Go to global navigation

Read the article

Go to local navigation

Go to footer

Undergraduate Program

Advanced Seminar and Thesis

The CIC Advanced Seminar consists of a small group of approximately 10 third- and fourth-year students. Students find and set their own research topics and complete their graduation thesis while discussing them with each other and their seminar professor. Students develop unique topics by combining their interdisciplinary learning across the four fields and their own specialized interests.

Interview - Language Studies


Question the myths about English learning!
Examining common misconceptions from a second language acquisition research perspective
Tatsuya Nakata, Ph.D.

An Advanced Seminar focusing on second language acquisition and English language education

After completing a broad range of compulsory courses in their first year, students at CIC gradually begin to focus on their areas of interest in their second year. This leads up to the development of their own expertise in the Advanced Seminar, which starts in their third year and culminates in their graduation thesis. In my classes, students take turns presenting and leading discussions on chapters and academic papers about English teaching and learning. The small class size facilitates active discussion. A mix of third-year, fourth-year, and international students ensures that diverse opinions from varying viewpoints are frequently raised.
The focus of my Advanced Seminar is on second language acquisition and English language education. My research revolves around the processes of acquiring foreign languages, and the methodologies of learning and teaching these languages. Some students join my seminar with an interest in teaching English after graduation. However, others are interested in language learning, leading to a wide variety of topics that engage student interest.

Common misconceptions about English language learning

My research interests lie in second language acquisition, with a particular focus on the acquisition of English vocabulary, including both single words and multi-word items. Currently, numerous misconceptions exist about learning the English language. One prevalent belief is that focusing on a smaller set of words at a time aids in long-term retention. Contrarily, research indicates that the opposite may be more effective. For example, studying a larger block of words, such as 20 at a time, has been shown to lead to better retention compared to studying just five words in the same period. Additionally, contrary to the popular belief that “The earlier, the better” in language learning, research indicates that introducing English at a later stage (e.g., starting in Grade Six instead of Grade Four in elementary school) can sometimes yield positive long-term effects. Findings like these, which may appear counter-intuitive, add intrigue to the research field. Therefore, I encourage my students to challenge conventional wisdom. Those aspiring to become English teachers can directly apply the insights gained in my Advanced Seminar to their future careers. Moreover, the skills in reading academic papers, along with critical thinking and decision-making abilities, are invaluable assets for students pursuing careers outside of teaching.


Misconceptions in English learning methodologies and discovering problems in stereotypical thinking.
Yudai Chikahisa
Graduated from AICJ Senior High School (Hiroshima)

Learning to speak up in small groups

I attended an integrated junior and senior high school with a focus on English education, and experienced study abroad and volunteer activities using English from a young age. I was aware of the difficulties of intercultural understanding and the importance of intercultural communication and decided to study at CIC out of a desire to learn about these in more depth. On enrolling, I found that many students had a high level of language ability and intercultural understanding, actively sharing their opinions and engaging in discussions on complex topics such as refugee issues. When I began taking the Advanced Seminar in my third year, I was unable to emulate the more senior students in asking questions or engaging in discussion, and I remember anxiously wondering how they were able to speak so well. However, my knowledge grew, and I became more comfortable with discussions as classes progressed so that with time I was able to speak my mind. Thanks to the relaxed setting, small class numbers, and the willingness of my teachers and fellow students to accept what I say without critique, my ability to speak up and communicate has improved.

Using my experience studying abroad in the United States as the topic for my graduation research

The topic for my graduation research is “Examining the effectiveness of paired learning in English vocabulary learning.” Although we tend to think of learning vocabulary as a dull, mundane task, learning in pairs is said to be more effective and to increase motivation. When I studied in the United States for an extended period at Austin Peay State University, I had the opportunity to engage with local college students to teach each other our first languages, giving me various firsthand experiences, including of how enjoyable conversation can increase one’s vocabulary, and how episodic memory helps vocabulary to be retained. My professor has given me methodical instructions on how to introduce and apply previous research in my research and how to compile an academic paper. I am now actively working to incorporate the English learning methods my professor has shown me into my research. I have had my preconceptions overturned many times on being shown evidence that accepted theories regarding English learning are actually wrong, helping me to realize once again that relying on stereotypical thinking is not a good idea.

