Curriculum Outline (Major programs)

Curriculum Outline

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Psychology and Human Studies Program

About psychology and human studies

This program covers psychology, which seeks to explain analytically the mechanisms of the psyche, and human studies, which seeks to interpret the intellectual material produced by the human mind.

Psychology, which deals with the behavior of humans and the workings of the human psyche, approaches these problems through analytical methods such as experiments and surveys. Students aim to become familiar with basic techniques related to psychological experiments and surveys and to acquire knowledge over a wide range of areas of psychology, including awareness and perception, memory and learning, motivation, personality, interpersonal relationships, group psychology, and applied psychology.

The field of human studies includes the academic disciplines of philosophy, history of Western philosophy, ethics, history of religious thought, history of scientific thought, and linguistics. The human mind (psyche) has produced a wide variety of spiritual creations, from the everyday utilization of language in philosophical thinking and scientific inquisition, and from judgment of what is morally right and wrong to beliefs about religion. The field of human studies searches for an understanding of humanity by analyzing the fundamentals of the intellectual fruits of humanity such as philosophy, religion, science, and linguistics through the analysis of source material that is mainly written in foreign languages.

This program aims to cultivate talented people who are capable of the scientific analysis and thinking which underpin a deeper understanding of people for the variety of issues faced by humanity.

Topics studied in psychology and human studies

Field Studies in Society and Regional Culture Program

About Field Studies in Society and Regional Culture

Field Studies in Society and Regional Culture includes the academic disciplines of sociology, cultural anthropology, folklore, archaeology, human geography, and performing arts, and mainly features the study of society and culture from a wide variety of perspectives.

Sociology analyzes the phenomenon of society by focusing on the relationships between people. An example is searching for the possibility of better relationships by studying family and regional problems. Cultural anthropology aims not to view other cultures under the biased measure of our own viewpoint, but to understand the aspects that are particular to that society. Folklore considers the changes and meanings of our living culture from customs and legends that have been passed down through the generations. Archaeology pursues research into history since the appearance of humankind by studying artifacts such as earthenware as well as natural objects, structures, and ruins, and other related items that people have left behind. Human geography studies the issues of regional history and modern society in terms of geography, population, industry, and transportation. Performing arts considers the history of the culture of performing arts through analysis of source texts and fieldwork on traditional performing arts such as gagaku (ancient Japanese court music), Noh theater, and kabuki theater, as well as the popular performing arts that are practiced today.

These disciplines cover a wide array of research topics and types of materials, but all share a focus on fieldwork (onsite surveys) as an important research tool. This program employs diverse curricula that focus on fieldwork in order to nurture the ability to understand the lifestyles of people who have developed in various different regions.

Topics studied in Field Studies in Society and Regional Culture

History Program

About History

This program focuses on the study of history. Put simply, since history has expanded continuously over several thousands of years through the actions of people from various regions around the world, the topics it covers are truly overflowing with variety. The documents and historical archives that reveal this history are accumulating before our eyes in a broad range of formats including ancient books, inscriptions, wood strips, paintings, photographs, maps, statistical data, and interviews on personal experiences. For this reason, when we study history, it is of the foremost importance to understand the qualities of the material and historical archives that match each of these themes, and to become familiar with the skills for mastering them.

History as studied at university differs from the rote memorization of a huge number of facts as is done in high school courses on Japanese and world history. At university, you select one time period, region, or field in which you are personally interested as a research theme, you search by yourself for materials, historical archives, and literature which match the selected theme, you learn the ability to read these, and you independently craft a research paper. In doing so, you learn how to gain deep insight into history. This is the university way of studying history.

In no time at all, your research could change prevailing theory accepted in the past. This is full of thrills. The historical culture studies program at the Faculty of Humanities of Niigata University employs a diverse staff and is also closely linked with other programs, offering assured satisfaction for students wanting to study any historical theme.

Topics studied in history

Japanese and Asian Linguistic and Literature Program

About Japanese and Asian Linguistic and Literature

Unlike other majors that are grouped by methodology, research in this field covers languages and linguistic culture in the Asia region, and based on spatial proximity, groups together fields that employ different methodologies. As a result, choosing to major in Japanese language and Japanese linguistic culture builds on the subjects of Japanese language and Japanese literature that are studied in Japanese high school and expands the range of topics into another dimension. Majoring in Chinese or Korean linguistic culture involves first learning the respective language and then pursuing a deeper understanding of meaningful texts and ideas.

If we look back on the history of Asia, there is no question that each of the cultures of Japan, Korea, and China built upon one another through a combination of cultural exchange, mutual influence, and sometimes even conflict due to their spatial proximity. Because of this, the linguistic cultures of China and Korea need to be studied as part of the foundation for understanding the true nature of the Japanese language and Japanese culture, and understanding the individuality of the Chinese and Korean linguistic cultures should bring renewed interest in the special qualities of Japanese culture. The faculty members feel that the regional grouping of this major should be utilized by students who "want to study broadly in order to understand deeply".

Pursuing this major also enables you to receive teaching certificates for Japanese and Chinese languages.

Topics studied in Japanese and Asian Linguistic and Literature

Western Languages and Cultures Program

About Western languages and cultures

This program covers Western culture focusing on Europe and the United States. Since the foundation of culture is language, the very first step is to become proficient in one of the European languages (English, German, French, Russian, etc.). Starting at the beginner level and learning a little bit at a time allows you to progress with certainty to the point where you are able to obtain advanced certification through the official examination your chosen language. Furthermore, you will cultivate a sharper awareness of the language and richer expressiveness through learning and researching Western language and culture using your proficiency and skills in the language learned in this way.

The topics studied and the fields of research in Western language and culture are relatively broad. Language theory and linguistics involve in-depth study of the mysteries of words themselves. Literary history and literary theory thoroughly examine novels, poems, plays, and so forth and attempt to understand the secrets of the complex worlds that are created by words, such as in human psychology and the structure of stories. Novels and poems are not the only things that can be read and analyzed; newspaper articles, diaries, letters, web sites, and blogs are also available for study. The variety of non-written fine arts (music, art, architecture, and theater) and everything else related to the lives of humans, including food, travel, fashion, sport, and pop culture are also discussed and studied.

This program should be undertaken with the goal of cultivating a future self who has full command of both Japanese and foreign languages and a deeper understanding of Western language and culture, who can communicate with Westerners without bias, and who has a stimulating and rich life.

Topics studied in Western languages and cultures

Representation and Media Studies Program

About Representation and Media Studies

In the world that is a chaotic mix of the "here and now", the wide variety of media is overflowing with an abundant diversity of representations. To nurture the ability to go boldly into the mix and blaze a completely new trail, this program can be approached from a number of angles. The main approaches are as follows.

Topics studied in Representation and Media Studies


Education and research