MA Korean Studies


Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

This degree is designed either to prepare the student for advanced graduate work in a wide range of subjects related to Korea or as an end/qualification in itself.

The programme explores the history, politics, art, music and literature of Korea, as well as providing opportunities to study the languages of the region.

The MA in Korean Studies consists of four components. Students choose one major course and two minor courses.

Students who plan to go on to further research can take a higher-level Korean language course as a minor.

Students take three taught courses and must also complete a 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic.


As a student specialising in Korean, you will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of Korea.

Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in both business and the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.


Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 15 credit compulsory module. You must take a further 105 credits from taught modules. Of the taught modules, students select 30 credits which will be their major, a further 60-75 credits from the list of majors/minors. 30 credits may be taken from the approved open options list.

As the emphasis in the Regional Studies programmes is on interdisciplinary study, students are required to select their modules from a minimum of three different disciplines, and a maximum of 60 credits may be taken in any one discipline.

Compulsory Dissertation

  • Dissertation in Korea Studies

Core Module

  • Connections and Intersections: Core Aspects of East Asian Studies

Taught Component

Students choose modules to the value of 105 credits from the options below.


Of the 105 credits, students must select 30 credits from the same discipline as a major. Credits less than 30 credits will be considered minor only.


  • The Two Koreas since 1953 (PG)
  • The Making of Modern Korea, 1864-1953


  • Readings in Korean Literature (PG)
  • Translating Korean Literature (PG)
  • Literary Traditions and Culture of Korea (PG)
  • Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature (PG)
  • Fieldwork methods in language and culture (PG)


  • International politics of East Asia
  • Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan


  • Arts of Koryo and Chosen Korea
  • Modern and Contemporary Korean Art


  • Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters)
  • Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters)


  • Directed readings in Korean Studies A
  • Directed readings in Korean Studies B
  • Structure of the Korean Language (PG)
  • Advanced Korean Readings (PG)
  • Media Spectacle and Urban Space in East Asia
  • Practical Translation: English into Korean


  • Korean 1 A (PG)
  • Korean 1 B (PG)
  • Korean 2 (PG)
  • Intermediate Korean (PG)
  • Introduction to Mixed Script Korean (PG)
  • Korean Readings (PG)
  • History of the Korean Language (PG)
  • Structure of the Korean Language (PG)
  • Chinese 1 A (PG)
  • Chinese 1 B (PG)
  • Reading Classical and Literary Chinese (PG)
  • Japanese 1 A (PG)
  • Japanese 1 B (PG)

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Nov 2019

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