Graduate Study and Collaborations

So you have a solid research idea that you’re itching to develop into a full-blown Masters thesis. Or, you’re currently in a Masters or PhD program, and you’re itching to work with someone in Japan to make your ideas happen. Or, you do research about digital media use and/or Internet psychology, and you want to work with someone in Japan. On all counts, I’m confident the HGU Digital Media and Society Lab can help.

Doing a Masters at Hokusei Gakuen University

The HGU Digital Media and Society Lab is part of the Graduate School of Literature’s Master’s Program in Language, Culture, and Communication. This Masters program’s central theme is “understanding humans’ inter-weaved nature of interaction” through the three lenses of “language,” “communication,” and “foreign language acquisition” (see the overview, in Japanese, here). As such, the program approaches communication from a number of angles, digital media being just one of them.

Masters students who are part of the Digital Media and Society Lab do their masters research under my supervision. They also take part in the Senior Undergraduate Lab meetings, to help hone the undergraduate lab members’ theory. Beyond specific Digital Media and Society Lab-related meetings, I offer two masters-level courses that specialize in media theory: “Principles of Communication Theory” (syllabus here) and “Interpersonal Relations in Cyberspace” (syllabus under construction). Both courses are unique within the Masters program in that they are 1) offered in English, and 2) focus primarily on theory about media.

Graduate lab members would then take a combination of other courses, which are not digital media-specific, but provide excellent background theory on communication, cultural theories, and studies on identity. These might include courses such as Mie Nakachi’s Globalization and Communication (syllabus), J. M. Ronald’s Sociolinguistics (syllabus), Noriko Hasegawa’s Intercultural Communication (syllabus 1, syllabus 2), Takehiko Tanabe’s Social and Educational Psychology (syllabus) and others.

Masters Degree FAQs

Do I need to be able to speak Japanese?

While the Digital Media and Society Lab is an all-English environment, the reality is that some of your Masters courses at HGU will be in Japanese. So yes, you do need to have some Japanese ability. Generally, Level 2 on the JLPT or equivalent Japanese ability would be required – talk to lab director Rob at (or use this contact form) if you’d like to know more.

What would be on my Masters diploma?

In the HGU Masters in Language, Culture and Communication program, you would graduate with a “Masters in Language, Culture, and Communication”.

How much does it cost for a Masters at HGU?

In 2017, HGU Masters program tuition costs were 752,080yen (approx. US$6,815) (Year 1) and 650,000yen (approx. US$5,890) (Year 2). See the latest information here.

Are there any scholarships?

For Hokusei Students

For Hokusei students, there are two generous tuition exemption scholarships available for English Department students wanting to continue on to Masters. These scholarships cover about 75% of tuition costs (talk to the Student Support Center for details).

For International Students

The Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) offers scholarships for graduate students (Research Students, Masters, and PhD). See their information here.

What facilities are there for grad students?

Graduate students at HGU have their own desk in a shared office, with after-hours access.