Announcing the start of Japan's first Science in Mountain Studies-specific master program! (from April 2017)
The Master Degree Program of Mountain Studies is a new postgraduate course created and offered through the collaboration of four universities: the University of Tsukuba, Shinshu University, Shizuoka University and the University of Yamanashi. The aim of this program is to cultivate people capable of addressing the specific needs of mountainous areas, including environmental issues and sustainable ecosystem management. The degree of "Master of Science in Mountain Studies" will be conferred upon completion of this program.
- Cultivate people who can contribute to finding solutions for problems associated with natural variation and human activity affecting the geosphere/hydrosphere, ecosystem and natural resources of mountainous areas.
- Cultivate people who understand the above-mentioned problems specific to mountainous areas and are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for cultivating prosperous and robust local communities.
- Cultivate people possessing sufficient discernment and dynamism to perform precise and targeted development of response measures based on a broad perspective and specialized knowledge.
Mountain Area Environmental Issues in Japan
Mountainous areas provide forest resources, water resources, tourism resources and many other resources which enrich our lives; however, these areas also face a number of issues, including the effects of depopulation and forestry industry decline on forest utilization and mesomountainous areas. More recently, mountainous areas are being affected by climate change, natural disasters, the loss of biodiversity and many other environmental problems which require us to think about how to ensure a sustainable relationship between human activity and mountain environments.
Science in Mountain Studies-related Fields
This degree program utilizes collaboration amongst different universities and majors, as well as integration of various mountain science-related fields, to produce Masters of Mountain Science. Hands-on instruction and research activities performed at a diversity of field stations maintained by each university are used to cultivate people capable of addressing the various issues facing mountainous areas.
Promising Career Paths
Mountainous area issues-focused national/local government employee, national research and development institute member/regional research institute researcher, corporate employee, association personnel, NPO/NGO staff, etc.
- We seek candidates with a strong interest in the phenomena and issues of mountainous areas as well as a desire to contribute concretely to addressing them.
- We seek candidates with a basic academic foundation in the natural sciences or social sciences and a desire to acquire specialized knowledge as well as knowledge, skills and other resources across a range of domains related to mountain science.
- We accept candidates from a broad array of fields, including those already working in a field or occupation related to mountain science.
In order to provide both the broad scope of education and high degree of expertise required for mountain environment conservation and management, specialized core subjects and specialized subjects are established. A master's thesis will be the final basis for the determination of learning outcomes.
- In Introduction to Mountain Science, students will be led by experts from a variety of fields to undertake a systematic and global examination of issues related to mountain environments, thereby equipping them with a broad grounding and ability to comprehend and think holistically.
- During Mountain Fieldwork, the educational research bases maintained by the four universities will be primarily used for fieldwork intended to equip students with field study skills essential to mountain science, as well as cultivate situational assessment and data analysis skills.
- The Practical Skills subjects will equip students with practical skills essential to the working world and the scientific community, as well as highly versatile and fundamental foreign language communication skills.
Specialized subjects will be comprised of subjects from three different domains (geological, biological and anthropological) as well as Science in Mountain Studies seminars and mountain science research common across all domains.
- Specialized subjects within each domain will equip students with highly specialized skills and knowledge for specific fields; while, at the same time, courses across multiple domains will be required so that students cultivate an interdisciplinary and practical creativity and ability to identify issues.
- The Science in Mountain Studies seminars will employ a seminar format to impart cutting-edge knowledge, as well as develop students' ability to give presentations, ask questions and discern insights.
Mountain science research will be used to facilitate the preparation, research and writing of the students' master's theses, all under the supervision of an instructor. Through this process, students will hone their conceptual, planning, execution and verification skills, as well as their ability to write logically and scientifically.
Master's Thesis Research Guidance Policy
- Master's thesis research guidance shall carried out by one primary advisor and two or more secondary advisors, with at least one of the secondary advisors belonging to a different university.
- Interim evaluations (first year students) shall be carried out by the primary advisor, secondary advisors and an instructor from a different specialized domain.
- Final evaluations (second year students) shall be carried out by a thesis examination committee comprised of teaching faculty from the relevant university.
- As a rule, interim and final evaluations shall be carried out at a combined annual reporting session, or other such occasion, run by the relevant university.
- Does the thesis theme demonstrate an appropriate scientific understanding of the issues facing mountainous areas, and does it contribute to concrete solutions?
- Was there sufficient review of the existing research and sociological background, including relevant measures and government policies, and is the originality and importance of the thesis theme clearly demonstrated?
- With regard to the results obtained, are they based on verifiable data and primary sources, were they presented, analyzed and considered in a sufficiently logical manner, and was the feasibility for resolving the issue demonstrated?