Shibaura Institute of Technology has expanded its Global Program, which requires overseas study and taking classes in English, to all five departments of the College of Systems Engineering and Science in the 2019 academic year. This program, which previously was offered in only three departments, is designed to provide science and engineering students with the skills needed to shine on the global stage. Up to 10 percent of new SIT students can change their course of study to this program, which requires studying at a university abroad for at least one semester, taking more than 32 credits in specialized subjects taught in English, and the submission and presentation of a thesis in English.
◆Background and expected impacts
The program was implemented at three departments from the 2017 academic year, and 36 students are currently enrolled. Adding the program to the two other departments will provide students with more specialized subjects to choose from. The program is also expected to attract international students wishing to study in Japan on a short-term basis and take classes in English, and give Japanese students more opportunities to study with foreign students and brush up their international communication skills right here in Japan.
Three central features of the Global Program
1) Students must obtain 32 credits in specialized classes conducted in English
It is mandatory to obtain 32, or more than one-quarter, of the 124 credits needed for graduation in specialized subjects taught in English, excluding language classes. Short-term foreign students often take these classes, providing Japanese students with opportunities to converse in English using science and engineering terminology. During the summer recess in their first year, students take an “engineering English training course” for credits at overseas universities with which SIT has a partnership agreement. Students enrolled in this course take classes on computer programming with local students and participate in a program in which they build a device with simple sensors and circuits.
2) Students must study abroad for at least one semester
All students in the program must study overseas for at least one semester in their third year. Students and teachers attend a weekly meeting to share information about partner universities, credit transfers and visa requirements.
Furthermore, the program gives credits for participating in the so-called buddy system in which students help visiting international students adjust to life in Japan. Taking part in this system allows students to simulate their stay abroad and prepare for their overseas stay.
3) Students must write a thesis in English
Students must submit and make a presentation of their thesis in English. All SIT students are assigned to a laboratory in their fourth year to conduct research and write a graduation thesis, but Global Program students must do so in English.
Students take specialized classes in English from the first year and frequently submit reports in English. Writing a graduation thesis in English will be a major challenge for them.