Coursework Plan for the English Program

The English educational program allows students to overview diverse fields of geoscience. Students learn concepts, ideas and techniques of geoscience through a variety of course types. 

Students are required to complete a minimum of 124 credits to graduate. Credits are categorized into subjects offered by
a.) the School of Life and Environmental Sciences (Geoscience, Biological Sciences and Agro-Biological Resource Sciences) making up two-thirds of the credit load and
b.) other Schools as “General Foundation Subjects” for the other third.

One lecture credit represents 10 lectures, with each lecture being 75 minutes long. For each hour of class time, students are expected to complete 3 hours of self-study for lectures and seminars.

The coursework plan is described below in detail.

General Foundation Subjects

Between 19 and 40 credits are invested into comprehensive general learning and cultural knowledge, with 19 credits mandatory as:

  • Japanese language education offered at various proficiency levels (4 credits)

  • Information Literacy (4 credits)

  • Physical Education (2 credits)

  • Art Practice (1 credit)

  • Multidisciplinary Subjects (8 credits, mainly first year level)

The other 0 to 23 credits are elective courses chosen by students from the course offerings of the College of Social Sciences, the College of International Studies, the Language Center (excluding own native language(s)), in the Interdisciplinary Engineering Program, or physical education. Most of such credits are typically taken in the first two semesters.

Subjects of Life and Environmental Sciences

Basic Knowledge and Techniques Common to Natural Sciences and to Life and Environmental Sciences

In the first part of the program, students revise or acquire basic knowledge and techniques common to natural sciences and to Life and Environmental Sciences specifically. Geoscience students choose 8.5 credits from:

  • Field Studies in Life and Environmental Sciences

  • Mathematics

  • Advanced Mathematics

  • Physics

  • Statistics

  • Chemistry I, II, III

  • Biology I, III, IV, V (Biology II has been transfered into a different course category)

Introductory Courses on Geoscience

The following four introductory courses on geoscience in the 1st semester are mandatory:

  • Freshman Seminar in Geoscience I and II

  • Introduction to Geoenvironmental Science

  • Introduction to Earth Evolution Science

  • Laboratory Work in Basic Geoscience

Advanced Geoscience Courses 

In the following phase, students choose their own balance of courses offered in geoscience, biological sciences and agro-biological resource sciences.

The College offers 67 geoscience credits. The minimum credit load of advanced geoscience courses is 28, whereas students typically choose around 55 geoscience credits in total.
The graduation research yields only 10 credits (Research Seminar, Graduation Research, and Paper Preparation and Presentation) but lasts for a full year. Therefore geoscience students typically invest 55% of their study time into geoscience, the remaining for General Foundation Subjects and courses in biology and agro-biology.

Geomorphology lecture

Advanced lectures

From the second semester students take advanced lectures on each geoscience field which are offered mostly biannually. Those lectures are:

  • Lecture on Geographical Information Systems

  • Geomorphology

  • Environmental Hydrology

  • Meteorology & Climatology

  • Human and Regional Geography

  • Basic Analysis of Environmental Dynamics

  • Mineralogy & Petrology

  • Inorganic Geochemistry

  • Paleontology & Stratigraphy

  • Applied Structural Geology

Specialized lectures

These advanced lectures on each geoscience field are supplemented by specialized lectures:

  • Natural Hazards

  • Geomorphological Landscapes of the World

  • GIS in Geomorphology

  • Process Geomorphology

  • Soil Erosion

  • Quaternary Environmental Change

  • Topics on Earth Evolution Science A, B (varying content)

  • Topics on Geoenvironmental Science A, B (varying content)

  • Topics on Geoscience A, B, C, D, E (varying content)

Ibaraki fieldwork

To learn techniques students choose Next to field work methods, students also apply techniques and procedures used for data analysis and information processing. 6 field work credits are mandatory although students can choose more. Most field work courses are set as 1.5 credits, which relates to 5 days in the field excluding travel to field site. The following field work courses are offered typically every second or third year:

  • Field Work in Geoenvironmental Science I, II, III, IV, V, VI (one course per field in Geoenvironmental Science)

  • Field Work in Earth Evolution Science A, B, C, D, E, F, G

Observing strata Gas sampling student at riverside

measuring a river

Internship program

Students can also earn two credits for an internship program which allows students to acquire work experience in a company or research institute related to their majors or future careers. Students can enroll in internship programs as part of a job search. The opportunity to learn through experience in the real world makes internships very useful.

