What Is the Qualifying Examination (QE)?

The qualifying examination is a test to verify students’ commitment and desire, based on their academic and extracurricular experience during the master’s program, to advance to the doctoral program and to work as a social design and management (SDM) professional* in the future.

Proposal of Specialized Research to Address a Social Problem

  • Students must give a concrete and logical proposal of the research they will conduct in their field of specialization, the stages of progress in the research, the expected outputs, and the way in which the research will contribute to the solution of a problem faced by society.

Sufficient Overall Mastery to Be a GSDM PhD Holder

  • Students are required to list the GSDM courses they have taken or plan to take, and then explain in a logical manner the competencies that they have obtained or will obtain with the aim of becoming an SDM professional.

*Social design and management (SDM) professionals are people who are able to identify social issues by applying specialized and broad-spectrum knowledge from a global perspective, and then go on to design integrative solutions by bringing together innovative technologies and public policy, and finally to collaborate with diverse stakeholders to realize the solutions. Technology alone cannot solve society’s problems; social context needs to be appreciated. Policies and systems alone also cannot solve social problems; policies and systems have to be designed and planned based on an understanding of advanced technologies.

When Is the QE Taken?

What Are the Components of the QE?

  • Paper examination
  • Group work
  • Presentation

What Does the QE Evaluate?

  • Proposal of specialized research to address a social problem (to be submitted in advance)
  • GSDM courses and acquired competencies (list to be submitted in advance)
  • Team work, communication, and leadership

Materials to Be Submitted in Advance for the Paper Examination

  • Curriculum vitae: 1 page
  • Proposal of specialized research to address a social problem: 1 page
  • List of GSDM courses and competencies acquired : 1 page

To take the QE, students must have already earned at least two credits in Advanced Science and Technology, two credits in Global Society and Public Policy, and two credits either in Problem Solving or in the Social Design and Global Leadership course (compulsory) in the Comprehensive Coursework.


  • Faculty, specially appointed program faculty, and others.

How Should I Prepare for the QE?

The following are strongly recommended.

Take time to prepare in advance how you will logically explain the SDM competencies you have acquired.

Actively take a variety of courses in the Comprehensive Coursework, rather than simply taking courses to satisfy graduation requirements.

  • International projects, project-based learning (PBL), research internship, summer camps, etc.

Participate actively in various programs outside the Comprehensive coursework.

  • GSDM Platform Seminar, Evening Lounge, international conferences, symposiums, etc.