About our program

In recent years, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have rapidly increased worldwide, which signifies a core health issue in the 21st century. The current Secretary General of the United Nations identified the issue of NCDs as a key mission. The United Nations Summit on NCDs has been convened, and government officials from various countries along with academic institutions are collaborating to address this issue. Unfortunately, the growing prevalence of cancer, cerebrovascular, and cardiovascular diseases as well as related risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia highlight NCDs as serious health problems in Asian emerging countries. Therefore, global leaders should be educated and trained to combat NCDs, which may in turn extend the healthy life expectancy in the Asian-Pacific region.

The solid research platform in lifestyle disease epidemiology at Shiga University of Medical Science serves as the perfect setting for The Graduate Program for Reducing the Burden of Non-communicable Disease in the Asian-Pacific Region. This program will produce well-balanced leaders who have medical knowledge of NCDs as well as expertise in other fields of advanced science and technology including epidemiological methodology. Graduates of our program will be able to formulate plans for the improvement of public health in Asia and have personal networks that transcend the boundaries of government, industry and academia. As experts in measures against NCDs, graduates from our program may assume a broad range of leadership roles in government, industry, and academia both in Japan and abroad in order to solve the NCD issue in the Asian-Pacific region.

Characteristics of our program

  • Education and research instruction centered around the only international NCD epidemiology education/research hub in Japan (the Center for Epidemiological Research in Asia)

    The Center for Epidemiological Research in Asia (CERA) at our university is the only international education and research hub in Japan for the study of the epidemiology of NCDs, and it plays a central role in epidemiological research of lifestyle diseases in Japan along with a large-scale NCD epidemiological database that was developed at Shiga University of Medical Science. Our program provides a unique and world-class graduate education and research instruction by making maximum use of CERA and this database.

  • Curriculum with an emphasis on communication in English

    This program will produce global leaders who can effectively debate in English. Coursework and research instruction are primarily delivered in English by internationally renowned epidemiologists or biostatisticians.

  • Training of active top leaders who have an international sense

    Shiga University of Medical Science has an extensive global network of affiliate schools, research institutes, government agencies, and health-related companies in Europe, the United States, and Asia. Students enrolled in our program will be able to tap into this global network for training and research opportunities. In addition, students will also participate in fieldwork at public health practice sites in Asia.

  • Education system with maneuverability characteristic to a university focused on a single discipline

    Our graduate education system will be restructured. The Leading Graduate Program for Reducing Burden of Non-communicable Disease (NCD) in the Asian Pacific Region will be established in Course for Researches in Advanced Medicine and educational and research resources at this university will be focused on this program. By doing so, flexible and cross-sectional education in specialized fields will be provided in this program by the teaching staff from nearly all the departments of our university. Additionally, transition from conventional lecture-based graduate education to training-based graduate education will make the program more practical.

  • Financial support allows students to focus on learning without the financial concerns

    Scholarships will be provided for this program so that students can concentrate on their study and research. In addition, grants will be provided for training at overseas sites and research in general. Students will have designated space for study and training at the Center for Epidemiological Research in Asia, which is a state-of-the-art research facility.

  • Career development

    Leaders and researchers who are knowledgeable about epidemiological evidence are in demand in government organizations and private companies. There are plans to create the Office for Career Path Support to actively help students transition into a career upon the completion of the program.

  • Admission Policy

    • The Graduate Program for Reducing the Burden of NCD in the Asian Pacific Region is a doctoral program selected as the only one of its type by the Program for Leading Graduate Schools by MEXT in 2013. The prevalence of NCD, including cancer, cerebrovascular disease, and cardiovascular disease, as well as their associated risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia (deemed lifestyle-related diseases) has become a particularly serious concern in emerging Asian countries. The Graduate Program for Reducing the Burden of NCD in the Asian Pacific Region aims to train future global leaders who will initiate the development of measures to combat NCD and extend healthy life expectancy in emerging Asian countries using the solid research platform in lifestyle disease epidemiology offered by the Center for Epidemiologic Research in Asia and other organizations at SUMS. Students who plan to enroll in the NCD Program should be flexible enough to adapt to Asian and other foreign cultures and be sufficiently proficient in English so that they can participate in lectures and exercises conducted in English. We look for students with determination, a strong sense of duty, and high ethical standards that aspire to be active leaders in overcoming NCD-related problems in the Asian Pacific region.

    Curriculum Policy

    • The curriculum is designed to foster internationally minded leaders actively engaged in interdisciplinary work. Thus, an emphasis is placed on English communication so that students can develop effective debating skills in English. The Center for Epidemiologic Research in Asia plays a central role in educating well-balanced leaders possessing medical knowledge of NCD, expertise in epidemiological methodology and biostatistics, as well as the ability to formulate novel solutions for improving public health in Asia. Japanese and international students study together in small classes or workshops facilitated by faculty members of Japanese and foreign nationalities. Students enrolled in this program will also participate in a training program or conduct fieldwork in Asia, Europe, and the US.

    Diploma Policy

    • In order for the students enrolled in this doctoral program to be certified for a diploma, they must complete the research curriculum; obtain all the required credits; publish a doctoral dissertation in an international academic journal; and pass the dissertation review and final examination held by the screening board, which includes external judges as well as foreign scholars. Students will be assessed on whether they have been able to acquire 1) medical knowledge of NCD, expertise on epidemiological methodology and biostatistics, and an ability to devise novel solutions to address public health issues in Asia; 2) sufficient proficiency in English to engage in effective debate; and 3) leadership skills necessary to solve NCD-related problems in Asia and the rest of the world, combined with the flexibility to work in harmony with other people while upholding high ethical standards.


    Admission requirement      

    ◆Q: I graduated with a B.Sc degree prosthetics and orthotics, (a 4 years course) and a M.Sc   degree in mental health, (a 2 years course). Does it meet with your admission requirements?   Am I allowed to apply?

    ◇A:We are looking for the applicants whose goal is to become leaders in overcoming NCD in Asia with various kinds of backgrounds. If you think that you qualify under categories 5 - 8, then we encourage you to apply for eligibility.

    Exemption of tuition fee for applicants from designated university

    ◆Q:Will the tuition fee be provided for the entire 4-years course? You said “shall be exempted   at least one year” in the guideline.

    ◇A:It will be exempted in principle throughout the 4-years course, though the exemption is reviewed annually in terms of the achievement of your scholarly activity, enthusiasm, and adjustment to life in Japan.

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