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Continuing Education and Distance Learning Resources

Compiled by Gail Goebel Nakada

There is no excuse for not pursuing continuing education these days, and being in Japan is certainly no obstacle. In the bricks and mortar world, Tokyo has a wide variety of English-language options for undergraduate- and graduate-level studies in a range of fields. Several schools, such as Temple University or the McGill MBA program, offer flexible evening and weekend class scheduling for working students. Business and IT executives can target management training seminars or time management courses at Oak Associates, AMTGROUP, and Franklin Covey. In the online world, the Web has opened up many international educational resources to the distance learner through accredited private or government colleges and universities.

The following resource guide should jump start students onto the right path. (Note: Inclusion in this listing does not in any way imply an endorsement for the school and is for the reader's information only.)

Distance education -- a few tips Distance learners need self-discipline and self-motivation to succeed. No one is going to push you to complete an assignment or finish your course.

Distance learning courses are scattered all over the net. Check carefully whether the school you are considering is accredited and state- or government-licensed. Some DL websites will look great until you read the fine print -- or notice the lack thereof. If "accredited" or "licensed by" is not listed right up front, be suspicious. If the school has such a certification, they will flaunt it proudly. Do not study with a non-licensed institution -- it may turn out to be nothing more than an overpriced fee-based diploma mill.

If you are considering a US institution, verify their authenticity through the Department of Education in the school's home state or call the US Department of Education (DOED) in Washington. You can also check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau.

Here are some other tips:

* Accreditation/licensing does not necessarily mean that your course work will be accepted by another university should you want to transfer. Check with universities to which you might want to transfer for acceptability.

* Be aware that some schools have residency requirements which would mean an extended stay at the school.

* An invaluable resource book is "Petersen's Guide to Distance Learning," by Petersen's Guides, available from and in Japan, from the Foreign Buyers Club, tel: 078-857-9001. The book lists 2000 degrees and programs from 900 accredited public and private colleges, universities, and private schools in the US and Canada. Another excellent resource is: John and Maria Bears' "Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees Nontraditionally (13th Ed)" (ISBN: 0962931241).

Distance Learning Programs

Regents College (US)
Regents is one of the oldest DL universities. It has an impressive list of accreditations for its varied degree programs. Regents is accredited by the (US) Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The information on their accreditation page will give you a good idea of what to check for on other sites. They have no residency requirement.

7 Columbia Circle
Albany NY, 12203-5159

Southern California University (US)
The SCU for Professional Studies (SCUPS) offers associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees in a wide variety of fields.

1840 East 17th Street, #240
Santa Ana, CA 92705-8605
Tel: 800-477-2254 or 714-480-0800
Fax: 714-480-0834

Frederick Taylor University (US)
346 Rheem Boulevard, Suite 203
Moraga, CA 94556
Tel: 800-988-4622 or 925-376-0908 Fax: 925-376-0900

Western Governors University (US)
This site enjoys the support of corporate and government agencies -- it's establishment was initiated by a group of governors from a number of Western states. Despite all the PR, big sponsors, and competency-based rhetoric, we could find no mention of accreditation or licensing. Proceed with interest but caution.

Open University (UK)
Britain's Open University is a public university offering a broad array of classes and degrees.

Open University
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Open Learning Australia (Australia)
Australia, too, has an active and well-policed distance learning community. For a good overview of what schools there are offering, go to the Open Learning Australia website.

Distance Learning Center (Tokyo)
Below is a small sampling of the DLC's affiliates. Log onto their homepage to access these and several other universities in England and the US.

The Distance Learning Center
1-4-3, 202 Maruyamadai
Wako Shi, Saitama 351-01
Tel: 048-463-3077 Fax: 048-464-4199

University of London (UK)
Offers a Master of Laws (LLM) degree. For information, send a message by e-mail to: with your name, telephone number, postal address, and e-mail address.

Newport Asia Pacific University (US)
The NAPU Graduate School of Education offers a Master of Science in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), a Master of Arts in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (TJFL), and many other TESOL certificate programs. The Graduate School of Intercultural and International Relations offers a Master of Science in International Communications.

Leicester University (UK)
Offers a Master of Science in Finance and Master of Science in Marketing. Examinations are held at a variety of centers around the world, as well as at the University. It is also possible for overseas candidates to sit their examinations locally if special arrangements can be made. Access the DLC website

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs in Tokyo

Huron International University
HIU offers associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees. They have relatively flexible enrollment requirements.
2-13-3 Kamiochiai
Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 161-0034
Tel: 03-3367-4141 Fax: 03-3367-4112

International Christian University
Located in Mitaka, ICU has an undergraduate liberal arts program and graduate programs in a variety of fields. Both Japanese and English languages are used in classes at ICU. Regular students are required to handle both languages. Non-native Japanese speakers must complete the mandatory Japanese Language Program.

ICU's Division of International Studies may be of particular interest to women in the field of international business. It is divided into four areas: International Relations; International Economics and International Business Administration; International Communication and Linguistics; and Comparative Society and Culture.

The graduate school offers Master- and Doctorate-level programs in a variety of areas, including Comparative Culture and Education.

Admissions Office:
10-2 Osawa 3-chome
Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-8585
Tel: 0422-33-3131 Fax: 0422-33-3488

International University Japan
IUJ offers MBA studies in two areas. The Graduate School of International Relations focuses on international relations and international development, and the Graduate School of International Management targets global business and global management. The two schools work together through cross-registered courses and joint activities. Before you get too excited, note the location -- two hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen in Niigata.

IUJ occasionally features specialized short programs. For example, from September 7-12 last year, they held a one-week program entitled: Economic Impact of Globalization, Asia Pacific Business Environment, and Japan. According to the course description, it was designed for "business people who are involved with the Asia Pacific region." All lectures were conducted in English and the cost was JPY150,000 per person, including dorm room fees.

