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 Masterʼs 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 Masterʼs 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 and student’s academic performance is monitored through their GPA.
In the ELT program, in addition to taking required subjects that cover the knowledge and skills essential to English education, students are also required to take practicum subjects (3 credits) in which students practice teaching in actual educational settings. In principle, the teaching practicum, or English Teaching Seminar, is offered as a 1-credit course in three semesters, however; in order to accommodate for the exceptional circumstances for in-service teachers, 3 semester hours of graduate school credit can be earned for the teaching practicum in one semester. In addition to courses for teaching the four linguistic skills and developing teaching materials, by incorporating academic subjects in the fields of linguistics and sociology, and with consideration of the status of English education in Japanese elementary schools, it will enable students to develop deep perspectives on language education that will allow them to adapt successfully to a variety of educational settings. All ELT courses are conducted in English.
In the JLT program, students study theoretical subjects related to linguistics and second language acquisition theory that is necessary for Japanese language education in the first year of the program. To acquire further practical expertise in teaching Japanese, three teaching practicums (Spring, Fall and Winter) are required in the second year of the program. Two terms of teaching practicums are conducted in Japan and one term overseas. An oral presentation at the action research debriefing session is required in order to complete the program. Except for the common courses, JLT courses are conducted in Japanese.
In the GCP program, foundation courses in journalism or public relations are offered as required electives, and elective courses in international news and organizational communication develop expertise for student’s future occupations. Courses dealing with various issues in the international society and information literacy to further expand professional knowledge are taken in the second year along with completing a required internship and field research experience. To complete the 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 the 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.
- English Language Teaching Practice
Students should possess a strong desire to be skilled in teaching English for international communication, and have a lens through which they can see and discuss global issues.
- Japanese Language Teaching Practices
Students should possess a strong desire to teach Japanese internationally to students from around the world, and have a deep interest in Japanese culture and society
- Global Communication Practices
Students should possess a strong desire to work internationally in journalism, public relations and business communication, with a strong interest in comprehensive understanding of the world.
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.