University of Washington

Office of Academic Services

Thomson Hall Room 111

Bachelor of Arts Degree-Asian Studies

Korea Option

Program Description

The University of Washington is one of the few places in the United States that offers undergraduate and graduate training in Korean studies in a variety of disciplines. Courses are offered in Korean language, history, society, politics, and literature. The language program offers three full years of instruction in the modern language and in advanced reading. The history courses examine the full range of the Korean experience, from the origins of the Korean people in the archaeological record to contemporary times, while courses in anthropology and political science focus more on the 20th and 21st centuries.

The objective of the program is to provide students with a broad background which will be of use to them in a variety of professions, such as teaching, business and government. Through this program, students can prepare for graduate work in Asian studies, or in such disciplines as anthropology, political science, comparative literature, sociology, and history.

The program emphasizes the study of Korea in the context of East Asian and Asian civilization and the modern world economy, not simply as a single country in isolation from its neighbors. Students are encouraged to take related courses on China, on Japan, and in international studies, so that they will emerge from their experience at the University with comprehensive training.

The B.A. degree is designed as preparation for graduate work in a discipline department or as a terminal degree for work in business, government, journalism, secondary school teaching, or similar career activity.

- Clark Sorensen

Chair, Korea Studies


Admission to Major - open major

Any undergraduate in good standing may declare Asian Studies (Korea concentration) as a major.

Major Requirements


30 credits or equivalent Korean language training through the 2nd year college level; additional training recommended.


  • Introductory courses:
  1. JSIS 203, The Rise of Asia (5) or JSIS A 207, Asian Civilizations: Traditions (5);
  2. JSIS 201, The Making of the 21st Century (5);
  3. JSIS A/HSTAS 212, History of Korean Civilization (5)
  4. A second Asian civilization course chosen from:
    JSIS A/HSTAS 241, JSIS A 242 (Japan), HSTAS 201, JSIS A/HSTAS 202, JSIS A 206 (South Asia), HSTAS 211 (China), or JSIS A/HSTAS 221 (Southeast Asia) (5)
  • Korea Option courses: A minimum of 30 credits in approved upper-division courses* on Korea and East Asia including:
  1. JSIS A/ANTH 448, Modern Korean Society (5 credits)
  2. HSTAS 482, History of Modern Korea (5 credits)
  3. either HSTAS 481, History of Traditional Korea or
    JSIS A 466, Comparative Politics and Korea Studies (5 credits)
  4. Approved upper-division Korea electives.* (15 credits)
  • Asian Research Paper: In addition, an approved research paper is required to be written with an Asian Studies faculty member in conjunction with an upper-division course on Korea or East Asia.
  • A minimum grade of 2.0 in all courses counted toward the major is required, except for first- and second-year Korean language courses, where grades must average at least 2.00. The "paper course" and 30 of the 35 credits required for the Korea Option courses must be taken in residence at the University of Washington.
  • Overlapping credits: A maximum of 15 credits that are used to fulfill minimum requirements of any other UW major can be counted in this major.

*The list of courses approved for the Korea Option is available online as noted above, and current course offerings are also available through the link below:



Minor Requirements


30 credits, to include the following:

  1. JSIS A/HSTAS 212 (5 credits)

  2. One introductory Asian civilization course chosen from JSIS 203 (Rise of Asia), JSIS A 207 (Asian Traditions), JSIS A/HSTAS 241, JSIS A 242 (Japan), JSIS A/HSTAS 221 (Southeast Asia), HSTAS 201, JSIS A/HSTAS 202, JSIS A 206 (South Asia), HSTAS 211 (China) (5 credits)

  3. 20 credits of electives, 15 of which must be taken at the UW, to include:  (a) 10 credits chosen from the list of core courses*; (b) 5 credits chosen from the list of core courses or the list of electives*; 
    (c) 5 additional credits in Korean language beyond second-year level, or in upper division transfer courses on Korea, or from the lists of core courses and electives.*

  4. Minimum grade of 2.0 required in each course applied toward the minor.


*Lists of approved core and elective courses: follow this link.


Library Facilities

Visit the Main Library-Korean Studies Gateway
Visit the East Asia Library-Korean Studies

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African Studies Program
University of Washington
326 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Joel Ngugi / Chair
Associate Professor, School of Law

Mary Kay Gugerty/Adjunct Director
Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs

Erin Murphy/Program Assistant
Autumn Quarter Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 9-12, or by appt.
206.616.0998 office
206.685.0668 fax

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