Majors & Programs


Korean Language & Culture

Why Major in Korean?

The Language, Literature, and Culture

The Korean program at Washington University offers students the opportunity to discover and explore Korea’s rich and unique cultural and literary traditions, beginning from the earliest times up to the twenty-first century. The language program enables undergraduate students to attain a high level of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, and to acquire the cultural knowledge and competency needed to communicate effectively in a Korean environment. Looking beyond language, students will become familiar with the major landmarks of Korean culture and civilization—its history, literature, philosophy, religion, and arts—and they will acquire a greater appreciation of the rapid changes taking place in Korea today.

Study Options

You may, of course, choose Korean as your primary major. There is also the option of pursuing a double major that combines Korean and another area of study, such as history, anthropology, art history, business, international studies, etc.
Qualified majors are also encouraged to work toward senior honors, which will involve working closely with a faculty advisor on a research or translation project culminating in an honors thesis.

Korean majors and other students in the language program will also have opportunities to practice their language skills and learn more about Korean culture in informal settings such as a Korean film series, Hangul Day Celebration, New Year’s gathering, and the end of the semester study break gatherings with Korean games and food.

Career Options

There are a variety of career options open to majors with solid Korean language skills. Some of our graduates have gone on to win Fulbright scholarships to teach in Korea; others pursue graduate studies through the Korean Govern-ment Scholarship Program; while others find employment in law, the financial sectors, and engineering.

Whatever you decide to do, your Korean language skills combined with your deep understanding of Korean literature and culture will be a valuable asset in the job market.

Features of the Program

Korean is one of three East Asian languages taught in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), the other two being Chinese and Japanese. While each of these cultures is unique, historically they have had much to do with each other. As a Korean major, you will be part of a large and growing group of students engaged in the study of East Asian languages and cultures.

Study Abroad

As a supplement to the on-campus sequence of courses, students are strongly encouraged to participate in summer-, semester-, or academic-year-programs at Yonsei University or Seoul National University, thereby enhancing their first-hand cultural knowledge and understanding.

Course Sampler

  • Korean Language (five levels)
  • Topics in Korean Literature and Culture: Gender in Literature and Film
  • Korean Civilization
  • Contemporary Korean: History, Literature, and Popular Culture
  • Literature of Modern and Contemporary Korea

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