Graduate School of Literature

Graduate School of Literature

Academic Principles & Scheme

With the rapid development of technology, informatics, and globalization of the world's cultures and economies, the challenges to the individual continue to grow. In such times, the School of Literature prepares students for a changing workplace through developing their abilities in research and analysis in addition to offering insight into life and the spiritual heritage of Aoyama Gakuin University.

Department of English and American Literature


The doctoral, Ph.D. program in English at Aoyama Gakuin University is structured so as to provide students with a unique and exciting opportunity for interdisciplinary research and study in English Language and Linguistics, English and American Literature, Communication Studies, and English Language Education, and also for specialized research within any of these areas.

The Department of English at Aoyama Gakuin University is one of the oldest English departments in Japan, with an international reputation for excellence and innovation, and a long tradition of offering courses in English Language and Literature which have led graduating doctoral students to contribute to the larger issues of global social, industrial and technological development. Graduate education in the English Department continues to offer the very latest perspectives on contemporary, and likely future, directions in English Studies with the aim of further promoting local and global social, industrial and technological development.

Daytime and evening courses can be taken in each semester separately, or for a full year, and offer opportunities for engaging with a wide range of skills and knowledge bases involved in English Studies. These may include courses with topics such as the following:

- how to conduct quantitative, qualitative, ethnographic and mixed methods research into language use, and language acquisition;

-how to research the effects of individual differences in cognitive abilities on second language learning;

- understanding issues in psycholinguistics and the study of language acquisition, speech processing, as well as the processes involved in translation, and their application to many issues of practical everyday application, such as language teaching and translator training;

- how to research and describe historical contexts and their influence on literary texts such as the novels of Jane Austen or William Faulkner, the plays of William Shakespeare, or the poetry of Walt Whitman and Harte Crane;

- understanding linguistic, societal, and ethical perspectives on literature, literary criticism and analysis;

- how to describe pragmatic influences on speaking and understanding;

- understanding cross-cultural influences on contemporary communicative style and interaction;

- understanding the history of the English language, and its development, as informed by a study of Old and Middle English literary texts;

- understanding the causes leading to, and procedures for describing, language variation and change;

- understanding issues and analytic techniques involved in the study of usage-based, functional, cognitive linguistic, and formal approaches to the description of the syntactic, semantic and phonological properties of English.


Many faculty teaching graduate courses in the areas of English Language and Linguistics, English and American Literature, Communication Studies, and English Language Education are available to supervise research at the doctoral level.

Ph.D. program (in English with suggested links)

Master's Program

Required Credits for Graduation / 38 Credits

Doctoral Program

Required Credits for Graduation / 16 Credits

Department of French Literature and Language

Our Core Strengths

The program in the Department of French Literature and Language, covers numerous fields, such as French literature, French thought and philosophy, and French linguistics. This full range of French Studies reflects the diverse interests of our faculty: since we have a specialist in each French Literature period (from Renaissance and early modern literature to contemporary French writing), students can do research in any topic they are interested in.

Since 1966, we have been committed to training high-level researchers in the humanities, capable of approaching issues from a broad critical perspective, based on our philosophy of exploring man through literature.

A number of full-time professors cover various periods of French literature, and we also provide a system for conducting linguistic research on the French language. As some courses are taught in French by native speakers, students can receive training in writing papers in French. We also pride ourselves on providing an open academic environment for active intellectual communication between professors and students.

In our Master’s program, students acquire a wide range of skills and knowledge in French language and literature, and develop excellent research skills. In our Doctoral program, students are expected to contribute to the development of their academic field by establishing new knowledge, and will contribute to society by teaching in-depth knowledge in their academic careers.

Master's Program

Our Master’s program offers basic courses (research methods, academic reading and writing in French) as well as more than a dozen specialized courses. The courses cover a wide range of fields, from literature, to philosophy and linguistics.

A master’s degree will be granted to those who enrolled in this program for at least two years, earned the required number of credits, and passed the final examination for master’s thesis or research paper on a specific issue after the necessary research guidance.

Required Credits for Graduation / 40 or 48 Credits

Doctoral program

As part of the doctoral program, we offer seminars that provide advanced training in dissertation writing. Doctoral students will have the guidance of a committee, including a research supervisor who is an expert in their field, and this committee will monitor their progress.

To obtain a doctoral degree, students must enroll in the program for at least three years in order to earn the required credits, while receiving the necessary research guidance. Students must also pass final examination of the doctoral thesis and certifications of two foreign languages.

