Korean Studies

Studying the Korean language as well as its contemporary history, politics, security, economy and society provides students with a deeper understanding of the issues pertaining to the Korean peninsula and its neighbours.

Why Korean Studies?

Korea has a growing presence in Asia and the world. It has been a divided nation since the end of the Japanese colonial rule and the second world war in 1945 and the subsequent separate governments in 1948. The two Koreas are still technically at war as the Korean War between 1950-1953 did not end with a peace treaty. In 2019, while South Korea's Gross Domestic Product per capita has surpassed US$30,000, North Korea is still one of the poorest countries but with nuclear weapons. K-pop and K-drama are played at every corner in and across Asia and increasingly the world, including Australia. But there is more to this in Korea than meets the eye.

Studying the Korean language as well as its contemporary history, politics, security, economy and society provides students with a deeper understanding of the issues pertaining to the Korean peninsula and its neighbours. Korean Studies at the University of Melbourne was launched in July 2017 and is the fastest growing study area. We offer Korean language subjects from beginners to more advanced as well as four Korean Studies subjects. Korean Politics and Society (KORE30001) is an overseas study subject where best-performing students are selected to conduct fieldwork in Korea for two weeks, supervised by the program convenor and visiting field sites including the Demilitarised Zone.

Why Korean Studies at Melbourne?

As the No.1 research university in Australia, the University of Melbourne works toward establishing the country's best Korean Studies programme. The inaugural senior lectureship has been generously funded by the Korea Foundation under the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The University appointed Dr Jay Song in July 2017, who is a well-known academic and practitioner in migration, human rights and North Korea in the field with vast experiences at universities, think-tanks and the United Nations in South Korea, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Switzerland. As of March 2019, four new subjects on Korea are available for students: Korean 1 (KORE10001), Contemporary Korea (ASIA20006), Two Koreas in the World (KORE20001), and Korean Politics and Society (KORE30001). Korean Politics and Society (KORE30001) is an intensive overseas study subject during the winter term. North Korean Security and Politics (KORE30002) is available from 2020.

Korean Studies at Melbourne is aimed at training best future Koreanists and improving their in-depth critical thinking around contemporary Korean affairs. Firmly grounded on basic Korean language skills, the curriculum is designed to produce highly informed professionals in multidisciplinary aspects of Korean politics, international relations, economy, design, technology, cultures and society. Graduates can join governments, international organisation, business, the media and civil society.

How can I study Korean Studies?

Undergraduate students can study Korean Studies as:

Korean Studies can also be studied through the following:

The Asia Institute offers a range of subjects in Korean Studies. Some examples include:

Where can Korean Studies take me?

A specialisation in Korean Studies can led to government, business, media and civil society, dealing with the Korean peninsula. In the Australian context, South Korea (with its 50-million strong population) is the fourth largest trading partner and third largest global export market. Commonwealth and state government departments are constantly looking for expertise on Korean affairs. With growing people-to-people exchanges between the Koreas and Australia, there are various aspects of international collaboration in technology, science and engineering, urban design, arts, culture and environment. In-depth and critical knowledge of Korea would be a significant asset for graduates seeking employment in those bilateral relations.