Promoting language education (ALESS/ALESA, FLOW, TLP)

These language programs aim to ensure that the active language skills our students develop are more than just simple communication tools—our goal is for participants to improve the logical construction of their thought and speech and the confidence to discuss global issues with speakers of other languages from around the world.

Features of programs promoting language education (ALESS/ALESA, FLOW, TLP)

The ALESS and ALESA programs run by the Center for Global Communication Strategies within the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo were set up in the 2008 (ALESS) and  2013 (ALESA) academic years. Since then, we have implemented a variety of initiatives toward establishing ground-breaking English-language curricula that focus on active student engagement. In addition to the creation of academic papers in English, which is at the heart of these programs, since the 2015 academic year we have held classes (FLOW) that emphasize developing participants’ speaking abilities, including those needed for academic discussions and presentations in an academic setting.

We also offer another education program, the Trilingual Program (TLP), which provides intensive training for participants to become proficient in another foreign language in addition to Japanese and English.


  • English writing is a compulsory course for the first year students, with the ALESS program for science students and the ALESA program for arts students.
  • The objective of these programs is for students to be able to write a short paper using formal written vocabulary and academic conventions, such as conventions surrounding structure and evidence, and in the case of science students the common IMRD format (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion).
  • Students also present their ideas orally in English on research projects that they have carried out, questions and answers between students in English.
  • Students learn the basic conventions of academic writing, such as citations and references, and learn to structure a short paper that sets out a clear purpose.
  • Students develop their ability to fulfill this purpose using appropriate argumentative steps that are backed up by evidence.

FLOW (Fluency-oriented Workshop)

  • This is a term-length (7-week) compulsory class taken by all first year students.
  • The objective of this program is for students to hold academic discussions in English.
  • All classes take place in English, and are developed in such a way as to guide students in polishing their speaking and conversational skills in an academic context.
  • In addition, students learn to critically reflect on their own English speaking abilities, and through this to analyze their strengths and weaknesses in order to be more able to independently improve after the class finishes.

The University of Tokyo Trilingual Program (TLP)

This educational program is aimed at students who are acknowledged as having a high level of English proficiency when they enter the University (in the top 10% of incoming students), and provides intensive training for participants to become proficient in another language in addition to Japanese and English.

  • We offer programs for Chinese, German, French, Russian, Korean, and Spanish.
  • The period of study is one and a half years while the student is enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences Junior Division. Students who fulfill the requirements for completion will receive a certificate.
  • In the Senior Division of the College of Arts and Sciences, TLP moves forward a step, from “studying a language” to “studying in a language.”
  • Our aim is for students to gain an in-depth education and a keen awareness of issues relevant to an age of globalization.