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

The Social Sciences and Humanities section of this program involves the three Graduate Schools of Economics, Letters and Agriculture. Embracing sustainability and transculture as common keywords, in cooperation with international partner institutions in each research area (University of Glasgow, Wageningen University, Copenhagen Business School, Renmin University of China, Chulalongkorn University, Heidelberg University, University of Göttingen, etc.), we have established an international collaborative education program with a view to introduction of a joint degree system (JD) and a joint certificate system. Serving as a hub for interaction between students and young researchers from East Asian, Southeast Asian and Western countries, we aim to develop individuals with a global outlook founded on an Asian perspective who can contribute to sustainable global development and construction of multicultural societies based on coexistence.

Human Biosciences

In the field of human biosciences, members of our faculty have been awarded a number of prestigious international prizes, 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 top-class research capabilities and presence, we will endeavor to build a framework for stronger education and research partnerships with our overseas partners, including McGill University, the University of Bordeaux, the Pasteur Institute and Imperial College London, in areas centering on genomic medicine. Through implementation of international joint education/degree programs, we will seek to encourage interaction among top researchers and students worldwide to produce individuals who can compete on the international stage, and to present a model for international academic networking with the aim of further enhancing Kyoto University’s global reputation.

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

The six chemistry-based departments of the Graduate School of Engineering, which makeup 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. 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, including 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. Within academic year 2015, three of our graduate students are expected to receive doctoral degrees under the co-supervision of researchers from UCLA, University of Bonn and Rutgers University. 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 Graduate 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 that contribute to endeavors in relation to environmental issues. In educational activities, along with presenting cases of pioneering endeavors by inviting such renowned researchers as Mr. Lester R. Brown from the Earth Policy Institute and Professor Rattan Lal from Ohio State University, we are working to further expand the existing double-degree programs with Gadjah Mada University and Kasetsart University, and to establish new joint-degree programs with other universities whilst conducting internship programs to promote internationalization of our educational programs. Also in research activities, our new environmental technologies have received high ratings, as evidenced by receipt of the Excellence Award in the Nikkei Global Environmental Technology Awards (Hitoshi Shinjo et al.)

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 inviting young researchers from 13 major universities on five continents. In addition, we provided many opportunities for interaction between our students and faculty members and those of our international partner institutions (inviting/dispatching) 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 to 30 percent


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