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Developing World-class Researchers
Master Program in Economics (General)【Academic Track】
& Doctoral Program

This program is for the student who would like to become an academic researcher with economics expertise. After completing the master's coursework on the academic track of the Master Program in Economics (General) in two years, the students on this track continue on their study in the doctoral program for three years to earn the Doctor of Philosophy degree in economics. They take lectures, seminars, and workshops to obtain prescribed number of credits (more than 30 credits) and write a master's thesis in the first two years in the Master Program in Economics (General). After entering the doctoral program, they write academic papers with the support of advisors, make presentations at academic conferences, submit papers to scientific journals in economics and write a doctor's thesis.

With one of Japan’s largest number of faculty members offering multiple courses and curricula that meet diverse needs related to economics, the Kobe University Graduate School of Economics awaits your application!


Lectures are basically given through a series of fifteen weekly classes which last for ninety minutes each. Students are graded based on their reports and/or final examinations. From a list of subjects which covers an extremely wide variety of fields, students may select subjects for acquiring skills in use of analysis tools, in addition to other highly-specialized subjects. Several part-time lecturers are also invited from outside of the university each year.


Graduate students may join a seminar of their choice, where they are given training to become full-fledged researchers. In their two-year master's degree program, students read essential literature in turns and report on their research projects for their master's theses mainly. In their three-year doctoral program, they spend most of their time working on their research papers in preparation for a doctoral thesis. They may also participate in seminars to receive research guidance from instructors other than their main advisors.

Rokko Forum

A workshop for joint research and education, Rokko Forum plays a key role in developing researchers along with seminars. Numerous instructors form a team to provide advice on research papers by graduate students in the doctoral program. Furthermore, prominent researchers from around the world are invited to deliver lectures and teach classes, thus connecting the students with the cutting edge of economics.

Master's Thesis

The first step in becoming a full-fledged researcher is to prepare a master's thesis. Students are generally expected to build up basic knowledge and skills as researchers by completing required subjects in the first year of the master's degree program before deciding on a research topic and writing a thesis in the second year.

Doctoral Thesis

A doctoral degree may be acquired through the standard program of course work and a thesis or by simply submitting a thesis, but students in doctoral program are expected to take the former path. Students may submit a doctoral thesis and request a review if they have completed the master's degree program, spent at least three years on the doctoral program and earned the required number of credits, and passed qualification tests on scholastic ability. Since the first doctoral degree was granted in the 1988-1989 academic year, one-hundred-five Japanese and fifty-eight non-Japanese graduates of this Graduate School have obtained their doctoral degrees through course work and a thesis (as of April 2012).

Developing Professionals with Advanced Expertise
Master Program in Economics (General) 【Professional Track】

Duration of this program is two years, and students in the program are trained with advanced expertise to become professionals with higher business skills. Those who have successfully completed the course requirements will be granted a master's degree in economics. Students are to write a master's thesis in search of new findings or theories.

General Research Program

This program is for the students who want to acquire overall intellectual, analytical skills through writing a master's thesis on their individual research theme in various fields of economics. While taking courses, they participate in seminars where each student write a master's thesis under the supervision of an advisor assigned upon the entrance to the program.

Double Degree Program

To promote education by international cooperation, we have signed agreements on double degree programs that enable students to earn two degrees with universities in Europe or Asia. Our current partner universities are KU Leuven in Belgium, Wuhan University and Beijing Foreign Studies University in China, Foreign Trade University in Vietnam, and University of Essex in the UK. We accept undergraduates and graduates from Wuhan University and Foreign Trade University, and graduates from Beijing Foreign Studies University. We accept and send graduate students from/to KU Leuven. After studying for a semester here at the Graduate School of Economics at Kobe University, students study at KU Leuven to earn a master's degree in economics, business administration, or European studies. Then they return to Kobe and continue their study to get a master's degree from Kobe University.

International Five-Year Economics Education Program at Kobe (IFEEK)

This special educational program combines study at Kobe University and study at our partner university to help students gain the ability to make full use of economics using English. With emphases on the economics expertise and on the internationality as a vehicle to exploit the knowledge, both Japanese and English are used in the program. At the master's level, students mainly take courses on special subjects taught in English. They do research using their insights gained by studying abroad for producing a master's thesis. Through the consistent study from bachelor's thesis to study abroad to master's thesis, their study can supposedly reach world standards in a shorter period of time. As this program starts at the undergraduate level, people cannot enter it from the master's level. Please see here for details.

Kobe University Programme for European Studies (KUPES)

Students in this program examine the Economic, cultural, legal and political aspects of the EU from a professional, interdisciplinary viewpoint. They aim to study abroad during their course of study for a year at a university in the EU region toward earning double degrees. Studying abroad helps students have higher foreign language skills, a critical way of thinking, an international network of people and a strong will so that there are more chances for them to be employed by an international organization or play an active role in the globalized society as internationally competitive talents.

International Master Program in Economics

In this program, all lectures/seminars are conducted in English only, and students are able to obtain master degrees in economics without taking any classes taught in Japanese. There is also a selection of economics-related courses available to students which are taught by the teaching staff of other schools (e.g. the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies).

The Program is offered as part of the international education programs of Kobe University, including the IFEEK, where Japanese students are allowed to take the courses taught in English. Therefore, students in the program will study together with Japanese students.

Apart from the above feature, the program is essentially the same as other master programs in our school. Successful students are awarded with a master's degree after obtaining 30 credits or more and submitting a master thesis under supervision of a professor who shares similar research interests. Normally it takes two years to complete the program.

Global Master Program in Economics (GMAP)

The Global Master Program in Economics was launched in April 2015 in response to the rapid globalization. It is a unique interdisciplinary program with particular emphases on economics, law and business administration. The program is designed mainly to provide students with advanced knowledge of social sciences to become business elites. Completion of the program also allows interested students to step up to Graduate School of Economics at Kobe University.