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
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.

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
Dinar Swastiningtyas Theosa (Indonesia)

Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies
Asia Pacific Studies (APS)
International Relations

APU’s GSA program provided me with outstanding experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. Not only did courses in the International Relations (IR) division challenge me to think in-depth and analytically about current international affairs, the multicultural environment allowed me to do so with a worldwide network of friends and classmates whose different perspectives were precious learning resources during classroom discussions. Additionally, the ample opportunities for research funding and assistance gave me the invaluable experience of presenting my research at reputable international conferences around the world. I was constantly enriched by the academic setting at APU, whose embrace of global values inspired me to approach both my research — and my personal life — from multiple perspectives. I feel that the master`s program here not only helped to shape me into who and what I want to be, but also prepared me thoroughly for my next journey.

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.

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
Cinema (Science Fiction, Docudrama, Literary Adaptation), Education (Multiculturalism, Curriculum Studies, Pedagogy), Music (Ethnomusicology, Jazz Studies, Performance Practice), Religion (Local-global Dynamics, Environmental Ethics, Pilgrimage)
Hideo Sasagawa, Ph.D., Professor
Area Studies in Southeast Asia
Kumi Seike, Professor
Sociological Theory, Sociology (Theory of Modern Society and Symbiosis, NPO and Region Creation), Theory of Anthropology and Methodologies, Philosophy
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
Nhu Ngoc Nguyen (Viet Nam)

Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies
Asia Pacific Studies (APS)
Society and Culture

Every choice we make is a step on the path of self-discovery. Whether or not to pursue a degree in higher education, when and where to do so, and under whose guidance - these are choices that, when made wisely, can enable self-betterment and shape future visions in one’s chosen profession. The choice to join the Society and Culture division at APU’s Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies not only gave me the chance to pursue my master’s degree, but it also acquainted me with the right people who supported me unfailingly and helped recognize my passions, strengths, and weaknesses. While professional consultation was always available when needed, I appreciated that in our division we were encouraged to explore and develop our research freely and independently. The program duration of two years was indeed short, but filled with rewarding experiences, valuable lessons, and cherished memories with professors and friends. It was a choice that I'm proud of making, for it has made me a better person - rich in knowledge and gratitude.