Message from the Dean

Established in 1923, Kyoto University’s Faculty of Agriculture is one of the oldest faculties of its kind in Japan. The Graduate School of Agriculture, on the other hand, opened in 1953 and was reorganized in 1998 with a focus on advancement of graduate studies to the extent that faculty members are now affiliated with their respective graduate schools and teach undergraduate students. For nearly 100 years since its establishment, Kyoto University’s Faculty/Graduate School of Agriculture have produced numerous talented individuals and world-class research achievements in each field, thus making significant contributions to the development of agricultural science.

 

Agricultural science is an aggregation of various academic disciplines. Accordingly, basic knowledge across a range of fields, including chemistry, physics, and the social sciences, as well as biology, is required. Kyoto University’s Faculty of Agriculture has six departments: Bioresource Science, Applied Life Sciences, Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Food and Environmental Economics, Forest and Biomaterials Science, and Food Science and Biotechnology. Undergraduate students are systematically taught basic subjects that commonly relate to these fields and they receive higher levels of technical education that differs from one department to another. Students who successfully pass the undergraduate entrance examination will undertake training programs comprising lectures, experiments, practical training, and task-oriented research. Many choose to go on to graduate school, where they are able to develop their expertise while working with peers and senior students, developing friendly rivalries in preparation for playing active roles in their chosen branches of society.

 

The Graduate School of Agriculture is addressing various challenges with which humanity is faced, including continuity of life from generation to generation; stable supply of safe, high-quality food; reduced environmental degradation; and restoration of degraded environments. Accordingly, we undertake education and research across a wide variety of subjects related to “Life, Food, and Environment.” The Graduate School of Agriculture has seven divisions: Agronomy and Horticultural Science, Forest and Biomaterials Science, Applied Life Sciences, Applied Biosciences, Environmental Science and Technology, Natural Resource Economics, and Food Science and Biotechnology. At our Graduate School, we aim to improve productivity in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and livestock products, as well as to preserve the environment in which such production activities are performed. The sciences covered range from molecular/cellular to global level and deal with mechanisms of life, the balance of biological interactions in the environment, material cycling on the earth, and even human activities for sustaining society. Updates on the achievements of our cutting-edge research are announced on the websites of Kyoto University and its Faculty/Graduate School of Agriculture.

 

Given the ongoing difficulties in relation to food production in Japan, it is important to develop a mutually cooperative framework based on good international relationships. We have concluded academic and student exchange agreements with a number of universities around the world and, based on these agreements, we are actively participating in numerous international collaborative research projects. In addition, we offer an English-taught graduate degree program which, to date, has attracted many international students. We have also initiated another international educational program in cooperation with selected ASEAN universities, which supports students earning a master’s degree in two different fields from Kyoto University and its counterparts. In addition, we are implementing various international student exchange programs. Meanwhile, the Graduate School of Agriculture is taking part in the Inter-Graduate School Program for Sustainable Development and Survivable Societies, an interdisciplinary program designed to develop individuals who can work across national borders to offer solutions to the serious and diverse issues that occur on a global scale, by offering classes in food security.

 

It is vitally important that human beings are able to secure sufficient food in order to lead agreeable lives but, currently, there are a number of negative factors that advanced agricultural production technology has brought upon the environment, such as chemical contamination, salt accumulation, and soil erosion, all of which adversely affect stable crop/food production. Agricultural industries are buffeted not only by climate change effects and the scars of large-scale natural disasters but also by dramatic changes in the global economy. How can we surmount such difficulties? Without doubt, agricultural science has a major role to play in this respect. We invite you to join us in our endeavor to bring comfortable and agreeable living conditions to people worldwide through such wide-ranging education and research programs.

                  

Akira MURAKAMI

Dean of Faculty/Graduate School of Agriculture

Kyoto University