Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies (Master's) Course Model | APU Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University Graduate School Admissions

Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies (Master's)


A minimum of thirty-two credits is required for program completion. All subjects in the chart below are awarded two credits upon successful completion. Basic Japanese language subjects are available for those who are interested in studying Japanese but do not fulfill any credit requirements.

*This table can be scrolled to the right.

First Year Second Year
1st Semester 2nd Semester 3rd Semester 4th Semester
Lecture Subjects Analytical Foundation Subjects
(4 credits)
Core Subjects on the Asia Pacific Region
(4 credits or more)
Major Subjects
(10 credits or more)
Core Related Subjects
(4 credits or more)
Research Project I Research Project II Research proposal submission Research Project III Research progress presentation Final Research Project Submission and examination of the final research project

Note: These contents are from 2014. Please take heed that the contents may not be entirely the same as that of an actual class.

Analytical Foundation Subjects

  • Research Methods and Academic Writing

    This course is about writing involved in the course of conducting a social research. The emphasis will be on writing rather than research methods. It will cover writing of (1) research proposal (2) book review (3) literature review 4) field notes and (5) chapters of a thesis. The class will run as a workshop rather than as a normal lecture course. Students are required to practise writing as well as reading a number of exemplars.

  • Information Resources and Data Analysis

    The course presents basic concepts and understanding on information resources and gathering and to use MS-Excel and SPSS/PASW statistical software for data analysis and solving basic research problems. Issues covered will include: primary and secondary data sources, online resource and library Database, directory of Government, OECD and US government Statistical Websites, MS-Excel for grouping, sorting, filtering and simple processing using formula calculation, Probabilities, Normal/Sampling Distributions, using SPSS software for: descriptive Statistics, Graphs/chart, Inference & Hypothesis testing, Correlation Analysis, Linear and Multiple Regression, and Time series Analysis.

Core Subjects on the Asia Pacific region

  • Politics and Economics in the Asia Pacific

    This course covers the political economy of core countries in the Asia-Pacific. This involves analysing the historical basis for today’s Asia-Pacific political economy, theoretical approaches to study the region, and a more in depth look at major actors such as the US, Japan and China, as well as the newly industrialised economies and ASEAN members. Finally regional trends and issues are discussed, including aspects of Asia-Pacific countries’ international relations. The goal is to achieve a broad understanding of political economy in the Asia-Pacific.

  • Environment and Sustainable Development in the Asia Pacific

    Environment and development are inextricably linked but with economic growth comes the risk of environmental damage creating and perpetuating poverty. This course discusses the historical and theoretical perspectives related to sustainable development; the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development; and current approaches and trends in the planning and management of sustainable development at various governance levels. The causes and consequences of environmental degradation in the Asia Pacific Region and the corresponding policies and strategies employed by countries in the region to promote sustainable development are also discussed.

  • Social and Cultural Processes in the Asia Pacific

    The course aims that the students will acquire basic knowledge of the key concepts, fundamental theories and methodology indispensable for social sciences, such as orientalism, imagined communities, invented tradition, global cultural flow, etc. Parts of the original texts (e.g. introduction, chapter one) will be assigned to summarize the contents and/or definitions of these concepts. If the assignments are relevant to the research topics of the students directly, further readings on a particular region/country will be chosen.

  • Tourism in the Asia Pacific

    This course discusses various aspects of tourism in the Asia Pacific. First, we survey the history of tourism development and the social impacts of tourism, especially looking at the poor in the Asia Pacific region. Then, we move onto social issues associated with types of tourism such as ecotourism, heritage tourism and sex tourism. We also explore the relationships between tourism and social science concepts such as nationalism, authenticity, identity and ethnicity.

  • Public Health in the Asia Pacific

    This course provides the students with healthcare policy, and finance in the public sector in the Asia Pacific Region. An overview of health financing in Asia Pacific nations, the general issues of health transitions, demographic transition, disease burdens & health expenditure patterns in the region, as well as the sources of revenue, pooling risk and purchasing services, risk pooling mechanisms, and improvement of health outcomes are discussed. The experience of Asia Pacific countries in improving the efficiency of government spending on healthcare, financing issues in low-income countries, middle-income countries, and high-income countries will also be discussed in detail.

