Ritsumeikan University Kyoto, Japan

exterior of the ornate and brightly colored Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Kapan

The Graduate School of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University (RU) has an excellent reputation in the Japanese academic world. Founded in 1896 by Prince Kinmochi Saionji, RU is nestled in the northwestern corner of Kyoto, near Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) and Ryoanji Rock Garden, a location that exemplifies the coexistence of time-honored tradition and contemporary academic thought permeating RU’s campus.

Academic Calendar

Fall Semester
September - February
Spring Semester
April - July

Due to the differences between the AU and RU academic calendars, students are encouraged to participate in the spring semester. Students who wish to participate in the fall semester at RU may need to take a temporary leave during the following AU spring semester.


Students will enroll full-time for one semester alongside RU graduate students and earn up to 9 credits toward their graduate degree from AU. Students can choose to enroll in courses offered in Global International Relations Program (English-based) or the International Relations Program (Japanese-based). Students will choose from courses in the following topic clusters: 

  • Global Governance Cluster
  • Sustainable Development Cluster
  • Culture, Society & Media Cluster
  • Global Japanese Studies Cluster (English-based program only)

Language Requirement

The language of instruction for Global International Relations Program classes is English. However, students are encouraged to begin studying Japanese prior to beginning the program in order to gain communication skills for daily life in Japan. Students wishing to take courses from the International Relations Program (Japanese-based) must show proof of Japanese language proficiency prior to course registration. Cross-registration is allowed so that students may select courses from either program. 

Application Deadlines

Spring: September 15
Fall: March 1

Applicants are required to submit a non-refundable $50 application fee.

You will be notified by email with a decision regarding your nomination for study abroad.

Please note: This program is competitive and submitting an application does not guarantee admission.

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Suggested Program Match

This program is compatible with Global Governance, Politics, and Security; Comparative Regional Studies; and Intercultural and International Communications.

Ritsumeikan's Graduate School of International Relations graduate program website outlines the topic clusters and sample courses for the English-based program and the Japanese-based program.

Browse Course Catalogue