Within the Department of Earth Resources, Marine and Civil Engineering there are three courses - Civil Engineering, Naval Architecture and Marine Systems Engineering, and Earth System Engineering - and one theme that each of these courses seeks to address is the "creation of a new environment in which nature and human society are in harmony." Ideas are of great importance as a means of achieving harmony with the environment in a manner that ensures the continuation of a rich and sustainable society. However, ideas alone will not suffice and they need to be backed up by many technological solutions founded securely in engineering theory. The objective of the courses offered at the Department of Earth Resources, Marine and Civil Engineering is to cultivate people with excellent engineering knowledge and technical skills, who also have the power and initiative to solve problems.
The 21st century has only just begun and it is a century that promises a bright future for humanity. However, there are still many challenges that remain unresolved and many obstacles still remain. In order to overcome these obstacles we are called upon to create new paradigms, new environments and new knowledge that set out a future vision for the future of the global environment. The expectations of modern society on the students at the Department of Earth Resources, Marine and Civil Engineering are therefore extremely large.
The photograph on the left shows scenes from core seminars that students take in their first year, which aim to provide education that stimulate creativity. During these core seminars all first year students are assigned to all the research laboratories of the Department of Earth Resources, Marine and Civil Engineering, where they engage in research activities. The photographs show, from the left-hand side, students investigating uses of volcanic geothermal heat, assembling an engine, trying out strength designs using pasta, ascertaining self-induced oscillation, and reporting their findings.
On this course students learn about the power of nature, and gain comprehensive engineering skills about designing safe buildings and rational use of public spaces. At the same time, students learn about the various human qualities that are required to protect the natural and cultural environments, and the sense of justice and responsibility technicians and researchers must possess as they seek to grow as internationally minded people capable of thinking on a global scale.
After students have selected a major, they start to learn about their chosen specialty. These include majors in social infrastructure and structures (structural engineering, earthquake engineering), disaster prevention and geotechnical engineering (disaster prevention engineering, geotechnical engineering), environmental and watershed system engineering (environmental engineering, natural regeneration science, coastal engineering, river engineering), and transport and urban planning (transport planning, urban planning, landscape engineering).
Graduates of the Civil Engineering Course progress into a wide range of careers. Some examples of the sectors in which our alumni are active are as follows. National public servants (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Ministry of Defense; Ministry of the Environment, etc.); local government servants (prefectures mainly in Kyushu, ordinance-designated cities, including Fukuoka); power and gas companies (Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc.; Tokyo Electric Power Company; Saibu Gas Co., Ltd., etc.); rail and road-related companies (JR Kyushu; JR West; JR East; West, East and Central Nippon Expressway companies, etc.); general construction companies (Kajima Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, Taisei Corporation, Obayashi Corporation, etc.); and steel and heavy industries (Nippon Steel Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, etc.).
The future development of Japan, a country with a small national territory and surrounded by ocean, cannot be conceived without due consideration being given to effective utilization of our oceans, including maritime transportation for the procurement of energy and resources that support our society and lifestyles and the supply of goods, as well as marine resource development and food production.
Education on naval architecture and marine systems engineering encompasses the technology required for effective utilization of our oceans and on this course students will learn about a wide variety of technological fields that form the basics of engineering, including construction, fluids, heat, materials and control systems. In addition to the basics the curriculum also features special fields of study, enabling students to acquaint themselves with integrated knowledge about systems engineering that is required for the actual design and construction of large ocean-going vessels and marine structures.
As part of the curriculum students take part in a factory internship placement in the summer of their third year, at a shipyard or a steel plant, giving them the opportunity to gain practical experience and see the reality of systems engineering from all angles. The course also includes design exercises, in which students conceive their own design and go through all the design drawing phases themselves. In addition, as planning and design of vessels and marine structures and production management includes the use of computers in all aspects, students are also taught about aspects of design including programming and numerical analysis and simulations.
Employers give graduates of the Naval Architecture and Marine Systems Engineering Course a high evaluation and at the time when students start looking for employment the number of places available always exceeds the actual number of students. This allows students to choose freely their career and job destination from various companies and research institutions, including the transportation equipment, heavy machinery and heavy industry sectors. Many students continue with further study and research, progressing to masters or doctoral programs.
In this course students receive lectures and tuition into various aspects of engineering, including the composition of underground resources (minerals, energy), exploration, development, processing and environment restoration. They deepen their understanding of the subject through experiments and exercises both under laboratory conditions and through field work. Another program in the course is a group holiday over a number of days in the two semesters of the second year, where students examine ground quality and visit mines and factories for themselves. This is followed by a two-week summer internship in the third year, when students are dispatched to extraction sites for petroleum, coal, iron ore or limestone, or to environmental and recycling-related companies or geothermal power stations. This kind of practical experience is not limited to Japan and students are actively encouraged to go on placements overseas. Every year approximately 10 students experience internships in other countries.
In the fourth year students engage in research for their graduation thesis, which includes application of theory, experimentation and field work. There are seven specialized areas from which students can choose. These are: applied geology, geophysical exploration, geothermic systems, resources development engineering, rock engineering and mining systems development, resource processing and environmental restoration, and energy resources engineering. Within these seven areas, graduation theses can focus on such topics as mineral and energy resources, underground water, environment and safety/disaster prevention, and resources recycling, etc. Every year more than 70% of students progress to graduate school where they further advance their research topics. The results of research projects are then announced through academic associations in Japan and overseas. Career paths for alumni with both bachelor and masters degrees are many and varied, such as resources and energy-related companies, including petroleum, coal, geothermal or metal resources, cement, and power generation; environment and recycling-related companies; geological consulting companies; trading companies; and the public sector.