Your Four Years at ICU

A curriculum that does not dictate specialization at the time of matriculation

Once enrolled at ICU, students begin taking courses in Languages (English/Japanese), General Education, Physical Education, and other College-Wide Courses. Students also take foundational courses from a selection of over 30 majors (areas of specialization) in the humanities and sciences, developing core academic skills as they identify their individual interests and aptitudes. This approach comes from ICU's belief in "later specialization," which gives students more time to study a variety of subjects before deciding on a major. ICU encourages its students to nurture a broad perspective and cultivate flexible thinking by experiencing different worlds of knowledge, and form a comprehensive, versatile academic foundation before beginning the process of selecting a major.

At the end of their second year, students choose their majors and set off on more individualized, major-specific tracks. The final leg of the academic journey comes in the fourth year, when students bring together all the things they have learned for a year-long senior thesis project. Although some universities have started to eliminate their senior thesis (research) project requirements, ICU believes that graduation work is a crucial opportunity for students to test the knowledge and abilities that they have cultivated over their four years of undergraduate studies.

Benefits of not deciding on a specialization at the time of matriculation

1. Students can identify what they really want to do as they take courses in fields that pique their interest by learning in a variety of interesting academic areas, students discover the specific fields that they find most captivating. A student might enroll at ICU hoping to focus on interpretation, for example, but later encounter the wonders of history and end up changing his or her major. There are countless examples of how discovering a new field of interest can change students' lives.

2. Imagine a young female student who likes physics but finds linguistics and international relations interesting, too. At ICU, she could learn what she wants to learn without having to sacrifice any of her curiosity. In other words, she might study all of her main interests--physics, linguistics, and international relations--before eventually settling on physics and making it her major.

3. Students can recognize the differences between research areas as they learn independently While the fields of politics and public policy might address similar themes, the only way to understand the differences between the two is to actually study them. Students can choose their majors by weighing their feelings about why exactly they find different things interesting, what exactly they want to learn, and other considerations.

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