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Late Specialization and Early Exposure Strategies

The University of Tokyo emphasizes the importance of the Komaba Campus’ Junior Division so that new students can utilize both the broad perspectives and overall fundamental skills they cultivate during their two years here to subsequently acquire a high degree of specialized education. This basic educational strategy is referred to as “late specialization.”

Even if students are given two years to decide about their specialization, they would find it difficult to finalize their selection without knowing the latest trends in various disciplines. For more effective application of the late specialization strategy, it is essential to have students exposed to upper-level courses of third and fourth years, as well as to research in Graduate Schools, from an earlier stage. This approach of early exposure is considered a concept opposite to late specialization and clearly stated in the University’s Action Scenario Forest 2015 as an important strategy that should be actively promoted.

Examples of courses that are considered to play a relatively stronger role in building bridges between the lower- and upper-level undergraduate courses are university-wide independent research seminars and university-wide hands-on experience seminars. These courses offer opportunities for students to get familiar with specialized topics while learning a wide range of knowledge.