A Guide to General Education Courses

Foreign Languages

The university presents a student with the rare opportunity to learn a variety of foreign languages. While the student can study a foreign language to fulfill the requirements of his/her academic field, even when not required, foreign language study offers the student the opportunity to explore various languages and gain a better understanding of the world.
In addition to courses designed to improve communication skills, English—which the majority of students take as their foreign language—consists of various classes offered as general education courses at different levels. Seven languages – German, French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese (for international students)– are available as compulsory foreign languages for students in the Faculties of Law and Social Sciences. Students in the Faculty of Commerce and Management and Faculty of Economics also find it meaningful to study these languages. In addition, Arabic, Greek, and Latin are offered, so it is our hope that you will find a language to study in line with your interests. For international students, there are a number of non-compulsory Japanese courses available. There are a limited number of courses that can be counted in the Foreign Language category of the university’s general education curriculum, but we invite you to actively take such courses as optional subjects that go beyond graduation requirements.

Mathematics, Science & IT

The rationale and methods behind linear algebra and calculus that form the basis of university-level mathematics are indispensable not only in the natural sciences but also in the social sciences. Students study theory and application in basic mathematics courses, such as Linear Algebra I and II and Calculus I and II. Various undergraduate courses that use mathematics are quite often based on the content covered in the aforementioned four classes. Students who hope to acquire basic academic proficiency in mathematics, or who desire to study theoretical economics, econometrics, game theory, financial engineering, actuarial mathematics, or similar subjects that incorporate a heavy use of mathematics, are encouraged to attend all the four classes. Students acquire knowledge through linear algebra and calculus courses and obtain a general theoretical overview through another basic course—“Introduction to Mathematics” (available only to students in the Faculties of Law and Social Sciences).
In addition to “theory” and “practice” of linear algebra and calculus, for advanced courses in the field of mathematics, “Sets and Phases I and II”, “Probability”, “Statistics”, “Mathematics for Planning I and II”, and “Mathematical Logic” are also available, providing students with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of advanced mathematics. Basic courses in the information sciences field can be broken down into two subject areas: “Computer Literacy,” wherein, beginning with the basics, students learn about computers and networks and related technology as well as information security issues, and “Computer Programming Basics,” in which students study the first steps of computer programming (C language, Python, etc.). Moreover, in “Applied Information Technology”, an advanced course, students learn how to create original digital content; in addition, they explore the characteristics of digital media and issues surrounding rights and contracts. Lectures are provided in a practical format using computers in the Computer Education Building.
In the Sciences , basic and advanced courses in the natural sciences such as ecology, science history , and other offerings are widely available as a part of the five pillars of physics, chemistry, biology, geography, and environmental science. The basic course, “Science Laboratory” is particularly distinctive in that it is an interactive class that helps students deepen their understanding of the natural sciences through scientific experimentation. Moreover, “Science Reading”, an advanced course, students touch on famous literary works in the natural sciences, analyzing important principles to gain a universal understanding of the subject matter. Involving a search for natural providence, the natural sciences can be thought of as a cornerstone of all disciplines. By attending lectures, conducting experiments, and reading the classics, our expectation is that students will proactively take these courses in the sciences, thereby going beyond merely absorbing knowledge and gaining a scientific perspective and new insights.

Physical & Sporting Culture

Modern lifestyles often do not allow for sufficient physical exercise, leading to decreased stamina and poor overall health. Moreover, the social and global spread of sports indicates that sports have the profound connection between sports and the pursuit of self-fulfillment, communication, and a more humanistic way of life. and that are culture which Sports also connect people globally. Contributing enormously to humans’ physical and cultural existence, social development, global friendships, and peace, the importance of sports is widely acknowledged. On the other hand, sports is plagued by many problems, including doping, drug contamination, and the prevalent principle that winning is everything.
In Physical & Sporting Culture courses, students receive an advanced education, obtaining a comprehensive, scientific awareness with regard to health, sports, and exercise, while being mindful of the maintenance and promotion of their physical strength/health and improvement in skills. The aim is for students to foster the abilities necessary for them to enjoy this cultural domain on an independent basis. By taking a social sciences view of the sports that everyone knows, students are able to see a side of sports with which they were previously unfamiliar.
The Physical & Sporting Culture curriculum consists of the following basic courses: “Sports Method (Spring/ Summer) I”, “Sports Method (Fall/Winter) I”, and “Sports Practice”, as well as advanced courses including “Sports Method II” and Lectures on Sports and Health Science. “Sports Method (Spring/Summer) I”, “Sports Method (Fall/Winter) I”, and “Sports Practice” are compulsory subjects for students in the Faculty of Social Sciences.
(Note: Check your syllabus to verify open events and courses each year.)

  1. Sports Method (Spring/Summer) I, Sports Method (Fall/ Winter) I
  2. Students should acquire basic physical strength and sports skills (technical recognition, practice methods, skill acquisition, organization management, etc.), and create relationships through group activities. Students who are restricted from exercising because of health restrictions will, in principle, be able to fulfill this requirement in other ways. (Note: For more information, refer to course rules.)

  3. Sports Practice
  4. The aim in “Sports Practice” is for students to acquire comprehensive, scientific knowledge of, and an advanced education in, health and sports and culture through learning opportunities provided in a small seminar format. This course is not limited to classroom discussions; students also gain practical skills by practicing on sports fields, in gyms, at martial arts dojos, and other venues.

  5. Sports Method II
  6. Sharing the goals of Sports Method I, in addition to offering opportunities for more advanced sports learning, Sports Method II introduces students to a variety of events during which they can practice a sport, including new events. At the same time, classes are also offered for students who have no experience with such events, with the aim of basic skill acquisition. It is our hope that students will challenge themselves by participating in events that they have never tried before, rather than just sticking with the sports they know. This class is open to all students.

