Korean Studies MSt

Goryeo dynasty Bodhisattva. Photograph by Joop Dorresteijn. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Korean language and history are recent additions to the Faculty of Oriental Studies. A Master of Studies (MSt) in Korean Studies was approved in spring 1995 and graduated its first student in the spring of 1996. Since then, a good number of students have taken the degree, some with Distinction. Although undergraduate students could prepare for individual examinations in Korean language or Korean history, from 2003, students of Chinese and Japanese could take three ‘papers’ in Korean: Language, Classical Texts, and History and Culture, and from 2007, Linguistics was added, effectively constituting 30% of their degrees and allowing them to graduate with degrees in ‘Chinese with Korean’ or ‘Japanese with Korean’. Other undergraduate options in Korean also exist. Students of Chinese can read Korean classical texts in Classical Chinese. Students of Chinese and Japanese can write their undergraduate dissertations on an aspect of Korean history or Korean Linguistics.

This course aims to build on a basic knowledge of modern Korean and classical Chinese or modern Japanese.

The MSt aims:

  • to build your capability in using at least modern Korean for research purposes;
  • to acquaint you with many of the most important classical texts from Korean history, in modern Korean translation or the original Classical Chinese or Old or Middle Korean;
  • to enable you to understand and use a range of classical references and historiographical and linguistic research methods for the treatment of primary sources; and
  • to allow you to engage in specialised study from a wide range of options and exercise your new skills.


The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

Entry Requirements

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should normally hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:

  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in any subject.

If your degree is not from the UK, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

  • Applicants must be able to read modern Korean. Applicants must submit scores from the Standard Test of Proficiency in Korean (S-TOPIK) with a target level of 4.

Graduate destinations

Graduates from this degree have gone on to pursue DPhil and PhD degrees in Oxford and elsewhere and some now hold academic posts in leading universities in the UK, Europe and Korea.

Oriental studies graduates have found employment in many diverse fields including business, finance law, civil service, journalism, government and industry. Many graduates have also undertaken further research into subjects linked with Oriental studies and have pursued successful careers in the academic world, education and in museums.

Further Information

For further information please see the Postgraduate Taught Courses Handbook.