Explore one of the most dynamic countries in East Asia and gain a unique vantage point on crucial topics of relevance across the Northeast Asian region and the globe.
Why take Korean Studies in Edinburgh?
The Korean peninsula lies at the centre of landmark geopolitical developments in the early 21st century, with an understanding of the two Koreas crucial to making sense of key processes in global security, economics, society and politics.
Our Korean Studies programmes are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to critically engage with these developments, to draw regional and historical comparisons, and to succeed in a competitive job market, in academia and beyond.
Study with us and you’ll join an international community of learners in a thriving Asian Studies department, with a unique combination of disciplinary expertise in Japanese, Chinese, Korean Studies and East Asian Relations. You'll benefit from our track record in interdisciplinary approaches to area studies, including historical and cultural analysis, as well as expertise in political science, international relations, and political economy.
We have a great programme of cultural events that promote and engage Korean Studies across the University of Edinburgh and wider community, and the city itself has lots to offer, from the Korean Film Festival (supported by us), to Korean participation in the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Academically, the University maintains strong networks in Korean Studies, ranging from Korea Foundation support for the University Library's Korea Collection, to an annual symposium held in honour of Yun Posun, an Edinburgh alumnus and eventual second president of the Republic of Korea, which brings together leading scholars from South Korea, Europe, and beyond.
What can I study?
Our one-year, taught Masters programme is made up of core and option courses, including the opportunity to learn the Korean language. Options span the Korean peninsula’s history, culture and society, its economy, urban development, public policies, politics and international relations. You'll receive training in research skills and methods and the programme finishes with a 60-credit dissertation.
Our one-year Masters by Research programme comprises training in research skills and methods (quantitative and qualitative), 80 credits of supervised research, and a 60-credit dissertation. You'll be supervised by one or more members of staff, with expertise spanning all aspects of Korean Studies and wider Asian Studies topics.
Our PhD programme is based on an original body of work - your thesis - supervised by one or more members of staff. You’ll write a dissertation of around 80,000 words and defend it in an oral examination. You’ll study for a minimum of 36 months (three years), but you may take up to 72 months, if you’d like to study part-time.
Watch Dr Youngmi Kim and Dr Holly Stephens talk about our Korean Studies programmes
Korean is one of 14 one-semester language courses open to all students at the University of Edinburgh. These foundation courses are free, whether taken as part of a degree, or above and beyond degree requirements (extra credit). They are SCQF level 07 and, if taken as part of a degree, are worth 20 credits each. You’ll receive 40-44 hours of tuition through the semester, with two two-hour classes per week. Foundation 1 is for absolute beginners who have no previous knowledge of the language. Foundation 2 is for students with some previous knowledge.
We have excellent teaching and research expertise in Korean Studies and, more widely, in Asian Studies.
Specialists include Dr Youngmi Kim, Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for our masters programmes in Korean Studies, and Dr Holly Stephens, Lecturer in Japanese and Korean Studies.
Together, Youngmi and Holly's research and teaching interests range from the history and culture of the Korean Peninsula, to comparative politics, international relations, political economy, and socio-economic inequalities.
Colleagues in Asian Studies' expertise is, again, wide-ranging and we have a strong track record in interdisciplinary approaches.
Meet our Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow / Visiting Scholar
We are delighted to welcome Dr Gabor Sebo to Korean Studies at Edinburgh as our Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow / Visiting Scholar for the 2019/20 academic year.
Originally from Hungary, Gabor obtained his PhD from the Department of North Korean Studies at the Korea University, South Korea in 2018. His research examines the unorthodox cinematic approach of the South Korean film director, Shin Sang-ok, brought into the politically dominated film trajectory of North Korea between 1983 and 1986.
Gabor is the author of a number of publications and conference papers on the topic of North Korean cinema.