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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May. 2014)


Internationalization at Waseda

Waseda University was the first Japanese university to promote internationalization and produce outstanding talents who will perform well globally.
Promotion of internationalization at Waseda was spurred by selection to the MEXT's Program for Development of Internationalization Bases (Global 30) from the 2008 to 2013 academic years. Our university has greatly increased the number of courses in which a degree can be obtained through English classes only. We have also developed our system for accepting foreign students and promoted strategic international partnerships. This article discusses the results of internationalization at Waseda University, as well as the future outlook.

School of International Liberal Studies (SILS)

This article introduces the features and future outlook of School of International Liberal Studies (SILS), which fulfills a vital role in internationalization at Waseda University.

Cultivating international talents who will be active in the world through an understanding of multiple languages and cultures

School of International Liberal Studies (SILS) was opened in 2004 as a pillar of Waseda's internationalization strategy. The school emphasizes the establishment and maintenance of an environment containing a variety of languages, cultures and values. From the time of its founding, almost all classes have been held in the school's official language of English. 1 out of every 3 faculty members and students at the schools is a non-Japanese, and 1 year of study abroad is compulsory. Even so, the English language is nothing more than a tool at SILS. In order to perform well in a global society where there is sharing of local languages, history, culture and customs, students at the school are also required to study multiple foreign languages and are recommended to spend their 1 year of study abroad in a country or region where the native language is not English. Currently, about 20% of students studying abroad each year select a non-English speaking region, learning the native language of that region before returning to Japan. 1,000 of the 3,000 students enrolled at SILS are non-Japanese. These foreign students possess a total of 52 nationalities and 36 native languages. Furthermore, approximately 30% of faculty members are also non-Japanese, thus creating an education environment which is highly international.

Norimasa Morita
Dean, Faculty of International Liberal Studies

Another pillar of SILS is liberal arts education. Clearly different from conventional liberal arts education in Japan, SILS follows the model of American liberal arts universities and insists upon small-group liberal arts education during the 4 years of university. Courses consist of 7 fields which encompass the latest global conditions. Examples include life sciences, environmental sciences, material sciences and information sciences, as well as courses on politics, peace, human rights and international relations. As students enter higher grades, the level of mastery in each field increases and expertise is heightened.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of SILS's founding. Our school's goal for the future is to cultivate polylingual talents who are true international citizens in a broad meaning. Furthermore, Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies were opened last year as a place for acquiring deeply specialized knowledge. Through integrated education from undergraduate school to graduate school, we hope to cultivate researchers and talents who will perform well in international society.

In addition to partner schools, we also offer inter-regional partnership programs exclusive to SILS students.
  • University College Maastricht of Maastricht University (Holland)
  • Lahore University of Management Sciences (Pakistan)
  • University of Victoria of Wellington (New Zealand)
  • Yonsei University, Seoul National University (Korea)
  • Chulalongkorn University (Thailand)
  • University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Peking University (China), The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
  • Institut d'Etudes Politiques d'Aix-en-Provence (France)
  • Koc University (Turkey)
Message from Faculty: Utilizing rich tradition to perform well globally

Professor Adrian Pinnington
Faculty of International Liberal Studies

School of International Liberal Studies is one of the driving forces behind the internationalization of Waseda. In my class, which is taught in English, Japanese students encounter new ways of thinking and develop an international consciousness. On the other hand, non-Japanese students are able to view Japan from Waseda University, a highly-stimulating school bursting with energy. In recent years, international competition among universities has increased. Accordingly, it is important to provide quality education which fulfills the needs of foreign students who have selected Waseda. Our school has produced countless famous researchers and possesses a rich research background. By utilizing Waseda's rich tradition which has been passed down through the years, I will continue my efforts to cultivate global talents.