- Global Careers
Students in Korea Studies are encouraged to work as research assistants for visiting scholars and staff at the US-Korea Institute (USKI) at SAIS, an independent research institute that sponsors the Korea Studies Program.
Korea Studies organizes a monthly luncheon that features prominent policymakers, practitioners and scholars of Korean affairs to speak about a wide range of critical issues in the region and share their fields of research and expertise. Open exclusively to the school's community, the luncheon is intended to provide a forum for informal and candid exchanges between guest speakers and students.
Tasked with a mission to increase understanding in and about the Korean peninsula through educational offerings, research and public outreach, USKI hosts a variety of Korea-related events, seminars and conferences throughout the year. One of USKI’s monthly events is the USKI Brown Bag Lunch Seminar, which invites leading scholars and practitioners of Korean affairs to share their research interests and career experiences in a casual and intimate setting. All students are welcome to attend USKI’s public and school community-only events.
Students are encouraged to participate in the language exchange program between USKI visiting scholars and SAIS students each semester. Visiting scholars enjoy the opportunity to engage with students, learn about another culture, and can often be a good resource for course work and future research.
Every year, the US-Korea Institute offers academic and summer fellowships to competitive students who have demonstrated academic excellence and commitment to Korea studies. Academic year fellowship applications are due mid-February of the preceding semester. More information can be found under "External Resources."
Korea Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives
Entering Class 2016-2017
MA students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 courses (48 credits) or 14 courses (56 credits) as approved by Academic Affairs.
Students concentrating in Korea Studies must take at least 3 courses within this program. One of the courses must be The Politics of Vortex? Political History of South Korea (SA.765.704).
Students also must fulfill the general requirements for the field of Asian Studies, that is, an additional 3 Asian Studies courses, outside of Korea Studies. One of those courses must be from China Studies and one must be from Japan Studies.
Students in Korea Studies also have the option of pursuing a specialization in the International Relations of Asia (AsiaIR).
Students must complete 4 courses within this program.
· Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
· International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
· International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Microeconomics in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.
Students must receive a 2.67 average in the 4 required economics courses or they must retake a course(s) until a 2.67 average is obtained. If any of the 4 courses are achieved by passing a waiver exam or during Pre-Term, the student must substitute an economics elective course(s) in place of the waived course(s) in order to fulfill the economics requirement above. In this case, SAIS will use the highest economics program elective course grade(s) to compute this average if a student is replacing one or more of the 4 required courses of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory or International Monetary Theory.
Students must complete one course from the list below.
· Statistical Methods for Business & Economics
· Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
· Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
· Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
· Risk Analysis and Modeling
· Quantitative Global Economics (prerequisite International Monetary Theory)
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.
All SAIS students must pass 2 core exams and/or courses in addition to their concentration requirements. Korea Studies concentrators must pass Comparative Politics as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the second core is not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll in second core course.
· American Foreign Policy Since World War II
· Comparative Politics (new name Comparative National Systems)
· Evolution of the International Systems
· Theories of International Relations
Korea Studies MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in Korean. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering SAIS. Native Korean speakers must pass proficiency in a second language which can include English.
Korea Studies MA concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstones:
*For those whose final semester is fall, consult the Program Director for due date.
The Korea Studies Program offers a unique interdisciplinary education that aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of Korea’s modern domestic politics, economics and history, as well as its foreign policy relations with the United States and neighboring Asian nations. In addition to taking courses that are offered by Korea Studies, students are required to take classes from other Asian Studies programs to develop an understanding of the strategic environment that two Koreas face in regional and global contexts.
Spring 2017 Courses:
International Politics in Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula
Prof. Eunjung Lim
This course is designed to help students comprehensively understand the divergent histories of the “Two Koreas,” the international relations surrounding the two countries, and to think about Korean reunification and Asian regionalization. Selected students for the course will first learn about historical background, political dynamics, economic development, security issues, and foreign policies of the two Koreas. Based on these analyses and independent research projects based on a study trip to Korea, participants will explore the history of Asian regionalism from various policy perspectives and discuss the feasibility of Asian community-building during the latter part of the course.
Democracy, Nationalism and Foreign Policies of South Korea: In Comparison with Japan and Taiwan
Prof. Eunjung Lim
South Korea has experienced successful bottom-up democratization in a short period of time, which can be regarded as an unusual case in the region of Northeast Asia. As the society was democratized, however, the country’s foreign policy-making process became much more complicated than it used to be. As a rear-view mirror course for the course, “The Politics of the Vortex”? - Political History of South Korea, this course will review history and development of the South Korean civil society and democratization. In addition, this course will cover the Japanese and the Taiwanese cases in comparison with the South Korean case. Through comparisons of the three key democracies of Northeast Asia, students will learn how their democratizations have been achieved differently and how their democracies influence the countries’ foreign policy-making process.
Fall 2016 Courses:
The Politics of the Vortex?: Political History of South Korea
Prof. Eunjung Lim
This course is the mandatory course for Korea Studies concentrators, but many others who are majored in International Development, Conflict Management, American Foreign Policy, and other Asian Studies will find it intriguing as well because South Korea has many academic and empirical implications as an unusually successful case of accomplishing both rapid industrialization and bottom-up democratization. This course will chronologically cover the political history of South Korea since its establishment in 1948 until the incumbent Park Geun-hye administration through focusing on its presidents and power elites and reviewing what policies those key policy-makers actually implemented. As it is a strongly-centralized presidential system, much of South Korea’s political dynamics can be explained and analyzed better by understanding how each president and his/her administration have dealt with political, economic, and diplomatic challenges.
North Korea: Policymaking Primer
Prof. Alexandre Mansourov
This course examines critical issues facing policymakers in and around North Korea and has three purposes. The first is to provide students with a better understanding of the place and role of North Korea in the international system, its people and elites, institutions and ideas, to analyze DPRK’s relations with four great powers, focusing on nuclear politics and humanitarian concerns, as well as to give students a better grasp of various actors, their goals and motivations, policy issues and stakes, and policymaking processes in North Korea. In addition, students will explore the dynamics of the inter-Korean relations and consider the problems of nation-building, politics of competitive legitimation, and the question of Korean unification. The second purpose is for students to develop critical thinking and analytical tradecraft skills so that they can produce high quality analytical products for various types of consumers, using open source data and structured analytical techniques. The third purpose is for students to learn and practice the leadership skills required for domestic interagency coordination, multinational coalition-building, and international bargaining, which are part and parcel of any crisis management and resolution process on the Korean peninsula.
The Korea Studies Program offeres unique opportunities to meet with prominent policymakers, practitioners and scholars of Korean affairs througout the year. Events range from small, private luncheons with guest speakers, to large public events hosted by the US-Korea Institute (USKI).
Korea Studies alumni have gone on to work in government, academia, law, non-profits/NGOs and more. The following organizations currently employ Korea Studies alumni:
Please visit our Korea Studies Facebook Page!
Check out the US-Korea Institute websites: