All classes in this major will be held in English. The 124 credits necessary for graduation can be obtained entirely from courses in English. By learning side by side with students from many countries and regions, students will have the opportunity to come into contact with a variety of cultures and value systems. The major will instill in students understanding and adaptability towards other cultures, as well as advanced language ability, creating key players that will connect Japan to the world and the world to Japan.

Caution: For students entering from AY 2018, along with the graduation thesis becoming mandatory, the College of International Relations will no longer offer the Early Graduation System.

Example of Study Path

1st year

Students will take courses such as the Introductory Seminar, General Education Courses, and Foundation Courses, as well as Comprehensive Japanese classes.

2nd year

Students will decide their specialized field from the 3 Core Theme Cluster Courses. In addition to Foundation Courses, students will take specialized courses in each program. Students in Global Simulation Gaming(GSG) will take an active part in creating classes themselves. GSG is an active learning course where GS students study with students of the International Relations major.

3rd year

In the small-group Advanced Seminar, students conduct research on a topic of their interest.
Students may also take part in a Professional Workshop or internship.

4th year

Students further develop their research from the Advanced Seminar, and work on their graduate thesis.


To obtain a BA in International Relations you will be required to take the following courses (124 credits in total) in three or four years. The followings are examples of the courses we offer.

Click the highlighted courses to have an inside look!

Graduation Requirements (124 credits)

1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year 4th Year
Foreign Language Courses/Advanced Foreign language Courses
Foundation Courses    
General Education Courses
  • Peace Studies Seminar
  • Introduction to Humanities
  • Special Lecture(General Education Courses)
Theme Clusters Governance and Peace  
  • International Law
  • Security Studies
  • Global Political Economy
Development and Sustainability  
  • International Trade and Investment
  • International Finance
Culture and Society  
  • International Migration
  • Topics in Identity
  • Global Sociology
Related Courses   Internship  
Area Studies Courses  
  • Japanese Economy
  • Japanese Politics
  • Japanese Society
  • Japanese Culture
  • Japan - United States Relations
  • Special Lecture (Area Studies)
  • Mordern Japanese History
  • Introduction to Area Studies
  • Advanced Topics in Area Studies
  • Business Administration in Japan
  • Foreign Relations of Japan
  • United States Politics and Foreign Policy
  • Southeast Asian Studies
  • Contemporary China
  • Korean Studies
  • Advanced Seminar

Graduation Research

Foreign Language Courses / Advanced Foreign Language Courses

1st Year

Academic Skills I, II, III

This class places emphasis on writing skills although all four skills—reading, listening comprehension, speaking, and writing—will be incorporated into the class structure. Content/content-based materials will be used. While this course emphasizes academic writing skills, including the basics of writing, structuring what they write, using effective transitions, sourcing, and paraphrasing, students will develop reading as well as speaking skills in numerous ways including research activities, discussions, summaries, and presentations.

Academic Skills encourages students to write researched, structured and referenced essays on a theme related to international studies, using APA style, while incorporating the reading, speaking, and listening comprehension elements into the class structure. Topics in international studies topics that are covered will help to students with input materials for their writing. Critical thinking strategies will be explored in addition to the emphasis on reading extensively in the area of international studies.

Foundation Courses

1st Year

Theories of International Relations

The aim of this course is to familiarize with the policy issues and debates in contemporary international affairs, and to start to think about these issues in a theoretical manner. By studying for this course, students should be able to understand the key debates in the international arena and to develop their own views on the policy issues prevalent in international relations today.

Politics for Global Studies

What does the term ‘politics’ mean? Posing the question a little more breadly, what does the term ‘politics’ or its similar rendition in other languages/cultures mean? What do we actually study ‘politics’? This introductory course adopts a ‘Keywords’ approach to initiate students of politics to the language of the craft. Students will spend eight lectures exploring eight basic groups of key conceptions that are commonly used in the study of politics. Following this, the class will examine the fundamental concerns of the four main branches of political science. The course will end with a foray into post-structural and post-modern tangents in the study of politics.

Economics for Global Studies

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the basic elements of international economic theory in order to better appreciate how relevant concepts of international economics can be used in the study of international political economy. No prior training in the discipline of economics is required.
The first half of the course covers international economics relevant to trade relations, the second half the economics of international monetary and financial relations. The course aims to make international economics accessible by applying theory to issues in actual international economic policy-making. The course is designed to complement the Global Political Economy course.

Sociology for Global Studies

This course introduces students to the study of sociology. The goal of the course is to provide students with the analytical tools to better understand the social world around them. To reach this goal, the class will ask some specific questions, such as how did each student come to be at Ritsumeikan University at this moment in history? What social forces helped guide you here, and what can those forces tell us about the social world? The class will start by examining our understandings of our individual identities and our interactions with the people around us. The class will then move to more macro-level analyses, looking at the various groups we belong to, including our gender, race, ethnicity, and social class. The class will examine various social institutions, such as religion, education, and the family. The class will end by looking at social change.

