Top Global Course
Programme Guidelines

Aims and outline

Sustainability is one of the fastest growing fields of study today. Understanding sustainability issues in various countries and cultures and how to address them can enhance any career.

The AGST Top Global Course aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to sustainability by allowing them to explore key concepts, issues and potential solutions from various perspectives and to do so in an academic and real-world setting.

Top Global Course students are given a variety of opportunities such as taking intensive courses taught by visiting scholars and subject matter experts as well as other courses taught in English across the AGST member graduate schools. Students are also encouraged and supported to conduct research under international co-supervision at a partner university.

Students can expect to:

  1. Expand their knowledge with a global worldview,
  2. Engage with academics and researchers from some of the world’s leading universities and institutes,
  3. Enrich their research project by receiving guidance from international scholars,
  4. Build their English language skills.


  1. The AGST Top Global Course is a certificate programme not a degree programme.
  2. Students interested in registering for this programme must follow the application process which includes submitting an application and other required documents.
  3. Students who fulfill all the requirements of the AGST Top Global Course will be awarded a certificate that contains their academic portfolio separately from the diploma at the time of graduation.

Start date

The AGST Top Global Course will commence six months after the student is admitted to a master’s or doctoral programme. This means that a student admitted in April can start the AGST Top Global Course in October, and a student admitted in October can start in the following April.


Applicants must be a full-time student and in their first year of a master’s or doctoral programme at either the Graduate School of Economics, the Graduate School of Letters or the Graduate School of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Economics Division.


Specific requirements for earning the AGST Top Global Course certificate depend on the graduate school. Please contact the appropriate graduate school for more information.

Graduate School of Economics
Graduate School of Letters
Graduate School of Agriculture, Division of Natural Resource Economics

Screening process

Applications will be examined according to the submitted documents (Form A and B).
Only successful applicants will be contacted. Interviews may be conducted if necessary.
Applications that do not adhere to the application instructions (below) will not be accepted. No exceptions will be made.

Application information

Application period
For students enrolled in April, applications for the AGST Top Global Course can be submitted between July 1 and August 31.
For students enrolled in October, applications for the AGST Top Global Course can be submitted between January 1 and February 28.

How to apply
Complete and submit Form A and B to the appropriate graduate school by e-mail.
These forms can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Forms Period for submission Submission method
Form A:
Application form
During the period prescribed in “application period” Please attach a copy of the student ID card
Form B:
Confirmation letter from Kyoto University supervisor(s)
Directly from the supervisor(s)

Course completion forms

The following ONLY concerns doctoral students.
Successful applicants who are admitted to the AGST Top Global Course are required to complete and submit the following forms and documents by e-mail to the appropriate graduate school. Please note that Form E and Form F are to be submitted by the applicant’s international supervisor directly to the appropriate graduate school.
If they are not submitted on-time or are incomplete, students will not receive the Top Global Course certificate.

Forms and supporting documents Application period
Form C:Research plan / accomplishments At the end of every school year (March or September)
Form D:
International Supervisor: proposal and justification

Supporting document: CV of the international supervisor
Within 12 months after the starting of this course
Form E:
Statement of approval from International Supervisor
Form F:
Instruction report from International Supervisor
By the time of submission of the doctoral thesis
Form G:
Prior notification of overseas research

Supporting documents: Proof of KU supervisor’s travel permit (E.g., e-mail correspondence), flight e-ticket, and a copy of overseas travel insurance policy
As soon as the plan is fixed
Form H:
Completion report of overseas research
Within 2 weeks after the completion of overseas research
Form I:
Report of conference presentation

Supporting document: Conference details (E.g., website or brochure)
Within 2 weeks after the completion of the conference presentation

Background information

Kyoto University was selected for the 2014 Top Global University Project, a higher education reform initiative launched by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

Kyoto University’s reform initiative is called “Japan Gateway: Kyoto University Top Global Program.” As part of this initiative, international joint education programs called “Top Global Courses” have been established. The Japan Gateway initiative focuses on the following areas: mathematics, chemistry and chemical engineering, human biosciences, environmental studies, public health, and social sciences and humanities.

Within the discipline of social sciences and humanities, the Graduate School of Economics, the Graduate School of Letters and the Graduate School of Agriculture have established the “Asian Platform for Global Sustainability & Transcultural Studies (AGST)”. In collaboration with world-leading academics and researchers from partner institutions, the AGST seeks to cultivate the development of globally minded individuals with the capacity to contribute to the sustainable development of Asia and other regions.

The AGST Top Global Course is a certificate programme that will be part of an expanded cross-credit scheme together with pre-existing educational programmes.

For more information on the AGST, visit:

Personal information handling policy

AGST shall properly control the personal information obtained through the application process and shall not, unless required by law, provide personal information to third parties without receiving the consent of the relevant person in advance.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Doctoral student

Q1: Am I still eligible to obtain the AGST Top Global Course Certificate even if I do not complete my doctoral degree within three years?

A1: Yes. Students are still eligible to obtain the AGST Top Global Course Certificate if they complete the doctoral degree programme within six years from the date of enrollment and have already fulfilled all the certificate requirements. This also applies to the students who have withdrawn from the university after obtaining the Doctoral Study Accreditation (Research Guidance Approval).
However, to be eligible, students should have met all the certificate requirements, except for the doctoral thesis, after two years and three months of participating in the Top Global Course (or two years and nine months of being enrolled in the doctoral degree programme).
When applying for the Request for Dissertation Review and related documents to the Dissertation Supervisory Committee at the graduate school, please also request the appropriate graduate school’s Top Global Course office to proceed with the examination of the certificate completion.


International Affairs Office (IAO), Graduate School of Economics
 E-mail: iao.econ[at]

Office for the Promotion of International Exchange (OPIX), Graduate School of Letters
 E-mail: bun.kokusaikoryu[at]

Division of Natural Resource Economics, Graduate School of Agriculture
 E-mail: agri-sgu[at]