Global cities are cultural, financial, technological hubs that are at the forefront of globalization. The Global Cities Index annually published by Kearney ranks Global Cities by measuring dimensions such as economics, innovation, and governance. Tokyo ranks fourth in the Global Cities Index, next only to New York, London, and Paris; making it the highest-ranking city in Asia. Tokyo is one of the most important cities in the world and thus, it is home to some of the best universities in Japan.

Other global cities in Asia include Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, and Seoul, all of which are a stone’s throw away and have direct flights in and out of Tokyo. Taking in all of these factors, Tokyo is definitely one of the best places in the world, and perhaps the best place in Asia, to pursue research and establish a career in the field of international relations and global studies.

Here are some of the best universities in Japan, located in Tokyo, offering graduate and post-graduate degrees in these fields of study that are taught fully in English.

The University of Tokyo

Linked Photo from The University of Tokyo Graduate Program on Global Society Website

University of Tokyo Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: Graduate Program on Global Society (GSP) offers Master’s and Doctoral degrees. The program is rooted in an interdisciplinary practice, combining the resources of the various departments and institutes within the university’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students under GSP belong to one of the four departments: Language and Information Sciences, Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Area Studies, or Advanced Social and International Studies.

  • Target: The program attempts to discover the realities of a global society by covering various geographical regions and combining knowledge from the humanities and social sciences.
  • Who Should Apply? The aim of the program is to invite students from all over the world with a variety of backgrounds. Those who are interested in international relations and global issues are encouraged to apply.

Tokyo International University

Tokyo International University’s Graduate School of International Relations has an E-Track program, featuring undergraduate and graduate programs that are all taught in English. Because of this, the university is home to students from at least 60 different countries around the world. Part of the E-Track program is the Master’s Program offered by the Graduate School of International Relations. Course subfields include Global Governance, International Security, International Political Economy, and Culture & Society.

  • Target: to develop within its students an expertise on a wide range of global issues, such as war and regional conflict, development and sustainability, climate change, and human rights. Known for its diverse faculty/student body and a small class size, the program encourages active learning through debates, presentations, group projects, field studies, internships, and more!
  • Who Should Apply? It prepares students for global leadership and helps them pursue careers in international organizations, business, education, public administration, and NGOs.

International Christian University

Linked Photo from International Christian University Website)

International Christian University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is home to the Public Policy and Social Research Program. Though the program is offered both in English and in Japanese, it is possible to complete the Master’s degree by taking only classes in English. A unique, interdisciplinary program, students in this program can specialize in a wide range of disciplines, covering not just international relations but economics, public policy, and even media. Areas of Concentration and their corresponding Degree Programs include: Master of Arts in Public Administration or Master of Arts in International Relations; Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Analysis, Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Analysis; Master of Arts in Media and Language; Master of Arts in Public Economics, and Master of Arts in Peace Studies.

  •  Target: The program delves into field research in the social sciences, including public policy, and takes an interdisciplinary approach with other related subjects to develop well-rounded students.
  • Who Should Apply? The program aims to nurture future leaders for domestic and international organizations, with training in flexible problem-solving based on analytic and planning skills.

Moreover, the International Christian University’s Master of Arts in Peace Studies program is one of the six universities in the world, and the only one in Asia, recognized by the international peace organization, Rotary as partners for the Master’s Degree “Rotary Peace Fellowship Program.” Through the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program, eligible students receive full funding for their studies and living expenses abroad. Learn more about the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program, including the non-degree professional development certificate program. To learn more about their partnership with the International Christian University, check the website of ICU Rotary Peace Center.

Waseda University

Waseda University - G30 Scholarship
Waseda University

Waseda University Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies (GSAPS) offers a Master’s Program in International Relations and a Ph.D. Program in International Studies. GSAPS students can specialize in Area Studies, International Relations, or in International Development / Policy Studies. Founded in 1998, GSAPS is the first graduate institution in Waseda University that offered bilingual education in Japanese and English, allowing students to earn a degree in either one of these languages.

  • Target: GSAPS seeks to conduct interdisciplinary research from the global and regional perspectives in the fields of regional history, politics, economics, industry, business management, society, culture and various international concerns, as well as to deepen the understanding of a growing Asia-Pacific region.
  • Who Should Apply? GSAPS seeks to train future experts, specialists and researchers who can lead the Asian-Pacific region.

Waseda University Graduate School of Social Sciences also offers MA and Ph.D in Social Sciences through their English-taught Degree Programs. Students can major in Global Society or in Policy Sciences. Learn more about the research advisers and the corresponding fields of research and projects that may be conducted in English for September 2020 enrollees through this Webpage for the Graduate School of Social Sciences.

Sophia University

(Linked Photo from Sophia University Website)

Sophia University’s Graduate School of Global Studies offers an MA and Ph.D. Programs in International Relations, Area Studies, and Global Studies. The master’s degrees have two tracks: the thesis track and the credit track. 

  • Target: Through personalized consultations with faculty members, students select courses designed to meet their individual interests and to obtain specialized knowledge in their chosen fields.
  • Who Should Apply? The diverse specializations, broad experience, and research interests of the faculty enable flexible course selection, thus befitting students who are seeking to find interdisciplinary education.

Meanwhile, Sophia University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies offers Master’s and Doctorate Programs in Global Environmental Studies, unique programs that combine social and natural sciences for a holistic understanding of the global environment.

  • Target: The curriculum combines social and natural sciences, in recognition of the fact that effective environmental study spans a number of scholastic discipline, including law, policy, administration, economics, population, energy, and chemistry.
  • Who Should Apply? The school aims to create graduates equipped to serve effectively as business persons, specialists, or scholars in the area of environmental protection.

We hope this list has helped you to pursue further studies in some of the best universities in Japan. This list was compiled based on the latest data released by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) reflecting current information as of May 2019. For a comprehensive list of all the University Degree Courses Offered in English all over Japan, including undergraduate and professional degrees, check this document published by JASSO.


Featured Photo by Yu Kato on Unsplash