Department of English Language and Cultures

About the Department

The Department of English Language and Cultures (previously the Department of English and American Literature) has a history spanning 60 years. While cherishing tradition, we now offer new curricula to meet the academic abilities and interests of each student. Through classes on specialized English skills separated by skill level and meticulous instruction at seminars, we provide students with opportunities to enjoy and deepen their learning of not just English and American literature and the English language, but cultures and societies in the English-speaking world and practical English that can be used in the international community as well.


After admission, students take a unique class, “Cultural Background: Seminar,” which combines text, image, and audio learning materials to thoroughly build basic English skills. A compulsory subject starting in the first year, “Academic Writing: Seminar” and a compulsory subject starting in the second year, “Academic Presentation: Seminar” are designed to nurture the gradual acquiring of practical English skills. In addition, the Department of English Language and Cultures is composed of the following three courses: Contemporary Studies, English-Language Cultures, and Language and Education. By taking part in the Introductory Course of each course in the first or second year, it is possible to acquire extensive knowledge and understand the characteristics of each of the courses.


The Department of English Language and Cultures has 12 faculty members in total (2 of which are native English speakers): 5 for Contemporary Studies, 4 for English-Language Cultures, and 3 for Language and Education. All of them are active at the forefront of their respective fields, as teachers and through the publication of their own books and translations. More information can be found on the Faculty Member introduction page. In addition, more than 40 part-time instructors, including a number of native speakers, offer various classes to meet the diversified interests of students.


In their third year, students choose one of three courses to deepen their study. The objectives and contents of each course are as follows:


Contemporary Studies: This course mainly covers modern cultures in the English-speaking world from the 20th century onward. The objective is to understand globalized modern cultures from a broad perspective by focusing not only on the U.K. and U.S., but also on Ireland, India, South Africa, etc., and by utilizing various media including movies and the Internet.


English-Language Cultures: This course covers the cultural and historical background of English and American Literature. The objective is to deepen historical understanding of cultures in the English-speaking world by dealing mainly with literary works up to the 20th century and cultural matters. The study of children’s literature and the teaching of translation are also emphasized.


Language and Education: This course covers English as a language and its teaching methods. The objective is to deepen the understanding of the English language and apply that understanding to education by studying English grammar from a linguistic perspective, or by studying children’s language acquisition and English education.

Graduate Course

Features of the Course

The Graduate Course in English Language and Literature does not limit research fields to traditional English literature studies as represented by “English literature,” “American literature,” and “English linguistics.” We have also actively dealt with research areas which deviate considerably from the conventional framework, such as Irish literature, Indian English literature, English and American literature from the perspective of social history, American urban theories, women’s history, theoretical linguistics, cognitive linguistics, and the teaching of English as a foreign language. Please take a look at the “Introduction to Faculty Members.” All of our faculty members have their own specific research areas. At the same time, without sticking to such narrow study fields, they have pursued the most innovative research outcomes in broader areas through lectures and the publication of their own books or translations. Although graduate students enrolled in the course are able to have access to the highest level of knowledge in a specific area by following up on the research findings of their own advisors, we also aim to meet the interests and abilities of each student and maximize the potential of each individual through not only classes, but also tutorials and workshops.


We accept anyone who hopes to further deepen their research on English philology or literature in the English-speaking world beyond the undergraduate level. Why don’t you open up new horizons with our faculty members for research on English language and literature?

Advising System and Research Environment

The favorable environment of small class sizes enables satisfactory learning and intensive acquisition of specialist knowledge. In response to each research topic, an advising committee (composed of one head advisor and one or two assistant advisors) is set up for each individual graduate student. By regularly reporting the progress of research to the committee, students can receive meticulous advice on their research. Especially for students enrolled in the doctoral course, we have improved the environment and the support system with the purpose of fostering researchers, making it possible for them to write their doctoral thesis while they are enrolled in the doctoral course or within three years after the term of the course has expired.

Presentation of Research Findings

Graduate students enrolled in the course are automatically members of the English Literary Society of Gakushuin University. Society members are provided with opportunities to give presentations at workshops and publish their papers in the Journal of the English Literary Society of Gakushuin University. By being aware of what virtues and issues there are in their own research areas through such oral presentations and publications, enrolled graduate students can naturally negotiate the process of writing a master’s or doctoral thesis.


In particular, graduate students in the course are strongly recommended to actively participate in nationwide activities organized by the English Literary Society of Japan, the American Literature Society of Japan, the English Linguistic Society of Japan, the Linguistic Society of Japan, etc. In fact, many of our graduate students have gained the ability to give presentations at nationwide academic conferences. If you are enrolled in the course, by modeling yourself on senior students, you will be motivated to challenge yourself to contribute papers to journals and participate in other activities.