A Liberal Arts Curriculum

There are many ingredients that give the iCLA curriculum its unique character. In liberal arts education you study a variety of disciplines while acquiring depth in your chosen major. The qualities of liberal arts education such as critical thinking, communication, creative problem-solving skills bring wholeness to student education. The student learning experience is enhanced by small class sizes and a close interaction between students and faculty.

View our course list and our detailed course syllabi.

Study Flow Chart


iCLA offers four majors within our innovative liberal arts curriculum. During the first year, students take courses from our core curriculum, providing the necessary exposure to make an informed decision about which of our majors to follow.

Global Business & Economics

The Global Business and Economics major offers a blend of application and theory, utilizing an applied approach to Business to train future business leaders who deeply understand the interplay between business and society. Our program hones the knowledge and skills associated with the liberal arts and their importance for business such as communication, social, cultural and geopolitical context, ethics, teamwork and critical thinking. 

With academic pathways leading to careers in Finance, International Business, and Economics, all courses are studied from a global perspective, giving you the ability to leverage your knowledge of Japanese business culture and prepare for a vocation either in Japan or internationally.

Political Science

Offering academic pathways for students interested in International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Public Administration, iCLA’s Political Science major addresses the fundamental problems facing human society. Through varied learning and assessment methods, you will develop a deep understanding of political science, its various sub-fields, major themes, and analytical techniques leading to enriching careers in local or national government, government services, social enterprise, the NGO sector or academia. 

Combining electives in Data Science, History, Literature and Psychology with the Political Science major are popular choices with our students and this flexibility in choosing your electives helps you graduate with the skills required to succeed in the field.

Interdisciplinary Arts

Interdisciplinary Arts is an exciting major where you gather inspiration from multiple sources including visual art (Fine Art and Graphic Design), music (Audio Engineering, and Digital & Sonic Art), language arts (Creative Writing, Literary Analysis, and Linguistics), and performance (Film and Theater). You will gain a rich understanding of your chosen specialization and work through the medium of a wider creative process by exploring these disciplines from practical, theoretical, and historical perspectives. 

The interdisciplinary nature of a Liberal Arts education guarantees that you graduate with the transferable skills valued by employers and required to succeed in any role in addition to technical knowledge gained in your artist field. For example, the flexibility and wide array of electives offered at iCLA allow you to easily add the study of subjects like Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Small Business Finance, Psychology and Computer Science to give you even more of the tools needed to succeed as a working artist.

Japan Studies

Japan Studies endeavors to investigate and deconstruct the intricacies of Japan by providing you with a comprehensive understanding of this fascinating country, its language and its history, from ancient beginnings to the rise of the samurai, through to its current status as a modern technology driven power. You can explore Japan’s society, politics, international relations and economics, developing a deep understanding of how Japan became the country it is today and its global position in the future. The major also gives you the opportunity to experience Japan’s unique arts, literature and culture, from traditional music and theater through to contemporary anime and manga.

In a true expression of the interdisciplinary nature of iCLA’s curriculum, Japan Studies draws on courses from across our whole curriculum to provide a complete learning experience. Tailored study plans can lead our graduates to fluency in Japanese and career opportunities in the media, Japanese corporations, the tourism sector, and academia.

Elective courses and workshops supplement your major throughout your four years at iCLA, providing the width, flexibility and interdisciplinary nature of true liberal arts education. Electives can be chosen from any of the majors, or from our area studies courses in:

  • Japanese Language

As an international student you have the opportunity to reach a high level of proficiency in Japanese by the time you graduate, even if you join iCLA with little or no Japanese language ability. Courses are divided into three levels: Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. Our students are able to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture while discussing various cultural and social topics in Japanese. We also offer preparatory courses for the highest levels of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) levels N2 and N1.

