Tohoku University Graduate School of Arts and Letters was built in 1953 on the foundation of the Department of Literature. The structure of the School is, however, different from the structure of the Faculty, with fields of research distributed between several divisions. Initially there were thirteen departments, but later their number was increased to fifteen through rearrangement and additions. The new list of departments included Japanese Literature and History of Japanese Thought, Japanese Linguistics, English Literature and Linguistics, German Literature and Linguistics, French Literature and Linguistics, Philosophy, Practical Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Aesthetics and Art History, Indology and History of Indian Buddhism, Sinology, Japanese History, East Asian History, and European and American History. After the Faculty of Arts and Letters was reorganized in 1995, four major divisions were created in the Graduate School of Arts and Letters: Humane Studies, Linguistic Studies, Historical Studies, and Human Sciences. Each grouping includes several departments, which conduct research in corresponding fields of study.


In 1996, the Graduate School of Arts and Letters adopted a special selection procedure for working adults in the master's program, and in 1999 it established a Professional Researcher Course, where doctoral degrees are awarded for research one conducts at his or her workplace.

Special emphasis has been put on education provided by the Humane Studies and Linguistic Studies divisions since 1999, and the Historical Studies and Social Sciences divisions since 2000. In 2000, the Graduate School of Arts and Letters established two joint programs with the Center for Northeast Asian Studies: Comparative Cultural History and Science and Technology. This was a fresh start for the Graduate School of Arts and Letters as an education and research institution.

Each department has a web page with a detailed description (written by department members) and links to personal pages of faculty members and students. General information about Tohoku University Graduate School of Arts and Letters is summarized in the following document:

About Tohoku University's Graduate School of Arts and Letters

Information about educational and research activities of each department can be found on the following web page: ("Summary of research and educational activities of Tohoku University Graduate School of Arts and Letters departments, 2011").