School of Interdisciplinary Science and Innovation Kyushu University


MESSAGE for International Students

The “Wedded Rocks” near Kyushu University’s Ito Campus: With a view to the sky and the sea, making connections.

The School of Interdisciplinary Science and Innovation looks for bright international students, who have an open mind and a creative spirit. Our School offers a completely new educational model that cuts across the traditional boundaries between the humanities and sciences. We place emphasis on generalist skills rather than specialist knowledge. Based in Fukuoka, the main city of Kyushu, we also have a strongly international outlook. This is a School that has its eyes not only on Japan, but on the entire world.

We believe that skills like communication, debate, design thinking, data analysis, team building, and project management are critically important to develop adaptive and creative mindsets for active learning. Contemporary society needs flexible thinkers and doers who can approach any complex situation or problem.

We train thinkers and doers who can assess what is needed, who can design projects to fill those needs, and who have the leadership, autonomy, and social skills to make the projects succeed.

A visit with Australian students to Tenmangu Shrine in Dazaifu: A conversation in front of the God of Learning.

Many of the real issues these days are indeed complex, in the sense that no single type of expertise can solve the problems. Think of climate change, or terrorism, or pandemics. Think of disaster prevention, or the aging population, or cybercrime. None of these problems can be solved by engineers or physicists alone, or medical doctors, or lawyers. We still need such specialists, of course. But we also need creative thinkers and problem-solvers who can connect between people and organizations. Real solutions require the integration of different perspectives. This is not something a specialist can do. In fact, it is a type of meta-skill that must be cultivated and trained – which is exactly what we do in our School. This skill-that-manages-skills is not a matter of fluffy thinking or big-picture dreaming. It is about designing flexible mechanisms and systems that bring science and technology to people and society. The skill is generalist, but not abstract. The work is very concrete and specific, tailormade to the problems at hand.

We are firmly based, and are proud of our roots, at Fukuoka, in Kyushu, Japan – in the exact middle of East Asia – at the same distance from Shanghai (west), Seoul (north), and Osaka (east), with Tokyo a little farther, and Busan closer, just a three-hour jet ferry away. Kyushu University is the top university on the Kyushu island, one of the four main islands of Japan, with a population of 13 million.

Gazing from one island to another: Nokonoshima Island displays some of Fukuoka’s idyllic scenery, ideal for the open-minded.

Kyushu University, nicknamed Q-dai, is one of the traditional top-seven national universities in Japan. Within Kyushu University, our School is a flagship department – an ambitious new venture that revolutionizes the educational approach, leading the way for the rest of Japan. This also means, naturally, that our School needs, and cherishes, diversity. We spend great efforts to make our School the most welcoming environment for international students. Our educational program is to a large extent bilingual, Japanese – English. One in four of our teachers comes from overseas.

We welcome two types of international students:

  1. Exchange students
    We send all our Japanese students out on international exchange programs (short or long), and of course, we reciprocate as hosts.
  2. Program students
    We recruit about 10 international students each year to join our School as Kyushu University students. Our recruits so far include a majority of students from Asia, but also students from Europe, North America, and South America.

Will you be next?