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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo?

BA Program in Liberal Arts

MA Program in Educational Leadership and Societal Change

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What does "Soka" mean?

Soka is a Japanese term meaning to "create value."

Value creation is the capacity to find meaning, to enhance one's own existence and to contribute to the well being of others under any circumstances. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the Japanese educator whose writings inspired the concept of Soka education, believed that individuals have the unique ability to create value and that education should guide us toward that end.

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What is the history of Soka University of America?

Soka University has a proud heritage. Soka education has its origins in the work of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a Japanese educator and Buddhist leader. During World War II, Makiguchi was arrested by Japanese military authorities for his opposition to the war and for his defense of religious freedom. He died in prison in 1944.

The small education society that Makiguchi founded in 1930 has since grown to become one of the world's largest lay Buddhist organizations. Today, members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) work for education, cultural exchange, and peace in over 190 countries.

In 1987 Soka University of America (SUA), an independent not-for-profit organization incorporated in the state of California.  SUA's Graduate School opened in Calabasas in 1994 offering a master's program specializing in Second and Foreign Language Education, with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL.)  The four year liberal arts college opened in Aliso Viejo in 2001. 

In June 2005, Soka University of America was accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC.)  In 2007 the Graduate Program transferred to the Aliso Viejo campus, uniting both programs on one campus for the first time. In 2009 construction began on the Soka Performing Arts Center and Wangari Maathai Hall, which both opened in September 2011.  SUA announced its new Masters Program in Educational Leadership and Societal Change in 2013 and it opened in 2014.

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Why was this new university built in the United States?

Daisaku Ikeda, Founder of SUA, gave three reasons for constructing SUA's campus in the United States:

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What is SUA's Mission?

"The mission of Soka University of America is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life." Daisaku Ikeda, Founder, Soka University of America
(See Mission and Values)

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What does the logo mean?

SUA's logo depicts the nib of a pen flanked by the wings of a legendary Chinese bird that can fly great distances and that comes to earth only where there is something precious. The pen represents wisdom and the wings symbolize the ability to put knowledge and wisdom into the service of humanity.

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How is SUA funded?

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Where is the campus?

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What does the campus look like?

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Is the campus finished?

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When did Soka University's Aliso Viejo campus admit its first class?

SUA admitted its first 120 first year undergraduate students from 18 countries and 18 states on August 24, 2001 at its first Entrance Ceremony.

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Does SUA have scheduled times for visiting?

Interested students may sign up on SUA's Information Request Form to receive information about the campus. High school students and their families are invited to attend Lions Roar student campus days in October and November.  If you cannot come at one of these times, SUA provides guided tours Monday-Saturday at either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. with reservations.  (Saturday tours are by appointment only and are subject to the availability of a tour guide.) You may also enjoy breakfast ($8.25), lunch ($10.25) or dinner ($11.25) in the Soka Bistro (located in the Student Center.)  Brunch ($10.25) is served on weekends from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. You can check out the menu before you come!

Can I see a catalog of classes?

Yes!  The undergraduate catalog is available online.

Can I see the Academic Calendar?

Yes!  The Academic Calendar is available online.

How much does it cost to go to SUA?  Is there financial aid?

Tuition and Financial Aid information is available online.  Our Netprice Calculator can help you estimate costs. Please call or email us at admission@soka.edu if you have questions.

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