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Schools with Korean Language Programs: How to Choose

Dec 08, 2019

Korean language curriculum is typically part of a broader program of study, dealing with the language, culture and history of Korea and other parts of East Asia. Certificate programs in Korean, along with bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in East Asian language and cultures, are available to students.

Korean language programs are available as undergraduate and continuing education certificates that are offered by community colleges and universities. Four-year schools also commonly offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in this field.

Korean Language Schools

The following 4-year schools offer degree programs in the Korean language:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2018-2019, In-state)*
California State University, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Certificate $6,749 (Undergraduate)
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $46,216 (Graduate)
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $29,500 (Graduate)
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $55,695 (Undergraduate) $53,540 (Graduate)
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 4-year, Private Bachelor's $50,340 (Undergraduate)
State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton Vestal, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,853 (Undergraduate)
University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $11,970 (Undergraduate) $15,600 (Graduate)
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $14,760 (Undergraduate)
University of Oregon Eugene, OR 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $14,526 (Graduate)

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students should keep these items in mind when choosing a Korean language program:

  • Consider internships, work experience and teaching assistantships to get additional real-world practice with the language.
  • Certificate programs offer curricula designed for aspiring translators or instructors, while degree programs may also place special emphasis on Korean literature, culture or history.
  • Look for a program that offers a study-abroad experience for greater immersion in the Korean language and culture.
  • Since students in the program will be working with many of the same faculty members from class to class, meeting with the program's faculty could help a student decide if the school is a good fit or not.

Undergraduate Certificate in Korean

Stand-alone certificate programs in Korean generally take about a year to complete and do not require previous college study in Korean or other topics. The curriculum may include courses on interpretation and Korean civilization.

Bachelor's Degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures

Bachelor's degree programs in East Asian languages and cultures may offer concentration areas that include a study of the language, culture, literature, society and history of Korea. An internship or study-abroad opportunity may be available at some colleges.

Master's Degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures

Master's degree programs in East Asian languages and cultures allow for concentration in Korean studies, including studies in religion, art, philosophy, literature and language. Such programs generally require completion of a thesis in addition to core and elective courses.

Doctoral Degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures

Ph.D. programs in East Asian languages and cultures may focus equally on many aspects of East Asia, including China, Japan, Tibet, Vietnam and Korea, or may allow students to focus more directly on their area of choice. A dissertation is commonly required for completion, along with periods of teaching and research. Coursework is generally similar to that of a master's degree program.

Students interested in studying the Korean language can earn a certificate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in the field. As they are selecting a program, students should consider programs that offer internship and study abroad opportunities to better learn the language.

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