The mission of the Akita International University Graduate School of Global Communication and Language (AIU GSGCL) is to prepare students for careers in professional communication fields that make positive contributions to today’s global society. With programs in English and in Japanese that engage students in classroom and practical training activities, the GSGCL provides students with the knowledge and practical skills they need to advance their careers.
The AIU GSGCL aims to provide the kind of education and research opportunities in advanced theories and practices of communication suitable for meaningful contribution to a globalized world and to equip teachers and professionals with the advanced knowledge, communication capabilities, and teaching skills that will enable them to contribute to both local and international communities. The AIU Graduate School confers a professional Master’s degree on those who have completed the curricular requirements and acquired the following knowledge, skills and attitudes.
- Advanced knowledge of communication theories and effective communication practices
- Advanced language and leadership skills
- A global perspective and awareness of how essential advanced communication skills are for contributing to greater global understanding, that together with the above sorts of knowledge and skills, enable students to become excellent professionals in their chosen fields.
To obtain a professional Master’s degree, in principle, students need to spend at least two years, complete all the required courses, and earn 36 credits (37 credits for students in Global Communication Practices) or more with a 3.0 or higher GPA.
Degree-seeking students are required to be enrolled in one of three programs: English Language Teaching (ELT), Japanese Language Teaching (JLT), or Global Communication Practice (GCP). Along with taking the common core courses and studying the basics of global communication, students complete a set of practical courses (required, required elective, and elective) in the chosen program. Under the supervision of their adviser students must complete a practicum (a teaching practicum or an internship as assigned by each program), and a final project involving the integration of knowledge and practice, which constitutes the culmination of the student’s studies. Grading is based on the grading criteria described in the syllabus for each course. Each student’s academic performance is monitored through their GPA.
In the ELT program, Introduction to Foreign Language Acquisition, Linguistic Foundations, and Introduction to Research Methods in Language Education must be completed as part of the graduate coursework and either EFL Teaching Methods and Materials or EFL Teaching Methods in Japan is required as a required elective course. In addition to courses for teaching the four linguistic skills and developing teaching materials, Pedagogic/Communicative Grammar, EFT Testing and Assessment, English as an International Language, Applied Psycholinguistics for Language Teachers can be taken as electives to prepare students for the practicum. The teaching practicum, or English Teaching Seminar, is offered as a 1credit course in three consecutive semesters, however; in order to accommodate the exceptional circumstances for in-service teachers, 3 semester hours of graduate school credit can be earned for the teaching practicum in one semester. All the ELT courses are conducted in English.
In the JLT program, Introduction to Japanese language teaching, Japanese pedagogical grammar, Second Language Acquisition theories for Japanese language teaching, Pedagogy for Japanese speech sounds and prosody, Evaluation and testing in Japanese language teaching are offered as recommended elective courses to be completed in the first year of the program. To acquire practical expertise in teaching Japanese, three teaching practicums (Fall and Winter on campus, and Spring abroad) are required in the second year of the program. Submission of an action research paper is required in order to complete the program. In the JLT, most courses are conducted in Japanese.
In the GCP program, foundation courses in journalism or public relations are required electives, and elective courses in international news and organizational communication develop expertise for student’s future occupations. Courses dealing with social issues and information literacy to expand professional knowledge are taken in the second year along with completing a required internship and field research experience. To complete their program and graduate, students must either produce a scholarly research paper and pass an oral examination, or make a formal presentation on their practicum and pass an oral examination. All GCP courses are conducted in English to maximize development of students’ language proficiency.
To provide opportunities for advancing students’ viewpoints beyond their specialty, up to three courses in other programs (9 credits) can be taken as elective courses.
The AIU GSGCL accepts students who understand the educational goals of the graduate school; who possess the academic strengths to successfully complete the GSGCL curriculum; who wish to acquire the knowledge and practical skills needed to become highly specialized professionals able to play active roles in the international community; and who enjoy competing and collaborating with their peers in learning and research activities.
In addition, students are expected to have strong motivation for independent study and keen interest in global issues.
With a lens through which they see and discuss global issues critically, English Language Teaching Practices students should possess a strong desire to be skilled in teaching English for international communication.
With a deep interest in Japanese culture and society as well as its language, Japanese Language Teaching Practices students should possess a strong desire to teach Japanese internationally to students from around the world.
With strong interest in comprehensive observation of the world, Global Communication Practices students should possess a strong desire to work internationally in areas such as journalism, public relations and business communication.
In order to accept excellent students from all over the world, the screening of applicants is carefully conducted on the basis of submitted documents and, where necessary, interviews.