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Undergraduate Dual Degree Programs

Ritsumeikan University

Photo of view from Japan

The College of International Relations (CIR), established at Ritsumeikan University (RU) in 1988, has partnered with SIS to offer an innovative Dual Undergraduate Degree Program (DUDP) for students dedicated to gaining a global perspective on international affairs.


The Program is designed to allow students to complete the requirements for both degrees under the normal timeline for undergraduate enrollment of 4 years. AU students typically spend their first three semesters as full-time students at AU before enrolling at RU. After completing four semesters at RU, and a minimum of 62 credit hours, students return to AU to complete remaining requirements at AU.

RU offers several Japanese-language degree programs for students who are fluent in Japanese, as well as an English-language degree in International Relations.

Degrees Offered in Japanese

International Relations
Policy Science
Social Sciences

Degrees Offered in English

International Relations

Language Requirement

Students are required to pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at Level 1 in order to be eligible for a Japanese-language degree program at RU. The JLPT is offered once per year through the Japan Foundation, and students must register for the exam well in advance of the testing date. Students considering applying to the Program would ideally take the exam in December of their freshman year so that the results would be available to submit with the other application materials.

There is no language requirement for students to be eligible for the English-language degree in International Relations at RU.

Academic Calendar at RU

Spring Semester: April – July

Fall Semester: September – March

The academic calendar in Japan begins in April. DUDP students will enroll at RU after completing three semesters at AU, therefore beginning their courses at RU in April (their fourth semester).


During the first two years at SIS, students register with the advice of their academic advisor to ensure that they will be able to complete all SIS core requirements and AU general education requirements over the course of the 4 year period. While studying at RU, the process below will be followed:

  1. Students are required to communicate with their AU advisor before registering for courses at RU to ensure that credits earned at RU can be applied toward the student’s AU degree.
  2. Students register for RU courses once they arrive on-site at RU prior to the start of the semester.

Credit articulation: Grades and credits earned at RU are articulated at AU upon receipt of an official transcript from RU. For conversion purposes, students should expect 1 RU credit to equal 1 AU credit.

Tuition and Fees

While at AU, students will be billed according to the tuition and fee schedule published by the University.

While at RU, students pay tuition and fees, including the Japanese National Health Insurance fee, directly to RU. They also pay regular AU health insurance unless waived, emergency international health insurance, and technology fees to AU. Students do not pay the student activity fee, sports center fee, or AU housing and dining fees.

Students are responsible for any incidental costs, such as library fines and lab fees, incurred during the program. Students are responsible for all personal expenses including housing and transportation


Students must find their own accommodations in Kyoto and may be permitted to stay in the Ritsumeikan International House for a short period until they secure housing. The International Relations Office can offer some guidance and support for students seeking assistance with the housing search.

Visa and Immigration

Once admitted to program, students are issued a Certificate of Eligibility by RU. Students then need to take this document, with a passport and visa application, to the closest Japanese Embassy to apply for a student visa.

Students are responsible for researching the most up-to-date immigration requirements and arranging all immigration documents.

Student Orientation

During the semester prior to the start of the program, the SIS Office of International Program Development conducts a mandatory pre-departure meeting. Topics covered include administrative, logistical, security, health, and cross-cultural issues. RU also holds an orientation for students at the beginning of the semester.

How to Apply

Application deadline for beginning RU program in Spring 2015: TBA

  1. Complete and submit the program application to the SIS Office of International Program Development by the application deadline. N.B. Students should try to have the Japanese Language Proficiency Test results ready to submit at the time of application, and at the latest must take the exam in December of their first year at AU in order to be considered by RU for admission in the spring semester of their second year.
  2. After applications are processed and reviewed, student applications are forwarded to RU.

Contact Us!

Email: sisabroad@american.edu

Twitter: SISStudyAbroad

Application Deadlines

Calendar Years SP16 - F17:

Academic Years F16 - SP18: 
April 15, 2016

Apply Now! 

Ritsumeikan DUDP Application

Helpful Links

Prepare for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test

Read about Kyoto here and here

Wikitravel explains the best ways to travel to Kyoto

Information on how to get your visa at the Embassy of Japan

Information on language schools in Japan