Ritsumeikan University. The Area Studies Program includes the GIS and photogrammetry room and has a cartography room available for advanced processing. Academic staff members of geographic information science in the Area Studies Program are reputed worldwide with regard to the high-quality educational and research levels they have attained.

6. Informative Assets

We have an enormous quantity of digitized geographic information (geographic statistics, satellite imagery, and map images). We also have almost all of the topographic maps published by the Japanese government since the Meiji period, and plentiful collections of domestic and international maps belonging to the Map Library of the Area Studies Program. Moreover, there are quite a few magazines and books on area studies (about geography, tourism, and Kyoto) in the several libraries in Ritsumeikan University.

7. Advanced International Exchange

We host frequent international activities, such as an international conference, presentations by visitors from abroad, and special lectures by world-famous researchers. We offer an educational program on GIS, which invites world-class cutting-edge researchers from abroad as guest professors. Moreover, the students enrolled in the Regional Tourism Major can take a module that offers a fieldwork trip to Malaysia and Singapore, where they will have an opportunity to communicate with students at University Sains Malaysia in Penang.

8. Career

Students who graduate from the Area Studies Program are employed in a variety of industries (e.g., junior and senior high schools, municipal offices, transportation companies, NGOs/NPOs, cartographic companies, trading companies, and so on). Graduates enjoy the following benefits:

  • Leverage gained through conducting fieldwork
  • An ability to plan strategically, which is attained through the implementation of projects
  • An ability to be insightful
  • Writing and reading skills in both English and Japanese
  • International communication skills and international knowledge
  • GIS and advanced computer skills

9. Industry-Government-Academia Collaboration

We desire that academic development benefits society through research collaboration with private companies and governmental agencies. Joint workshops and research projects have been held with Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture, for understanding commercial situations; and Kyoto City on landscapes, crime countermeasures, disaster mitigation, and traffic problems. For example, we are in charge of investigating a situation of “Conservation and Application of Cultural Landscapes (Forestry of Kitayama Cedars)” from the geographic and folklore points of view, entrusted to us by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Non-Profit Foundation for Preservation of Kyoto’s Cultural and Sightseeing Resources.

10. The Historic City of Kyoto

The historic city of Kyoto, with a population of approximately 1.5 million, is one of the largest cities in Japan and has a very rich heritage. It implies that Kyoto is one of the best places to study historical geography, landscapes, urban cultural heritages, and disaster mitigation of cultural resources. Moreover, Kyoto is one of the academic cities where universities and research institutes are concentrated. Kyoto provides excellent environments to pursue area studies as well as enjoy student life.

See the section for prospective students on the Ritsumeikan University website for details about entry requirements and students life.

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