About AGST

Aims and Outline

The Asian Platform for Global Sustainability & Transcultural Studies (AGST) has been established in order to cultivate globally minded individuals with the capacity to contribute to sustainable development in Asia and throughout the world. It forms the Social Sciences and Humanities Unit for the Top Global Course under the “Japan Gateway: Kyoto University Top Global Program” and involves the Graduate Schools of Economics (GSE), the Graduate School of Letters (GSL), and the Graduate School of Agriculture (GSA: Division of Natural Resource Economics).

AGST covers the following six fields of research and education: (1) Environmental Policy & Rural Development Studies; (2) Business History & Industry Policy Studies; (3) Developing & Emerging Economies Studies; (4) International Trade & Financial Studies; (5) Business Management & Accounting Studies; and (6) Asian & Transcultural Studies.

World-leading researchers from partner institutions are invited to collaborate on the development of teaching materials for AGST. These materials then are used in the teaching of jointly implemented courses, which, together with pre-existing courses (e.g. the International Graduate Programme for East Asia Sustainable Economic Development Studies, or EA Programme), are part of an expanded cross-credit scheme. This educational structure has provided the basis for development of joint/double degree programmes with partner institutions (see below).

For Prospective Students

AGST is not a degree programme in itself, and therefore students who are willing to take advantage of our international graduate education and international collaborative activities are required to enroll in either of our graduate school’s programme, or to be a student of our partner universities.

In the GSE, international graduate education has already been institutionalised through the EA Programme established in 2009. Its admission and curriculum policies are oriented towards “sustainability” studies, mainly of East Asian economies (but not exclusively, as far as comparative perspectives are considered), and place a specific focus on the environmental, social, and governance aspects of development policy, industry policy, and business management. It offers more than 60 English-taught courses covering these diverse areas of studies, and provides the foundations for provision of international collaborative education, including joint/double degree programmes. The GSE has launched a Double Degree Doctoral Programme with the University of Glasgow, UK, and, as of September 2021, a Joint Degree Master Programme in “Global Markets, Local Creativities” in partnership with the University of Glasgow and the University of Barcelona, Spain. Apart from these international degree programmes, the GSE, as a part of AGST as well as KUASU initiatives, has established and strengthened international collaborations with Wageningen University, the Netherlands; Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, Chiang Mai University, and Kasetsart University, Thailand; Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia; and National Taiwan University and National Chengchi University, Taiwan, among others.

The GSL has established a new division named Division of Joint Degree Master of Arts Program in Transcultural Studies with our partner, the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) at Heidelberg University, Germany. This jointly conducted English-language graduate programme offers students access to an interdisciplinary field in the humanities and social sciences to study and research transcultural dynamins between and within Asia and Europe in a global context. In Japan, Kyoto University has instituted the first and until now only major in the country for this area of study, which is also the first international joint degree in the humanities. Students outside of this new division also are encouraged to take classes of this programme offered in the form of a study package taught in English and named “Courses on Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS)”, in which more than 40 courses are provided, covering the fields of Knowledge, Belief and Religion; Society, Economy and Governance; and Visual, Media and material Culture.

The GSA’s Division of Natural Resource Economics has already launched an English-medium curriculum under the name of then the Global 30 programme. In its international programme both Master and PhD course students are able to obtain all the credits required through attending classes offered in English. In the AGST, the GSA collaborates with the GSE, mainly in the field of agri-food sociology and rural development economics, but also has established its own international collaborations with the University of Göttingen, Germany; Montpellier SupAgro, France; and Kasetsart University, Thailand, and regularly organized a series of joint faculty and graduate student workshops.

Between the three graduate schools and their international programmes, a certain number of courses are mutually shared or jointly offered to encourage the students to have interdisciplinary skills and perspectives. These programmes also offer students mobility opportunities and the chance to learn from leading researchers in Europe and Asia, thus contributing to the development of tomorrow’s international-minded leaders and innovators.