GSIR may also accept several kinds of non-degree students: research students, commissioned research students, and special students. Non-degree students may use the University facilities, including the library and dormitories.

Niigata-ken 949-7277
Tel: 0257-79-1463 Fax: 0257-79-4443

McGill University Japan
McGill's International Business Management MBA Japan Program is offered at Sophia University. It is a two-year, 60-credit program identical to the one at McGill's Montreal campus.

McGill MBA Japan Program
Sophia University
Bldg. #11, Rm. 327
7-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-Ku
Tokyo 102-8554
Tel: (03) 5215 1383 Fax: (03) 5215-1383

Sophia University Tokyo
Sophia University holds international courses at the Ichigaya campus, and other departments are located at the main Yotsuya campus. The international division features a diverse undergraduate curriculum with special emphasis on Asian cultures, literature, and politics. It's possible to attend part-time which makes this a good resource for flex-time working people.

7-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 102
Tel: 03-3238-3111 Fax: 03-3238-3262

Temple University Japan
The Tokyo branch of the school is located in the Minami Azabu district of central Tokyo. The academic program comprises an extensive liberal arts curriculum that includes Japanese language at all levels and upper level Asian studies courses, a two-year Executive MBA, Masters and Doctorates in education, and MA programs in economics and law. Temple offers many choices and a wide variety of scheduling times making it one of the best schools for continuing education here. Last year they introduced a Communications and Mass Media Major targeting TV production, journalism, film, and media studies. Their school of continuing education has a wide offering of courses in business, technology, arts, and culture.

2-8-12 Minami Azabu
Minato-Ku, Tokyo 106-0047
Tel: 03-5441-9801 Fax: 03-5441-9811
(MBA program) (Continuing education)

Other Resources

If you are looking to enter a Japanese university or college, go directly to the Association of International Education of Japan. The AIEJ publishes a Student Guide to Japan and a comprehensive index of undergraduate and graduate degree programs at Japanese colleges and universities. Its greatest value, perhaps, is providing addresses and contact numbers for these institutions. All the information is available on their website. (Note that unless you are in a special short-term course, you will need to have sufficient Japanese language skills to follow classes at these universities.)

Association of International Education of Japan
4-5-29 Komaba, Meguro-ku. Tokyo 153
Tel: 03-5454-5216 Fax: 03-5454-5236

Short Term Courses

A number of Japanese universities run short term programs -- some independent, some as part of inter-university exchanges -- generally centering on Japanese or Asian Culture, politics, economics, etc. The University of Tokyo's short term program AIKOM (Abroad in KOMABA) is one example. It offers one-year study abroad at the College of Arts and Sciences at the Komaba campus. All courses in the program are taught in English. A course in intensive Japanese language is also available.

7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku,
Tokyo 113-XXXX
Tel: 03-3812-2111 Fax: 03-5684-4957

The website at the Association of International Education of Japan (see above) has a very complete listing of short programs under individual universities.

Specialized studies

Business Seminars
In Tokyo, Oak Associates, The American Management Association; AmAsia Inc., the AMT Group, the International Business Management Institute, and Franklin-Covey all offer specialized courses on management training. Unfortunately, their main target is company contracts. Oak, AMT, and Franklin-Covey, however, each offer extremely worthwhile seminars open to individuals or small groups of four or more.

The Advanced Management Training Group (AMTGROUP) has created a number of successful modules for their insightful seminars. These include: Management, Leadership Development, Strategic Planning, Marketing, and Communications, plus Accounting and Finance. AMT has a Graduate School Preparation service that "guides applicants in selecting schools, creating resumes and essays, planning for interviews and succeeding in Master's degree programs."

AMT Group
SS 10 Bldg., A302
Chuo 5-38-13, Nakano-Ku
Tokyo 164-0011
Tel: 03-3384-9884 Fax: 03-3383-1076

Oak Associates offers their Performance Management programs in two formats: open programs for individuals, and corporate programs for company groups. Most programs are available in both formats. The company can also provide individualized programs for special needs. The training programs emphasize real-world business applications and practice with feedback. They are targeted to help employees as well as managers, supervisors, and team leaders improve performance and results. Oak Associates Training programs include: Business Writing Strategies, Effective Meetings, Successful Negotiating, Management in International Organizations, and several other practical programs. Contact Mr. Watanabe for detailed information.

Oak Associates
Aoki Bldg., 3F
4-1-10 Toranomon
Minato-Ku, Tokyo 105-0001
Tel: 5472-7079 Fax: 5472-7076

Franklin Covey features two English-language seminars for individuals. One is based on the popular book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and the other is their one-day What Matters Most (formerly TimeQuest) seminar geared to increasing productivity by aligning daily activities with "what matters most." Call the company for the next seminar date.

Marumasu Kojimachi Bldg. 6, 7F
3-3 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-Ku
Tokyo 102-0083
Tel: 03-3264-7401 Fax: 03-3264-7407

Classes in Computing
PTS -- People, Technology, Solutions -- has been in the computer training field here for seven years. They offer half-day, one-day and two-day workshops in English on Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, Excel 97, Powerpoint 97, Word 97, and more. Prices start at JPY18,000.

Samon Eleven Bldg. 4F
3-1 Samon-cho
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0017
Tel: 3357-8040 Fax: 3357-9141

The Temple University School of Continuing Education has courses in database design and creation, desktop publishing, basic Mac skills, networking with Windows NT, producing corporate publications through Microsoft, Web page design, etc. Each class is 20 hours and meets once a week either in the evening or on Saturday mornings. Prices range from JPY38,000 to JPYY70,000.

Contact Temple at:
Tel: 5441-9801

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