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Bachelor of Arts in Global International Relations Sakura Scholars

Earn one degree jointly awarded by both American University and Ritsumeikan University.

Joint Degree Overview

The Bachelor of Arts in Global International Relations (GIR) is a one-of-a-kind program offered in coordination with American University (AU) and Ritsumeikan University (RU). The joint degree is the first such program between a university in the United States and Japan. Building off more than 20 years of collaboration, the program curriculum reflects the cultural and geographical reach, as well as the expertise and strengths, of both universities in offering the first truly global degree in International Relations. Students in the program will be jointly enrolled at both institutions throughout their studies and will spend two years at AU and two years at RU (see below for mobility overview). Through their studies at AU's School of International Service, and RU's College of International Relations, students will gain a deep understanding of global and regional challenges, especially as they relate to East Asia and the United States. In addition to selecting one of the following GIR concentrations (1) Global and Comparative Governance, (2) Identity, Race, Gender, and Culture, (3) Peace, Global Security, and Conflict Resolution, GIR students also will complete coursework in area studies, foreign language and general education. All students will complete a senior capstone project during their final year in the program. For the duration of the program, students will have access to institutional resources, as well as academic advisors and faculty from both schools Upon completion of the program students are conferred one diploma, the Bachelor of Arts in Global International Relations, endorsed by both AU and RU. Students enrolled in the program will be known as the Sakura Scholars.

Sakura Scholars

The cherry blossom or "sakura" is an iconic image of Japan and Washington DC celebrates the gift of cherry blossom trees from Japan over 100 years ago, a symbol of the lasting friendship and exchange between the two countries. Sakura Scholars will represent a unique community of learners, with ties to the United States, Japan and beyond. As they complete the joint degree, the Sakura Scholars will have multiple opportunities to meet their fellow classmates through online orientations, in-person cohort classes, and other on-going activities.

Program Mobility

Please Note: American University and Ritsumeikan University have different academic calendars, however, all students spend 8 semesters in the program, regardless of their home school.

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Choose your home school and apply now!

Apply to American
Apply to Ritsumeikan

American University Home Student

Year One
Fall (August-December) at American
Spring (January-May) at American

Year Two
Fall (September-March) at Ritsumeiken
Spring (April-August) at Ritsumeiken

Year Three
Fall (September-March) at Ritsumeiken
Spring (April-August) at Ritsumeiken

Year Four
Fall (August-December) at American
Spring (January-May) at American

Ritsumeikan University Home Student

Year One
Spring (April-August) at Ristumeikan
Fall (September-March) at Ritsumeikan

Year Two
Spring (April-August) at Ritsumeiken
Fall (August-December) at American

Year Three
Spring (January-May) at American
Fall (August-December) at American

Year Four
Spring (January-May) at American
Fall (September-March) at Ritsumeikan

Start at American or Ritsumeikan

Sakura Scholars have the option of beginning their studies at AU in DC or at RU in Kyoto. There are considerations all prospective students should think about before beginning the application process to their preferred home school. Considerations could include prospective student's current location and each school's academic calendar as shown in the above mobility chart. Review each schools program page, application process and consider connecting with an admissions counselor who will be glad to speak with prospective students to determine the best option for their home school.

American University, School of International Service (SIS)

Founded in 1893, American University is located in northwest Washington D.C. The School of International Service at American University, now entering its sixth decade, is the largest school of International Affairs in the United States. The school prepares students for global service in government, nonprofits and business while connecting them to an international network of over 20,000 alumni.

Washington, DC

American University is nestled in residential, northwest Washington, D.C., and the city center is just a few steps away. Washington is one of the most exciting cities in the world. Home to the U.S. governing offices as well as many world-class businesses, attractions, and cultural centers, Washington offers a fast-paced, vibrant setting for your studies, work, and play.

Ritsumeikan University, College of International Relations

Founded in 1922, Ritsumeikan University is designated by the Japanese government as a Top Global University. Its College of International Relations was established in 1988, as the first IR school of western Japan. At the College of International Relations, students from diverse backgrounds study actively in Japanese and English gaining a deep understanding of IR and the international community.

Kyoto, Japan

Located in Kyoto, the culturally rich capital city of the region with a population just over one million, RU's Kinugasa Campus is surrounded by traditional temples within proximity to 13 World Heritage Sites. The campus is well connected to public transport enabling students easy access to explore Kyoto and beyond.