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.

About our programme

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.

Semester 1

Core: Research skills and methods for Asian Studies 1 Core: Korean Politics and International Relations

Electives to be chosen from may include:

  • Political Economy of Korea’s Development: Globalisation and Inequality
  • Unwritten Korea: Understanding Korean society and culture through contemporary arts and films
  • Korean Language Beginner 1

Semester 2

Core: Research skills and methods for Asian Studies 2

Electives to be chosen from may include:

  • Korean History, Culture and Society
  • 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)

Teaching and assessment

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.

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
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2022/23

You 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
  • 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
  • research institutions

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 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
  • your tuition fee 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
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 31 July 2022

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

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