Courses for Undergraduate Students
In Kyoto University, the courses are generally divided into 2 groups. Those conducted by Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences (ILAS, Kokusai Koto Kyoikuin) and those conducted by your faculty. I am a student in the Faculty of Science and I took ILAS's classes exclusively for my first semester. There are a lot of classes which are divided into several categories and is available for all the students in the university regardless of the faculty, and thus they are called "全学共通科目" in Japanese, which means "courses available for all Kyoto University students" .
As a student majoring in science, I took classes mainly from 'Natural Science Category' as my fundamental courses, such as Calculus, Linear Algebra, Newton's Mechanics and so on. Although the contents are fundamental, the way of thinking and solving the university-level problems is very different from my experience in high school. By the way, all those courses emphasize solving problems by using advanced mathematics, so I feel as if I were taking 5 or 6 math courses every week! Some freshmen with great motivation and enough fundamental knowledge are taking advanced classes directly from their faculties, which are usually for the 2-graders or even 3-graders,
In addition to the fundamental courses that are related to your major, courses from other categories are also available (and also, compulsory for those who want to graduate...). Some people may feel unpleasant due to their unwillingness to take courses from other fields, but actually there are extremely diverse courses in ILAS and you are bound to find one that you are interested in. For me, I love Japanese linguistics so I took 'Gengaku (The study of Japanese Linguistics)', and I plan to take Comparative Linguistics next semester. I am also interested in sociology, so I took a class related to sociology this semester in English, which may also help me learn English at the same time. These courses will broaden your horizon, enrich your thoughts and wisdom, and allow you to make new friends that have the same interests.
Last but not least, since you will become a regular student after passing the qualifying test, you will take all classes the same as Japanese students take, even for those taught in English or taught by a foreign teacher. You will have full freedom, the same as Japanese students have, to choose what course and in which language to take. (Actually, Japanese language classes are the exceptions, though...) You can also take classes in Japanese if you are confident enough or want to make more Japanese friends. Most fundamental subjects have their English versions with almost the same contents(known as E2), and there are a lot of unique topics that are only taught in English in social science fields.
〈written by Kyoto iUP student in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science〉