Postgraduate study

Korean Studies MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Korean Studies

The Korean peninsula lies at the centre of landmark geopolitical developments in the early 21st century. North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and tensions between the two Koreas serve as stark reminders of the fragility of regional and global orders. South Korea has become a major global economic player and an important actor in development assistance. Additionally, Korean culture (including pop culture) has surged to global popularity over the past decade and exported across the globe. Understanding Korean culture, history, current political and economic developments, and international relations is therefore crucial to make sense of key processes in global security, economics and politics in Asia and beyond.

The MSc in Korean Studies is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to critically engage with these developments through recognised Masters-level training in both Korean Studies and East Asian Studies with a focus on history, society, the economy, urban studies, public policy, politics and international relations. The unique combination of Korean, East Asian and disciplinary expertise will enable you to acquire both in-depth knowledge about the Korean peninsula and the analytical skills to make connections between the Korean experience and other countries in the East Asian region and beyond.

The MSc programme in Korean Studies will introduce a variety of innovative assignments to draw on your interests and talents. The various assignments include video-essays, podcasts, blogs, Wikipedia entries, policy briefs and review articles or editorials. During the induction week, you will have various seminars and workshops where you will be familiarised with the new assignments and their requirements. Active participation among students and between students and instructors will be encouraged not only in the traditional classroom format but also online through collective lecture note taking and in group forum on Learn.

*(Revised 29 May 2019 to remove mention of optional internships, these are not offered on this programme.)

Semester 1

Core: Research skills and methods for Asian Studies 1

Electives to be chosen from:*

  • Korean Politics and International Relations
  • Political Economy of Korea’s Development: Globalisation and Inequality
  • Korean Language Beginner 1

Semester 2

Core: Research skills and methods for Asian Studies 2

Electives to be chosen from:*

  • Korean History, Culture and Society
  • Unwritten Korea: Understanding Korean society and culture through contemporary arts and films
  • Global Cities: Seoul in Comparative Perspective
  • Korean Language Beginner 2 (if Korean Language Beginner 1 was taken in Semester 1)

MSc Dissertation

MSc in Korean Studies Dissertation (60 credits)

*(Revised 16 April 2019 to update the list of elective courses.)

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScKorean Studies1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Students who follow the programme will achieve the following skills:

  • Academic skills to understand and explain contemporary social issues in Korea and East Asia, drawing from broader comparative perspectives across the world.
  • A strong understanding of theoretical and conceptual tools in Social and Political Science and International Relations, Urban Policies, and History.
  • Ability to conduct research on the specific issues and analyse the global issues critically.
  • Knowledge of history and historical contexts.
  • Linguistic competences from Korean, Japanese and Chinese.
  • Sound knowledge of the East Asian region and its international role.
  • Regional knowledge, especially regarding funding bodies on research in South Korea and the neighbouring countries.
  • Familiarity with digital techniques and experience making podcasts, video essays, and blogs.
  • Social skills necessary to work together with peer students and academics.

You will acquire an interdisciplinary understanding of key issues in Korean society, politics and international relations, history and economics and will be able to relate those to broader social, political, and economic trends in the East Asian region and globally.

You will be able to engage various disciplinary and theoretical perspectives and apply concepts to empirical cases. You will also gain the necessary knowledge and skills to analyse, compare and assess competing claims and make informed judgements about them.

You will gain transferable skills, including analysis presentation, communication, the use of new technologies in an innovative learning environment, and team work. Such knowledge and skills will be valuable assets on the job market.

This qualification could lead to a career in national and international institutions, government and the private sector, diplomacy, media, and research institutions.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScKorean Studies1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

We will make prospective applicants and enrolled students aware of funding opportunities that are available for this programme. At present these include scholarship options from the Korea Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, SK Foundation, Asian Foundation and the Samsung Foundation.

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH