B.A. in Liberal Arts

Doshisha University, The Institute for the Liberal Arts

Program Description

B.A. in Liberal Arts

Doshisha University, The Institute for the Liberal Arts

B.A. in Liberal Arts

The B.A. in Liberal Arts Program at the I.L.A. represents a culmination of world−class approaches to university liberal arts education. The Institute combines a private North American liberal arts college atmosphere and educational approach with an emphasis on building partnerships between students and professors in small, interactive classes of instruction in English. Students are challenged to take responsibility for their own learning, developing a critical literacy through intensive reading, reflection, writing, and discussion. The Institute faculty members challenge students to not only find interesting answers, but to formulate and ask intriguing questions.

Although concentrating in one of three clusters-Japanese Society and Global Culture, Japanese Business in the Global Economy, or Japanese Politics and Global Studies-students are encouraged to design their own unique four−year curriculum of study, choosing from a wide range of classes offered through the Institute, the Center for Japanese Language and Culture, as well as literally hundreds of undergraduate classes offered in Japanese at other faculties, for example, the Faculties of Letters, Social Sciences, Economics, Commerce, Law, and Policy Studies. Also, as a Doshisha University undergraduate, all Institute students have the opportunity to enroll in credit−earning courses at other universities in “The Consortium of Universities in Kyoto,” including Kyoto University, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto Seika University, and Kyoto Sangyo University.

Each student will belong to either one of the following faculties-Letters, Social Studies, Law, Economics, Commerce, and Policy Studies; however, all students in this institute, regardless of which faculty they belong to, will have the same curriculum specially designed for The Liberal Arts Program.

The University schedules classes according to the semester system, with two regular semesters (Spring and Fall). Each semester consists of 15 weeks, followed by final exams (see also: Academic Calendar page). I.L.A. students can enter the program in either the Spring or Fall.

Curriculum Outline

Students in this four-year degree program choose one of three concentrations: Humanities and the Human Sciences, Business and Economics, or Politics and Policy Studies. All students begin by studying Foundation Courses, where they master the methodologies and research skills required for comparative analysis. They then design their own individualized curriculum by selecting courses across the disciplines based on their interests.

Students can take advanced courses in their concentration where they gain in-depth knowledge pertaining to specific fields:

Humanities and the Human Sciences (Japanese Society and Global Culture)
Business and Economics (Japanese Business and the Global Economy)
Politics and Policy Studies (Japanese Politics and Global Studies)

Students can choose to specialize within their chosen concentration or combine courses across fields, from the classes offered in English at the I.L.A., as well as in Japanese and English throughout the University.

Students may also have the opportunity to spend a year abroad at one of Doshisha’s many partner universities worldwide. While taking academic courses, students can study the Japanese language at any level.


Foundation Courses

  • Academic and Research Skills
    • Library Research Skills
    • Introduction to Information Systems
    • Academic Presentations and Debate
    • Academic Writing
    • Mathematical Methods for the Social Sciences
    • Introduction to Asian Philosophy and Thought
    • Introduction to Social, Political, and Economic Thought
    • Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics
    • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
    • Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods
  • Understanding Japan and Kyoto
    • Basic Japanese
    • Communities of Practice in Japan
    • Japanese Issues and Topics
    • Introduction to Kyoto
    • Doshisha and Christianity
    • Geography of Japan
    • Nature and the Environment in Japan
    • Religion in Japan
    • Understanding and Experiencing Work in Japan

Humanities and the Human Sciences – Japanese Society and Global Culture

Students taking classes in this concentration will study a wide range of topics and issues that set out to answer these four core questions.

Topics include: migration; the formation of individual and group identities; the creation and maintenance of communities and social networks; new forms of communication and civil action; the development of cultural systems and concepts of nation; the emergence of global youth cultures and global identities; the influence of new media and regional collectives; the breakdown of class systems and new divisions in global society; the influence of technology on individuals and their collectives; the psychological power of visible and invisible borders; the roots of ethnic and religious conflict; the power of symbols in society and everyday life; the construction of the Japanese past and present

Business and Economics – Japanese Business and the Global Economy

Highlighting local and regional Japanese business practices against the backdrop of an increasingly integrated world economy, courses in this concentration provide students with a strong grounding in the core elements of contemporary business practices, while fostering the development of the breadth and depth in understanding that is characteristic of a liberal arts degree. Introductory and intermediate courses introduce students to accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and management theories using illustrations from Japan.

In advanced courses, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in an international context. Students who have concentrated their studies in business and economics are comfortable with both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis, allowing them to use practical reasoning to resolve the challenges that they are faced with in their jobs and daily lives.

Politics and Policy Studies – Japanese Politics and Global Studies

The answers to these questions dominate every aspect of our lives. In our complex and interdependent world, responsible politics requires discourse, broad-based citizen participation and responsive leadership. To that end, the Politics and Policy Studies Concentration promotes the critical analysis of politics and public policy, with both a Japan and a comparative focus.

This concentration equips students with the tools to frame important questions; conduct theory-driven research; provide evidence-based answers; write clearly and persuasively; and participate in lively discussions. When theory and systematic empirical analysis drive purposeful analysis, significant insights for our communities and for the world emerge.

Admissions Policy

At the I.L.A. we know that it would be simple to base our admission policy on quantifiable criteria. However, our educational mission demands that before we admit an applicant we discover how that person might contribute to and benefit from the lively, academic, social, and extracurricular activity at the Institute and the University. For this reason, we ask each applicant to submit a range of documents that help us to select each incoming cohort of students. Within the larger University, the I.L.A. student body is small (approximately 200 students divided over four years, with additional students studying in our classes from other departments and programs across the 29,000-student University).

The I.L.A. is dedicated to creating a community of students who are all committed to an interdisciplinary, liberal arts program of undergraduate education that is unique in its global outlook and local context. To achieve this, we especially look for the following qualities in our applicants:

  1. linguistic skills that allow effective self-expression in both written and spoken forms;
  2. a critical literacy that enables both independent thinking and questioning of assumptions;
  3. a diverse background with a multitude of educational and social experiences;
  4. the maturity to take responsibility for academic learning and life in a new environment;
  5. the intellectual curiosity to reflect upon global issues through the local lens of Japan.

The I.L.A. assumes that all applicants have an excellent secondary school record. However, over and beyond a high GPA and outstanding standardized exam scores (typically students accepted to the I.L.A. have an IB score of 32 or above, SAT score of at least 1650, or three GCE A-levels), most importantly we look for applicants who demonstrate a passion for the liberal arts program with an obvious and strong potential for contributing to the intellectual and social life of the Institute.

Cost & Fees

Undergraduate First Year Students (2017 Entry)
- 1st year 2nd year 3rd year 4th year
Admission Fee 200,000 - - -
Tuition 828,000 840,000 845,000 850,000
Facilities Fee 149,000 157,000 165,000 173,000
Total 1,177,000 997,000 1,010,000 1,023,000

The Admission Fee is charged in the initial year only.
One half each of the Tuition, and the Facilities Fee is charged in the Spring and Fall Semesters respectively.
In addition to the above, the Alumni Association Fee will be charged in the fourth year.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 4, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Apr. 2019
4 years
Full time
4,207,000 JPY
2017 Entry
Japan - Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Start date : Apr. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Apr. 2019
Japan - Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info