UNU Intensive Core Courses

Short intensive courses conducted in collaboration with leading universities

Program Level
Program Start Date
1–29 September 2023

Applications for the next session of the UNU-IC courses will open in May 2024. 

Every year UNU-IAS organises the regular session of its four-week UNU Intensive Core (UNU-IC) Courses at UNU Centre in Tokyo, Japan. The courses provide analyses of global issues from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, and draw on the research projects undertaken at UNU-IAS and other UNU institutes. 

These courses are designed for:

  • students who are currently enrolled in a master’s or PhD programme in any discipline;
  • young professionals (with a college or university degree) in various occupations in Japan and abroad; and
  • those who wish to pursue careers in international fields in public service or private organizations, including the United Nations, multinational corporations, and non-governmental organizations, as well as national foreign service organizations. 


Faculty and Learning Environment

The IC Courses are taught in a cooperative fashion by a team of scholars and practitioners comprising both in-house and outside experts. One of the unique features of the IC is that many of the practitioners come from United Nations organizations. Another important characteristic is the direct access to teaching faculty and the support provided to course participants by the UNU-IAS in-house academic staff who serve as academic counsellors. Because it shares a building with many UN agencies, UNU-IAS offers a unique learning environment. [Top]

Selection of Courses

Students are allowed to choose two courses maximum. There will be fifteen 100-minute sessions per course — i.e., three to four sessions per week over the four-week course period. The courses will involve considerable reading and study but will be scheduled to allow students to have sufficient preparatory and review time for each session. [Top]

Completion of Courses and Credit Transfer

Students who successfully complete the course will be awarded a certificate of completion and a transcript from UNU-IAS. Each course is designed to be worth 2 credits and comprises over 30 hours of teaching time. While a number of universities have negotiated credit transfer agreements with UNU-IAS, ultimately the decision on whether credits are transferrable will be made by the student’s university. [Top]

English Language Requirements

The courses will be conducted in English. Excellent written and verbal English language skills are required. The expected language test scores are:

  • TOEFL: minimum of 600 on paper-based test / minimum of 100 on online test
  • IELTS: 7.0 [Top]

Mandatory Course Requirements

For each course, students must complete the following requirements:

  • Mandatory reading of ca. 150 pages is required per course per week, i.e. a total of 900 pages of substantive mandatory reading per course in total. In addition, students are provided with lists of further recommended readings in the range of 150 pages per course per week/900 pages in total.
  • Regular class attendance and active participation in class discussions
  • Short written assignments
  • Group or individual presentation
  • Extended essay (of about 2,500 to 3,000 words) or any other assignments instructed by the course coordinator(s), to be submitted towards the end of the course
  • Course Evaluation form [Top]

Daily Schedule

There are approximately fifteen 100-minute sessions per course — i.e., three sessions of courses each day (10:00–11:40, 12:30–14:10 and 14:30–16:10), though no single course will take the entire three sessions of one day. [Top]


For more information, please contact IC Secretariat at icsec@unu.edu


Elective Courses

Sustainable development

UN System , UN System and Sustainable Development

The institutional background and policy tasks of the UN system

Sustainable development

Global Change, Global Change and Planetary Boundaries

Global environmental changes and their implications on food, water & health; and various solutions including climate change adaptation & mitigation

Sustainable development

International Project Development, Principles of International Development Project

Fundamentals of planning and executing international development projects