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SIS Abroad

Grad Dual Degree Programs: Ritsumeikan University

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The Graduate School of International Relations (GSIR) at Ritsumeikan University (RU) has partnered with SIS to offer an innovative Dual Masters Degree Program (DMDP) for students who want to take an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to their research and education. This DMDP, started over fifteen years ago, is the first of its kind between a Japanese and an American university. DMDP students gain cross-cultural competency while earning two Master’s degrees in international relations.


Graduate students can choose to follow one of two programs offered in the GSIR, depending on their language ability. In either track, students spend their first year as full-time students in SIS studying in virtually any of the SIS major fields, and then spend their second year studying as full-time students at RU. Up to fifteen (15) of the course credits taken at RU in this second year can be applied toward the SIS degree. Research requirements for both degrees must be done separately and cannot be used toward the completion of both degrees. The available fields of study, according to language, are as follows:

In Japanese: These programs allow students to take courses alongside the regular, Japanese-speaking graduate student population at the GSIR. They are designed to foster strong analytic skills based on international sensibility, knowledge of contemporary international society, and foreign language skills. There are three options for study:

  • Global Governance
  • International Cooperation Development
  • Multicultural Understanding

In English: Students can enroll in courses offered through the GSIR’s Global Cooperation Program (GCP) with students from all over the world. The GCP curriculum, taught completely in English, focuses on interdisciplinary perspectives for international cooperation in the following areas:

  • Macro-Economics
  • Micro-Economics
  • Development Economics

Language Requirement

In Japanese: Students taking coursework in Japanese are required to pass Level 1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in order to be considered for admission by RU. Students should have also already worked and/or studied in Japan for a significant amount of time to make a strong application.

In English: Students pursuing the DMDP in English do not need to demonstrate proficiency in Japanese but are encouraged to have at least some background in the language. 

Academic Calendar

Spring Semester: April – July

Fall Semester: September - March

Although the academic calendar in Japan begins in April, DMDP students will enroll at RU after a full year in SIS, therefore beginning their courses at RU in September.


During the first year at SIS, students register with the advice of their academic advisor to ensure that they will be able to complete all SIS core requirements prior to leaving for RU. In the second year, the following process will be followed: 

  1. Students are registered through the SIS Office of International Program Development for nine (9) AU-Ritsumeikan exchange credits (SIS-694) in the fall semester and six (6) AU-RU exchange credits in the spring. These exchange credits cover courses at RU only; research and/or internship credit is registered under normal AU guidelines.
  2. Students are required to meet with their AU advisor before registering for courses at Ritsumeikan. This ensures that credits earned at RU can be applied toward the student’s AU degree.
  3. 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 regular tuition, emergency international health insurance, and technology fees to AU. Students do not pay student activity fee, sports center fee, or SIS fee. Students also pay the Academic Association of International Relations fee and the Autonomous Association of the Graduate Students fee to RU.

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 will pay Ritsumeikan for the Academic Association of International Relations fee and the Autonomous Association of the Graduate Students fee.


There is no graduate student housing at Ritsumeikan. Students must find their own accommodations in Kyoto. The International Relations Office can offer some guidance and support for students seeking assistance with the housing search.

Visa and Immigration

Once admitted to the 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 Spring 2015 admission: October 13
  1. Complete and submit the program application to the SIS Office of International Program Development by the application deadline. To request the application, please contact SIS Abroad.
  2. Student applications are forwarded to RU. RU makes the final admissions decision and notifies students directly.


Contact Us!

Email: sisabroad@american.edu

Facebook: American University SIS Study Abroad

Twitter: SISStudyAbroad

Application Deadlines 

2015-2016: April 1

RU Course Syllabi

Choose your courses at RU

Additional Information

Read about Kyoto here and here.

Wikitravel explains the best ways to travel to Kyoto.

How to get your visa at the Embassy of Japan.

Information about language school in Japan.