Subjects in Biological Sciences and Agro-Biological Resource Sciences

Students select 10-33 credits of foundation subjects in Biological Sciences and Agro-Biological Resource Sciences. Such include plant taxonomy, genome biology, marine biology, plant physiology, metabolic and physiological chemistry, world food and agriculture, cell structure and function, biochemistry, economics, vector disease biology and other courses.

Higher-level major subjects in biology and agro-biology are chosen after foundation subjects were taken. A minimum of 3 credits is required, while students have the choice to take a maximum of 48 credits – thus reducing geoscience courses. The following list only includes geoscience-related courses:
Vertebrate evolution, plant taxonomy II, marine biology II, genome biology III, chemical ecology, theoretical ecolocy; soil science, environmental ecological engineering, water environmental management techonology, water resource management engineering, soil and water bio-engineering, economics of resource and environment.

Graduation Research

Girl measuing fossilsBefore students start their research project, the Seminar on Geoscience A provides an overview on all laboratories of the College of Geoscience in a third-year level course. At the end of the Seminar on Geoscience B students choose their laboratory for graduation research. From the second to the third year students are trained in 6 credits of Technical English on how to write a thesis/ publication and how to make oral and poster presentations.

These two steps enable students to focus on a research project under the supervision of a faculty member during the final year of their degree (Graduation Research A and B). Students have access to well-equipped labs, and are advised by qualified, experienced researchers. The research methods comprise fieldwork, laboratory experiments and computer simulation. During the final year students present topics on geoscience and their research progress is discussed with members of a laboratory in the Research Seminar A and B. Students submit a graduation thesis at the end of the project and present their work either as a poster presentation or oral presentation to fellow students and academic staff.

Examples of research project titles

girl with presentation

  • Chaotic Sediments and Their Genesis of the Ishido Formation, Boso Peninsula, Central Japan (supervised by Prof. Ken-ichiro Hisada)

  • Comparison of the Structure of Mid-latitude Cyclone (supervised by Prof. Hiroshi Tanaka)

  • Behavior of the turbidity current under influence of the wave (supervised by Prof. Tomohiro Sekiguchi)

  • Geomorphic process variability in mountain collapses (yamakuzure) and its effects on sediment production and sediment delivery in a headwater catchment in the Southern Japanese Alps (supervised by Prof. Thomas Parkner)

  • Influence of deep-seated and shallow mass movements on gully formation in the lower Mangaoporo catchment, East Coast region, New Zealand (supervised by Prof. Thomas Parkner)

  • A study on the Influence of the Metro Line Stations on Land-use and Land-Use-Change: A Case Study of Metro Line 1 in Hangzhou City (supervised by Prof. Yuji Maruyama)

  • Taxonomy of the Latest Jurassic Pyloniacea (Radiolarian) (supervised by Prof. Katsuo Sashida)

Please check the full list of potential labs.

Early Graduation

Students enter in September of their first year and complete six semesters of taught courses. The final year is mainly reserved for a research project resulting in a mandatory graduation thesis. Students who have accumulated sufficient credits with a high GPA can apply for early graduation, completing the four-year course in 3.5 years.

After Graduation

About 60% of our graduates continue in Master/PhD programs. Half of them prefer to continue their education in Tsukuba while others joined highly ranked universities in the USA and western Europe. The other students decided to work, either in Japan or in their home countries.


For detail of admission, please visit the following web page of University of Tsukuba.

Undergraduate English Programs