In 1882, Shigenobu Okuma founded Waseda University on the three principles of "independence of learning", "utilization of knowledge" and "creation of good citizenship".
Since then, Waseda has made significant efforts towards promoting and staying true to these founding principles; thus striving to contribute to the progress of society and the development of talent, to deepen scientific principles, and to stay ahead of changes while providing useful insights into global trends. This commitment is exemplified by the 54,400 students who study at 13 undergraduate, 17 graduate schools and 6 professional graduate schools on 9 campuses located throughout Japan. It is also demonstrated by the 3,000 international students who study at Waseda University.
Striving to "co-create knowledge in the Asia-Pacific region," Waseda University is working towards establishing networks with education and research institutions which include outstanding universities from across the world. Waseda is currently engaged in joint research and student/researcher exchanges with over 600 institutions. The universities numerous yet always pragmatic and goal-focussed activities are already bearing fruit, and its students and researchers are interacting across national boundaries. "Double Degree Programs" are also being promoted at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as Waseda has taken on an active role in promoting these kind of deep collaborations with leading overseas institutions.
In 1998, the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies (GSAPS) was established as the first independent graduate school within Waseda University. The GSAPS offers MA Program in International Relations, as well as a PhD Program in International Studies. The mission of GSAPS is to assess and analyse the Asia-Pacific region from a broad analytical perspective. By disseminating specialized knowledge the GSAPS also hopes to nurture experts who are well-versed in all facets of the existing scholarship on this divers and crucial region. To achieve this goal, it is offers its students to cultivate an extensive knowledge on the politics, economy and cultures of the region. The GSAPS also highlights important of understand and acquiring the theoretical know-how, and the methodological analytical tools wherewith to approach the various challenges facing the region. With the goals in mind, GSAPS establishes the following three axes : 1 - Area Studies, focusing on East and Southeast Asia; 2 - Analytical and disciplinary approaches to political science, economics, social sciences, history, anthropology, and information & telecommunications; and 3 - International relations and development, human rights, environmental studies, gender studies, education and civil society organizations. The faculty of GSAPS is made up of experts and educators who are committed to their respective fields of research. Many of the regular faculty members belong to the Japanese Ministry of Education's Global Center of Excellence (G-COE) Program entitled "Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration". It aims to produce the highest of standards in education and research. Furthermore, the GSAPS' faculty reaches well beyond the campus and academia, as the programme actively engages in alongside the government, NGOs, international organizations and the media. In areas of studies not covered by our regular faculty, our graduate school invites visiting professors and experts to share their experiences with the students. They may be from the fields of diplomacy or grass-root activities. With their participation, the educational contents the graduate school has to offer is enriched further with practitioners perspectives.
The MA and PhD programmes at GSAPS attract students from around the world. English and Japanese are the school's main languages of instruction; however, enrolled students speak over twenty other foreign languages. The GSAPS seeks to serve as a breeding ground for this cosmopolitan student-body, brought together by a shared desire to learn and work for the betterment of the Asia-Pacific region. The PhD Program in International Studies was established in 2000. It focuses on Area Studies, International Relations, International Cooperation/ Global Information and Telecommunication in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Our program aims to produce graduates who will become leading researchers and highly-specialised professionals in the international arena. Our faculty can instruct and provide guidance in Japanese and/ or English. Students have the option to complete their dissertation in either language. As a result of this bilingual nature of our program, the composition of our students is highly multi-cultural. Doctoral degree candidates are required to complete and submit their dissertations to earn the PhD degree. Doctoral candidates may choose to earn credits by attending selected MA courses. Otherwise, students will focus extensively on their dissertations. The program places few scheduling restrictions on our doctoral students. With this flexibility, our program is able to attract people from all walks of life, such as faculty members from external universities, full-time researchers at think-tanks and regular company employees. Our doctoral candidates are not only graduates from Japanese universities but also from established foreign colleges. Some of them are G-COE Program researchers, research assistants and teaching assistants who receive public funding.
In 2007, the Global COE Program of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) launched an initiative focusing on "establishing education and research centers that perform at the apex of global excellence to elevate the international competitiveness of Japanese universities" thus "fostering highly creative young researchers who will go on to become world leaders in their respective fields". The Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration submitted by Waseda University's Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies (GSAPS), was selected for this program. GSAPS engages in three major fields of research: 1- Political Integration and Identity; 2- Economic Integration and Sustainability, and 3- Social Integration and Networking. The collaboration across these three fields will lead to the development of a general system of research and education which is to produce researchers and highly qualified professionals who can contribute to the regional integration of Asia. Through participation in at least two projects, young researchers will engage in unique research that meets the needs of society, acquiring the necessary qualities to be excellent researchers or highly qualified professionals. At the same time, there will be cooperation with domestic and foreign organizations, particularly Asian universities, to organize workshops, forums and summer seminars. Thus, young participants will be armed with both specialized knowledge and a broad and profound understanding of the Asian region. This will help establish the intellectual infrastructure for the regional integration of Asia. The plan is to establish a research and educational center, unique from a global perspective, producing talented individuals who comprehensively study issues related to Asian regional integration and contribute academically and socially to Asian integration. The researchers should not only describe and construct theories concerning Asian regional integration from an external perspective, but also to understand the process from within. The goal being to better identify the obstacles to, and the processes behind, Asian regional integration through cooperation with other Asian universities which are also concerned with the study of regional: politics and security; economics; or society and culture.