M.A. Degree Application FAQ

The questions below pertain to the following degrees:

  • M.A. in Global Studies
  • M.A. in International Business and Development Studies
  • M.A. in Japanese Studies
  1. Can I transfer credits from previous graduate work?
  2. Which track is appropriate for me, thesis track or credit track?
  3. How do I select the topic of my thesis?
  4. Can I take courses outside of the M.A. degree area that I am accepted by?
  5. Can I take more than 30 credits of courses?
  6. Can I study Japanese language?
  7. How many semesters does it take to obtain a master's degree?
  8. Can I complete my M.A. degree while working full-time?
  9. Can I apply for a Monkasho Fellowship to study in the GPGS?
  10.   After I complete the M.A., can I enter the Ph.D. in Global Studies at Sophia?

1. Can I transfer credits from my earlier graduate work in another program?
You can, subject to approval, transfer up to 10 credits from graduate study at another institution. The GPGS faculty will determine whether some or all of the credits can then count towards fulfilling the graduation requirements in the M.A. that are enrolled in the GPGS.


2. Which track is appropriate for me, credit track or thesis track?
This depends on a combination of what you hope to get out of graduate and your career plans. The credit track emphasis on course work will deepen your knowledge of those subjects that interest you. The thesis track will deepen your research and analytic skills for scholarship. Also, close work with faculty members enables them to write more insightful recommendation letters on your behalf. In sum, if you want a master's degree as a career credential, then the credit track could be sufficient but if you are planning to seek a doctoral degree, or a future position that emphasizes research, then thesis track could be more appropriate.


3. How do I select the topic of my thesis?
A key criteria for acceptance into the thesis track is the availability of a faculty member to supervise your proposed topic. Therefore, you should select a thesis topic within the specialization of at least one faculty member in your degree area. You can access information on faculty specializations by clicking the names of a professor in blue font under the faculty listing for each degree. You should also consult with the coordinator and professors in your dgree area. 


4. Can I take courses outside of my M.A. degree curriculum? 
Yes. Up to 8 credits earned outside your degree curriculum will count towards fulfilling the graduation requirements for your degree. Credits in excess of 8 will not count towards fulfilling your graduation requirements but they will appear on your transcript and be calculated into your GPA.


5. Can I take more than 30 credits of courses?
Yes. The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 30 but you may take more. The tuition rate is flat (fixed) so there is no extra charge for exceeding 30 credits.


6. Can I study Japanese language?
Yes. International students are encouraged to study Japanese in either the regular or intensive course. GPGS courses are scheduled in the afternoon to enable you to attend Japanese language courses in the morning. There is no extra tuition charge for taking language classes so because of the flat (fixed) tuition. However, credits earned in language study do not count towards the 30 credits required for graduation while they will be calculated into your GPA. As Japanese language courses have a heavy work load, you are advised to limit your course enrollment to 4 to 8 credits of GPGS courses.


7. How many semesters does it take to obtain a M.A. degree?
Both the credit track and the thesis track typically require four semesters. However, a student may apply for Early Graduation with legitimate reasons and good academic standing (see the Bulletin of Information for details).


8. Can I complete my M.A. degree while working full-time?
The program is not designed to accommodate students with full-time jobs. Most of the courses are scheduled for daytime on weekdays and the course work is quite heavy.


9. Can I apply for a Monkasho Scolarship to study in the GPGS?  
Yes. If you are an international student already enrolled in the GPGS please consult your faculty adviser and the GPGS director. If you are an international student applying from outside Japan, please consult the Japanese embassy in your country about the application procedure. Monkasho Scholarship recipients who apply from abroad typically spend their first 6 months in intensive Japanese language training administered by the Ministry of Education. Then they typically enter Sophia as a research student and apply through the standard admissions process to become a degree student the following semester.


10. After completing the M.A. can I enter the Ph.D. in Global Studies at Sophia? 
You are eligible to apply to enter the Ph.D. in Global Studies. The Ph.D. is supervised by many of the same faculty members as the M.A. in Global Studies. Therefore obtaining an M.A. in Global Studies is a good way to prepare for applying to the Ph.D. in Global Studies. However, entrance into the Ph.D. program is highly competitive and completion of the M.A. in Global Studies does not guarantee advancement to Ph.D..