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Korean Studies at Columbia

Brief History of the Korean Studies Program at Columbia

The history of Korean Studies at Columbia begins as early as 1931, when Korean students in the New York area donated a number of Korean books to Columbia and established a Korean Library and Culture Center. In 1934, Dr. Eungpal Yun, Minister of the Korean Methodist Church, taught the first Korean language course at Columbia. A formal Korean Studies program began in 1962, when a position of Professor of Korean was established. The first scholar to hold the position was Dr. William E. Skillend, a specialist in Korean literature. Dr. Skillend returned to his native England in 1964, at which time he was replaced by Dr. Gari Ledyard, who taught Korean history at Columbia until his retirement in 2000. Also in 1962, the Korean Collection was established within the East Asian Library (now the C.V. Starr East Asian Library), bringing together all books relating to Korea, which until then had been kept in other collections, cataloguing them according to the classification system of the National Central Library in Seoul. Korean-language and Korea-related books and periodicals form a major part of the East Asian Library, overseen by a full time librarian responsible for Korean materials.


Columbia’s Commitment to Korean Studies

In addition to the courses in EALAC, there are Korea-related courses taught regularly in the departments of political science, anthropology, and economics, and in the law and business schools. Besides the Center for Korean Research of the East Asian Institute and the Korean Studies program at EALAC, Columbia also houses the only Center for Korean Legal Studies in the United States. For thirty years, Columbia has been committed to the expansion and improvement of Korean Studies in the United States, and the University will remain intellectually and financially supportive of Korean Studies, as an integral part of its research and curriculum, into the future.


Korean Classes

The following Korea-related classes are taught regularly:

Introduction to East Asian Civilizations:  Korea, Korean Literature & Film ,    

Korean Politics, South Korean Legal System In Global Economy,   

Studies in Literature, Photography and Video in Asia, Women Visionaries - Tibet/East Asia

For more information, please click here.    

Korean Language Classes

Elementary Korean & Intermediate Korean each maintain three sections; True beginners (with absolutely no background in Korean language), False beginners (with some background in Korean language), Korean heritage.

Advanced Korean & Fourth-Year Korean offer one section each. Additional individual help is offered to accommodate different linguistic levels and to meet students' different needs and goals in studying Korea.

Fifth-Year Korean offers readings of advanced modern literary, historical, political and journalistic texts, and a wide range of materials.

Further information on the Korean language program is available here.

For detailed Korean language course listings, please see the Department of East Asian Language and Cultures or the Directory of Classes.



Useful Links

Korean Studies Group at Columbia

Korean Student Association ay Columbia

Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Korean Studies in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Korean Language Program at Columbia University

Korea Collection at C.V. Starr Library

Search Columbia University Course Bulletin

The Center for Korean Legal Studies