MSc in Korean Studies


Program Description

Programme description

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 a group forum on Learn.

Programme structure

Semester 1

Core: Research skills and methods for Asian Studies 1

Electives to be chosen from:

  • Quantitative Methods: Survey data
  • 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
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Korean Language Beginner 2 (if Korean Language Beginner 1 was taken in Semester 1)

MSc Dissertation

  • MSc in Korean Studies Dissertation (60 credits)

Work placements/internships

Although not mandatory, you will be encouraged to take on an internship during the 3rd semester in either the UK or South Korea. Potential partners include the East Asia Institute, Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Seoul National University Asia Centre and the Yun Posun Democracy Institute in South Korea.

Learning outcomes

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.

Career opportunities

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 teamwork. Such knowledge and skills will be valuable assets in 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.

Entry requirements

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

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration
  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • PTE(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

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

Scholarships and funding

The programme will familiarise both prospective applicants and enrolled students with various funding opportunities. At present, these include scholarship options from the Korea Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, SK Foundation, ASAN Foundation, Samsung Foundation.

Last updated Apr 2019

About the School

An international community at the heart of the University of Edinburgh, drawing connections between people and cultures and surrounded by world-class resources and collections.

An international community at the heart of the University of Edinburgh, drawing connections between people and cultures and surrounded by world-class resources and collections. Read less