With its innovative international liberal arts educational philosophy, Akita International University aspires to prepare students to be leaders in global society.
International Liberal Arts education at AIU enables students to acquire a broad scope of knowledge and sharpens their analytical thinking skills; it helps them gain insight into the critical issues confronting the world and develops in them a global outlook, as it equips them with the ability to communicate effectively in English and other languages.
AIU’s International Liberal Arts education fosters self-realization; it opens minds, instills the will to act and develops the capacity to rise to the complex challenges of the times with integrity and discipline. AIU students learn to commit themselves to serving their local communities, their countries, and the world.
With its innovative international liberal arts educational philosophy, Akita International University’s mission is to prepare students to be leaders in global society; to be people who have established a strong sense of self, who are able to rise to the challenges of the times with integrity and passion, and who commit themselves to serving their local community and the world.
In order to achieve this mission, international liberal arts education at AIU is designed to enable students to acquire a broad scope of knowledge and understanding of world affairs, to sharpen their analytical skills, to help them gain insight into the critical issues of our times and develop a global outlook, as it equips them with the ability to communicate effectively in English and other languages.
In concrete terms, AIU defines the following eight competencies and attitudes as its educational goals:
- A command of English and other world languages that enables effective engagement and collaboration with people from multiple cultural and linguistic backgrounds
- A broad knowledge of world cultures, human societies and the natural world
- A nuanced understanding of one’s own cultural and self-identity
- A multi-dimensional appreciation of and the complex issues of our times
- The intellectual and practical skills necessary for disciplined observation and reasoning, principled inquiry, reflection, and thoughtful action
- The ability to integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines and resources
- The capacity for creative, autonomous thought and the ability to make independent, informed decisions
- A sense of personal and social responsibility that stems from and leads to active civic engagement at local and global levels.
AIU will award one of the following degrees to a student who satisfies the set requirements and has achieved above mentioned leaning goals: the Bachelor of Arts (Global Business) will be awarded to those who have studied mainly business and economics courses and completed the Global Business Program; the Bachelor of Arts (Global Studies) will be awarded to those who have studied mainly North America, East Asia or Transnational courses and completed the Global Studies Program.
In order to receive a B.A. degree from AIU, in principle, a student should have completed the prescribed course requirements and earned 124 credits or more with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above. As an exceptional case, a student who satisfies all the requirements and conditions may be allowed to graduate after at least three years. A mandatory one-year study abroad experience is also a graduation requirement. Through their study abroad experiences, students are expected to make progress toward completing their study plan requirements, and by using their English and other language skills effectively, deepen their understanding of other cultural and intellectual perspectives, and develop as autonomous learners to further their capacity to identify creative solutions to problems and difficulties.
The AIU curriculum is designed to achieve the university’s learning goals, which are based on the diploma policy. The following methods of inquiry are woven into the curriculum: critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, empirical methods, social science perspectives and humanistic perspectives. All classes are taught in English, most are small in size.
New students, while attending orientation courses, are divided into level-specific courses of English to receive training in English for Academic Purposes (EAP), where they also study basic learning skills for university study. Students later study Basic Education courses in the fields of Social Science, Arts and Humanities, Math and Natural Sciences, World Languages and Linguistics, Health & Physical Education, Japan Studies, in order to establish an intellectual foundation. At this stage, students have to fulfill various course requirements that insure that students all take a well-balanced set of courses. By the time students complete 30 credits, they select either the Global Business Program or the Global Studies Program, where they pursue Advanced Education credits and continue to acquire essential analytical skills, practical skills, creative problem solving skills, and communication skills. Once students achieve the necessary level of English competence and the minimum number of credit requirements through these learning processes, they are required to study abroad for one year. During study abroad, they continue to pursue their study plan, and directly experience different languages, cultures, people and value systems enabling them to grow as human beings. After their study abroad, students join capstone seminars in the selected program to complete their program of study and if necessary finish remaining courses required for graduation.
Syllabi are prepared for each course to inform students of the course schedule, grading system and other details of the course. In addition to referring to syllabi, students receive academic guidance from their faculty advisors. Academic advising helps students in making their study plan and selecting an appropriate study abroad destination.
In classes, group work, discussion, debate, and student presentations are introduced in order to encourage students’ active learning. In some courses, innovative approaches such as field work, project based learning (PBL), and flipped class via digital media are introduced. Students are required to actively participate in their classes. At least two hours self-study for every class hour are necessary.
Grading is made on an absolute basis and grading criteria are clarified in the syllabus for each course. Each student’s academic performance is monitored through their GPA. Healthy academic performance is regarded cumulative GPA 2.00 (73 points) or above. In applying for study abroad, a GPA of 2.50 or above is required; for graduation a GPA of 2.00 or above is required. Students with lower GPA than the established standard receive special advising and care to address their academic problems.
To provide career support at AIU, a career design course is required and internship courses are also an option. AIU not only supports students in job placement, but also encourages students to study at the graduate level through individual advising by academic advisors and guidance from the Academic Career Support Center.
Students who wish to practice teaching in Japan as a profession in the future can earn a Senior High School Teacher’s Primary License for English authorized by the Japanese government by completing the Teacher’s License Program as an additional program.
Akita International University (AIU) seeks to grant admission to applicants who understand AIU’s learning goals; applicants who are equipped with academic competencies and aptitudes that will enable them to actively engage with and benefit from the course of study at AIU; applicants who have strong motivation for independent study and keen awareness about compelling issues confronting society today. AIU’s selection system is designed to allow formation of diverse cohorts of students who appreciate the joy of competing and cooperating with their peers to enrich the learning experience for all as they prepare to be leaders in global society.
Successful applicants should be equipped with:
- Balanced basic academic competencies across the broad fields of the humanities, the natural and social sciences, as well as logical, critical and creative thinking skills and outstanding ability or experience in specific areas that they are enthusiastic about further developing within the scope of their learning
- Strong interest and an inquiring mind toward global affairs including the nature of diverse cultures, languages, history and societies of the world based on their experiences in having studied abroad or participated in various international activities in and out of their countries
- Strong desire to gain practical skills of foreign languages (especially English) and knowledge from a broad range of liberal-arts subjects.
Applicants are also expected to have deepened their knowledge and interest in global society through their study at high school and to be well equipped with basic knowledge of Japanese history, society and culture as well as world history.
After acceptance at AIU, students are required in their studies to show:
- Strong commitment to acquire sufficient practical skills of English to master their liberal-arts study in English
- Appreciation of and a spirit to actively challenge the AIU curriculum, which requires taking a balance of courses from across the curriculum
- Strong will to creatively pursue their study as an independent learner, facing difficult challenges in their study abroad, and a passion to enhance their capability to collaborate with their colleague students and/or people in the country while studying abroad
To select such students, AIU implements the following examinations:
Through the National Center examination, AIU looks at each applicant’s basic academic aptitudes at the high school level, and through AIU’s original entrance examination tests for the presence of well-balanced academic skills, logical, critical and creative thinking abilities with some consideration for differences in the applicant’s concentration for different subjects. General selections are implemented in a number of examination categories. Applicants for general selection may also apply for other universities in addition to AIU.
Through examinations and interviews, or documents submitted by the applicants, AIU selects students holistically considering logical thinking skills and English proficiency in reading and oral expression, good records of high-school performances and experiences, passion and attitude for learning, consciousness for problems in society, and other things.