2nd Year / 3rd Year

Global Simulation Gaming

In this unique course, students take on roles such as the UN Secretary General, heads of state and government, NGO officials and media representatives and debate environmental degradation, development issues and other key international topics.
Through this course, students have the opportunity to learn about the workings of international politics and the world economy and also develop presentation and negotiation skills.

General Education Courses

1st Year / 2nd Year / 3rd Year / 4th Year

Introduction to Law

Introduction to law is a rewarding area of study. We live in a society in which everyday life is touched by rules more than at any other period in history. This course is designed for undergraduate students to introduce most of the foundational legal concepts. Students will be familiar with both common law and civil law systems. The Japanese legal system itself evidences a rich history and vivid present. Students will be introduced to the Japanese legal system along with a comparative study of the major legal systems of the world. In our age of globalization, international law is playing an important role in harmonizing different legal systems and domestic laws. Students will benefit from the knowledge of emerging dynamics and linkages between domestic laws and international laws.

Japan and the West

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the crucially important relations between Japan and the West. These relations can be said to have basically transformed a Far Eastern country into a modern industrialized nation, decades before any other State in Asia. History, economics, human and cultural exchanges will be studied.

Kyoto and the Japanese Arts

A comprehensive survey of the intimate relationship between the ancient capital and the birth and development of Japanese art, with an emphasis on architecture, garden, performing arts and the culture of the tea ceremony. Kinugasa campus being at walking distance from several places of world interest in the artistic field, some classes will include short excursions on the spot.

Modern World History

The aim of this course is to provide historical context to the practice of international relations today, through the development and expansion of international society. By studying for this course, students should be able to make historically nuanced and sensible judgments about contemporary international debates.

Introduction to the United Nations

This course is an introduction to the United Nations System: its history, functions and structures. The central objective of the course will be to bring students to critically reflect on the changing roles of the organization and its contemporary challenges. How has the UN coped with such paradoxes embedded in its very founding Charter? Has its ideals systematically been hijacked by power politics? Can the UN today meet the challenges of globalization? What reforms should be promoted to ensure that the organization meets such challenges?

Introduction to Peace Studies

This course is designed to introduce students to the emerging field of Peace Studies - the systematic, interdisciplinary study of the causes of violent conflicts and the conditions of peace.
Students are expected to engage in critical discussion of assigned readings in a book of Peace and Conflict Studies which chronicles many important global topics from prehistory to the present and aims to respond to current challenges.
Students are also required to select the ideas and achievements of one Nobel Peace Prize laureate and present their findings within a group, or as an individual, oral presentation. This assignment provides a 20th century dimension to the course, reveals the diversity of contemporary peace thought and peace activism, and gives opportunities to link the present to the past philosophies of peacemaking.

Core Program Courses / Governance and Peace

2nd Year / 3rd Year / 4th Year

International Organizations

In this course, students study topics involving international organizations. Students will also come to understand the roles and history of international organizations that act as public enforcement bodies.

International Human Rights

This course will go over the framework of human rights protection institutions including the UN and historical details about international human rights.

Core Program Courses / Development and Sustainability

2nd Year / 3rd Year / 4th Year

Global Environmental Issues

From economical and political standpoints, students study global environmental issues like global warming and biodiversity and also the policies that aim to resolve these issues.

Development Studies

While considering the causes of development problems within developing countries, such as frequent poverty and food problems, students also empirically examine the role of foreign and development aid from advanced countries.

Core Program Courses / Culture and Society

2nd Year / 3rd Year / 4th Year

Cultural Awareness and Communication

Keeping in mind the many diverse cultures and languages around the world, we think with other students about how to understand and deal with peoples from different areas and countries.

Media and Society

This course examines the role of international media in reporting issues in international affairs and in shaping international public opinion. It focuses on international news reporting in Japan and gives students the opportunity to learn about Japan’s relationships with other members of the international community, particularly in Asia.

Advanced Topics in International Relations (for all clusters)

After gaining a well-rounded understanding of international studies, students will once again focus on interdisciplinary international studies.

Related Courses

2nd Year / 3rd Year / 4th Year

Professional Workshop

In these Workshops, people who are working on the front line of international affairs in fields such as politics, business and journalism are invited as guest speakers to talk about the professional experience.

Area Studies Courses

2nd Year / 3rd Year / 4th Year

Japanese Culture

In Kyoto, a city of history and culture, students will probe into the background of Japan’s culture structure, from classical theater to pop culture, and improve understanding about its expansive characteristic.


1st Year

Introductory Seminar I, II

In recent years, the problems within international relations have become more complex and multilayered. The world is struggling with a mountain of issues, such as conflict, poverty, economic globalization, environment, and human rights. As such, strong, assertive societal support is in demand. Depending on where the thought axis concerned with these issues is placed, issue awareness in international relations and the correct direction to pursue changes will differ significantly. The aim of this course is to take a hard look at the challenges in international relations from various angles, and to consider and discuss how we might tackle these challenges. The course leader is you, the students. Let’s actively engage in discussion, increase our understanding of the issues, and take a step forward into the exciting field of international relations.