Bachelor in Policy Science - Community and Regional Policy Studies

Ritsumeikan University

Program Description

Bachelor in Policy Science - Community and Regional Policy Studies

Ritsumeikan University


Responding to the needs of society by establishing the College of Policy Science

The College of Policy Science was established at Ritsumeikan University in 1994 and is now one of the leading centers in the study of policy in Japan.

The end of the 20th Century brought with it problems involving environmental issues, urban issues, and economic gap, signaling the limits of industrialized society. Subsequently, demand for the innovation of various social sciences in order to solve these new problems increased. This led to the creation of the College of Policy Science, which created courses involving both general and interdisciplinary social sciences, to lead the way in solving the social problems of the 20th Century.


English-based Undergraduate Degree Program : Community and Regional Policy Studies Major

The College of Policy Science has offered the English-based Community and Regional Policy Studies Major since it was launched in 2013, marking the College's 20th anniversary. There are three programs in the major:

Sustainable Urban Policy Program

This program focuses on urban planning, environmental and housing policies, community development, and disaster prevention in communities, and aims to achieve sustainable urban development and solve environmental issues.

Regional Economy and Development Program

This program focuses on regional development, international trade and finance, development economics, public economics, and economic systems as a framework to develop regional economies.

Multi-level Governance Program

This program focuses on multi-level governance, international public policy, national and local government cooperation, constitutional law, public administration, and social welfare policy.

Recent Developments at the College of Policy Science

Unique collaboration with various institutions

The College of Policy Science has signed agreements with many local government, NPOs, and private enterprises to work together systematically. Through this, the organizations share their challenges with our students, and the students do practical work to solve these challenges. The success of such programs has been recognized by the Japanese government, with the college having been commended for “Good Practice” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, twice at the graduate level and once at the undergraduate level.

Challenges to solve practical and important issues for people all over the world

The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 destroyed many regional foundations in East Japan. There is a great need to think about how to plan the restoration efforts of Japanese society. We at the College of Policy Science have organized joint research to investigate the restoration process. We explore questions such as: How were our communities resilient after the crisis? How has policy process allowed us to construct a safe and secure social system? These are important issues we should deal with and will continue to be an important theme for people all over the world.


  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Policy Science
  • Major: Community and Regional Policy Studies
  • Language: English
  • Length: 4 years
  • Enrollment Period: September

Carefully formulated, well implemented policies have the power to transform people's lives. Students of policy science learn how to unleash that power by combining advanced academic knowledge in several disciplines with a focus on solving real-life problems. Issues such as poverty, demographic shifts, urbanization, and environmental change are recognized as global challenges, but they all demand locally situated responses. Policy science connects the global and the local, cultivating advanced practitioners to deliver creative solutions which satisfy all stakeholders.

Key features

  • Integrated expertise from various social science and engineering fields
  • Small class sizes, interactive approach
  • Hands-on experience and qualifications in field research
  • Summer fieldwork programs outside of Japan



All classes in the Community and Regional Policy Studies major will be held in English. 1st and 2nd year students will take academic skills courses, liberal arts courses, and introductory courses to research methods and policy science. 3rd and 4th year students choose one of the three programs (Sustainable Urban Policy Program, Regional Economy and Development Program, and Multi-level Governance Program) and engage in in-depth learning with a focus on specialized courses and seminars. 4th year students write a graduation thesis. During the last semester, students undertake a project-based practical survey as a capstone for learning about policy science based on scientific social surveys.

Additionally, students take intensive Japanese language courses from the first year, and work towards the goal of achieving an intermediate level Japanese by the time they graduate.

Example of Study Path

  • 1st year
  • Academic skills courses necessary to university learning, liberal arts courses, and policy science introductory lecture courses, as well as reading course and Japanese language courses. In debate courses, participate in exchanges with Japanese students from the Policy Science major of the College of Policy Science.
  • 2nd year
  • Policy science introductory courses, policy research courses including social survey methodology, and specialized reading seminars to prepare for the three programs. Students are expected to continue Japanese language studies. Students may request to participate in fieldwork programs abroad.
  • 3rd year
  • Specialized learning in courses in one of the three programs and specialized seminars.
  • 4th year
  • Students write graduation thesis and complete project-based practical social seminar based on the social research methodologies learned in the major.

