Our Philosophy and Academic Goals
Educational Policy of the Graduate School
of Arts and Letters
The Graduate School of Arts and Letters supports and promotes research in the various disciplines of the social sciences and humanities. The goal is to foster high-level professionals and researchers able to embrace and actively work on expanding and enriching the intellectual heritage of humanity. Likewise, we aim to prepare specialists who will be able to contribute to society by flexibly employing both broad education and specialized knowledge. Our graduates must acquire cutting-edge research skills in their chosen field - furthermore, they must possess a broad interdisciplinary outlook and a profound ability to act on the global level. Numerous problems and issues faced by the modern society can only be solved through cross-disciplinary collaboration and international cooperation. In order to achieve those, we must complete two important tasks. On the one hand, we must constantly increase the number of exchange students, since improving foreigners' understanding of Japan means improving international understanding in general. On the other hand, we must focus on retraining professionals and workers who tackle local issues: thus we will facilitate the immediate implementation of the newest research results for the good of humanity. Our objective is to cultivate members of society who will possess deep enough insight into mental and social activities of human beings to understand foreign cultures and who will utilize advanced and extensive knowledge to serve human society.
Policy Concerning Degrees
The Master's degree of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Arts and Letters is awarded to students who meet the following requirements:
- They must be sufficiently well-learned in social sciences and humanities to be able to contribute to the intellectual heritage of humanity and the development of society;
- They must be able to master and further develop advanced academic knowledge in their specialty fields; they also must be able to play active roles in various areas of society utilizing specialized knowledge and an interdisciplinary outlook.
- They must be able to raise the cultural standards of the entire society by employing their expertise and ability to creatively discover problems.
The Doctoral degree of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Arts and Letters is awarded to students who meet the following requirements:
- They must develop original thinking and competence that will allow them to operate as independent researchers in their specialized fields; furthermore, they must be possessed of the superior abilities that will enable them to become high-level professionals in their fields. Both competencies derive from a high level of specialized expertise and extensive leading knowledge in the sphere of social sciences and humanities.
- They must be able to conduct advanced research in their specialized fields on the global level; they must also possess a broad and nuanced interdisciplinary outlook and an outstanding ability to act internationally.
- They must cultivate the deep insight into the mental and social activities of humanity that will allow them to understand foreign cultures; they must also be able to utilize advanced and extensive knowledge to serve human society.
Policy Concerning Curricula
Education at the Graduate School of Arts and Letters is designed to foster individuals that will fulfill the requirements outlined in the diploma policy. It is therefore organized and implemented according to the following principles:
- We will cultivate in students the high-level professional research capabilities and extensive professional knowledge necessary for advanced research; education will be structured around cultural sciences, linguistic sciences, historical studies, and human sciences, with emphasis on interdisciplinarity and the linkages between different fields.
- We will establish a field for each specialization in order to provide targeted education to small groups of students and implement the multi-advisor system. All students will receive individual learning guidance answering their personal needs, which will enable them to develop the capacity for research and knowledge on par with international standards.
- We will require students to master the basic research methods of their specialized fields, conduct research projects for their master's program, and write and defend master's theses. By doing so, we will help them lay the foundation of their research and/or professional careers.
Education in the Graduate School of Arts and Letters is designed to foster individuals that will fulfill the requirements outlined in the diploma policy. It is therefore organized and implemented according to the following principles:
- We will promote research in various fields of the social sciences and humanities in order to foster advanced professionals and researchers capable of carrying forward and making contributions to the intellectual heritage of humanity in a creative and active manner.
- We will require students to conduct world-class research in their respective fields of study and summarize the results in doctoral theses; we will also encourage our students to create academic networks by actively participating in academic conferences and other research-related activities within and outside Japan.
- We will nurture individuals unrestricted by the confines of a single academic field; equipped with interdisciplinary outlook and high proficiency in international communication, they will be able to successfully operate on the global level.
Policy Concerning Admissions
Our Research Goals
The ultimate research goal of the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, which consists of the Humane Studies Division, the Linguistic Studies Division, the Historical Studies Division, and the Human Sciences Division, is to investigate human nature in all its aspects, from individuals to society at large. This investigation conforms to the following four principles:
- Our main research subjects are non-material culture and social structures, which are the fruits of humankind. Research is carried out in line with global standards, and the results presented to the world.
- The Graduate School of Arts and Letters is structured as an international research site that promotes interdisciplinary and advanced collaborative research and strives to develop new academic fields to answer the needs of the modern world.
- We put an emphasis on fundamental research, which forms the basis of all academic activities; taking a long-term perspective, we make it a point to provide our researchers with fundamental research resources.
- We support the sustainable development of humanity by putting the results of our research to practical use for the benefit of society.
Our Research Objectives
In order to achieve its principle research goal, the Graduate School of Arts and Letters facilitates the integration of the unique research potential of its four divisions. Furthermore, it addresses the following objectives.
- Non-material culture is built on literature and philosophy. We must illuminate the workings of the human intellect and senses through close readings of philosophical and literary writings and continue searching for new knowledge.
- Language is the basis of communication. We must study its structure, functions, history, and transformations from a variety of angles. We must also conduct practical research on the methodology of teaching Japanese as a foreign language.
- History is the sum of human activities. We must analyze it in order to predict the unfolding of future events and devise the necessary guiding principles. Therefore, we must interpret, reconstruct, and evaluate historical events through the analysis of written sources, archaeological data, artworks, and other source materials.
- We must explain the mechanisms of human behavior and interpersonal relationships as well as the structure of human society through experimental research and fieldwork, so that we can make concrete propositions for the improvement of society.
- We must maintain intellectual resources gained through research and encourage their practical implementation.