Japanese universities are increasingly offering programs in which students can acquire degrees from overseas universities while studying at schools in Japan. By introducing international educational programs into schools, Japanese universities aim to attract students who plan to earn graduate degrees at universities abroad or find a job at foreign companies. As the program facilitates Japanese schools’ globalization, the government is promoting those programs by revising university establishment standards so that Japanese universities are able to offer new departments jointly with universities overseas.
Musashino University in Tokyo introduced an international program of the University of London in 2015. The program is aimed at targeting students in the faculty of economics who wish to take the program and meet the English language requirement. Through the program, students can learn economics and business administration in English. When students complete the course in four years by earning required semester hours, they are awarded a bachelor’s degree in the economics of management.
A Musashino instructor who acquired a Ph.D. at a school overseas teaches this program. Students enrolled in the program take an examination once a year. The University of London creates and grades the exam questions. While taking the course, students are also required to complete courses at Musashino University in order to graduate.
Musashino University does not have an international department, so this program promotes the school’s internationalization. “Students [who complete the program] can take advantage of the highly recognized overseas degree in job-hunting or furthering their education,” said Professor Ken Togo, a member of the economics department who has promoted the program, emphasizing its benefits.
Of the 19 students who initially joined this program, only 7 completed the one-year basic course, which requires them to take four subjects including political science and international relations. “While staying in Japan, the program enables us to receive the high level education offered by University of London,” said Yuki Kamata (20), one of freshmen currently taking the basic course. “I want to study at a graduate school overseas in the future.”
A growing number of Japanese universities offer similar programs for earning degrees from foreign schools.
In fiscal 2018 Ritsumeikan University [in Kyoto] plans to establish in the faculty of international relations a new department to be jointly managed by American University. This was made possible by the government’s revision of standards for establishing universities. Students at the new department will study at American University for two of their four years. They will be awarded a bachelor’s degree under the names of both universities.
Ritsumeikan University and American University have continued a “joint program” since 1994. About 300 students have completed it. Chihiro Kawana (22), a senior at the university’s College of Policy Science, studied English in the U.S. during her high school years. She took the program to study information systems as she wanted to deepen her knowledge in her specialty. She said she immersed herself in study in the U.S. for two years and added, “It was important to finish assignments as efficiently as possible and I successfully completed the course.”
After graduating from the school, Kawana is scheduled to work in the field of risk consulting at a leading audit corporation.