General questions about the Graduate School

Q. What is “International Relations and Regional Studies”?

A. In a globalized world today, we all have to be keen to the changing trends in the international society, as well as the concrete realities in each country. Yet, higher education has tended to focus on either the international society or individual countries. International Relations and Regional Studies systematically combines these two closely related areas, so as to nurture global human resources.

Q. Are there any other similar graduate schools? What are the differences between them and the Graduate School at Niigata?

A. There are a few graduate schools with similar names. However, the content of education is very different. Also, some universities offer programs in international relations, others provide Area Studies courses. But there are very few graduate programs that effectively integrate the two aspects.
The Graduate School at the University of Niigata Prefecture devised an innovative program of International Studies and Regional Development, where students can systematically study these two aspects.

Q. What are the strengths of the Graduate School?

A. One of the strengths of our Graduate School is its effectively integrated curriculum of theoretical frameworks for international studies (International Politics and International Economics) and Area Studies. International Relations and Area Studies are just like two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, theoretical approaches of International Relations are necessary for students to analyze regional issues. On the other hand, regional issues serve as indispensable sources for researchers and students to empirically test theories.
The Graduate School provides such an innovative program that effectively combines the two aspects of International Relations Theories and Area Studies. With a number of experts in Area Studies of Russia, China and South Korea, the program is capable of meeting a wide range of students’ learning interest.
In addition, the Graduate School is keen to research methodologies and English skills, which are the fundamental basis for International Relations Theories and Area Studies. As a way to strengthen students’ analytical skills, a group of major courses consist of quantitative and qualitative analyses. Also, the Graduate School offers courses in English in addition to courses that are taught in Japanese. so as to improve students’ communicative competence in English.

Questions regarding admission

Q. When is the entrance examination?

A. For details, please check the follwing Link and Application Guidebook (available online).

Q. What are tested in the entrance exam?

A. The evaluation of applicants will be based on essay, interview, and submitted documents. Applicants will take different subjects by type of admission. Please check Application Guidebook for details.

Q. Are there any past exam questions available for reference?

A. Past exam questions are available at the Application Information. Upon taking the exam, candidates are expected to prepare for the essay question, have a clear purpose in entering the program, and improve your English skills. Essay questions for international students will be uploaded at the Application Information.

Q. Can I enroll in the program, even if I have never studied political science or International Relations?

A. The Graduate School also welcomes beginners in political science and International Relations. The program is designed in such a way that beginners would not feel being left behind, as long as they complete the Introductory and Basic Courses. The small size of the classes also enables students to get full attention from their supervisors.

Q. How proficient am I supposed to be in English or Japanese?

A. You may complete the program in either Japanese or English. If you choose English, it is preferable (but not required) that your proficiency level is equivalent to or above 730 in TOEIC, and/or 550 in TOEFL PBT.

Q. Are there any subject exemptions in the entrance exam?

A. If English is your native language, you do NOT have to take the English exam. Also, even if your native language is not English, you may also be exempted from the English exam provided that you submit test scores to prove your English language proficiency.

About completing the Graduate program

Q. How much does the tuition cost?

A. Application fee: 30,000 Yen
Enrollment fee: 141,000 Yen (for Niigata residents*); 282,000 Yen (non-residents)
* Applicants have to have permanent addresses in Niigata for at least ONE year prior to their enrollment at the Graduate School to be qualified as Niigata residents.
Tuition fee: 535,800 Yen (one year)

Q. Are there any tuition exemption and/or scholarships available?

A. The rules for tuition exemption are subject to that of the undergraduate departments. In addition, the Graduate School has its own scholarship program. Scholarships provided by the Japan Student Services Organization (Jasso) or Niigata City are also available.

Q. Would it be possible to continue studying at the Graduate School, while doing part-time jobs?

A. Heeding concerns of working adults, the program is designed such that students can take evening and weekend courses.

Q. Are there any TAs?

A. Currently, there are no TAs.

Q. What kind of subjects will I study at the Graduate School?

A. The Graduate School offers a curriculum of International Society, Regional International Relations, and Individual Country Studies (of East Asian countries). These three components are bolstered by the two cross-sectional courses, i.e., analytical methodology and communicative English.

