SGPAS - Sophia University, Graduate Program in Area Studies, Graduate School of Global Studies

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Outline of Our Program

Our Idea of Area Studies

Area studies does not merely aim to study the language of the target area or to acquire the knowledge of its society, politics, economy, and culture. Although it is certainly important to possess a deep and systematic understanding of the target area, it is even more crucial to have an in-depth, locally oriented comprehension of how its peculiar culture and society are formed from an inside perspective.

Area studies requires an interdisciplinary approach that employs methodologies from a range of academic disciplines, while relying on the methodologies from a specific academic field, such as sociology, anthropology, history, or archaeology. Consequently, evaluating the circumstances under which a particular area developed socioeconomically requires not only sociology and economics but also a historical perspective to ascertain the manner in which the region evolved over the years and the methodologies from cultural anthropology which aim to clarify the social organization and value systems of people.

It is not very easy to master foreign languages for research purposes. Nowadays, English is widely used as the standard language (the international language) for all practical purposes; however, being able to appreciate a region in a more intimate manner demands a good command over the local language, such as Spanish or Portuguese (spoken in Brazil) in the case of Latin America. Hence, students who are interested in pursuing a specialized research through our Doctoral program may be required to learn the language of a minority population or any other form of local lingua franca used in the study region. Moreover, they may be required to study abroad in the target region, conduct literature reviews in local archives, or engage in extensive fieldwork.

Special Features of SGPAS

  1. Graduate education in SGPAS is tightly integrated with the research activities conducted by the faculty. Each faculty member is a leader in his or her respective research field and is involved in research projects at the Institute of Asian Cultures, Iberoamerican Institute, Center for Luso-Brazilian Studies, and Asia Center for Research and Human Development. Most of these research projects are supported by various academic grants including the Grant-in-Aid for Creative Scientific Research of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The results of the research activities conducted by the faculty are publicized through various international symposiums, seminars, and publications; further, the results of these research activities play an integral role in each faculty member's coursework.
  2. Each of the abovementioned research institutes features specialized library rooms with local publications and documents that are exclusive to that particular area; moreover, the library facility works toward supporting the research initiatives of graduate students. Furthermore, the main campus library offers the Garcia Collection (an extensive collection of literary works exclusive to the Philippines) for those engaged in Philippine studies.
  3. Depending on the research topic, students who are pursuing a Master's degree may be required to collect materials in the particular area of interest or conduct fieldwork. In SGPAS, a particular class, namely Fieldwork, can be chosen as an elective; this class provides the time during which such research activities can be conducted and graduation credits may be earned.
  4. SGPAS offers one of the three areas of specialization at the Graduate School of Global Studies. In addition, the Graduate School of Global Studies has Master's and Doctoral programs in International Relations and Global Studies; further, students can also attend classes for these programs. All classes in the Global Studies Program are conducted in English.

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