Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (ISS) is a discipline founded with a motivation to approach complex social phenomena from broader and interdisciplinary perspectives based on law, political sciences, economics, and social studies.

The graduate programs in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences is designed to advance cross disciplinary research and education in accordance with one of department’s objectives; to promote cross disciplinary research and serve as a leading research institution in social sciences. Since its establishment in 1983, the programs have produced a large number of outstanding scholars at leading universities, research institutions, and both public and private sectors.

In April 1996, when the University of Tokyo committed to further improve the quality of educations at graduate levels, the graduate programs in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences – which originally existed as an independent department of its own – was reorganized and integrated with the Department of International Relations. The graduate programs has been steadily advancing the research and education ever since.


The curriculum of the graduate programs in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences is of an extremely flexible nature, so as to accommodate diversity of research subjects. Faculty is available for consultation, but students are at liberty to tailor their own curriculum.

  • Supervised readings and training seminars: These are important aspects of the course, as they have been designed with the aim of helping students to cultivate the basic techniques and knowledge which are essential to carry out research in a independent manner. With regards to supervised readings, students are expected to choose one particular area of their interest, and to cover a list of essential readings. They will also be expected to write and submit reports to exhibit their understanding of the research field. Training seminars are a semester long seminar (discussion) that covers seminal works of various research fields.
  • Thesis advising: Specific guidelines on the main procedures involved in writing a Master’s or Doctoral thesis are available to students (Please click here to see the titles of all Master’s theses which have been submitted in the past). With regards to the Master’s course, all second year students must present the progress of their research at a compulsory colloquium during their third semester. As for the doctoral course, students must present at series of colloquiums; a proposal colloquium during their third semester; a research colloquium during their fourth semester; and a final colloquium prior to submitting their doctoral theses.