Professor USUI Hideyuki

In April 2025, the Faculty of System Informatics (provisional name) will be established at Kobe University, aiming to develop talented individuals who can solve social problems and create new value based on expertise in AI (artificial intelligence), data science and supercomputers. The keyword of its education is “comprehensive knowledge.” Systems to be introduced include a “reverse liberal arts education,” where students will study specialized subjects immediately after enrolment and later complete liberal arts studies with a sense of purpose. What kind of future does the new faculty have in mind? We asked Professor USUI Hideyuki, dean of the Graduate School of System Informatics.

Just six years from university admission to a doctorate

Why are you establishing a Faculty of System Informatics?


The field of digital information is developing rapidly, and both governments and companies are urgently seeking to nurture specialist human resources. The need is not simply to collect and process information, but to link information to human life and to think about how to utilize it to solve social issues.

Kobe University was selected as a “high-level university” in the “2023 Support Project for Strengthening the Functions of Universities and Technical Colleges” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to develop such advanced information specialists, which combines scale and quality. It is one of seven universities in Japan. As a result of its selection for this project, Kobe University will reorganize its faculties and significantly expand its admission capacity.

Curriculum of the Faculty of System Informatics

Currently, Kobe University has the Graduate School of System Informatics (established in 2010). However, there is no independent organization at the undergraduate level and no straight link to the graduate school. This time, the Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering will become an independent faculty, and the undergraduate and postgraduate schools will be operated in unison to increase their impact.

How exactly will the faculty operate in collaboration with the graduate school?


It will be like a special educational zone within the university, where students can complete their undergraduate studies and obtain a doctoral degree in a minimum of six years. The current curriculum generally requires four years for undergraduate studies, two years for a master’s and three years for a doctorate in the overall doctoral program, making a total of nine years. The new curriculum, on the other hand, will allow students to graduate and complete their undergraduate and doctoral studies in three years each at the shortest possible time.

Of course, early degree completion is limited to particularly outstanding students. However, we believe that this system has the advantage of increasing motivation to enter postgraduate studies and of sending highly specialized information professionals out into the world at an early stage.

One of the features of the new faculty is the “reverse liberal arts education,” which will be incorporated into the curriculum to enable such early graduation and completion of degrees.

A curriculum that allows immediate specialization upon enrollment

What are the specifics of the curriculum?


Immediately after entering the faculty, students focus on specialized subjects in system informatics. In addition to mathematics and engineering, students acquire specialized knowledge in AI, data science, programming and systems science. Then, after acquiring specialized knowledge, students study a broad range of liberal arts subjects to help make that knowledge more useful in society.

In today’s universities, students typically spend approximately the first two years studying a wide range of liberal arts subjects, such as literature, law and economics. While this has the advantage of broadening one’s horizons, it has also been observed that some students who enter the university with a strong desire to specialize in a particular field of study may lose their enthusiasm for it.

The new faculty’s curriculum allows students to make the most of their ambition at the time of enrolment. In terms of language learning, we prioritize English that is relevant to the specialized field first. By learning specialized knowledge first, students will also get a better idea of what kind of education they need to make use of this knowledge in society.

Taking specializations first also has the advantage of making it easier for students to study abroad in the second half of their university career. Under the current curriculum, many specializations have to be taken in the third or fourth year of university, and some students give up the idea of studying abroad. In the new faculty, students will be able to choose to study abroad for a year during their studies and graduate in four years in total.

In recent years, many universities have established new faculties with the word “information” in their name, but what is the idea behind the name “Faculty of System Informatics”?


Systems exist everywhere. For example, the human body, organizations such as schools, and devices such as cameras can all be considered systems. A system is not about considering each individual part separately, but about considering how to move, control and develop them as a whole.

The name of this faculty means that we deal with information from this perspective. We see information as one element that facilitates the smooth operation of various systems in the world, and we will research how to use it to solve social problems and create value.

The new faculty will introduce an educational program called “Co-Creation & Collaboration (C?),” in which students will work together with postgraduate students and others to think about different fields of study as a place of practice. The program has already been tried in the graduate school, but we would like to incorporate it into the third year of undergraduate studies to provide an opportunity for students to think about how they can make use of their own specialization in society. Through discussions with graduate students and faculty members with different specializations, we hope to create opportunities for value creation that we had never imagined.

Emphasizing “comprehensive knowledge” for a wide range of career choices

What career paths are possible after graduation and completion?


I think students can make use of their studies in a wide range of fields, not only in the IT industry, but also in infrastructure, transport, finance, medicine, and space, for example. I think students can also work in various manufacturing industries, where you can keep an eye on market trends and link this to product development.

Currently, about 80% of students in the Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering go on to graduate school. One of the characteristics of science is that many students hone their basic skills for working in companies during their postgraduate studies. Of course, some go on to become full-fledged researchers. As the new faculties are also basically science-related, this trend towards postgraduate study may continue.

Message to those interested in the new faculty.


We use the expression “people who connect the future with the times” as the image of the talent that the new faculty aims to nurture. We want to nurture people who have mastered the specialized knowledge of system informatics, and who also have the comprehensive knowledge and leadership skills to design the future.

At high school, many students may be interested only in a specific field, thinking “I want to make game software” or “I want to learn about AI.” That’s fine, and I think it’s fine for them to broaden their horizons after they enter the university. The new faculty is also characterized by its emphasis on students’ diversity at the admission examination stage. Various systems will be introduced, such as school-recommended selection (including a quota for women).

In this day and age, and even in just a few years from now, the world will be changing dramatically. We do not know what growth fields will emerge. That is why we also want to increase the number of young teachers in diverse fields. It is precisely because we live in an era where the future is unpredictable that it is worth taking on these challenges. We want to explore new worlds with a frontier spirit.


March 1986Graduated from Electrical Engineering II, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University
September 1992Research Assistant, Research Centre for Ultra-High Radio Waves, Kyoto University
March 1994Completed Doctoral program in Electronic Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University
April 1997Long-term overseas researcher, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley, USA
April 1999Associate Professor, Research Centre for Very High Altitude Radio Waves, Kyoto University
(Reorganized as the Research Centre for Space borne Radio Science in 2000 and the Research Institute for Ars Vivendi in 2004)
April 2009Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Kobe University
April 2010Professor, Graduate School of System Informatics, Kobe University (specializing in computational space science)
April 2024Dean, Graduate School of System Informatics, Kobe University

Faculty of System Informatics (provisional name)

A new faculty that will spin off from the Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering, with the first intake in April 2025. The admission capacity is 150 (the current department has 107). General selection: 130 (110 in the early scheduled entry, 20 in the later scheduled entry); school-recommended selection (for female applicants): 15; special selection for “Kokorozashi (aspirational applicants)” without the Common University Entrance Test: 5; special selection for privately-funded international students: several. The subjects and scores for the general selection are the same as those for the Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering.

The main features of the department include a “reverse liberal arts education” in which students take liberal arts courses after studying a specialized field, an early graduation system, and integrated operation of the undergraduate and graduate schools. Students can also obtain teaching licenses for information technology in high school and mathematics in junior high and high school. A new building at the Rokkodai campus is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

In line with the establishment of the new faculty, the admission capacity of the existing Graduate School of System Informatics will be expanded. The number of students in the first semester (master’s program) will be raised in stages to 135 (currently 80) and the number of students in the second semester (doctoral program) to 21 (currently 12).

Preparatory office for the Faculty of System Informatics (Japanese)

* Students transferring into the third year in 2025 and 2026 will be placed in the existing Department of Computer Science and Systems Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering.

* The new Faculty is currently being conceived and the content may be subject to change.


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