Required Credits for Graduation / 16 Credits

Department of Japanese Literature and Language

What Makes Us Special

We offer a wide array of classes across Japanese Literature and Language, Japanese Language Education, and Chinese Literature, providing detailed guidance for our students and teaching with reference to the most up-to-date research. We believe in creating an environment where students can pursue interdisciplinary and innovative research, and for that reason, our’s is not a rigidly atomized organization that assigns students to staff based on specialty, but rather one that that prioritizes a flexible, communal style of instruction. What makes us special is that we allow students to research what and how they want to, while ensuring a high level of academic integrity.

About Our Program

Our program is divided into master’s and doctoral halves. In addition to receiving their degree, a graduate of the master’s program will be able to teach within higher education, in addition to having many opportunities for employment in the private and public sectors open up. Students who wish to continue their research and enter into a research position will want to advance to the doctoral program after graduation to write their Ph.D. thesis.

About the Master’s Program

A master’s degree will be conferred to students who are enrolled for a minimum of two years, obtain the required number of credits, submit their supervised research thesis, and pass their final exam.

Required Credits for Graduation / 30 Credits

About the Doctoral Program

A Ph.D. will be conferred upon students who have been enrolled for an additional three years after completion of the master’s program, obtain the required number of credits, submit and successfully defend their supervised Ph.D. thesis, and pass their final exam, including one foreign language.

Required Credits for Graduation / 16 Credits

Department of History

Academic Excellence

We provide specialist education in historical research in our graduate MA and PhD courses. Students belong to one of the four courses—Japanese History, Asian History, European and American History, and Archaeology. In 2022, we introduce a new Modern and Contemporary History course in our MA programme, one of the chief aims of which is to cultivate skills in teaching in Japanese secondary schools.

Our faculty members include five specialists in Japanese history (ancient, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary history of Japan), five in European and American history, three in Asian history (East and South Asia), and three in Archaeology.

The MA programme comprises the course work and the dissertation. In addition to tutorials by supervisors, students take lectures and seminars given by full-time and part-time faculty members covering a wide variety of themes and methods of historical research. Most teaching takes place in small groups, giving students opportunities to develop their research in close communication with teachers. PhD students work with their supervisors to complete their dissertation.

Students have an opportunity to participate in the Aoyama Academic Society for Historians and submit papers to research journals called Shiyu (the Friend of History) and Aoyama Shigaku (the Aoyama Historical Research).

Prospective MA and PhD students can apply for a numbers of scholarships. TA opportunities are also available. A limited number of doctoral students can be employed as research associates (院生助手).

After completing their master’s degree, many of Aoyama’s graduates are employed as high school teachers, civil servants, and curators. Others go to private companies in many fields. More and more students enrol in the doctor’s course to continue their study.

The entrance exams for the master's program are held twice each year, in autumn and in spring. The undergraduates of Aoyama Gakuin are exempted from some of the exam subjects (via an ‘internal entrance exam’). There are also exams for mature students.

Master's Program

Required Credits for Graduation / 30 Credits + Dissertation

Doctoral Program

Required Credits for Graduation / 20 Credits + Dissertation

Department of Comparative Arts

Academic Excellence

The Department of Comparative Arts comprises three disciplines with a long history in the traditional and classical arts. These are: Fine Arts, Music, Theatre and Film. These disciplines are the foundations of the humanities, based on classics, tradition and history, and are essential to understanding the nature of art and culture in contemporary society. Our department offers programmes in Eastern and Western art, music, performing arts and visual arts. Students will be required to take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring these subjects through comparative study, classical research and appreciation of works.

Master's Program

Students must be enrolled in the master's program for at least two years, acquire the required credits (38 credits or more), submit a master's application thesis or the results of research on a specific subject, and pass the thesis examination. The method of completion (submission of the master's application thesis or the results of research on a specific subject) should be decided by the end of the first year after consultation with the supervising professor.

Required Credits for Graduation / 38 Credits

Doctoral Program

Students enrolled in the doctoral program must select a research topic under the guidance of the supervising professor, acquire the prescribed credits (18 credits or more), submit a thesis for the doctoral degree, and pass the thesis examination and the final public oral examination, as well as the foreign language examinations (two subjects). In addition, those who wish to complete the program within three years are required to acquire credits corresponding to the years they have been enrolled.

Required Credits for Graduation / 18 Credits

Contact Us

  • Academic Affair's Office, the Graduate School of Literature