Message from Prof. Shinji Wakao, Dean of the School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University

Dean’s Message

Providing Learning that Continues Seamlessly from High School, and Breadth that Satisfies Students’ Intellectual Curiosity

Kanomata, Nobuhiro

Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dean of School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University


What are the characteristics of the School of Advanced Science and Engineering?

One major characteristic is that we have all of the disciplines that you learn the basics of in high school, such as physics, chemistry, electricity, and life science (biology). Many of our students enter our School with certain expectations from high school, and they seem to assimilate into their respective disciplines with relative ease. As they advance, students gain greater freedom to pursue their learning and expertise both in depth and without restriction, taking advantage of the unique opportunities that only universities can provide.

Another characteristic is the wide selection of laboratory work courses we offer. In these courses, students repeatedly use their hands to look, investigate, and think about various themes. Students learn the basics of research by experiencing what they have learned in lectures and making sure they consolidate their knowledge. After sufficient preparation through lecture courses and lab work, students are assigned to their respective laboratories to undertake full-scale research.

The Graduate School also offers cross-disciplinary majors, joint programs with other institutions, as well as a five-year integrated master’s-doctoral program, providing a foundation for students to pursue their interests in diverse ways.

Our Value - Producing Graduates who will Lead the Next Generation


What do students gain through research?

Experimental skills and logic construction skills are commonly acquired in any research group as you experience research accumulation and seminar discussions. However, I believe that each group has its own unique culture when it comes to refining those skills. Take my research group in the field of functional organic chemistry, for example. One of the first skills students acquire is, aside from specialized knowledge, "time management," which is a characteristic of experimental chemistry, where you have to make the next move while waiting for a prolonged reaction. In between experiments, you can check the literature, prepare for the next experiment, or take one step further by simultaneously conducting an experiment that can be completed in a short amount of time. This way, you can greatly improve your information-gathering ability and planning skills. In addition, skills in “area management” definitely improve. The term "area" here refers to the bench space given to each student, a term originally used in city planning or rugby football. You must think about what lab equipment or chemicals should be placed where and how to proceed efficiently. Each student will develop his or her own style while also observing other students for guidance. The more you work on it, the more interesting it becomes and the better you get at it, which is why more graduate students than undergraduates, and among them, more doctoral students than master's degree students, will go out into the world with higher experimental skills. As a graduate student, you will have more opportunities to present your research results at academic conferences and in research papers, so your presentation and writing skills, as well as English proficiency, will also improve dramatically. Experience is especially important in these areas, so we hope students will acquire these skills intensively at the beginning of their research. In that sense, we also encourage students to consider obtaining a doctoral degree as an option. It is also our sincere hope that society, particularly people in industry, will rediscover the value that our Graduate School provides in sending many highly qualified doctoral talent out into society to lead the next generation.

Creating an Environment where Younger Researchers can Fully Immerse Themselves in Research and Making Effective Use of Online Education


What is your perspective for the future?

On the research front, a new university-wide research and development building (Building 121) was completed in April 2020, marking the establishment of a cutting-edge, innovative research base. Research spaces in our existing facilities are also undergoing renovation that will make them much safer. We fully expect research to grow and deepen in this new environment. We support the speedy development of an environment in which younger researchers, including undergraduate and graduate students working on their graduation research, can fully immerse themselves in research with both vigor and enthusiasm.

On the education front, we will do our utmost to make further use of online and on-demand educational content, which has been rapidly accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I strongly feel that we must provide educational resources in a more efficient and effective way in the coming years, utilizing the foundation of expertise that our faculty members have worked hard to cultivate thus far.

As its basic policy against the spread of COVID-19, Waseda University has established three missions and two policies. The three missions are: (1) to protect the health and life of our students, faculty and staff; (2) to provide students with an excellent education; and (3) to promote research and scholarly work even under the most challenging conditions. The two policies are: firstly, “to minimize maximum regret or damage (mini-max regret principle),” and secondly, to uphold the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of “leaving no one behind.” Based on these policies, we will work to effectively use the practical knowledge and content related to online and on-demand education that we are accumulating through trial and error. We will also flexibly reorganize our educational content, for example, by organizing subjects such as operating instructions for laboratory courses that have been traditionally taught on-site as preparatory work for undergraduates.

Dive into your New Learning Environment and be a Voracious Learner


What message do you have for current and prospective students?

The School/Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering encompasses an extensively wide range of specialized disciplines, so you will surely find something you are interested in learning more about. Many of our faculty members are involved in multiple public research projects and industry-academia collaboration projects. Through our programs, we offer research opportunities in which students are exposed to the latest findings, receive practical research guidance under substantial funding, develop social skills through interaction with collaborators, and expand their human networks. Besides, the School of Advanced Science and Engineering is responsible for the general education program for STEM students. Therefore, even in our specialized courses, we have outstanding teaching methods for refining students’ abilities from the foundation up.

The appeal of a university with a real campus is building a social network on campus. There is no limit to the added value of Waseda University campuses where talented and diverse students gather. This is one of many intangible assets that you will take with you upon graduation. Many of you may feel that the COVID-19 pandemic has perhaps taken away some of those benefits, but with faculty and staff's enthusiastic support, our students are finding, getting used to, and taking advantage of new ways to get involved. In the coming years, we will see more networking in new ways. Don’t be afraid! We strongly encourage you to dive into this progressive environment to reshape education and research. Learn voraciously.