All classes in this major will be held in English. The 124 credits necessary for graduation can be obtained entirely from courses in English (except "Japanese Language Courses"). 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 take classes in three theme clusters from the 2nd year. In addition to Foundation Courses, students will take specialized courses. 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.

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 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

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

Theories of International Relations

This course will introduce students to the basic theoretical approaches to international relations. The aim of the course is to learn about a variety of distinct perspectives and how they highlight different aspects of international relations.

Politics for Global Studies

This course uses the history of Western political thought to explore and introduce wider issues in politics such as the roles and responsibilities of political organisations, their leaders, and their subjects / members; as well as concepts such as democracy, communism, utilitarianism, and others; and how these have evolved over time. With classes covering the era from ancient Greece to the mid-20th century, the major ‘classic’ works of European political thought are examined. The content of the course also introduces students to key concepts and ideas which form the basis of both the academic discipline of politics and the origins of International Relations as a distinct field of academic inquiry.

Economics for Global Studies

This is an introductory course in economics designed for international relations students. It covers both microeconomics and macroeconomics. Topics include (but are not limited to) gains from trade, supply and demand, elasticity, consumer and producer surplus, national income, fiscal and monetary policies, economic growth, and the open economy.

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.

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

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 some of the most significant historical and cultural issues and concepts in the complex relationship between Japan and the West. This course aims to challenge students to question taken for granted essentialized binary opposition between Japan and the West and to understand the nature of complex and mutually constitutive relationship between the two.

Kyoto and the Japanese Arts

The course consists in a comprehensive survey of the intimate relationship between the city of Kyoto and the birth and development of Japanese art and culture.

Modern World History

This course aims to provide essential historical knowledge of the world for the last 200 years. The period is usually called modern era.

Introduction to the United Nations

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the United Nations’(UN) history, functions, structures, and contemporary challenges. By studying for this course, students should be able to understand the key concepts related to the UN and to apply these insights to contemporary international affairs.

Introduction to Peace Studies

This course reviews a wide range of theories exploring the nature and causes of conflict, the possibilities for conflict resolution, and the foundations of peace.

Core Program Courses / Governance and Peace Cluster

International Organizations

International Organisations (IOs) have become pivotal actors on the global stage today, addressing pressing concerns of international public good, trade, the environment, international security, and poverty. This course addresses the historical and theoretical foundations of IOs – both International Governmental Organisations (IGOs) and International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). While this course will aim to equip students with a broad understanding of the structures of some of today’s most prominent IOs, it will further encourage students to reflect on the relevance, effectiveness and practices of IOs in our globalising world, as well as the pressing issues of accountability that they bring forth.

International Human Rights

This course will provide an introduction to human rights philosophy, principles and institutions and familiarize students with current debates in the field. The course will also explore aspects of the diverse and increasingly complex body of international human rights law, analyze the ways in which allegations of human rights violations are dealt with in national and international courts and examine the impact of human rights discourse on international relations.

Core Program Courses / Development and Sustainability Cluster

Global Environmental Issues

This course broadly introduces students to global environmental issues. While providing students with the ability to look at issues with a holistic, bird’s eye view angle, the course will focus more on‘ how’ and‘ why’ certain environmental issues have emerged and how they have evolved, rather than merely focusing on related facts and status (i.‘e. what’)

Development Studies

The course broadly introduces students to the topics related to international development cooperation, by particularly focusing on the post-WWII era. Important development concepts such as human development, and important development actors, such as governments, private sector, NGOs and non-traditional donors, will be explained.

Core Program Courses / Culture and Society Cluster

Cultural Awareness and Communication

This course offers a critical approach to the field of cross-cultural communication by introducing students to contemporary debates surrounding‘ culture’ and‘ identity’.

Media and Society

This course introduces students to many aspects of contemporary media studies and considers ways of understanding the various roles that media, both traditional and‘ new’, play in modern society.

Advanced Topics in International Relations (for all clusters)

This course will challenge students to think about global issues from a critical theoretical point of view. The aim of the course is to destabilize taken-for-granted ideas and views in order to cultivate alternative thinking and practice in international relations.

Related Courses

Professional Workshop

Through specialized workshops spanning lines of work that include government, media, and private enterprises, this course presents specialized knowledge and information to students with a professional interest in these areas and imparts specific and practical knowledge needed for their career path.

Area Studies Courses

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.


Introductory Seminar I

The purpose of the course is to leave students with a foundational knowledge of world politics and an appreciation of a range of the major issues that future practitioners in international affairs will confront in the 21st century. The course also serves as an introduction to university life and as such also seeks to provide the skills students need relating to their studies, including, research, note taking, critical thinking, and on life in Japan and at university in general.

Introductory Seminar II

The purpose of the course is developing their analytical and practical skills necessary to begin conducting independent academic research.