Great reasons to choose the College of Policy Science

Reason1: Faculty members from a variety of background

Some of our faculty members are science-oriented social engineers who specialize in urban planning, architecture, and environmental studies, while others are social scientists who specialize in political science, economics, legal science and management. The diversity of teaching staff allows you to not only learn specialized knowledge in various fields closely connected to policy issues, but also use a scientific approach to conduct policy analysis.

Reason 2: Practical experience coducting social surveys

The curriculum at the College of Policy Science will give you practical training implementing social surveys and field research. You will conduct a social survey as a part of a seminar project and use the survey to resolve the challenges of an outside organization. These are the kinds of skills that various organizations are looking for when hiring employees for important research/planning positions. You even have the opportunity to become qualified as a Certified Social Researcher by the Japanese Association for Social Research.

Reason 3: Overseas fieldwork

The College of Policy Science offers summer fieldwork programs abroad. In recent years programs have been offered in a range of countries such as Canada, Great Britain, Thailand, Korea, China, Cambodia, Vietnam and France. Some programs are offered only in Japanese and students with sufficient Japanese language ability are encouraged to apply. Students from Thammasat University in Thailand visit our College for a joint workshop every spring vacation. This joint workshop has received support from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Reason 4: Small classes, active participation

We accept 40 students for the English-based major every year. Students can receive detailed guidance from the instructors, and are encouraged to actively participate in class, with a focus on activities such as discussion and presentations.

Reason 5: Exchange with Japanese students

We offer courses that both English-based students and Japanese-based students can take. Through these Bridge Courses, you can study together not only with other students in the English-based major but also with students in the Japanese-based major. Bridge Courses will be taught in English.

Reason 6: Japanese language studies

By studying Japanese language 6 hours per week for 2 years, you will be able to achieve an intermediate or even an advanced level of Japanese. This will be a great advantage in your career, as major Japanese companies are actively hiring international students who can speak both English and Japanese for important positions.


Entry Requirements

(Where a student submits an application in the expectation of achieving one of the requirements below and is made an offer of a place at the University, should the student fail to fulfil the requirement before the enrollment date, the offer of the place will be revoked.)

  1. Applicants must have completed, before the enrollment date at Ritsumeikan University, a standard 12-year course curriculum, or an equivalent curriculum as designated by the Minister of MEXT.
  2. Applicants must possess a qualification, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma, Abitur, Baccalaureate etc., that is recognized by universities outside of Japan as an entrance qualification and must have reached 18 years of age before the enrollment date at Ritsumeikan University.
  3. Applicants must have passed an exam demonstrating equivalent academic ability to completion of a standard 12-year course curriculum outside Japan, or the High School Equivalency Exam (高等学校卒業程度認定試験)/ the University Entrance Qualification Exam(大学入学資格検定) provided by MEXT in Japan and must have reached 18 years of age before the enrollment date at Ritsumeikan University.
  4. Applicants must have completed a 12-year curriculum at a school for international students accredited by an international accrediting organization (WASC, CIS or ACSI) or a school for international students in Japan accredited by the Minister of MEXT to be equivalent to a High school outside of Japan and must have reached 18 years of age before the enrollment date at Ritsumeikan University.
  5. Applicants must have been recognized, through an individual screening review by Ritsumeikan University, as having an academic ability equivalent to or greater than that of an person who has completed high school, and be at least 18 years of age before the enrollment date at Ritsumeikan University.

You must submit the following to enable Ritsumeikan University to confirm you are eligible to apply and to prove your academic and language proficiency:

  • Original documents proving that you meet the educational criteria for application: Usually this will be a Graduation Certificate or proof that you are scheduled to graduate from secondary school before the enrollment date at Ritsumeikan University.
  • Original Academic transcripts from your most recent three years of high school or secondary education. If you have taken any official national university entrance exams, please submit results from these, too.
  • Proof of English language proficiency: Usually a photocopy of the results certificate for a test such as TOEFL®Test, TOEIC®Test, IELTS etc.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated March 17, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
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Sept. 2017
4 years
Full time
Japan - Kyoto
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Japan - Osaka
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Apr. 2017
Japan - Kyoto
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Sept. 2017
Japan - Osaka
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