- provide extensive, critical knowledge of pre-modern and modern Korean literary traditions;
- develop advanced competency in reading and understanding literary works in Korean, and literary translation skills into English;
- develop advanced skills in research, analysis, and critical method in the study of Korean literature, with consideration to socio-historical context and comparative approaches;
- serve as a foundation for students who wish to pursue further research or work in the fields of literary translation, writing and publishing.
The programme suits anyone interested in the literary cultures of Korea, as well as students of literature with no prior knowledge of Korean literature who are looking for new areas of inquiry.
Incoming students will be expected to have completed at least the equivalent of two years of undergraduate Korean language study. Students with knowledge of classical Chinese (hanja) will be encouraged to read pre-modern texts in the original classical Chinese.
The programme will benefit anyone wishing to pursue a research degree (MPhil/PhD) afterwards. It also provides a solid basis for anyone wishing to pursue a career in literary translation or publishing.
Students are required to take three taught units and to write a dissertation of 10,000 words. Two of the taught units are compulsory; the third is selected from the list of optional units below. Students with no prior background in literary studies are strongly advised to select the first optional unit, Theories and Techniques of Comparative Literature. The Directed Readings course [as directed by the supervisor] must not cover the same subject matter as one of the compulsory courses.
In very exceptional cases (and if the student has sufficient background in literary studies AND an advanced knowledge of Korean), students may be permitted to take a course from other East Asian (Korean, Chinese, or Japanese) programmes as a minor provided that the course is directly relevant to the candidate’s dissertation
The taught part of the course consists of core lectures introducing basic concepts, theory and methodology; and additional seminars that extend the core material into other areas. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.
A 10,000-word dissertation written over the summer offers students the opportunity to develop original research in an area of special interest. The course is formulated within two tracks:
- 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.
A postgraduate degree in MA Korean Literature from SOAS provides students with competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. Graduates of this programme will develop their ability to engage with and explore relationships between indigenous aesthetics of the region and contemporary literary theories. Some graduates leave SOAS to pursue careers directly related to their study area, while others have made use of the intellectual training for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems that contemporary societies now face.
Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in the business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. A postgraduate degree in Korean Literature is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.