Go Forward

Master the art of study at the Graduate School of Law

Toshimasa Nakazora

Meiji University was originally founded as Meiji Law School in 1881 in the spirit of “freedom, civil rights, independence and self-governance.” Since then, it has fostered a number of outstanding legal professionals and scholars. The Graduate School of Law in its present form was established in 1952 as a graduate school under the post-war new educational system. Its commitment to training jurists has remained unchanged to this day. In fact, graduates from the School have continued to account for an exceptionally large proportion of full-time faculty members at departments of law across Japan.

Currently, the Graduate School of Law offers the Legal Researcher Training Course and the Advanced Professional Training Course. The Legal Researcher Training Course is designed to train professionals who have advanced legal expertise, an extensive grounding in legal matters, and skills in conducting research activity independently. The Advanced Professional Training Course, on the other hand, is designed to train professionals who have legal knowledge and mindset as important communication tools in the global society, as well as the capacity to deal with practical business. In fact, many of those who have completed the Advanced Professional Training Course are now working as civil servants at government and municipal offices, experts in corporate legal work and others.

Study or research at the Graduate School of Law is not limited to acquiring specialized legal knowledge. Rather, the School encourages students to identify problems to be solved in the legal fields of their choice, gather relevant literature and other information in Japanese and foreign languages extensively and exhaustively, analyze and examine them, and find solutions to the problems (interpretative and legislative proposals). This very characteristic sets education at the Graduate School of Law apart from that at Faculty of Law, which is designed to impart basic interpretative knowledge, legal logic, and basic legal knowledge, as well as from that at Law School, where students acquire knowledge and abilities required for legal practitioners, that is, knowledge about precedents and theories related to positive law, as well as legal mindset.

Study or research at the Graduate School of Law is an independent activity that requires dedication on the part of students. Nevertheless, the School is committed to creating an environment supporting students in many aspects. First of all, the School’s curriculum covers not only basic subjects in the field of positive law but also a vast array of subjects in the field of legal theory, such as philosophy of law, legal history, and comparative jurisprudence, as well as many leading-edge subjects such as information law, environmental law, and international law. Secondly, the School offers various financial support programs for students. They include grant scholarships and student loans, tuition exemptions, the paid TA/RA program, and the research associate program for nurturing young researchers. The School also offers study-abroad programs of various kinds. Thirdly, the School provides students with joint research rooms for on-campus research activities.

Students are encouraged to take advantage of this rich learning environment to concentrate on their research. In the Master’s Program, students should acquire necessary skills such as gathering and analyzing literature and writing a thesis for the eventual goal of completing their master’s thesis. In the Doctoral Course, they are required to develop the capacity to continue their research on their own to complete their doctoral dissertation. Research activity is just like mountain climbing. If you continue to take steady steps without giving up, your field of view will expand. Now, why not master the art of study at the Graduate School of Law?

Dean, Graduate School of Law
Toshimasa Nakazora