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IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (OAP)

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Hitotsubashi University (HIT)

HIT campus

Program Director's Message

Prof. takeda

Asian Public Policy Program offers an opportunity to learn from professors who combine knowledge of economics with rich experience of implementing or advising on economic policy. Students can study how to analyze policy issues relevant in the real world on a firm theoretical basis. Striking the right balance between theory and practice is what we strive to achieve in our Program, which we believe will greatly contribute to your career.

Masahiko Takeda
Program Director and Professor, Asian Public Policy Program, School of International and Public Policy, Hitotsubashi University

Founded in 1875, Hitotsubashi University is a leading university in economics and business in Japan. Today, it has four departments, seven graduate schools, and two research institutes, covering the fields of business, economics, law, and social sciences. It has an enrollment of approximately 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and a faculty and staff of over 600.

Master of Public Policy (Public Economics) Asian Public Policy Program, School of International and Public Policy

For JISPA scholars, Hitotsubashi University offers the two-year Asian Public Policy Program (APPP) at the School of International and Public Policy, leading to the degree of Master of Public Policy (Public Economics). The program targets young professionals in Asian governments, central banks and other policy-related organizations. The APPP has been and continues to be an important stepping-stone for such individuals to become fully-fledged fiscal or financial economists, economic planners, policy analysts, and policymakers in their governments as well as in international organizations.

The course distinguishes itself from other graduate programs offered in the public policy area by its strong focus on economic policy, with almost all of the required and elective courses structured around economics and its applications to policy. The program aims to equip its graduates with the knowledge and skills to analyze and develop policies against a sound knowledge of economic theory.

The Program is also especially attractive for the personalized attention it provides to the students. The class sizes are quite small – at most around 15, and each full-time faculty supervises around 4 student per annual intake, and is able to give close guidance to the student’s academic undertakings. The small size of the Program also allows students to build strong ties with their fellow students, which can last a lifetime, and will be a valuable asset in their career.

The Faculty

The Asian Public Policy Program’s core faculty comprises full-time teaching staff who combine Ph.D. degrees from top US and UK universities with professional working experience at policy institutions including the IMF, World Bank, Bank of Japan, and Japan’s Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Agency. In addition to the core faculty, lectures are given by academics with outstanding reputations from the Graduate School of Economics of Hitotsubashi University as well as by leading professionals with practical experience from public and private sector institutions. Current Visiting Professors include those from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and National University of Singapore

The Curriculum

The curriculum focuses on economic policy design and analysis, and is conducted entirely in English. The curriculum consists of core theory courses, fiscal and regulatory policy, monetary and financial policy, workshops on current topics, special intensive courses, and weekly seminars.

A strong emphasis is placed on seminar work and the master’s thesis. Seminar work is a long-standing tradition of Hitotsubashi University, where a small group of students work together under the guidance of the academic advisor to discuss economic and policy issues as well as develop and discuss their prospective thesis. The thesis is a required element of the course and provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skills acquired from the APPP courses to analyze real-world policy issues. A total of 44 credits and the submission of a thesis are required for the degree.

For those students who wish to pursue doctoral courses in the future, or who have specialized interest in non-economic area of public policy, they may, with the advice and consent of their supervisors, take advanced courses offered by the Graduate School of Economics or by the Global Governance Program of the School of International and Public Policy.

Course Descriptions

Core Courses taken in the first year provide basic theoretical and analytical skills. The Elective Courses and Intensive Courses are provided throughout the two years and focus on specific policy areas. Students are also required to take an English Thesis Writing course. The Master’s thesis is the focus of student’s study during much of the second year.

Required Courses: Theoretical Foundations
Core theory courses provide a solid foundation in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory and public sector economics as a framework for policy analysis. Courses on quantitative techniques of economic analysis and financial programming for macroeconomic policy formulation are also required, with the latter offered as a two-week intensive course.

Elective Courses: Policy Areas
These courses cover major issues in specific policy areas, covering analytical and practical aspects of policies, with a special emphasis on experience in Japan and Asia. For students with a tax administration background, a special course is offered in association with the National Tax Agency of Japan, which provides practical knowledge and experience on taxation issues.

Courses on Current Issues:
They are designed to provide students with a good understanding of the current situation, prospects, and research of the current topics, with lectures provided by external scholars, policymakers, staff of international organizations, and other practitioners in public policy, from both Japan and abroad.

Japanese Language Course:
Intensive Japanese language courses are offered a few weeks a year for JISPA scholars.

Students are required to belong to a seminar group led by their academic advisor. They pursue academic topics of their interest, which provides a basis for their thesis.

Extracurricular Activities
An overnight trip is organized at the beginning of each academic year as a team building exercise. Field trips outside of Tokyo are also organized. Furthermore, students are given an opportunity to experience Japanese culture, including calligraphy, wearing kimonos, visits to cultural/historical places.


A minimum of two years’ full-time public sector working experience in economic policy areas and a BA or BS degree from an officially accredited university are required. A first degree in Economics would be an advantage, but the program welcomes those with other background with a strong desire and commitment to study economics. Candidates should have high English proficiency, i.e., TOEFL score of 550 (CBT 213)/IELTS 6.0 or higher. 1


The Asian Public Policy Program is located in central Tokyo. Adjacent to the Imperial Palace grounds, the campus is part of a new 23-story building, complete with high-tech communication, library, conference and other facilities.

Hitotsubashi University offers single-occupancy rooms at the University dormitory for all JISPA scholars. Provision of family room is subject to availability. However, please note that current Program regulations do not allow students to bring their family with them to Japan during the first year, due to the intensive nature of the study.

1Hitotsubashi University candidates are required to complete the admissions process for the School of International and Public Policy in addition to the JISPA process, as a formality. A separate application form must be filled out and submitted to the university with the required documents. Hitotsubashi will contact the finalists for details following the determination of JISPA application results.

Further information on the program can be found on the Hitotsubashi University website at