Curriculum Structure

The GLA curriculum is centered around three pillars of studies, Cosmopolitan Studies, Civilization Studies, and Innovation Studies, and consists of seven subject groups. Students will select classes according to their interests, concerns, and desired career to advance in their course of study.

General Curriculum Overview

Below is a general curriculum overview for students commencing their study in April at Ritsumeikan University (RU). The actual semester-by-semester study plan will differ for students commencing their study in September at Ritsumeikan as well as those who begin their study in February at Australian National University (ANU). See the sample study plans for details.

Essentials of Global Liberal Arts

Viewing humanity’s intellectual heritage from a global perspective, these courses foster techniques, methodologies, research ethics, and communication skills that will serve as the foundation for further studies at GLA.

  • Introduction of Global Liberal Arts I
  • Introduction to Global Liberal Arts II
  • Philosophy Basics
  • Science Basics
  • Statistics
  • Research Design and Research Method
  • Algorithm and Programming
  • Global Conflicts: An Introduction
  • Globalization and International Relations: An Introduction
  • Introduction to Asian Studies

Cosmopolitan Studies

Centered around cultural studies and area studies, these courses foster the ability to understand social diversity, and identify and address issues in ways that transcend borders.

  • Cultural Studies
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Critical Area Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Theory and Practice of Fieldwork
  • Fieldwork on Media Studies
  • History of Arts
  • Arts in Society
  • Asia and the World in Historical Perspective
  • Regional Diversity in Cultural Perspective
  • Special Lecture on Cosmopolitan Studies I
  • Special Lecture on Cosmopolitan Studies II

Civilization Studies

Centered around historical studies and social theory, these courses will help students develop their understanding of both the diversity and the common ground of the global community, enabling them to highlight new issues that impact humanity.

  • Civilizations in Global History
  • Sociological Theories: Classics and Contemporary
  • Macrohistory and Metahistory
  • History of Modern World
  • Evolution of Governance
  • Institutionalism in Social Studies
  • Evolution of Market Economy
  • Comparative Politics in Asia
  • International Relations in the Asia-Pacific
  • War and Peace in the Globalizing World
  • Special Lecture on Civilization Studies I
  • Special Lecture on Civilization Studies II

Innovation Studies

Centered around management theory and science and technology studies, these courses foster new knowledge and perspectives, helping students develop their intellectual ability and ability to take action on the global stage.

  • Knowledge and Innovation
  • Applied Research Method for Social Sciences
  • Social Impacts of Brain Science
  • Human Intelligence
  • Design and Society
  • Design Practice
  • Social Change with AI
  • Human Security in Developing Societies
  • Social and Technological Innovation
  • Leadership in Global Perspective
  • Special Lecture on Innovation Studies I
  • Special Lecture on Innovation Studies II
  • Internship I
  • Internship II

Japanese Studies Cluster

In these courses, students will study Japanese history, society, and culture from a global context. They will also deepen their GLA studies from the specific context of Japan’s location in Asia and the world.

  • Contemporary Japan
  • Modern History of Japan
  • Japan in Global History
  • Japanese Philosophy
  • Politics and Foreign Relations of Japan
  • Japanese Language and Culture I
  • Japanese Language and Culture II


By studying in their non-native languages, students will deepen their understanding of different cultures and diversity, and widen their perspective when studying the other subject groups.

  • Academic English
  • Japanese Language I-IV

Capstone Studies

In these courses, as a culmination of their studies at GLA, students transcend and integrate the individual studies of the subject groups. Students will complete research and work to put to use what they have studied at GLA in a more practical context.

  • Research Seminar
  • Thesis
  • Capstone Studies in Normative Perspective on Globalization
  • Capstone Studies in Geohistorical Perspective on Globalization
  • Capstone Studies in Development and Social Change
  • Capstone Studies in Governance Studies