In the first year of the undergraduate program, students take general education courses and courses that will form the foundation for specialized classes in law and political science. Specialized courses commence in earnest from the second year. At the end of the first semester of the second year, students select one of the following programs of study.
Legal Affairs Specialist Program
This course aims to teach students the core fundamentals of positive law and is designed for those who want to work as specialists and apply their knowledge of law.
General Law and Political Science Program
This program is designed for students who aspire to work in a variety of fields of society. It aims to help them gain the necessary legal understanding and policy assessment skills as well as a broad perspective and international awareness.
Most courses are either lecture or seminar format. By organically combining the two, students effectively master the needed knowledge and gain the ability to think independently. In addition, the university offers an externship program under which students receive credits for externships at corporations and local government bodies. Hokkaido University also has a program for the mutual recognition of credits with universities overseas.
Division of Law and Politics Master’s Program
There are three course groups in the master’s program: Contemporary Law and Political Science, Basic Law and Political Science, Comparative Law and Political Science. Based on their interests, students select one course group to be their primary group and one of the remaining two to be their secondary group (compound study). This enables students to make a general survey of theory, history, and comparative analysis in relation to law and political science from multiple perspectives and thus encourages students to master specialized knowledge from a multifaceted perspective. The program emphasizes students’ acquisition of academic communication skills by attending workshops and improvement of language skills by participating in seminars in non-Japanese languages.
In the above program, students who aspire to become researchers prepare for professional-level research in the doctoral program. Students who aspire to be non-researcher intellectual professionals as well as working adults who want recurrent education can also gain the high-level specialized knowledge they each need in the program. With detailed research guidance from two faculty advisors, all students produce a master’s thesis. The standard time required for program completion is two years, but students with an outstanding record are permitted to complete the program in as little as one year.
Division of Law and Politics Doctoral Program
The class work portion of the doctoral program is conducted mainly through courses and workshops that aim to deepen the multifaceted specialized knowledge students acquired in the master’s program. Most of the courses are seminars and focus on teaching the latest findings in law and political science and improving the basic research skills of students through foreign language and classics courses as well as special research in foreign languages. There are workshops on public law, civil law, civil law theory, intellectual propriety law, criminal law, social welfare law, economic law, legal theory, political science, and legal precedents in labor, and students are expected to gain the sophisticated academic debate and persuasion techniques required of researchers by participating in the workshops.
Students are encouraged to make steady progress on their doctoral dissertation and complete it quickly under the guidance of their faculty advisor. Students are required to make a midterm report on the core concepts of their doctoral dissertation at the workshop by the end of the first year and to submit a paper for preliminary screening at the end of each year from the second year onward. For students who enroll in the program for working adults, there is a framework for accepting dissertations that take alternative formats and are composed based on practical knowledge. The standard time for program completion is three years, but students with an outstanding record are permitted to complete the program in as little as one year.
Updated on November 29, 2013