Dr. Mitsuru Okuwaki

Pleasantly surprised to see Japanese students

The HBP specifies that students require English proficiency equivalent to the TOEIC 860 level to qualify for the examination. This is the standard set upon application to the HBP. However, since the program’s launch, and as students have continued their study in the program, we have begun to discuss whether the reference point is appropriate or what to do if students do not meet the reference point.

For example, we discussed the possibility of a native English-speaking medical English teacher meeting with students to evaluate whether their English proficiency is equivalent to the TOEIC 860 level. However, we have not yet held such an interview, nor is it listed in the examination’s qualification guidelines.

Given that all classes are held in English, students speak to other HBP students in English, and students work on the GLidD (one of the examination qualification guidelines) in English, the English proficiency of Japanese students has definitely improved. Also, the HBP has a high percentage of international students, and the fact that all students in the program live together in the same dorm has made a big contribution to students’ proficiency. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Japanese students who initially did not speak English improved their English by the end of the program, and were able to write English sentences better than the average Japanese graduate school student.

Relationship building without borders

Learning in English everyday

[ HBP Criteria for Degree Conferral ]

HBP aims to develop global leaders who can solve global-scale problems. To make it realized, it was necessary to assure the quality of degrees with universally accepted and UNESCO-certified criteria.

For the application of the defense, HBP set the requirement of 72 credits, more than 860pt TOEIC score and 25 steps of GLidD and the pass of QE1 and 2 and 2 published papers (1 first author paper). In the final dissertation defense, HBP conducts the comprehensive evaluation with criteria for obtaining the doctoral degree with multiple aspects.

Takuya Kikuchi

Compared to other colleagues with PhDs

At first, I thought I was going to have a difficult time in the program, as my TOEIC score at the time of enrollment was about 730, while the requirement at the time of completion was 860. Nevertheless, I was not worried. I was full of hope for the possibilities ahead because of the many international students in the program and the opportunity to conduct research activities abroad during the five years of the program.

In class, I often did not understand presentations given by international students who spoke first; however, I did not try to understand everything perfectly. I took classes accepting that I would not understand everything, and the handout materials helped me considerably. After class, I reviewed what I had not understood by myself. I also especially enjoyed talking with my friends in English after class, while following up on what we had learned.

My TOEIC score did not reach the stated requirement until the very last minute. However, I simply studied to obtain the necessary score without thinking about the worst-case scenario. In the end, I scored 860 thanks to the English-language environment provided to us by the HBP.

I started working for a company after finishing at the HBP and now feel that it is easy to communicate with foreigners. I get along with foreigners better, compared to other colleagues with PhDs who have the same level of English as I do, and they count on me more. I think that it is thanks to this experience that I was able to build something together with my colleagues at the HBP and in overseas laboratories.

Research in overseas laboratory

Work for devastitated areas issues in "Appropriate Technology"

[ High level of English proficiency ]

In HBP, a clearly high level of English proficiency such as more than 860 points in TOEIC is required for an application for a Ph.D. degree in order for quality assurance of the degree and for its international validity and compatibility. Thus it was necessary to develop effective English learning environment in HBP.

HBP built an international dormitory for this program and realized a global living environment where students from different countries live together and know different cultures and habits. Moreover, HBP influenced to and changed many environments into English environments such as seminars in labs.