Graduate School of International Development

Dean of the Graduate School of International Development

A Brief Introduction to GSID

Nagoya University’s Graduate School of International Development (GSID) was established in 1991 as the first graduate school in Japan specializing in international development. GSID offers Master’s and doctoral programs.

Having celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2021, GSID continues to strive for excellence in research and education on a wide range of development issues, with aim to contribute to Nagoya University’s commitment to the realization of well-being and happiness of people through research and education and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015. In February 2022, as its 30th anniversary events, GSID organized a series of seminars and an international symposium titled “Development Research and Teaching in the Post COVID-19 Era: Challenges and Opportunities,” though online due to the pandemic, attracting over 400 participants from 40 countries.

Over the last thirty years, many developing countries, particularly those in Asia, have achieved remarkable economic growth. Globalization has accelerated, with a rapid increase in trade and investment to developing countries. Many producers and firms from developing countries have increasingly become involved in global value chains, with greater competitiveness. On the other hand, various issues still persist not only in developing countries but in developed countries: poverty, inequality, malnutrition, poor health, poor quality of education, increased natural disasters, climate change, regional conflicts and wars, violence and terrorism, weak governance, lack of employment and delayed industrial development, and so on. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious economic and social effects on people around the world. The role of development professionals is more important than ever to solve these diverse and complex global issues.

GSID pursues a mission to promote understanding of the problems we face in the globalizing world and to create a sustainable society by contributing to policy-making and implementation by international organizations, governments, and civil society organizations. In order to find solutions to contemporary problems, technical approaches are often not enough. We need to understand the existing policy frameworks and apply innovative thinking based on social science perspectives. GSID thus attempts to cultivate courageous intellectuals capable of finding such solutions by promoting policy-oriented, interdisciplinary research and teaching in cooperation with a network of academic and research institutions and implementing agencies. Our objectives are as follows:

  1. Promote empirical research based on social science theories and methods that can inform the policy-making and implementation processes of the international community, governments, and civil society;

  2. Train professionals who can contribute to state- or community-building cooperation with the international community and with a full understanding of national and local realities;

  3. Expand our worldwide network with governments, universities, and international organizations through research and teaching in order to realize sustainable development and just societies on the global level.

To develop highly professional human resources to become engaged in international development and cooperation, GSID offers five Master’s degree programs: (1) Economic Development Policy and Management; (2) Education and Human Resource Development; (3) Inclusive Society and State; (4) Peace and Governance; and (5) Poverty and Social Policy. In addition, it offers two special programs: One is the Special Program for Global Business Professionals, which is a one-year Master’s program for mid-career business professionals in the private sector and governments who are expected to work in developing countries in future. The other is the Global Leader Career Course (GLCC), which is designed for students who pursue their careers at international organizations such as UN agencies, international financial institutions, and international NGOs.

At GSID, all the classes are taught in English, and international students account for about 70% of the student body. So far, more than 2,300 students from over 100 countries completed their Master’s and/or doctoral degree programs. Many of them returned to their home countries after earning their degrees, and have developed their careers as leading professionals in government, international organizations, and international NGOs.

For details, please see the following website:

Message from the Dean

We asked 5 questions to Dean Aya Okada.

  1. Would you mind telling the strengths of the Graduate School of International Development (GSID)?

    I am Aya Okada, Dean of the Graduate School of International Development.

    There are many strengths of the Graduate School of International Development (GSID).

    First, GSID was established in 1991 as the first graduate school in Japan specializing in international development. GSID offers top-level research and education in international development, as many faculty members have rich experience in research and teaching at top universities inside and outside of Japan, and some have practical experience working with international organizations and aid agencies.

    Second, at GSID, all the course subjects have been offered in English, and we highly respect multi-cultural understanding and diversity. Over 70% of our student body are international students, mainly from Asia, but increasingly from other regions as well, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. So, GSID offers a highly international learning environment. Currently, students from 47 countries are studying at GSID, creating an environment like a mini-United Nations.

    Third, GSID is proud of its extensive alumni network, as it has produced more than 2,300 Master’s degree and Ph.D. degree holders from 98 countries over the last 30 years. Many of them return to their home countries after graduation, and work as senior government officials, university faculty members, and staff members of international organizations. In fact, many graduates work as top leaders in the government, universities, and international organizations.

  2. How do you want your students to grow through their university life?

    International Development is an academic field with a strong orientation towards policy studies, concerning a wide range of global issues faced by society, to identify their causes and consider solutions, while applying theories and analytical techniques drawing from social science disciplines. Globally, various issues exist such as poverty, inequality, regional conflicts, gender, slow industrial development, lack of access to social services, unemployment, disaster, energy and migration. Not only during their classes, but also in their everyday lives, I hope students will stay interested in and think about these issues, and act toward solving them.

    At GSID, many opportunities are offered outside the classrooms, such as participation in international seminars and events, overseas fieldwork and training, and internships with international organizations. I hope students will act proactively and make good use of such opportunities to equip themselves to become professionals who can contribute to the advancement of the global society in future.

  3. Would you mind telling the vision of the Graduate School of International Development (GSID)?

    The mission of GSID is to engage in research to analyze various issues that the world is faced with and suggest solutions to them. It also aims at contributing to the creation of a sustainable society, by joining policy making and implementation processes by international organizations, governments, and civil society.

    In 2015, the global society adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and set 17 goals to achieve by 2030. To achieve these global goals, inquiries in social sciences with policy orientation are necessary.

    So, GSID contributes to suggesting evidence-based solutions to these global issues, through inter-disciplinary research and education in social sciences, in cooperation with our partner universities and research institutes, and policy making organizations.

  4. What is the most memorable lecture when you were a student?

    I studied in a Master’s program at Sussex University in the UK, and after working with a couple of UN agencies, I studied in a doctoral program at MIT in the US. Both programs were very international with many international students, just like GSID!

    There were many lectures and classes that I still remember.

    For example, in the Master’s program, 30 students, including myself, from over 25 countries were attending the same lecture classes throughout the program. Classes were organized in a classroom with a large round table, and from the first class, every week, we had to read classic works, which were all voluminous and rich, written by the giants of early modern social sciences, scholars such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, and Max Weber. I must say it was so hard.

    Both at Sussex and MIT, we had to read difficult reading materials every week for each class, and the lectures by the top-level researchers were all very inspiring and stimulating. In all the classes, much time was allocated for class discussions, but honestly speaking, I found it very hard to find a good timing to jump in and speak up in class.

    I still maintain friendships and contacts with my professors at Sussex and MIT, and classmates from various countries. My experiences in studying at such great academic institutions laid the foundation for my professional career that followed, and they are a great asset that I am grateful for.

  5. Please give some words to those who are interested in joining.

    Over the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected people around the world in many ways so severely and seriously. In particular, developing countries with fragile economic and social systems are faced with not only such infectious diseases but also many other issues. There are many things that each one of us can do to solve these global issues and contribute to the realization of sustainable development.

    Are you not interested in becoming a professional to contribute to the solution of such global issues by acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills? GSID is a graduate school that trains such highly motivated students and prepares them to become global professionals. I hope you will join GSID in future!

(June 3, 2022)

Graduate School of International Development