Major Subjects

Society and Culture

  • Cultural Change

    This course examines different aspects of identity construction or identity politics, by looking at text, context, and reception of popular media in the Asia Pacific. The assigned readings include theoretical materials and rather empirical studies on how popular culture can shape the way the audience understands his/her self and other, in terms of gender, ethnicity, and race. Students will also learn whether Western theories are effective in analyzing popular culture in the Asia Pacific.

  • Sociology of Everyday Life

    This coursed introduces students to the concept of ‘everyday practice’ as a way to understand the social and cultural life of people in the Asia pacific. It also demonstrates the use of the anthropological method of ethnography to research on the ‘everyday practice’. At the end of the course, students can be able to interpret a vast array of different socio-cultural phenomena and develop a critical perspective on prevalent notions such as power, hegemony, resistance, gender (depending on the themes embedded in the ethnographies) and their consequences for social and cultural life.

  • Changing Social Landscapes (Changing Social Landscapes in the Asia Pacific)

    Landscape is a vital, synergistic concept which opens up ways of thinking about many of the problems which beset our contemporary world, such as climate change, social alienation and environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and destruction of heritage. As a concept, landscape has been used as a qualifier that delineates whole sub-disciplines: landscape ecology, landscape planning, landscape archaeology, and so forth. In other cases, landscape studies progress under a broader banner, such as heritage studies or cultural geography. The course offers a comprehensive attempt to explore research directions into the many uses and meanings of ‘landscape’. As cities continue to expand ever outward, landscape has come to represent architecture as an essential organizing element for the contemporary city. In this new formulation, landscape comes to encompass much more than parks or gardens: it engages freeways, toxic industrial sites, and the needs of exploding urban populations. The course, which will use selected examples of studies to guide students in analyzing social landscapes, enable them to apply a set of theoretical perspectives to comprehend most social landscapes.

  • Media & Communication

    This course examines media and political communication. By the 21st century, the emergence of new media technology has fundamentally transformed not only the means through which contemporary war is waged but also, and more importantly, war's visual representation through digital reporting, blogs and web 2.0 social networks. Citizen journalists, independent journalists, terrorists, and activists are using personal blogs, chat rooms, YouTube, WikiLeaks, and Twitter to sidestep the censorship barriers of traditional ‘big’ media (newspapers, TV, radio) and the increasingly restrictive and controlled ‘embedded system of reporting’ for mainstream journalists. This course examines how old and new media and media audience behaviour and practices shape and frame the processes and discourse of political communication.

  • Migration & Trans-nationalism

    This course examines international migration and other forms of trans-nationalism as very important phenomena in the current international society. This course examines factors and patterns of international migration and problems regarding the migrants’ settlement. Moreover, concrete moves and effects of trans-national movements other than international migration will be investigated in integrated manners combining political, economic, social, and cultural perspectives.

  • Social Organizations and Institutionse

    The course focuses on the role of organizations and institutions in the development process, particularly in the Asia Pacific context. It examines how organizations and institutions influence human behavior and affect development practices and processes. The course also discusses the challenges of institutional change and how institutions are influenced in turn by social, cultural, and political factors.

  • Special Studies (Society and Culture)

    This course deals with the basic frameworks and case studies of human history from a global perspective, with particular focus on the Asia Pacific region since 1500. Taking a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, it examines various key concepts of global history, such as empires, world systems, colonialism, imperialism, and global capitalism. Considering the implications of the global past for our society, it explores wide-ranging thematic topics from intra-Asian trade and cultural exchange to European expansion and indigenes response; and from agriculture and population growth to the rise of industrialisation.

International Relations

  • Comparative Politics and Government

    Comparative politics is one of the most important fields of political science, which involves the systematic study and comparison of the world’s political systems. The course focuses on the scope and meaning of theories (or disciplines), including classic-political philosophies. Then, we examine more specific issues, namely state and society, interactions among social forces, sovereignty, intervention, and conflict and cooperation. The course hopes to get students understand major domestic-political issues in the world – tracing theories, methods, and cases.