  • Data Science

To create a more informed, advanced and equitable society, tomorrow’s leaders must be trained in understanding, assimilating, interpreting and communicating information within the medium of data. With an emphasis on enhancing the knowledge you acquire in your major area of study, you can gain practical know-how of statistical data, programming and analytic methods. iCLA’s Data Science course first facilitates your understanding of various data forms, then teaches you to communicate meaning via the skills of data visualization, summarizing and the critical analysis of data patterns. If you wish to pursue a career or higher degree in data science you can enroll in our advanced courses in machine learning and deep learning. The field of data science is fuel for the 21st century, allowing those informed to access a lucrative career and directly participate in changing the world.

  • Sociology & Psychology

An important supplement to many of our majors, these courses aim to develop your understanding of human behavior and motivation, social and cultural identity, and individual development and interactions with societies and culture. In those courses, you will examine evidence and factors that influence behavior to form conclusions about social phenomena. You will also develop basic skills in the scientific method of social inquiry and be able to identify both psychological and sociological terms, concepts, ideas and theories, relating them to human behavior and individual experiences. These courses act as a pathway to further education, training and employment for careers in which an understanding of the behavior of individuals, groups and institutions is a key element, such as human resources, education, health and community work, journalism and media studies.

  • Quantitative Reasoning & Natural Sciences

In conjunction with our Data Science subject area, these courses nurture scientific inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning to provide the mathematical background required for programming. Our courses in Mathematics emphasize the development of mathematical and quantitative reasoning skills. You gain an understanding of fundamental, numerical, and quantitative skills and their application to everyday life. The focus will be on applying basic mathematical concepts to solve real-world problems, and to develop skills in interpreting and working with data in order that you become able to function effectively as a professional and engaged citizen. The course on Earth Science examines planet earth, its nature in terms of its interactions and exchanges between atmosphere, land, living things and physical laws.

  • Health & Physical Education

The iCLA Courses in Health & Physical Education include three martial arts, Aikido, Judo, and Karate, as well as Nanba: the Japanese Art of Physical Finesse, and Shugendo: Mountain Shamanism. All of our Health and Physical Education Courses are closely connected to Japanese culture, and emphasize integrating the mind and body. Each course is taught by an experienced Master of the discipline, all with international recognition. We have a beautiful Dojo at iCLA, and access to some of the best athletic facilities in Japan on the Yamanashi Gakuin University Campus.

  • Cultural and Artistic Workshops

Experiential learning workshops offer unique opportunities to gain hands-on experience in a range of cultural, practical and creative areas of study. The Interdisciplinary Arts and Japan Studies majors feature workshops within their relevant disciplines. Among the huge variety of workshops offered at iCLA students can experience traditional Japanese music, arts and culture such as Noh Theater, Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) and Koto (Japanese harp), Sado (tea ceremony), Kado (flower arranging), and various Japanese martial arts to name but a few.

Study abroad is an integral part of the iCLA curriculum to develop students’ international perspectives and global outlook. All students have the opportunity to study abroad with one of our partner institutions. For Japanese students, 2 semesters of study abroad are compulsory. For international students, study abroad is optional and there is a choice of either 1 or 2 semesters overseas. For more information, please visit the Study Abroad section.

Employability and developing transferable skills are a key component of the educational philosophy at iCLA. As such we offer a Career Design course as an integral part of the degree program to ensure you are fully prepared for your future career after graduation.

Career Design 1 is a mandatory course for all students and is offered in both English and Japanese. You will learn how to identify your personality strengths, interests, and talents, as well as how to develop your personal profile. The course will look at what it means to pursue a career and life mission, not just a job. You will learn how to research about a career, and think intelligently about it rather than be influenced by assumptions and opinions. This will serve as a foundation in career selection and development.

Career Design 2 and 3 are taught in Japanese and explore advanced level concepts specific to the Japanese job market for those who intend to pursue a career in Japan after graduating.

iCLA also offers internship opportunities which provide you with an opportunity to experience the world of work by working alongside professionals in your particular area of career interest.

For more information about careers and internships, please visit the Career Support section.