  7. Lectures on Sports and Health Science
  8. Various themes related to health, sports, exercise, and culture in modern society are covered in this course. This course is open to all students.


Courses in the humanities are divided into five categories: Philosophy/Thought, History, Literature, Human Sciences, and Comprehensive (“Comprehensive” is further divided into the subcategories of Regional Culture and Big Questions). However, these categories only serve as rough descriptions of courses; they are established to provide students with a general idea of whether a course could be of interest because the humanities are like a gigantic galaxy wherein the whole, subsuming countless small fields, is connected as one, making it very difficult to classify clearly in light of its content. For example, disciplines related to Philosophy/Thought and History have always been developed mutually with references e to each other, while The History of Philosophy and The Idea of History can be classified in either category and cannot be considered as solely one. It is similarly fundamentally difficult to separate Philosophy/Thought and Literature. (For example, the works of Nietzsche can be viewed as both philosophical and as literary.)
Still, because philosophy, history, and literature classifications are comparatively old (although they go back no further than the 17th century), they are probably easier to understand. “Human sciences” is a new term; it is literally a discipline in which students study a variety of phenomena related to humans and human activity. Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, new academic value was found in many things that had not previously been subjects of learning; thus, they were often adopted as major categories. With the general education provided at Hitotsubashi University, subjects from various fields that do not fit neatly into philosophy, history, or literature classifications are considered part of the human sciences. For example, the most notable subjects in this sense are probably related to art, music, video, performing arts, and so on, with each artistic field that offers entry-level courses in these areas also borrowing heavily from other academic disciplines (and mutually influencing each other along the way). Music History, Art Thought, and Video Language are examples of such courses. Subjects that deal with systemic issues that broadly span multiple categories not fitting neatly under human sciences are included in the Comprehensive category. The subcategory of Big Questions includes, for example, courses such as “Reading about the World from a Gender Perspective” and “Asian Community Theory”, which are both premised on an awareness of global problems studied across the five classifications noted above. The subcategory of Regional Culture, on the other hand, contains general courses related to specific regions of the world, such as “English-Speaking Society and Culture”. Although the regions are quite limited, problem setting is cross-sectoral in nature (e.g., as in Big Questions).
Clearly, the humanities curriculum is very broad in the sense of space and time. As such, its unique logic and methodology may differ fundamentally from that of the professional social sciences, so this may be confusing at first. However, this is the first step in learning, providing the student with an important opportunity to take a broad view and look at events without any bias and without falling into the trap of jumping to conclusions.
Most humanities curricula consist of elective courses, in which the student often encounters the unexpected knowledge and worldview of higher education. Because the curricula of the five divisions are divided into “basic” and “advanced,” students are able to learn in a systematic fashion. However, should a student hold a high level of interest in a subject, it is by no means a waste of time to take a class on a one-off basis. Even if what the student is learning at the time is less than clear, some 10 or 20 years in the future, this experience will surely come to shape his or her worldview. That, after all, is what the humanities are all about.

Introduction to the Classics (Humanities Curriculum)

Introduction to the Classics is a cross-sectoral curriculum group established in association with curriculum modifications made in 2017. Handed down over generations, the classics are not simply “timeworn relics” from bygone days. For the modern reader, they represent “a treasure trove of wisdom” to be read again and again. There will, of course, be parts that no longer seem relevant to modern life. On the other hand, there are also other parts that now take on new meaning. It is we, the new readers, who give the classics new life. Are there books that you heard about in high school but have not yet read? Well, this is your chance to actually give them a try. Because Introduction to the Classics is divided into the same five subjects areas as the humanities curriculum —Philosophy/Thought, History, Literature, Human Science, and Comprehensive—, you can expect that taking such courses and simultaneously attending related lectures will have synergistic benefits.

Career Development

The university offers classes in three categories —“basic career courses,” “courses for members of society,” and “practical skills courses”—with the aim of encouraging greater career awareness. Basic career courses provide a framework for the student to begin thinking about his or her career early, whereas courses for members of society provide the student with an opportunity to design a realistic career through a hands-on approach. Students are welcome to explore the career curriculum further by visiting the Career Support Office.
Regarding courses for members of society, “On Practice: Talk with Graduates and “Josui Seminar”—both provided by the Josuikai— are notable. In Social Practice Theory, students obtain hands-on career development experience through omnibus-format lectures provided by alumni. The Josui Seminar is a valuable lecture series that can only be experienced at Hitotsubashi University; it specializes in industries in various fields, allowing students to vicariously experience companies mainly through interactions with alumni.

Seminar(General Education)

These are interactive seminars with a small number of students. The instructor in charge is a faculty member who is responsible for general education university-wide. Seminars are offered in various disciplines and are not limited to the social sciences. It is recommended that students participate in their first or second year, although participation is possible any time. Thinking ability and insight are indispensable in seminar–type lectures. By participating in seminars and refining these skills, the student develops the ability to apply things learned here in the more specialized seminars that follow.

Seminar(Liberal Arts)

The General Seminar is open to third- and fourth-year students. This seminar is offered instead of the “upper-class departmental seminars” typically offered on a department-by-department basis. Students can use this seminar to write their graduation thesis (except for students in the Faculty of Commerce and Management), and it is also possible to take this seminar at the same time as other seminars to deepen one’s understanding of an intellectual interest (however, as participation in this seminar is not a compulsory undergraduate credit, the student is encouraged to carefully review graduation requirements before enrolling).