Institute for Liberal Arts

Under the new education system to be implemented in April 2016, the soon-to-be-established Institute for Liberal Arts (ILA) will supplement specialized science and technology education provided by Tokyo Tech's six new Schools with education in the liberal arts.

ILA aims to develop talented individuals who:

  • Understand the challenges of the 21st century and recognize their roles in meeting these challenges
  • Develop the disposition to delve into and know one's self
  • Possess creativity to tackle problems, move into action, and realize goals
  • Commit wholeheartedly to building a better society in the future

Tokyo Tech's liberal arts for the new era

Noriyuki Ueda
Professor to be affiliated with the Institute for Liberal Arts

Tokyo Tech is known for attaching a high value to liberal arts education. Its wedge-shaped education method has long provided undergraduate students with liberal arts courses running parallel to specialized courses throughout all four years of the bachelor's degree program. ILA is looking forward to carrying on with this tradition by offering unique, groundbreaking courses to Tokyo Tech students starting in April 2016.

The Institute's new liberal arts curriculum extends right through into the doctoral degree program. While gaining knowledge of the wider world, examining possibilities of the self, and inspiring each other, students strengthen their ability to question, feel, think, speak, and act independently. Soon after admission to a bachelor's degree program, they enter the world of liberal arts through the Tokyo Tech Visionary Project carried out in small groups. After taking more advanced courses, the group meets again in the 3rd-year autumn semester to take on the Liberal Arts Final Report. The students are guided by 1st-year master's students who act as peer reviewers and generate cross-age exchanges in the classroom.

In the past, students tended to select liberal arts courses with the minimum requirements for credits. However, this will change with Tokyo Tech's new courses. From the very beginning of their studies, each student starts weaving together the threads of his or her individual learning story. The journey is one full of energy that eventually leads to students realizing their aspirations.

Tokyo Tech's new liberal arts education provides an aura of learning that attracts people, ignites their curiosity, and vitalizes their spirit. I hope students take advantage of ILA to open the door to their future, allowing them to take on new challenges, make significant social contributions, and become leaders in the new era.

Four key features of ILA's liberal arts education

Consider what it takes to build a better future society!

  • Courses taken at each level of study are numbered as follows:
  • 100-300: Undergraduate degree program
  • 400-500: Master's degree program
  • 600: Doctoral degree program

Four key features of ILA's liberal arts education

1 Tokyo Tech Visionary Project

Tokyo Tech Visionary Project is a course required of all students beginning soon after admission. It encourages self-discovery and aims to motivate students to set individual goals so that they can envision their own path throughout the four years of liberal arts studies at the undergraduate level. The course alternates between lectures and group work involving approximately 25 students. It allows students to identify, scrutinize, and convey problems, enhancing the interactive set of skills needed for efficient communication and presentation.

2 Liberal Arts Final Report

Liberal Arts Final Report is a designated course for students to complete the liberal arts component of their undergraduate degree program. ILA places great value on students' ability to recognize the learning process that leads them to their individual goals. Students write a thesis on the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their liberal arts courses, and consider how these can be utilized on the path they have chosen. Theses are examined in small groups with master's students working as peer reviewers.

3 Leadership Workshop

Leadership Workshop is a course for 1st-year master's students which aims to develop leadership skills. Students form teams and attempt to achieve common goals by utilizing the individual talents of team members. Leadership skills acquired in this course are further applied to guide undergraduate students — Peer Review Practicum participants provide thesis writing support to undergraduates working on their Liberal Arts Final Report, while Advanced Leadership Workshop students join Tokyo Tech Visionary Project as group work facilitators.

4 Independent Studies Courses

Independent Studies Courses are for doctoral students and serve as a finish line for ILA's liberal arts education. In these courses, students share their potential contributions to cutting-edge research and broad cultural accomplishments through group research and presentations. The presentation sessions mimic academic conferences. Students decide on a conference topic, arrange a venue, form groups, create a schedule, make other necessary preparations, and keep the conference running on the day just as event organizers would.

In Path-Breaking Liberal Arts Courses, students share the findings of their group research through presentations and poster sessions.

ILA will also be offering Humanities and Social Sciences Courses, English Language Courses, Second Foreign Language Courses, Wellness Courses, Japanese Language and Culture Courses, Teacher Education Courses, and much more. The goal of Tokyo Tech's new liberal arts component is to arouse and gratify the intellectual curiosity of students, unveil their latent abilities, and leave them with feelings of accomplishment and well-being.

Institute for Liberal Arts

Institute for Liberal Arts
—Connecting Science and Technology with Society—

Information on Institute for Liberal Arts inaugurated in April 2016

Institute for Liberal Arts (ILA)outer

Schools, Departments, and Institute for Liberal Artsouter


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Published: August 2015


Public Relations Division, Tokyo Institute of Technology