Master's in Asia Pacific Studies (APS) | APU Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University Graduate School Admissions

Master's in
Asia Pacific Studies (APS)


The master's program in Asia Pacific Studies aims to educate and transform students into competent leaders ready to handle challenges facing the Asia Pacific region. Individuals embarking on this program should possess a keen interest in research pertaining to one of two specializations, International Relations or Society and Culture. The broad range of issues addressed in these specializations are supported by four pillars: analytical foundation courses, core courses on the Asia Pacific region, division-specific courses and research-oriented intensive seminar courses. Under the supervision of their chosen faculty advisors, students will formulate and conduct research that systematically reflects knowledge gained through coursework as well as ideally through fieldwork in the Asia Pacific region.

Degree Master of Science in Asia Pacific Studies
Divisions International Relations (IR)
Society and Culture (SC)
Program Duration 2 years
Yearly Intake 15 students
Enrollment Semesters April, September


A broad range of issues are addressed in the two divisions: International Relations and Society and Culture. The courses taught under this program consist of four pillars: analytical foundation courses, core courses on the Asia Pacific region, division specific courses and intensive research-oriented seminar courses. Most courses are run on a quarterly basis, each lasting approximately two months. This program nurtures students' research skills, including the ability to formulate frameworks for analyses, collect and analyze data and test arguments and hypotheses.

Students are expected to conduct research under a specific theme in a systematic manner throughout their studies. At the end of the program, students must submit a thesis or report on a theme of their choice, which they have developed under personal guidance from their supervisors in the seminar courses run throughout the duration of the program.

During this process, students are encouraged to conduct field surveys in the Asia Pacific region. Students can apply for financial support for these field surveys through the graduate school. In addition, APU organizes numerous seminars and conferences and invites prominent scholars and researchers to share on their fields of expertise. Students are encouraged to develop their research by taking advantage of these opportunities.


International Relations (IR)

The International Relations division provides students access to faculty with a rich and diverse set of practical and academic experience in fields of diplomacy, peace building, international political economy, international law and international cooperation. In addition to our diverse international perspectives among faculty, our campus hosts students from over 80 countries. The diverse student body presents an unparalleled chance to engage in course content and discussions with students and faculty from around the globe.

This division also provides students with the skills and knowledge to contribute positively to political, security and social issues. Students completing advanced degrees in the international relations program are well equipped for many careers such as those involving diplomacy, the media, government service, corporate leadership, analysis, education and work for non-governmental organizations.

Utpal Vyas

Ph.D., Associate Professor and Division Head

Utpal Vyas (United Kingdom)
Ph.D. in International Relations (University of Sheffield, UK), M.Sc. in Political Economy (University of Sheffield, UK), LL.B. in Law (University of Birmingham, UK)
Research Fields:
Political Economy and International Relations of Japan and China, East Asian Regional Politics, European Politics

“The International Relations division at APU provides a range of opportunities for students to deepen their knowledge of current international issues and develop the research skills necessary to have a strong impact on the global stage. Students who take advantage of the opportunities available here will find that careers in international organizations, academia, diplomacy, corporate leadership, government services, media, and many other fields will become open to them.”

Division Overview

The International Relations (IR) division is aimed at expanding students’ empirical knowledge base and sharpening their analytical and theoretical thinking regarding social, political, economic and security phenomena in the globalizing world. The courses in this division provide a useful knowledge base for both academic-bound students and practitioner-bound students with intended careers in security, diplomacy and media. While taking subjects such as international security, international law and conflict resolution, students will also focus on writing a thesis or research report.

Faculty and Their Research Fields
Yoshinori Kaseda, Ph.D., Professor
International Politics, International Security, Asia and North Korea Relations
Yoichiro Sato, Ph.D., Professor
International Relations and Foreign Policy (Asia-Pacific), Comparative Politics (Southeast Asia), Maritime Security
Hidetaka Yoshimatsu, Ph.D., Professor
International Relations, International Political Economy, Regional Studies (East Asia)
Seunghoon Emilia Heo, Ph.D., Associate Professor
International Relations and Global Studies, Peace and Reconciliation, Diplomatic History, International Organization, Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue
Steven B. Rothman, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies
International Relations Theory, International Policy Making, International Environmental Policy, Subject Pedagogy
Utpal Vyas, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Division Head
Political Economy and International Relations of Japan and China, East Asian Regional Politics, European Politics)
Major Subjects
  • Regionalism and Globalization
  • International Law
  • International Political Economy
  • Comparative Politics and Government
  • Special Studies (International Relations)
  • Conflict Resolution
  • International Security
Recommended Elective Subjects
  • Changing Social Landscapes
  • Migration and Trans-nationalism
  • Social Organization and Institution
  • Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation
  • International Public Administration
  • International Organizations
Sample Research Topics
  • Responding to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Comparative Study on International Trade of Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia
  • Prospect of Myanmar’s Rapprochement with the United States in International and Regional Contexts
  • Cooperation between the PRC and ROC Governments on the Senkaku Dispute
Sample Career
Academic Career
  • University lecturer
  • Doctoral program
Government Offices
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Sierra Leone
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada
Sirojiddinov Shokhrukh
Sirojiddinov Shokhrukh (Uzbekistan)

International Relations Division Student

“Joining the International Relations division in the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies does not only provide me with an environment of academic excellence and intellectually stimulating research, but also the opportunity to work with supportive faculty, be part of a thriving graduate student community, and access an engaging alumni network. My experiences at APU so far have allowed me to thrive in my research activities and obtain critical analytical techniques to focus on the issues of vital importance to the Asia Pacific region.”