Q. How does the weekly schedule at the Graduate School look like?

A. Regular enrollment period is two years (4 semesters). Some classes are provided in the 6th period and weekends so that working adults can also complete the program. In the event that no working adults are enrolled, the program will not offer classes after the 5th period in order to decrease students’ burden.

Q. Can I still graduate if I fail some of the classes?

A. You can graduate as long as you fulfill the number of required academic units (F is not counted as such).

Q. Can I improve my skills in other languages (Russian, Chinese, Korea) in addition to English?

A. Language learning depends on each individual, and there is no guarantee for the results. However, students may significantly improve their language skills due to the two following reasons:
1. Many classes are offered in English.
2. The Graduate School offers special courses on English academic writing and presentation.
※Although the Graduate School does not offer language courses of Russian, Chinese and Korean, there are a large number of these classes at the undergraduate level. Motivated students are encouraged to take these classes.

Q. Are there any opportunities to study abroad?

A. There are a number of overseas partner universities available for students to study abroad. The University of Niigata Prefecture and the Graduate School will earnestly support students’ endeavors in learning at foreign institutes.

Q. Are there any foreign students at the Graduate School?

A. Yes. The Graduate School welcomes foreign students, and we will improve a system to receive more foreign students.

Q. Would it be possible to complete the program without writing the Master’s dissertation?

A. No. All students are required to submit a Master’s dissertation for degree completion.

Regarding employment opportunities and future career path

Q. Will there be any internship opportunities?

A. The Graduate School regularly holds a meeting with Niigata Keizai Doyukai (Niigata Economy Association). The Graduate School and the University of Niigata Prefecture will continue this type of discussion with relevant entities, in order to explore internship opportunities for graduate students.

Q. How would I utilize what I learnt at the Graduate School at workplace?

A. The Graduate School is not a higher education institute to nurture corporate professionals, such as accountants, lawyers and etc. However, it provides students with trainings in data analysis and language communication, which are indispensable knowledge and skills in any workplace of today’s globalized world.
The Graduate School is particularly competent in preparing students to advance to PhD programs.

Q. What kind of career opportunities are available after graduating from the Graduate School?

A. One of our objectives is to nurture human resources equipped with globally relevant skills, specifically: 1. the expertise to understand and analyze both international and regional realities impacting East Asia (inter alia, Russia, China and South Korea), and 2. an advanced communicative competence in English.
Our alumni with global competence are expected to play active roles in a variety of fields including: 1. public service, tourism, manufacturing, the financial industry and the media in Niigata. 2. domestic government agencies, manufacturing, the service industry, the media, think tanks, overseas corporations, and international organizations, and 3. doctoral programs in Japan and other countries.

Q. Can I advance to a PhD program after the Graduate School?

A. The Graduate School does not offer any PhD degrees. However, students who have completed the master’s program may choose to advance to PhD programs at other institutes.

Environment around the Graduate School

Q. Is the Graduate School located in a safe neighborhood? How much does it cost to live close by? What is the overall environment like?

A. The Graduate School is only two stations away from the Niigata Station. Buses frequent between the Graduate School and the Niigata Station (330 JPY, approximately 25 minutes, one way). The Graduate School is in a quiet neighborhood, located slightly away from the central part of Niigata.
Living expenses are very cheap compared with those in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. Comfortable housings are available nearby, typically for less than 50,000 JPY. Please note that there is no student dorm as of now.
The Niigata City has relatively mild climate for an area facing the Japan Sea. Snow precipitation is usually not so much as to bring trouble to people’s daily lives. Also, the transpiration is very convenient. The bullet train (Shinkansen) takes you to Tokyo in about just 2 hours. Regular flights are frequent not only to other cities of Japan, but also to Russia, China, and Korea.