Curriculum Policy

Curriculum Policy

Curriculum Policy of the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science at Kyoto University has the educational mission of helping students acquire a fundamental understanding of the natural sciences, integrate and pool their knowledge, think for themselves, and develop an affinity for the assimilation and creative application of new knowledge.

 

To properly achieve this mission, the faculty has adopted an educational policy that strives to encourage a gradual process of specialization. In this system, first- and second-year students complete a wide variety of courses in general education and science fundamentals and acquire the scholastic ability required for advanced study in their chosen specializations. At this stage, students are expected to discover those academic fields that best match with their aptitude and abilities. Third- and fourth-year students put more emphasis on study in their chosen majors while continuing to pursue study in related fields. With each passing year, students deepen their expertise. Ultimately, the goal is to enable students to directly engage in a facet of advanced research activity within a specialized field.

 

To achieve these educational objectives, we prepare our curriculum in line with the following policies.

 
  • Students select several Liberal Arts courses such as humanities, social sciences, foreign languages, etc., and complete those courses preferably during their first and second years of enrollment.
  • In order to make the process of gradual specialization possible, courses deemed essential across all science fields as well as introductory courses for each specialization are incorporated as specialized fundamental courses for first- and second-year students
  • By the end of their second year, students choose the major they will be affiliated with: Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astrophysics, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Chemistry, or Biological Sciences. The curriculum is arranged so that third-year students can participate in lectures, exercises, laboratory experiments and other courses on the fundamentals of the fields covered by each major. Furthermore, consideration has been given to ensuring that students face no barriers to the study of subjects in related fields.
  • Fourth-year students focus primarily on their graduation research. Through interacting with research topics at the forefront of their field, students nurture their ability to conceive ideas for scientific solution of problems and their eagerness for creative development of science. Graduation research is the only compulsory subject in the faculty’s curriculum.

We provide a course tree systematically indicating the interconnections among subjects and their possible combinations, so that each student can select a study plan within the above curriculum matching his/her academic interests and future career. Academic achievements of the student in each subject are evaluated through regular examinations, reports, seminar presentations, participation in class, etc., while the specific method of evaluation is clearly stated in the syllabus of the particular subject.

 

Curriculum Policies of the Graduate School of Science

As a scholarly discipline, science explores the principles and laws that govern natural phenomena. The Graduate School of Science aims to equip students with an abundance of creativity, the ability to think flexibly, and problem-solving skills rooted in a broad and deep understanding of science. One of the defining features of Kyoto University is its atmosphere of academic freedom. Within that atmosphere, students are encouraged to pursue independent study. The Graduate School of Science values this spirit and expects its students to be proactively engaged in the learning process, grow as researchers with the ability to independently discover problems, and pursue their solutions with flexibility and persistence. Students in the master's program acquire the fundamental knowledge, research methods, and problem-solving skills essential to the pursuit of scientific research. The doctoral program has the educational objective of equipping students with the ability to define their own research themes, formulate and implement research plans, and organize their findings into a doctoral dissertation.

 

The master's program strives to build on the fundamental knowledge of scientific systems taught at the undergraduate level and equip students with the advanced knowledge, research techniques, and language skills required for scientific research. It also aims to help students significantly improve their ability to discover and solve problems. To achieve these goals, each division of the Graduate School of Science has prepared a curriculum that reflects the defining features of its respective field and comprises lecture courses, seminars, workshops, and experimental projects with a focus in special research. Additionally, in the interest of cultivating future human resources with broad outlooks, students are encouraged to take courses outside the divisions or departments in which they are enrolled.

 

In the doctoral program, students are expected to build on the foundation of knowledge and skill they have acquired up through the master's program and engage in research that will facilitate substantive advances in fundamental areas of science. Students themselves are responsible for the entire series of activities involved, from the planning and implementation stages of research to the preparation and presentation of research papers that organize their findings. It is anticipated that this will help students achieve a major step forward in their preparation for roles as independent researchers. To this end, we provide students with research guidance chiefly through special research and seminars, and they are granted research guidance approval on the basis of their research outcomes. Additionally, we encourage students in the doctoral program to maintain an interest in a broad range of academic subjects and not confine themselves to their fields of specialization. Preparing a doctoral dissertation that represents the culmination of their research and acquiring the doctoral degree are the ultimate objectives for students in the doctoral program.