Korean Major

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 thought and culture and proceeds through advanced coursework in language, thought, 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 the department’s mandatory seminar, “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, Business, Government, International Affairs, Theology, 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 the Georgetown University College of Arts & Sciences. (For more on programs, see the Study Abroad section on the department’s web page.) 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-024 East Asia: Texts and Contexts
  • (8) Courses in Korean language
    • 4 courses at the 300-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 may apply one course from outside the department to fulfill this requirement)
  • (1) KREN-459 Senior Seminar**

*Note: students must complete or place out of First, Second, and Third Level Korean before enrolling in 300-level language courses.


  • KREN-306 Introduction to Korean Civilization
  • KREN-311 Integrated Advanced Korean
  • KREN-313 Advanced Oral Communication
  • KREN-321 Business Korean
  • KREN-331 Korean Current Affairs
  • KREN-341 Gender and Sexuality in Korean Culture
  • KREN-358 Cultures of Modernization in East Asia
  • KREN-361 Korean Narratives: Film and Literature
  • KREN 371 Korean Language and Culture
  • KREN 380 Intro to Korean Philosophy
  • KREN-381 “Confucianism and Feminism”
  • KREN-391 Introduction to Korean Linguistics
  • KREN-410 Confucianism in China, Korea, and Japan
  • KREN-420 The Buddhism and Poetry of Manhae (1897-1944)
  • KREN-459 Senior Seminar

Besides KREN 311 and 313, which will be offered in the fall and spring semester respectively, two to three classes from this list of Korean elective courses will be offered each semester. Two per semester has been the norm for the past several years.

To further their understanding of Korean culture, students should take advantage of the wide range of reading materials and audio-visual materials available at the University Library. Beyond the University, students should explore the Freer-Sackler Gallery, which has one of the finest collections of East Asian Art in the world, as well as a delightful research library. The Library of Congress, too, has an enormous collection of Korean books and periodicals.

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.   

Study Abroad

Students who want to study abroad in Korea should first contact the Office of Global Education for information about Georgetown sponsored study-abroad programs in South Korea. The Georgetown sponsored study-abroad program in Korea is: Yonsei University (CIEE).