Interview - Communication Studies


Investigate, listen to differing opinions, and deepen one’s studies with a critical mind.
The multifaceted thinking skills you gain here will clear the way for your future.
Taketo Ishiguro, Ph.D.

What is the role of Advanced Seminars?

In CIC, first-year students are required to take discussion-based courses taught by instructors in four specialized fields of study, enabling them to gain a comprehensive awareness of these fields. Students discover which area(s) interest them, cultivate more extensive knowledge, and tie their studies into their Advanced Seminars.
An Advanced Seminar is, to put it simply, a course for transforming issue awareness into scholarly inquiry. By exploring previous research, presenting their own opinions to their fellow seminar members, and receiving feedback, students discover a multitude of perspectives, further enhancing their knowledge and motivation for their next presentation. Over and over again, I ask students, “Why is that?” The topics which students work with often don’t have clear answers, necessitating consideration from a diverse array of perspectives. Accordingly, I ask all of my seminar students, “Are there any other perspectives?” encouraging them to think even further ahead in order to draw out views which might differ from those of the presenting student. Through the repetition of this process, students gain multifaceted and critical thinking skills, and independently reconstruct their own knowledge and views. Acquiring multifaceted thinking skills expands your communication repertoire. As students cultivate a personal store of diverse communication methods, they prepare to find employment or enter further education.

How do people who are different work together and cooperate?

Another characteristic of CIC’s curriculum is that students can gain knowledge in a broad array of scholarly fields and engage in interdisciplinary learning. For example, a student might approach a given topic from perspectives such as psychology, communication studies, and sociology. First and foremost, intercultural communication requires the ability to adapt and use a variety of different methods. If one communication channel doesn’t work, it’s necessary to make use of another, and doing so demands multifaceted thinking skills. “We are all different and we are all wonderful” is an amazing philosophy. So, how can different people work together and cooperate to achieve something? The answer is something you can investigate as part of your Advanced Seminar studies. It is also something you will need to continue to consider in a variety of situations out in the world after graduation.


Entrenching an understanding of “We are all different and we are all wonderful” through research into stress and leadership
Tae Azuma
Graduated from Tokyo Metropolitan Komae High School

I chose my research topic based on my own challenges with leadership

When I served as a group leader in the university’s dance club, I experienced how much influence a leader has. I struggled to find a style of leadership which would not put stress on my team members. Then I learned about servant leadership (a leadership style which empowers team members) in professor Ishiguro’s Group Communication course and this led to me choosing stress and leadership as my research topic. Through the Advanced Seminar, I engaged in a deep exploration of this topic and decided to turn what I learned into my graduation research.

In my research, I started by interviewing several friends about their stress, discovering that stress arises dependent upon how one interprets things. I worked out the commonalities and differences, and during the process, engaged in detailed consultation with professor Ishiguro to determine whether I was being biased by my own ideas on the topic. Professor Ishiguro provided literature and other materials to conceptualize things for me, enabling me to move forward confident that my research was based in fact. Amid my studies, I began being able to implement servant leadership in my club activities and realized that what I was learning was practical as well.

Education for living better in the future society

I think everyone experiences times in their life when they feel that interpersonal relationships are difficult. When suchtimes come, if you take the time to calm yourself and evaluate that “I believe A but they believe B” and understand why “people who believe B think as they do,” it will change your evaluation of whether or not to accept someone. In other words, the thinking that “I can’t get along with that person” or “I can’t understand that person” will disappear.

Diverse students are enrolled in CIC and the languages they speak and the things they are researching are all different. It’s an environment which makes it easy to think, “We are all different and we are all wonderful.” For myself, once I realized that “we are all different and we are all wonderful,” it made my own desires about what I wanted to do clear. In a global age, these kinds of communication skills are important, and I’m glad I learned them in CIC so that I can live a better and more enjoyable life.
  1. Home
  2.  >  Undergraduate Program
  3.  >  Advanced Seminar and Thesis
go top