Society and Culture (SC)

The Society and Culture division fosters an interdisciplinary perspective through diverse fields of coursework and empirical research instructions in order to identify, analyze and tackle socio-political and cultural issues affecting the Asia Pacific region.

Faculty members in the program have expertise in various fields and are fully committed to assisting students in acquiring theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as methodological skills necessary for succeeding in their individual projects. One of the great benefits of studying at APU, besides the academically inspiring courses and instruction offered, is to explore various aspects of Japan while being immersed in a vibrant, multicultural environment on campus. This not only helps our Society and Culture students to become more open-minded thinkers or scholars, but also turns them into versatile researchers.

Shinji Kojima

Ph.D., Associate Professor and Division Head

Shinji Kojima (Japan)
Ph.D. in Sociology (University of Hawaii at Manoa), MA in Sociology (University of Hawaii at Manoa), BA in Policy Studies (Chuo University)
Research Fields:
Social Stratification and Inequality, Sociology of Work, Social Movements, Globalization, Multiculturalism, East Asian Societies

“In the Society and Culture division, students deepen their knowledge of the rapid transformations taking place in the age of globalization through the lens of media, society, and culture. Students also gain practical knowledge through courses on theory and research methodologies in the social sciences. Placed in the unique multicultural environment at APU, the SC Division trains our graduate students to become specialists on the sociopolitical issues that characterize our time, while acquiring the cosmopolitan dispositions required to excel on the global stage.”

Division Overview

The Asia Pacific is one of the most rapidly developing regions in recent decades. To capture the patterns of social and cultural changes occurring, the Society and Culture (SC) division is devoted to promoting comparative academic research on the region. Students can acquire practical skills in formulating and conducting research using theories and methods developed in sociology, cultural anthropology, media and communication studies. With knowledge concerning social and cultural backgrounds of the countries in the regions, it enables students to have greater employment opportunities in government, industrial, commercial and academic institutes.

Faculty and Their Research Fields
Yufu Iguchi, Ph.D., Professor
Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Southeast Asian Studies (Malaysian Studies), Intellectual History
Chan Hoe Kim, Ph.D., Professor
Folklore Studies and Japanese Literature
Peter A. Mantello, Professor and Division Head
Surveillance, Predictive Policing, Videogame Theory, Conflict and Media, Politics and the Cyber Realm
Joseph Progler, Ph.D., Professor
Cultural History, Education, Media Studies
Robert A.C. Salazar, Ph.D., Professor
Sociology-Anthropology, Social Organizations, Social Institutions and Social Movements, Social Impact Assessment and Evaluation, Southeast Asia
Hideo Sasagawa, Ph.D., Professor
Area Studies in Southeast Asia
Kumi Seike, Professor
Sociology, Cultural Anthropology (including Ethnology and Folklore), Religion
Shunichi Takekawa, Ph.D., Professor
Politics and the Media
Kaori Yoshida, Ph.D., Professor
Media Studies (Representation Politics: Gender, Ethnicity, Nation), Cultural Studies, Popular Culture, Comparative Culture Studies
Shinji Kojima, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Social Inequality and Stratification, Globalization, Sociology of Work, Social Movements
Major Subjects
  • Changing Social Landscapes
  • Media and Communication
  • Migration and Trans-nationalism
  • Social Organizations and Institutions
  • Sociology and Everyday Life
  • Special Studies (Society and Culture)
  • Cultural Change
Recommended Elective Subjects
  • Regionalism and Globalization
  • Comparative Politics and Government
  • Planning and Evaluation
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Comparative Economic Development
  • Community Development
Sample Research Topics
  • Recreating History: Understanding Bakumatsu-Ishin Period through Japanese Manga
  • Absorb the New and Preserve the Old: The Changing Patterns in Japanese Eating Habits and the Consequences on Washoku Culture
  • Viewing the Contemporary Within the Contemporary: Fan Internalization of the Hikikomori Phenomena in Western Fans
Sample Career
Academic Career
  • University lecturer
  • Doctoral program
Government Offices
  • Embassy of Israel, Japan
Alisha Rabuepin
Alisha Rabuepin (Thailand, Graduated in 2018)

Sales Support Representative, Farm Frites International B.V., Thailand

“Due to my desire to pursue a career in academic work related to the field of Japanese popular culture, I was motivated to join the Society and Culture division. The professors in this division specialize in a broad range of topics and encourage their students to analyze their lectures critically. By interacting and discussing directly with these professors and my classmates, I have broadened my perspectives both academically and professionally as a global-minded citizen.”