Postgraduate study

Korean Studies MScR

Awards: MScR

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. A Masters by Research (MScR) in Korean Studies gives you the knowledge and skills to critically engage with the complexities of the two Koreas, and East Asian relations, in a global context.

An MScR is ideal if you have a clear idea of the independent research you wish to undertake at masters level. Join our community and undertake a project comprising research assignments and a 15,000-word dissertation under the guidance of an experienced and well-published supervisor.

Part of an Asian Studies department with a unique combination of disciplinary expertise in Korean Studies, Japanese, Chinese, and East Asian Relations, we have particular strengths in:

  • modern Korean history
  • Korean society and culture
  • political economy
  • urban studies
  • security
  • public policy
  • political science
  • international relations

This programme includes 40 credits of training on research skills, methods and problems.

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
MScR1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

Between the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), you’ll find a range of programmes and resources to help you develop your postgraduate skills.

You will also have access to the University’s fantastic libraries, collections and worldwide strategic partnerships.

Our graduates tell us that they value LLC’s friendliness, the connections they make here and the in-depth guidance they receive from our staff, who are published experts in their field.

As part of our research community, you will be immersed in a world of knowledge exchange, with lots of opportunities to share ideas, learning and creative work.

Activities range from a regular seminar series in Asian Studies (with talks by staff, research students and visiting speakers) to the annual Korean Film Festival, and year-round screenings and workshops.

We play a key role in the yearly symposium held in honour of Edinburgh alumnus Yun Posun, bringing together leading scholars from South Korea, Europe and beyond.

Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK, bringing together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books, six kilometres of archives and manuscripts, and the University’s collections of art, historical musical instruments and other objects.

Notable collections include the East Asian Studies Collection of some 50,000 print and digital resources, including a dedicated Korea Collection supported by the Korea Foundation.

As a research student here, you will be based at the heart of the University of Edinburgh in a world-leading festival city with a thriving East Asian cultural scene.

Many important collections are a short walk from our buildings, including those in the National Library, Museum and Galleries of Scotland.

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

Drawing on different analytical and methodological tools, you will be able to engage various disciplinary and theoretical perspectives and apply concepts to empirical cases.

You will gain the necessary knowledge and skills to analyse, compare and assess competing claims and make informed judgements about them.

You will additionally 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 in a range of careers.

Having acquired the tools to analyse and understand the complexities of the two Koreas and East Asian relations in a global context, you could progress to a doctoral degree (second year) or apply your skills in professional areas, such as:

  • diplomacy
  • national and international organisations
  • research institutions

If you choose to pursue a career in an alternative field, you will find the skills you gain in research, communication, presentation and analysis will give you an edge in the competitive employment marketplace.

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.

MScR: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.

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.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall 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
MScR1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

We can make applicants and enrolled students aware of funding opportunities for this programme.

At present, these include scholarship options from the Korea Foundation, and from the Academy of Korean Studies.

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

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.

You must submit two references with your application.

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

For a Masters by Research programme, you should include:

  • a sample of written work of about 3,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree)
  • a research proposal - an outline of your proposed area of study, helping us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve

See our guidance:

Before you apply, you should look at the interests and expertise of our research community on the programme website. This will help you decide if this programme is right for you and your supervision needs.

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