Last Updated: 13 July 2021

1. About GSAIS

Q: What kind of program does the Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability (GSAIS) offer?
A: The GSAIS bases its 5-year PhD program on the “survival of mankind and global society,” tying together the wisdom of various related academic studies to discover, analyze, and construct solutions to complex social issues using well researched ideas, policy, and methods.
The global society we live in faces many complex and structural problems. These are diverse and global problems related to complex systems such as culture, industry, economy, and nations, and it is important for the entire world to come together to overcome these problems. In order to do this, we need to construct sustainable and emergent new social systems that are indispensable for solving problems. We are now training talented people who can demonstrate leadership and who have the power to create, practice, and sustain from zero to one. “Survivability Studies” was developed as a general and comprehensive academic program in order to solve these challenges.
“Human Survivability Studies: A New Paradigm for Solving Global Issues”, ed. by S. Kawai, M. Fujita and E. Kawai, Kyoto University Press and Trans Pacific Press, 2018

Q: What kind of Graduate School is the GSAIS?
A: The Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability (Shishu-kan) offers a five-year doctoral program for the purpose of training globally minded, talented individuals who would like to have an interdisciplinary education and training covering a wide range of academic disciplines. Based on “Survivability Studies”, the combined strengths of Kyoto University, including faculty members of the Shishu-kan, as well as the faculty members from other departments, allows our students to integrate knowledge from various academic fields. In addition, the students acquire many practical skills, as well as the ability to implement their academic knowledge for the benefit of the society.
In addition, the Shishu-kan hosts international educational seminars and workshops, inviting international institutions and industry lecturers. Using these workshops and lectures, students can tie together research and society through practical learning, and implement this into their doctoral dissertations, establishing an international network that can lead to career paths after completion of the program.
Graduates of the program are active in a wide range of international fields, including international organizations, government agencies, universities, research institutions, and private corporations. Please see this page to see where some of our graduates are now.

Q: What degree can I receive from the Shishu-kan?
A: The Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability (Shishu-kan) is an integrated doctoral program, and if you meet the requirements for completion, you will be awarded a doctoral degree (Doctor of Philosophy). Students who have been enrolled for more than two years, received research guidance, and fulfill certain conditions may be awarded a “Master’s Degree.”

Q. What kinds of backgrounds do the faculty members have?
A: Please refer to the Faculty Introduction page.

2. About the Entrance Exams

Q: Can I apply from any department?
A: The Shishu-kan welcomes students from a wide range of undergraduate programs and majors, regardless of their discipline. Each year, students from various faculties and majors are enrolled with the goal of mastering “Survivability Studies,” the fusion of humanities, science, and different fields.

Q: Can working adults also apply?
A: They can apply. Many experienced working adults are already studying at the Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability (Shushu-kan).
*Notification for working adults who would like to study at the Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability (Shishu-kan) and at the same time continue working full time
You can do that under the following conditions:
1. You have to submit a permission letter from your employer at the time of admission procedures
2. After admission to Shishu-kan, you should assume personal responsibility for the balance between your PhD study and your working career
3. You can obtain credits by completing some courses online but you have to come regularly to Kyoto University to receive research supervision
Please discuss with your prospective supervisor about the above conditions and get advice before sending the application documents.

Q: Is it a five-year program for working adults as well?
A: Full-time employees who are working in government offices, companies, etc. (excluding those who receive salary and are exempt from work) or who are doing their own business and can still take the courses can apply for the long-term course after admission. If a student is approved for the long-term course after admission examinations, the maximum duration of study is 10 years.
In addition, if students have a master’s degree at the time of admission, there is also a system that allows them to obtain a doctoral degree over a shorter period (but the minimum duration is three years).

Q: If I have a master’s degree, can I transfer from the third year?
A: No. As this is a five-year curriculum, enrolling as a non-first year student half-way is not permitted. Only students enrolling in the graduate school from the first year can apply. If students have shown outstanding academic performance during their studies at Shishu-Kan, there is a way to shorten the period of enrollment.

Q: Can international students also apply?
A: Yes, if you are a foreign national and you have “study abroad” (ryugaku) status of residence, please apply for the special selection for international students. Even if you do not have the “study abroad” (ryugaku) status of residence at the time of application, you can obtain it before the time of admission.
International students with a relatively low level of Japanese language proficiency are also encouraged to apply. However, we ask those students to improve their Japanese language proficiency before and after admission as we have some mandatory courses, such as Jukugi A and B and Service Learning A and B that are basically conducted in Japanese (using English is possible to a certain extent).

Q: I have not reached the standard English language score, but can I still apply?
A: Yes. The English language score is one standard of evaluation for new students, but selection is evaluated comprehensively by document review and examination results. However, language requirements equivalent to 100 points on the TOEFL-iBT are required to complete the course, so students must improve their English after enrollment.

Q: What are the criteria for selection? What kind of entrance exams do you have? On the whole, what are the criteria for deciding whether I pass or fail?
A: The selection of new students is based on document review (short essay, undergraduate grades, English language score) and examinations (written and oral examinations) for a comprehensive evaluation. Applicants can download past questions of the written examinations from our web site.

3. After Enrollment

1) Learning content
Q: What kind of curriculum is studied?
A: The five-year curriculum is broadly divided into the first half (1st to 2nd year) which expands the student’s view by taking classes spanning a wide range of academic fields, along with building the base of their expertise. In the second half (3rd to 5th year), students work on the social implementation of “Survivability Studies.”

Q: What kinds of subjects are offered?
A: In the 1st and 2nd years of study, compulsory subjects include an Introduction to Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability, special seminars for industry and government collaborations (Jukugi A and B), and special lectures and discussions on Service Learning. Students also have to take classes in elective subjects from eight fields of study or “hasshi” from humanities, social and natural sciences, and fine arts. Students will choose one field of study from the eight and that will be their specialized field, then they will choose from the seven other fields to meet the credit requirements.

Q: How can I get guidance for my research?
A: At Shishu-Kan we have a multiple supervisor system. Students can get guidance for their research not only from the Shishu-Kan’s faculty members but also from faculty members from other graduate schools and research institutes in Kyoto University (“cooperating faculty members”). If a specialized equipment and facility (for example, to make scientific experiments) are required, these can be provided by using the research environment of the cooperating faculty member with university-wide support.
Furthermore, we have interdisciplinary research groups within Shishu-kan that are composed of faculty members and students from multiple fields, who cooperate in solving the same global issue(s). Many students are working on joint research with students and professors from different fields.

Q: I would like to know more about the “cooperating faculty members”
A: A “cooperating faculty member” is a faculty member from another graduate school or research institute in Kyoto University who has been entrusted to supervise the research of students at Shishu-kan..

Q: Are there any requirements for advancement?
A: There are advancement requirements for each year.
If students do not pass the Qualifying Examination (QE) conducted at the end of the second (or third) year, in the five-year curriculum, they cannot complete the required overseas internship and PBR, and will not be able to request a doctoral degree examination. . The requirements for taking QE is to have all the necessary credits (total of 30 credits, including 16 credits for required subjects and 14 credits for elective subjects), receive necessary research guidance, and have a TOEFL-iBT score (MyBest™ scores) of 80 points or higher, or an IELTS overall band score of 6.0 or higher. If students fail to pass the QE, they can attempt to pass it again after repeating the year.

Q: What happens in case I need to take a leave of absence from the school?
A: The basic guidelines of the Kyoto University Graduate School will be followed. Also, the student will have to leave the residential college during their leave of absence.

Q: Are the subjects called “service learning” and “overseas internship” mandatory? In that case, do I have to search for organizations that will accept me on my own? In addition, am I responsible for the costs?
A: The above subjects are mandatory. Regarding service learning, Shishu-Kan will provide access to the organizations where students can do their volunteer activities. If students wish, they can try to find such organizations by themselves.
As for the “overseas internship”, Shishu-Kan will provide access to organizations where students can do their internships. The exact destination for overseas internship will be decided in consultation with the research supervisors according to each student’s wishes, specialized area of study, and expected career path. Regarding the costs for traveling abroad, utilization of external funds such as Tobitate! Ryugaku JAPAN (Tobitate! (Leap for Tomorrow) Study Abroad Program) is recommended.

2) Daily Life

Q: How are the residential colleges different from a usual dormitory?
A: They are called residential colleges on purpose because they are different from a usual dormitory as a place of residence for students, and because they are exclusive educational facilities of GSAIS (Shishu-Kan). They are places where students can study together and interact with each other, and are also considered places that encourage friendly competition among students. Also, during the period of enrollment, students are regularly moved and rooms are exchanged among students.

Q: Do all the graduate students of GSAIS (Shishu-Kan) have to reside in a residential college on campus?
A: It is assumed that all students will reside in a residential college, but special family circumstances are also taken into consideration. For example, if one is nursing an elderly relative at home or if one has small children, it is taken into consideration.

Q: Can I stay with my family at the residential college on campus?
A: The residential colleges are only for individual use.

Q: If I attend GSAIS (Shishu-Kan) while raising children, is there any support system provided by the university?
A: At Kyoto University Gender Equality Promotion Center, there is a system of taking care of waiting infants less than 15 months old and a system of taking care of sick children. Please refer to the Kyoto University Gender Equality Promotion Center website for further details.

3) Financial aspects

Q: The admission fee is 282,000 yen and the annual tuition fee is 535,800 yen, is that right?
A: Yes. Similar to other graduate schools, the payment of admission fee and tuition fee is required. These fees are subject to change.

Q: Is there a system for scholarships?
A: There are no specific scholarships for the Shishu-kan. Please apply for a scholarship from the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). https://www.jasso.go.jp/shogakukin/seido/type/index.html
After enrolment, students can get information about other scholarships and apply. In addition, at Kyoto University, there are many students who are exempted from admission fees and tuition fees (full year exemption or semiannual exemption).

Q: How much does it cost to use the residential college?
A: There is no charge to use the residential college at present. We are still considering whether to introduce a fee for the use of the residential college. At present, students have to pay a shared fee of a few thousand yen, as well as their electricity, heating, and water utility fees.
Also, students will be charged a cleaning fee when moving out of the residential colleges.

4. After completion of course

Q: What are the career paths for students who have completed the program?
A: Graduates of the program are active in a wide range of international fields, including international organizations, government agencies, universities, research institutions, and private corporations. Please see this page to see where some of our graduates are now.

Students expand the career path through special seminars for industry and government collaborations (Jukugi), overseas internships (international activities), project-based research (development-based project-based learning), and more. Students are given support from the entire school in gaining employment after completion of the program.