  • Conflict Resolution

    This subject invites students to critically think about the rationale of conflict resolution and peacebuilding as a political concept as well as a social phenomenon in international relations. The course first examines traditional methods to conflict resolution such as negotiation, mediation, or international organization. It then explores twenty-first century approaches ranging from nonofficial diplomacy, soft power to reconciliation, and peace education. Particular attention is given to who and how, in other words, actors involved and methods used to facilitate the crafting of conflict resolution and sustainable peace. By studying the theoretical as well as practical aspects of conflict resolution worldwide, this course aims at building a deeper understanding of what living in peace means as a goal as well as a process to resolve interstate or intrastate conflicts.

  • International Political Economy

    International Political Economy (IPE) is a subject that examines dynamic interactions between the state and market. While the state pursues power and seeks to use wealth created at the market to realize political objectives, the market creates wealth under the regulatory system formed by the state. The main objective of the IPE is to understand comprehensively and systematically interactions between the state (politics) and market (economics) that retain different logic and mechanisms. More concretely, the course explores how the state and its associated political processes affect the production and distribution of wealth and what influence the functions and evolution of the market have on decision-making and interactions of political actors.

  • International Security

    Course description: Individuals, groups, states, regions, and the world face a wide range of threats to their survival. This course will provide major theoretical perspectives and methods of analysis for understanding the nature and origins of such security threats, as well as possible measures to deal with them. Given that security studies is moving from a state-centric paradigm that emphasizes military power to one considering transnational issues with global implications, course topics will include both conventional and critical security (e.g. territorial disputes in Asia, gender, environmental security, migration, intra-state conflict, terror, etc.)

  • Regionalism and Globalization

    This course examines trends of regionalism and globalization, two of the most outstanding international phenomena after the end of the Cold War. As for regionalism, its background factors and concrete situations are investigated in relation to specific regions such as Europe and East Asia. Globalisation is explored in terms of its history and theory as well as its implications for the relationship with the nation state. Furthermore, this course gives insights on the relationship between regionalism and globalization.

  • International Law

    This course discusses international law within the context of international relations and international policy. Specifically, the course examines the theoretical basis for international law; differences of customary and formal law; compliance (and non-compliance) with international law; treaty design; the effectiveness of international law as a constraint on state behavior; and international legal institutions (International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, etc). Discussions also involve cases from security, trade, environment, and human rights law.

  • Special Studies (International Relations)

    This course discusses the development of conceptual frameworks and theories to facilitate the understanding of events and phenomena in international relations. International relations is a vast and complex subject. Accordingly students of this course are asked to master, in varying degrees, history of international politics, current affairs, and political and economic theories so as to better analyze present and past policies and practices.

International Public Administration

  • International Organizations

    The course discusses the system of the United Nations and challenges it faces. Major issues to be discussed are: the collective security system; disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; the Peace Keeping Operations; reform of the United Nations includes the Security Council. Practical and realistic approaches to the issues will be emphasized in order to find the dynamism within the United Nations system and world politics as well.

  • International Public Administration

    Although the public administration in a country used to be under the sovereign prerogatives of that country, international collaboration has been increasingly important in establishing and implementing public policy goals in each country, due to the nature of the issues or the necessity to pursue the shared public goods. With such a background, international public administration is gaining importance. This course intends to understand the emerging concept of international public administration, the context under which such a concept has been developing, the scope and mechanisms of interactions between domestic public policy implementation and international collaboration, and the roles and functions of international organizations and national governments in international public administration..

  • Planning and Evaluation

    This course examines and discusses concepts and practice of planning and evaluation for the establishment and implementation of result-oriented development strategies which are required in international development. Specifically, planning and evaluation frameworks and organizational systems will be examined and discussed by introducing and utilizing actual cases of policy, programs and projects. We will also explore the policy-oriented development approach including national poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSP) and emphasize governmental decentralization reforms, participatory development work with citizens and residents, and social and economic development movements.

  • Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation

    This course deals with various stages of disaster management, including preparation and mitigation, rescue and relief, and rehabilitation. The course employs a combination of case study readings, lectures and video presentations, seminar discussions, and workshops. The course aims at equipping the students with actionable knowledge.

  • Special Studies (International Public Administration)

    This course covers the ways in which state of the art internet technologies are affecting how people interact with governments, and how governments, can implement and sustain e-government technologies to enhanced services to the public. Students will appreciate e-government potential and benefits; acquire knowledge on tools and application; and understand challenges to e-government deployment. Important building blocks of e-government implementations are studied, and techniques to increase citizen participation and applications of frontier technologies towards connected citizens and governance will be discussed using case studies.

Sustainability Science

  • Environmental Policy, Law and Administration

    Protecting the environment and reconciling environmental issues with other societal goals are core concerns in the pursuit of sustainability. These call for responsive policies and policy instruments such as laws and regulations and appropriate market-based instruments. Linking science/knowledge and policy is increasingly recognized as a desirable imperative. This course focuses on the theories, principles and concepts relevant to environmental policy making, policy analysis and policy implementation. Current approaches, innovations and trends in formulating and implementing environmental policies, laws and regulations from local to global level are discussed and analyzed.

  • Environment and Natural Resources Conservation

    Wise management and utilization of environment and natural resources is central to promoting sustainability. Sustainability necessitates adequately meeting the complex needs of ever-growing population while ensuring the perpetuity of earth’s capacity for self-renewal. The intricately and delicately balanced ecological interrelationships are in danger of serious disruption if societies and nations continue emphasizing consumption over conservation.
    This course provides students understanding of critical environment and natural resources management issues including pollution, resources depletion and environmental degradation as well as the relevant management, technology mixes and institutional mechanisms for promoting conservation practices.

  • Industrial Ecology

    The course focuses on the material and energy cycles that sustain our “Industrial Ecosystem”. The material and energy flows will be primarily studied using the method of life-cycle analysis. Design for Environment, topics central to the designers of products, processes and services will be discussed. The course is designed to deepen the understanding of the students on how to integrate environmental and social concerns into economic and industrial activities.

  • Environmental Economics

    This course is an introductory course of Environmental Economics and Analysis for graduate students. The contents of the course cover: (1) the relationship between the environment and economy, (2) economic concept and theory for the environment, (3) economic valuation of natural resources and environmental quality, and (4) economic instrument and policy for environmental management and sustainable economic development. The structure and topical coverage of the course have a strong policy orientation that will increase the students’ understanding of intriguing policy problems. Attention will be paid to environmental problems and policies in both developed and developing countries. Students who have a strong interest in economic concepts and methods for environmental management and sustainable development are encouraged to take the course.

  • Urban Sustainability

    This course aims to provide students with knowledge as well as analytical skills about urban sustainability through reading and discussion based on selected works ranging from the very classic writings of Ebenezer Howard to the recent reports on eco-city. After completing this course, students are expected to understand the origins and dimensions of the concept as well as the practices towards sustainability in cities. They will also be familiar with recent approaches and findings on urban sustainability assessment.

  • Advanced Environmental Geosciences

    This course introduces the fundamentals as well as the advanced theories and analytical findings in Environmental Geosciences needed for understanding the earth system, how it works, its fundamental states as related to the flow of materials and energy, as well as the dynamics leading to the changes within it at various temporal and spatial scales. Students will deepen their knowledge about the mechanisms of changes within the earth’s biosphere and develop an integrated understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships of the man-biosphere interactions, with sustainability as final goal and climate change as the overall background.

Tourism and Hospitality

  • Tourism Policy and Planning

    The course discusses the importance of the public policy and planning process in the global tourism industry. It introduces tourism policy and provides students with opportunities to review, analyse, and apply the application of theories, principles, and strategies associated with tourism policy, planning and politics. Different levels of stakeholders and interest groups who are involved with the overall tourism industry will be discussed. Several relevant case studies from different countries at national, and local/community levels will be examined to trial practical investigations of the multi-disciplinary topics throughout the course.

