SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

BA Korean Studies (2020 entry)

Select year of entry: 2020 2019

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
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Please note that this BA programme will undergo a structural reform for 2019/20. Although the overall scope and learning outcomes will remain mostly unchanged, there may be minor changes to the core module and the selection of guided options. These changes are designed to improve the student experience and engagement with the subject matter, based on feedback from current and previous students.

We are unique in the breadth and depth of our regional specialisation and are home to the largest concentration of Korean specialists in Europe. The BA Korean Studies single-subject degree does not include a period of study abroad. The degree aims to serve both students with minimal Korean language expertise and also students who already have more advanced Korean language skills. Students have the opportunity to study Korean culture in depth, along with the study of Korean language.

Our rich and diversified expertise allows you to gain focused knowledge in the regions of your interest, both in their classical traditions as well as their contemporary developments, together with more or less intensive study of their languages.

Why study Korean Studies at SOAS?

  • we are home to the largest concentration of Korean specialists in Europe
  • you will receive an appropriate level of training in Korean language. We are specialists in the delivery of languages, your command of which will set you apart from graduates of other universities
  • you will not only learn the essential language skills but also an in depth understanding of the region’s culture covering subjects from literature, history, cinema, and politics
  • you will be able to flexibly structure your programme using our Open Options modules to take advantage of the expertise of our other departments

Apply now via UCAS or visit our upcoming Open Day.

Find out more about how to apply.

Find out more on our Japan and Korea department page.

Programme Code: T411

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • No prior knowledge of the language or the region is required.
  • Subjects Preferred: A foreign language at GCSE, A level, or equivalent, is desirable but not essential.
  • Interview Policy: Mature students, candidates with non-standard qualifications, Korean nationals, and heritage speakers (i.e., Korean raised abroad) who meet the academic requirements may be invited for interview.
A Levels:
A Level language preferred
35 (6/6/5)

View alternative entry requirements


Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction

Scottish Highers: AAABB

Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB

Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0

Euro Bacc: 80%

French Bacc: 14/20

German Abitur: 2.0

Italy DES: 80/100

Austria Mat: 2.0

Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Featured events

3 Years

Fees 2020/21

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page



Students take 120 credits per year composed of core and optional modules, which allows for students to design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.

This is a three-year degree and requires less intensive study of the Korean language than the BA Korean degree. A smaller number of language classes can be taken at various levels of proficiency from pure beginner to very advanced.

The degree provides wide-ranging coverage of disciplines taught by specialists in the Korean section including: pre-modern and modern literature, theoretical and applied linguistics, history, religion, media studies and popular culture.

In the final year, single–subject students write an Independent Study Project based on in-depth study in one of many possible fields using Korean language sources.

The BA Korean Studies degree is available as a single subject and joint subject degree.

Year 1
Core Module

This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
South Korean Culture: Hallyu, K-pop and Korean screen cultures 155901441 15 Term 2
Compulsory Modules

Students will take the module(s) below:

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Reading and Writing East Asian Studies 155901439 15 Term 1

Choose one of the following modules:

Module Code Credits Term Availability
East Asian Civilizations 155901464 30 Full Year
H120 Introduction to the History of East Asia 154800229 30 Full Year

Choose a Korean Language module(s) from List A below to the value of 30 credits (60- and 45-credit modules are also permitted)


Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from List B below to the value of 30 credits


Open Options

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

Year 2

Compulsory Modules

Students choose a module(s) from List A below to the value of 30 credits


Choose a module(s) from List A or List B below to the value of 30 credits


Choose a module(s) from List B and/or List C below to the value of 30 credits


Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from List B and/or List C below to the value of 30 credits


Open Options

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

Year 3
Compulsory Modules

Students will take the module(s) below:

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Independent Study Project in Korean Language and Culture 155900795 30 Full Year


Choose a module(s) from List A or List B below to the value of 60 credits


Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from List B below to the value of 30 credits


