On June 27, 2017, the Kyoto University Graduate School of Letters received the authorization from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to establish a “Joint Degree Master of Arts Program in Transcultural Studies” with its partner, the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) at Heidelberg University, Germany. Complementing the accreditation of an international variant of the HCTS Master in Transcultural Studies (MATS), this new major will be opened in October 2017 to enrol its first cohort of students in April 2018. Students enrolled in the Heidelberg MATS since October 2017 will be the first who can change to the international, joint degree variant upon successful application.

Made possible by a new ordinance of MEXT, an international joint degree program refers to a study course that is collaboratively created and realised by two cooperating universities, one of which is located in Japan, the other abroad. Students who graduate from such a program will receive an M.A. degree that is jointly conferred by both partners. The new Master program with Heidelberg University is the first joint degree established by Kyoto University and the very first such program in the humanities and social science with an international partner in all of Japan.

Building on the strengths of both institutions, this jointly conducted English-language graduate program offers students access to an interdisciplinary field in the humanities and social sciences to study and research transcultural dynamics between and within Asia and Europe in a global context. After a basic introduction into the theories and concepts of a transcultural approach, students will choose one of three study foci, “Knowledge, Belief and Religion” (KBR), “Society, Economy and Governance” (SEG), or “Visual, Media and Material Culture” (VMC). Students enrolled in this program will spend one year at their home institution, the university where they enrolled in first, and one year at the partner university, while being supervised by academic staff from both institutions. The program completes with the successful submission of a master thesis in English in accordance with international academic standards.

As a research-oriented degree program, the “Joint Degree Master in Transcultural Studies” is primarily designed to train its students for a successful career in international academia. Consequently, the program endeavours to equip academic researchers with an excellent balance of the knowledge and the applied skills that facilitate a critical understanding of concepts and enable contributions to new notions of globality and transcultural dynamics. Accordingly, it is the goal of this program to foster students who excel in their specialist knowledge of the various fields of the humanities and social sciences, respective language skills, and further develop their disciplinary, regional and methodological expertise. Jointly conducted at two leading research institutions in Asia and Europe, the program also seeks to advance their intellectual capacity to bridge boundaries of discipline and borders of academic systems.

This program is the result and a continuing project of international collaboration and cooperation in research and education between the two partners, which are founding members of the Japanese-German university alliance HeKKSaGOn.

Application procedures for Kyoto students will be announced in October 2017 on this website. Interested students will also be invited to orientations around this time.