Kyoto University

Japan Gateway: Kyoto University Top Global Program

Program Summary

The project will establish international joint education programs called "Top Global Courses" at graduate schools covering research areas in which KU has significant international competitiveness, which will be implemented in partnership with universities that are world leaders in their respective fields. As well as initiating courses that are jointly operated with partner institutions and providing joint guidance and assessments of dissertations under "Top Global Courses" in the respective research areas, we will develop joint/double degree programs. Through the synergetic effects of internationalization of graduate education arising out of these initiatives and from internationalization of various aspects of undergraduate education including admission reform, promotion of employment of non-Japanese faculty members, increasing inbound and outbound student mobility, and offering more courses in English, the project is aimed at further reinforcing the university's strengths in research and education to produce the next generation of world-leading researchers.

Social Sciences and Humanities

In the Social Sciences and Humanities, three graduate schools -- Economics, Letters and Agriculture -- have been working together to offer international collaborative educational and degree programmes that embrace common themes such as “sustainability” and “transcultural”. Taking advantage of the breadth of areas covered and existing ties with universities in different parts of the world, thus far the Graduate School of Letters has introduced a Joint Degree Master of Arts Program in Transcultural Studies with Heidelberg University and the Graduate School of Economics has introduced a Double Degree Doctoral Programme in Economic and Social History in collaboration with the University of Glasgow. By fostering research interaction, we promote the development of individuals who can compete in the international arena through educational exchange opportunities, including direct guidance from leading researchers, in collaboration with European and Asian universities, such as Wageningen University, the University of Strasbourg, the University of Göttingen and Chulalongkorn University.

Human Biosciences

In the field of human bioscience, we have produced a number of recipients of prestigious international accolades, including the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Robert Koch Prize, and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. To further strengthen the university's world-leading research capabilities and presence, we have worked to build a framework for strong connections to leading American and European universities with such leaders in genomic medicine as McGill University, the University of Bordeaux, the Pasteur Institute, and Imperial College London included in our alliance. Furthermore, by establishing an international joint degree program, the Kyoto- McGill International Collaborative School in Genomic Medicine(doctoral program), launched in 2018 as our first fully implemented international joint education program, we will comprehensively internationalize our graduate education with the aim of producing individuals who can compete in the international arena and further enhance Kyoto University’s global reputation.

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

The six chemistry-based departments of the Graduate School of Engineering, which make up the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering section of this program, constitute one of the world's largest graduate schools in the field of chemistry. The school covers a broad spectrum of education and research, from molecular-level theoretical analysis through responses to global environmental and energy issues. Members of our faculty have been awarded major global prizes, including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the Humboldt Prize. Kyoto University also ranks fifth in the QS World University Rankings for Chemical Engineering. In this section, taking full advantage of the strengths of these departments, we aim to establish an education system of international caliber by introducing educational programs in which most (or, in the case of doctoral programs, all) lectures are conducted in English. The programs include intensive lecture courses provided by faculty members from our overseas partners, such as MIT, with the aim of encouraging graduate students to develop broader perspectives and an international mindset, while increasing the number of high-quality international students.


In the field of mathematics, Kyoto University boasts a group of researchers of the highest international caliber, who have recorded a significant number of pioneering research achievements, covering a wide range of subjects in the mathematical sciences and winning numerous world-renowned prizes, including the Fields Medal. Under the joint research guidance provided by these distinguished Kyoto University faculty members as supervisors and by top researchers from overseas as co-supervisors, graduate students can pursue their research for doctoral dissertations in an international environment, which is designed to equip them with superior research skills in mathematics and proficiency in foreign languages. With research guidance provided by overseas researchers serving as co-supervisors, three of our graduate students earned doctoral degrees in academic year 2015, seven in 2016, and five in 2017. By building their own international research networks, whilst making their dissertations available to the international research community, students will have more opportunities to play active roles on the international stage.

Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies section, comprising the Hall of Global Environmental Research, School of Global Environmental Studies and Graduate School of Agriculture, covers a number of fields, including natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. We conduct interdisciplinary and practical education and research activities that contribute to endeavors in relation to environmental issues. In educational activities, along with presenting cases of pioneering endeavors in environmental fields by inviting such renowned researchers as Professor Rattan Lal from the Ohio State University and Professor Denis Petitprez from Lille University, we have launched new double-degree programs with Mahidol University and Bogor Agricultural University. We also undertake other initiatives, such as international internship programs at our partner universities, to promote internationalization of education programs. Also in research activities, our new environmental technologies have received high ratings, as evidenced by receipt of the JSPS Prize (Takeshi Katsumi), the Excellence Award in the Nikkei Global Environmental Technology Awards (Hitoshi Shinjo et al.), and the Japan Prize of Agricultural Science (Naoshi Kondo).

Public Health

Aiming to create a world premium public health graduate school that leads global healthcare in the 21st century, we have established an Internationalization Promotion Office within the School of Public Health to vigorously promote interdisciplinary and international approaches to our educational programs and internationalization of our degree programs whilst collaborating with major universities in ASEAN, East Asia, America and Europe in order to promote international exchange focused on young researchers. We have translated teaching materials into English for required courses and certain elective courses, as well as creating an English version of our website, thereby improving our English language capabilities for educational and public relations purposes. We also organized an international conference to which were invited young researchers from major public health graduate schools in Taiwan, ASEAN and the UK. In addition, we provided many opportunities for interaction among our students and faculty members and those of our overseas partner institutions (dispatching/inviting) in order to encourage international research collaboration.

Target for Year 2023


Education and research guidance
provided by world-class researchers


Increasing inbound
and outbound student mobility


Establishing international
joint education/degree programs


Expanding the network
with overseas world-leading universities



MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
to attract high-potential students
from around the world


Raising the ratio of lectures
taught in English


Boosting the number of multinationally
authored academic papers authored by students


Enhancing support for international students and students studying abroad by employing
International Education Administrators