Tokyo: Waseda University

Global Leadership Fellows Program (GLFP)
campus photo

Program Term:

Academic Year

Language Requirement:



 Eric Benjaminson

Application Deadline:


The Global Leadership Fellows Program (GLFP) at Waseda University provides an opportunity for a Chicago undergraduate to study for an academic year (September to July) at a major Japanese university. This is an academically demanding program (in effect, an “honors” program), created for a small group of carefully selected students from various American universities (one from each university). Its chief mission is to foster global awareness and leadership skills among the participants, and it provides a series of educational experiences (courses, lectures, excursions, internships) in service to this goal.

    The Program consists of three components: the Global Leadership Fellows Forum, which runs through the year and brings a series of lectures, discussions, and site visits to bear on various international topics; two intensive US-Japan Seminars (one each semester) in which students pursue research projects on political, social, and humanistic issues of international significance; and a selection of courses from Waseda’s School of International Liberal Studies (SILS). Each student chooses a set of courses in line with their own interests (and perhaps with the student’s major subject). While the GLF Forum and the Seminars are offered exclusively to the US and Waseda GLFP Fellows, the SILS courses will also include Waseda University students and other exchange students. All courses are offered in English. There is no Japanese language prerequisite for this program.

    Waseda University is a highly respected private research institution in the Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo. Founded as a college in 1882 and given university status in 1902, it has consistently ranked among the top ten Japanese universities. The innovative School of International Liberal Studies, founded in 2004, offers the option of a liberal arts and internationally focused education to both Japanese students and students from abroad.

    Waseda provides free housing (in Waseda residence halls).

    The GLFP student remains registered full-time in the College and will receive a full year’s credit for their work at Waseda, with course titles, units of credit, and grades posted on the Chicago transcript. The use of these credits toward major or general education requirements must be approved by the appropriate faculty.

    The GLFP student pays regular College tuition plus a study abroad administrative fee required of all participants in Chicago’s overseas programs. The tuition is paid quarterly in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, while the administrative fee is paid in advance, as a program deposit, and applied as a credit to the autumn quarter. Here are the precise figures for 2024–2025:

    Academic year tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Program fee: billed separately by Waseda University

    Program fee* includes:

    • dormitory and facilities fee
    • utility fee at the dorm
    • mandatory national health insurance

    *paid directly to Waseda

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • passport/visa fees
    • transportation on site
    • meals
    • course materials
    • personal entertainment and travel
    • communications (most students bring or buy a cell phone)
    • health insurance and upfront payments for care
    • other miscellaneous expenses 

    As a fully registered student at Chicago for the duration of the Program, the GLFP student retains their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

    The Global Leadership Fellows Program is, unofficially, an “honors” scheme for which a single student is chosen. The participating student must be beyond their second year in the College and should present a transcript showing academic work at a sustained high level. Previous study of Japanese is not required for this Anglophone program, though the participant is expected to take a Japanese language course while at Waseda. The application process is in two phases. First, there is Chicago’s in-house application, due in late January. Through this application Chicago’s candidate for the Program is selected and put forward to Waseda, which has its own application (the second phase). A student accepting an offer of admission to the GLFP is expected to submit a nonrefundable deposit equivalent to the study abroad administrative fee.

    Students wishing to discuss the Global Leadership Fellows Program and the possibility of participating are expected to arrange a meeting with the following individuals: Eric Benjaminson and Prof. Michael Bourdaghs.