Image: ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) Professor Shirley Leitch with counterparts from Ritsumeikan University
The Australian National University (ANU) will build on its global expertise in the study of the Asia Pacific by offering a new undergraduate dual degree program with Japan's Ritsumeikan University (RU).
The agreement will lead to Australia's first undergraduate dual degree with a Japanese partner, and will enable students from each institution to graduate with two degrees after four years of study
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC signed the dual degree agreement with RU President Mikio Yoshida at the RU Kyoto campus, following talks which began with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to ANU in Canberra July 2014.
"Our ANU College of Asia and the Pacific has a global reputation as the best place in the world to study the politics, history, economics, culture and languages of our Asia-Pacific region," Professor Schmidt said.
"This new dual undergraduate degree will give students from Japan and Australia a wonderful opportunity to deepen their knowledge of our region, and to learn from some of the best academics in the Asia Pacific.
"It also opens a new pathway for Japanese students to study in Australia and at ANU."
Ritsumeikan University is one of Japan's leading private universities. Founded in 1900, it is committed to fostering an international outlook and an innovative culture. It has around 35,000 students, including 32,000 undergraduates.
RU President Yoshida said Ritsumeikan University was delighted to partner with ANU on the new undergraduate courses.
"The newly-established College of Global Liberal Arts (GLA) will offer Japan's first bachelor's course incorporating a college-wide dual degree program with an overseas university," President Yoshida said.
"RU has long been a leader in the global education field in Japan, and this partnership with ANU, which boasts world-leading education and research capabilities, will enable GLA to offer world-class educational programs with a completely new dimension.
"I am confident that GLA will contribute to the development of global leaders who will shape the future of Japan and the world."
The new agreement will be a partnership between the ANU College of Asia & the Pacific and RU's new College of Global Liberal Arts.
The dual degree will accommodate up to 100 students per year, who will spend time at both universities during the course of their four years of study.
Courses will be taught in English, and will involve ANU academics delivering some courses in Japan.
Students from RU will spend their third year at ANU, while ANU students will study at RU's Osaka Ibaraki campus in their second and third years.
Students will graduate with a Bachelor of Asia Pacific Affairs from ANU and a Bachelor of Global Liberal Arts from RU.
The program is expected to start in the first semester of 2019.