The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures offers an A.B. in Korean and a minor in Korean.

Major in Korean

The Korean major combines thorough training in spoken and written Korean language with the development of critical approaches to a broad range of Korean cultural phenomena including classical and modern literature, linguistics, visual arts, film, popular culture, and underlying aspects of philosophical and social thought. Most courses are conducted in Korean with readings in Korean.

The major, which is not open to advanced native speakers due to the limited number of advanced courses, will begin with language work and a writing-intensive introduction to important issues in East Asian culture (KREN-1024 “East Asia: Texts and Contexts”), and proceed through advanced coursework in language and culture, classical and modern (requiring at least a semester of study abroad in Korea). In order to familiarize themselves with relevant critical and historical issues in the field, students must take at least one of the courses on Korean culture offered by the department in English in addition to “East Asia: Texts and Contexts.” The major culminates in a Senior Seminar paper or Senior Honors Thesis on a topic of the student’s interest within the area of Korean cultural studies.

In addition to courses offered by this department, a wide variety of Asian studies courses is available through other departments. It is highly recommended that Korean majors fulfill their general education history requirement by taking courses in Korean or Asian history. Beyond that, Korean-related courses are offered in Economics, Government, International Affairs, Theology and Religious Studies, and other fields as well. These can serve as free electives for Korean majors, or can in some cases fulfill general education requirements. Finally, such outside courses can often be counted toward an Asian Studies Certificate through the Area Studies Programs. Students should seek help from their department advisers in developing a well-integrated academic program built around their interests and drawing upon this rich variety of resources.

Korean majors are required to spend at least one semester studying in a Korean-speaking country, and may spend up to one year. In exceptional cases, with the approval of the student’s advisor, summer immersion programs can be used to fulfill this requirement. Opportunities for overseas study in The Republic of South Korea are available through Georgetown. (For more on programs, see the Overseas Study section below.) Periods of overseas study offer excellent opportunities for students to pursue independent research or to support faculty research. Students are encouraged to discuss such opportunities with their advisors.  

Required Courses for the Korean Major:

12 courses including:

  • (1) KREN-1024 East Asia: Texts and Contexts
  • (8) Courses in Korean language
    • 4 courses at the 3000-level or above*
    • 4 language courses at any level
  • (2) Departmental courses in Korean culture, linguistics, or literature (in Korean or English; with prior approval of their departmental advisor, students my apply one course from outside the department to fulfill this requirement)
  • (1) KREN-4101 Senior Seminar

*Note: students must complete or place out of First, Second, and Third Level Korean before enrolling in 3000-level language courses.

Integrated Writing

Writing takes place everywhere in the Korean major, in many forms and levels of formality, including expository and creative writing as well as the art of translation, and including personal, public, and professional modes. Alongside expository writing in English about aspects of culture in East Asia, students also practice writing of increasing complexity in target language all through the course of their major. As approaches to careful observation of and careful thinking about their object, writing in English and writing in target language reinforce each other. Attention is also given to translation as a form of detailed interpretive commentary and as a means of examining temporally specific differences in linguistic structure, modes of argument, and perceptual and conceptual habits. Attention to English language writing skills in the field begins in the gateway course East Asia: Texts and Contexts. At the other end of the major, the capstone Senior Seminar requires writing an extensive research paper in either English or Korean, or producing an original translation from Korean with a critical introduction. For more information on writing in the major, see the EALC department website.

Overseas Studies

Students may apply to the Georgetown-sponsored programs through the Office of Global Education. The only approved Korean program at Georgetown is the CIEE Seoul program, based at Yonsei University, but students have studied at Seoul National University, Korea University, Sogang University, and Ewha University as well.

Korean Minor

Students majoring in other fields, particularly those involving Asian studies, are encouraged to minor in Korean. The Korean minor requires seven courses, at least six of which must be KREN language courses or advanced courses conducted in Korean. The seventh course may either be another KREN course conducted in Korean, a KREN course taught in English, or, with the approval of the EALC department, a Georgetown course with Korean literature, culture/civilization, or linguistics as a substantial component.  The number of Korean minors over the past ten consecutive semesters has remained robust and consistent, averaging six per semester.

Asian Studies Certificate

Interested students majoring in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean may also pursue an interdisciplinary certificate in Asian Studies. A minimum of six semester courses is required, including the study of more than one Asian society or national group. Students should consult the Director of Asian Studies, SFS, for additional information.