  • Tourism Economics

    Commercial tourism and hospitality are among the most powerful economic phenomena in the modern world. Firms in the tourism and hospitality industries directly employ large proportions of the labour force in many countries and generate further indirect employment through multiplier effects. Successful management of tourism and hospitality enterprises requires an understanding of how markets for these services work.
    Topics include: macro and micro economic environments; factors affecting international and domestic tourism; tourism forecasting models; economic analysis of projects; cost-benefit and related procedures; and the implications of tourism developments for the community in general.

  • Community Based Tourism

    This course discusses theoretical and practical issues of community based tourism. We explore various theories of community and community development and their application to tourism development at a small scale. We also look at successful cases of community based tourism in ecotourism and ethnic tourism types, mainly focusing on the Asia Pacific region. Although community based tourism is often regarded as an effective tool to revitalize local communities, we also try to look at shortcomings of its approach.

  • Cultural and Heritage Tourism

    The course discusses mainly about following two issues concerning to Cultural and Heritage Tourism; 1) Tourism as a part of culture in the specific cultural region or ethnicity (hot spring healing, pilgrimage, etc. 2) Regional tourism development and image making applying their cultural, historical and identical background including their own heritage resources. Reading and discussing will be held during the former part of class period. Then regional research and presentation will be followed at the latter part.

  • Environmental Tourism

    This course will critically analyze the costs and benefits of environmental tourism, including history, concepts, principles, related laws and policies, community involvement, and future trends. The course will cover the costs and benefits of environmental tourism; cases studies from the Asia Pacific and other regions; approaches to environmental tourism; issues of cultural tourism; policies and laws relating to environmental tourism; community involvement in environmental tourism enterprise establishment and management; and current environmental tourism trends.

  • Health and Wellness Tourism

    The course discusses one of the fastest growing special interest tourism fields, health and wellness tourism. It investigates the background of the growth, current trends, driving factors, environmental issues, opportunities, challenges, and impediments of the health and wellness tourism industry introducing cases from different countries around the world. The involvement of local, national and international stakeholders will also be discussed. It delivers studies in the social, medical, mental and leisure perspectives with critical scope in the field. Strategies for enhancing the effectiveness, systematic environments and sustainability of health and wellness-related tourism management will be explored.

  • Special Studies (Tourism and Hospitality) (ICT)

    This course focuses on how Information Technology can be strategically deployed to improve the competitiveness of tourism industry. Students will study the rationale of tourism information supply chain, learn general principles of e-tourism, and get to know a range of frontier ICT technologies and their operational aspects in tourism from the perspectives of tourism system planning, management, and marketing. Sustainable application of e-tourism technologies on top of available technology infrastructures is discussed using several case studies of recent tourism developments.

Development Economics

  • Macroeconomics

    This course provides discussions on the history of development strategies and doctrines. The second part is the basic framework of macroeconomics for developing countries. It contains 1) the basic IS-LM-AS model, 2) the open economy macroeconomics. The third part of the course offers the discussions on the current issues of macroeconomic problems of developing countries and intermediate level lectures on macroeconomic models.
    This course requires elementary knowledge of calculus, matrix algebra, and differential equations.

  • Microeconomics

    This course introduces students to microeconomic theory, which covers the fundamental theories of the consumer, the firm and markets. Lectures will help students to understand how microeconomics can be applied as a practical tool for both managerial and public policy decision-making in the real world. Therefore, special emphasis will be placed on extended applied examples that cover such topics as the analysis of demand, cost and market efficiency, the design of pricing strategies, investment and production decisions, and public policy analysis.

  • Development Economics

    This course provides overviews of economic theories regarding economic development and concrete strategies or approaches that are necessary to overcome economic and social constraints that developing countries are facing in pursuit of economic development. Moreover, this course gives theoretical and practical implications of international aid provided by governments, international organisations, and NGOs.

  • Development Finance

    Development of infrastructure requires mobilization of a significant amount of funds. There are a variety of ways to mobilize funds, ranging from loans from multilateral aid agencies such as the World Bank to the private sector finance such as Build Operate Transfer (BOT) and Public Private Partnership (PPP). The Course would review various types of infrastructure finance, discuss basic mechanisms for financing, including borrowing from banks, bond issuance, mezzanine finance and equity finance. The Course would also review the cash flow during the operational stage of infrastructure, which would generate the source of funds to serve debts.

  • Community Development

    This course discusses the key aspects of community development from the epistemological, critical and practical points of views. Such aspects include community resources, participatory development, community capacity development, the scaling up of community development initiatives, and organizational issues of community development organizations. In order to delve into the epistemological and critical issues of these aspects, this course will also employ pertinent sociological notions. The course emphasizes the self-reflective as well as collaborative/participatory processes with a view to helping students internalize and operationalize their learning towards becoming scholar-practitioners.

  • Comparative Economic Development

    Comparative Economic Development aims to examine the process of economic development in the developing world. This course will examine various development theories, including grand theories, post war economic development theories, and relatively new development concept such as global value chains, and discuss how they mould and influence the economic development in both developed and developing countries. The course also investigates sectoral levels, such as the textile and garment industry, and the automotive industry in the broader regional and global context.

  • Special Studies (Development Economics)

    The course provides an elementary but comprehensive introduction to the practice of econometrics. It deals with applications of statistical methods to the testing and estimation of economic relationships. The main topics covered include review of statistical inference, the linear regression model, extensions of the basic linear regression model, and problems that arise when analyzing cross section and time series data by means of regression models. We will use the STATA software in our data analysis and you will become familiar with this program.

Core Related Subjects

  • Management Information Systems

    This course focuses on the critical personal and organizational issues of the management information systems (MIS) function. The course introduce information system management including concepts and strategic uses of information systems, organizing and managing inter-organizational and global information systems, decision making, risk analysis and project management. Understanding of information systems concepts, the emerging technological issues facing management, and their application to organizations will be discussed. Developing a systems view of the role of technology in various domains will be explored.

  • Database Management

    This course introduces students with the background to design, implement and successfully use database management systems. Main components of the course include: Eevolution of database management systems, Entity Relationship Modeling and Design (Conceptual Modeling), Relational Data Model and Relational Algebra (Logical Modeling), Structured Query Language (Physical Modeling), Transaction Processing and Concurrency Control, Database System Architectures, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Database Management. Focus of the course will be to equip students such that they will have the skills to analyze business requirements and produce a viable model and implementation of a database to meet such requirements in a professional and ethical fashion.

  • Advanced Data Analysis and Statistics

    The course covers theory and practice of experimental data analysis, and will touch on these basic components: Statistical tools for analyzing numerical and qualitative information, Probability theory and its applications to business and social science problems, Linear regression and correlation, including application to Time series, and Hypothesis testing. Concepts like factor analysis, cluster analysis, simple and multiple correspondence analysis will also be introduced. The course will discuss not only theory, but modern tools which facilitate the use of computers in data analysis will also be discussed.

  • Decision Making Under Uncertainty

    This course will introduce students to some methods that can help them structure and analyze decision problems while explicitly recognizing their uncertainties. Specific methods to be covered include; optimization using mathematical models and algorithms, stochastic processes through probability models, and decision processes by means of psychology or experimental economics. The course will extensively use electronics spreadsheets to build computer models of decision problem that we face. Such models have been rated to be the most important analytical tools apart from our brain and allow business people to analyze decision alternatives before having to choose a specific plan for implementation.

  • Information Technology and Operations Management

    This course discusses basic knowledge and understanding on rapid changing of Information Communication Technology in Digital Age. Topics covered will include: Information Infrastructure and Architecture, Hardware Platform Systems, Software and Operating Systems, Database, Web-based Computing, Computer Networks and Satellite, Information Security, Impacts of IT on Business Management and Society. It will also address on IT use in Operations Management, such as Decision trees and tables, Transportation Models from several origins to several destinations, Linear Programming for minimum cost or maximum profit, and Project Scheduling.


  • Research Project I
  • Research Project II
  • Research Project III
  • Final Research Project


Spring Semester

Spring Semester

Fall Semester

Fall Semester