When Japan opened its door to the world during the Meiji restoration, the government made a significant investment to modernize engineering education. Since then Japan has emerged to become one of the forerunners in various engineering fields. Engineering education at Hokkaido University started in 1876 with a clear objective namely to develop human resources who could take a lead in the development of the newly reclaimed island of Hokkaido. At present it is tasked with a new objective, to ensure that engineering students are educated in the way that prepares them to meet challenges brought about by globalization.
What is the best way to share advanced knowledge in engineering that Japan has with other countries when most of its publications is in Japanese? What is the best way to introduce diversity to the university so that Japanese students can experience differences in cultures, languages and learning environment? What is the best way to make our engineering education accessible to all? The answer is to introduce a program with English, a widely used language, as a medium of instruction. That was the concept behind the founding of the e3 program in 2000. Since then e3 has been bringing in English speaking students with diverse educational and cultural backgrounds from around the world, a sharp departure from the past when international student population consisted largely of Japanese speaking students from East Asia.
Courses at our School of Engineering are given in Japanese and in English. At present about 250 courses are available in English.