For Prospective Nagoya University Students

What can we do to lay the foundation for "courageous intellectuals" who will pioneer the future of humanity?

What are fundamental education and liberal arts education? Why are they important?

The Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences is an organization responsible for planning and implementing fundamental education and liberal arts education at Nagoya University. Fundamental education, as the name suggests, is the education which offers the foundation that is essential to all students in all departments to spend university life and receive specialized education. So, what about liberal arts education?

What is "liberal arts" about in the first place?

Let's be clear about it. While liberal arts are often equated with abundant knowledge, it is not just about that. Liberal arts are the qualities and abilities necessary to become an individual (referred to as a "courageous intellectual" at Nagoya University) who is aware of being a torch-bearer of society and takes on the responsibility of sustainably improving society through discussions. This is the essence of liberal arts.

Unfortunately, not everyone can acquire liberal arts. Not everyone is blessed with educational opportunities. Further, embracing liberal arts education requires certain abilities and attitudes. However, for the future of humanity, "courageous intellectuals" equipped with liberal arts knowledge, even a few, are absolutely essential. Intellectual curiosity to learn about anything, a desire to use what you learn for the benefit of society and above all, the ability to "make an effort." We at ILAS believe that all of you who are going through the rigorous entrance exams and aiming to enter this university already possess these qualities, abilities, and attitudes.

Let's elaborate a bit more about the qualities, abilities, and attitudes that underlies liberal arts. Liberal arts include the following:

(1) Abundant knowledge interconnectedly positioned within a broad coordinate system. At the same time, it involves a healthy skepticism that does not allow absolutism of existing knowledge.
(2) Broad-mindedness that objectively looks at itself in light of larger value criteria and does not hesitate to change if necessary.
(3) Resilience in the face of unanswered questions. A tough optimism that believes in the possibility of making society better even in uncertain situations and continuously strives to make it happen using (1) and (2).

We added (3) because the future world where you will live will become more unpredictable than ever before. Issues such as environment, energy, and conflicts between cultures and social strata remain unresolved. It is predicted that nearly half of current jobs in "developed countries" will disappear due to the introduction of artificial intelligence and robots. In these circumstances, whether we like it or not, people are expected to live for a hundred years. ... What kind of society will it be? It is not even clear what kind of society we should aim for.

As mentioned above, liberal arts education is not just "preparation for receiving specialized education”. It is not about “acquiring wide, various but shallow knowledge” before deep learning of narrowed specialized education. It is not about “cultivating the foundation of social competence" for performing jobs that now exist in the current society. Liberal arts education is not “preparation” for something else but has a distinct goal in itself. That is, liberal arts education aims to nurture a mentality of being a designer of the future society. In the future when you acquire specialized skills and knowledge based upon the learning of liberal arts, you can shape yourself into a "courageous intellectual" who contributes to human society. After admission, we expect all of you to understand the significance of liberal arts education and devote yourselves to your studies as members of humanity.

We have significantly improved the curriculum for fundamental education and liberal arts education to balance universality and advancement.

The qualities and abilities that "courageous intellectuals" should acquire have elements that will remain unchanged over time and regions. Other elements should be flexibly adapted as circumstances change. To address both aspects, we have made significant changes to the curriculum offered by the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences, starting from the 2022 academic year.

For advanced learning

To support your advanced learning, Nagoya University provides the following learning support sites. They are accessible to anyone. We are happy if you take a look.