Open Options

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

List of Modules (subject to availability)
List A (Language Modules)
Level 5
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Introduction to Hanja 155901442 15 Term 1
Readings in Mixed Script Korean 155901443 15 Term 2
K100: Elementary Korean 155900842 60 Full Year
K100: Accelerated Elementary Korean 155901435 45 Full Year
Korean 1 A 155906028 15 Term 1
Korean 1 B 155906029 15 Term 2
Korean 2 155901404 30 Full Year
Korean 3 155900843 30 Full Year
Level 6
Module Code Credits Term Availability
K301 Korean Readings A 155901462 15 Term 1
K301 Korean Readings B 155901463 15 Term 2
K302: Korean Composition 155900722 15 Term 1
K303: Korean Conversation 155900915 15 Term 2
K401 Advanced Korean Readings I: Nation Building and Social Transformations 155901430 15 Term 2
K402 Advanced Korean Readings II: Gender, Culture and Society 155901415 15 Term 1
K403: Korean-English Translation 155901414 15 Term 2
K500: Directed Readings in Advanced Korean 155901465 15 Full Year
History of the Korean Language 155901434 15 Term 1
Grammar and Usage of the Korean Language 155901438 15 Term 2
List B (Non Language based disciplinary modules)
Module Code Credits Term Availability
History of Korea to the late 19th Century 155901433 15 Term 1 Not Running 2020/2021
Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature 155901390 15 Term 1
Literary Traditions and Culture of Korea 155901389 15 Term 1 Not Running 2020/2021
The Other Korea: North Korea since 1945 155901356 15 Term 2
Extended Essay in Korean Language and Culture 155900676 15 Term 1
State and Society in Traditional Korea 155901431 15 Term 2
History and Memory in East Asian Cultures 155903015 15 Term 2
List C (Non Language - Korean/East Asia related modules)
Module Code Credits Term Availability
China in Ten Words: Key Concepts in Chinese Studies 155901461 15 Term 2
Cool Japan: Manga, Anime, Sushi 155901416 15 Term 2
Cultural History of Tibet 155903018 15 Term 1 Not Running 2020/2021
R110 Introduction to Buddhism 158000110 15 Term 2
R170 Introduction to the Religions of East and Central Asia 158000100 15 Term 2 Not Running 2020/2021
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of East Asia 154900163 15 Term 2
Management in Japan and Korea: Domestic and International Developments 151030023 30 Full Year
Music and Japanese Identities 155901420 15 Term 2 Not Running 2020/2021
Fieldwork methods in language and culture 155901417 15 Term 2
Early Modern Japan 155901432 15 Term 1 Not Running 2020/2021
Modern and Contemporary Japan 155901437 15 Term 2 Not Running 2020/2021
Nation and Identity in Contemporary Japan 155901329 15 Term 1
Gender and Society in Contemporary Japan 155901330 15 Term 2
Musical Traditions of East Asia 155800078 15 Term 2
International Relations of East Asia 153400078 30 Full Year Not Running 2020/2021
Queer Cinema in Asia 155907000 15 Term 2
Identity and social relations in Japanese 155901418 15 Term 1
Japanese Cinema: a Critical Survey 155904000 15 Term 1
Japanese New Wave Cinema: Youth, Sex and Protest 155904001 15 Term 2
Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora 155903002 15 Term 2
Literature and Social Transformation in Contemporary China 155903016 15 Term 2
Literature, Politics and National Identity in Modern China 155903017 15 Term 1
Cinema and Performance in China: Critical and Historical Approaches 155903001 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of Taiwan 155903020 15 Term 1
Contemporary Issues in the Japanese and Korean Economies 151030020 15 Term 1 Not Running 2020/2021

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 60, 45, 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 weeks. The programme structure shows which modules are taught over one term or the full year. It also shows which modules are compulsory and which are optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.

More information is on the page for each module.

Further Information

Modules are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials, usually one hour a week of each. Sometimes, one follows the other in a two-hour bloc. Sometimes, the tutorial is at a different time or on a different day than the lecture.

Tutorials are sessions in which students are expected to present reports and take a lead in discussions.

Depending on the size of the class, some intermediate and advanced level modules are less strictly divided between a formal lecture and a tutorial discussion, and instead, the topic is briefly introduced by the lecturer, followed by a seminar discussion. Advanced level modules, which are usually taught in one two-hour bloc, often take this format.

The Independent Study Project (ISP)

These can be taken by final-year students only. Like the Special Subject dissertation, its aim is to provide an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research on their own initiative, to engage in in-depth analysis of particular subjects and to use a range of primary historical sources. It too involves no formal classes and is assessed by a single 10,000-word dissertation (including notes but excluding bibliography).

Learning Resources

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Programme Full-Time
BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £18,630
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,385 £9,320

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


Studying this programme will provide students with competency in language skills as well as intercultural awareness and understanding.

Skills gained include:

  • you will receive an appropriate level of training in Korean language
  • understanding of the region’s culture covering subjects from literature, history, cinema or politics
  • communication and presentation skills
  • analytical skills
  • the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources

Graduates from the Department leave SOAS not only with language and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector.

Find out more about Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea Destinations.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Bloomberg L.P
  • British High Commission
  • British Council Tokyo
  • Deloitte Management Consulting Ltd.
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International
  • NHK-Japan Broadcasting Corporation
  • Oxford University
  • The British Embassy
  • The British Museum
  • Wall Street Associates

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Head of Production
  • US Marketing Executive
  • Senior Research Executive
  • Director of Development and Alumni Relations
  • Project Leader, Strategic Planning
  • Solicitor
  • Architect
  • Interactive Designer
  • HM Ambassador to Japan
  • Freelance Japanese Translator

A Student's Perspective

I really enjoyed the intimate atmosphere of SOAS and the chance to learn just as much from my fellow students as from my lecturers. I also really enjoyed how open and helpful the lecturers were, and was grateful to learn that they honestly cared about my progress in their course. I always felt supported during my time at SOAS.

Katarina Starcevic, Georgetown University


Find out more

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    Undergraduate applications should be made through UCAS.

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