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Topical Reading: Korea Encounters the World


Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA3 students in Korean Studies who have successfully completed all the requirements for BA1 and BA2 and plan to write BA theses in Spring 2021


This course is an introductory class to help BA3 students prepare for their BA theses in a broadly-defined field of Korea’s international relations. The potential topics for BA theses include diverse forms of Korea’s bilateral, regional and global/transnational interactions from the the early 20th century up until today. Korea has experienced a drastic transformation of its status in the world – from an isolated country with the late Joseon Dynasty’s closed-door policy to a world-leading country in a variety of fields in the 21st century. The transformation of Korea’s role and status on the world stage has not only been led by its own historical, political, and economic development but also by the change of external environment: for instance, the end of World War II and the demise of the Cold War structure. This course thus intends to examine both internal and external drivers of this transformation. Students are provided with three formats of teaching - lecture, seminar, and reading session - which is designed to equip them with comprehensive knowledge about the causes, process, and results of Korea’s rise in the world. Throughout the semester, this course also helps students discover a research subject in this field and formulate a detailed research question and plan for their theses.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students are expected to:

  • Advance knowledge related to the themes of this course;

  • Identify and familiarize with academic debates in the themes of this course;

  • Learn and apply various research methodologies;

  • Critically analze written, audio and visual materials both in English and Korean;

  • Develop academic writing & group presentation skills;

  • Find and formulate a research topic/question for a BA thesis;

  • Develop a preliminary research design for a BA thesis


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture & seminar.

Assessment method


This course consists of three parts that are assessed as below. The final grade is an aggregate sum of the three parts.


  1. Participation (15%)
    • Five summary reports of required readings
  2. Group Presentation (25%)
    • Individual grading (incl. presentation skills of each student)
  3. Final Paper (60%)


To pass the course, students must receive an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher and a passing grade for the final paper assignment (5.5 or higher). Students who failed the course (receiving an overall mark of 5.49 [=5] or lower) or who failed the final paper assignment (5.49 or lower) must take a resit. The resit consists of a revised and expanded version of the final paper.

Inspection and feedback

Students may make an individual appointment with the instructor within 30 days after the publication of their final grades in order to review the grades.

Reading list

A reading list will be included in the syllabus to be uploaded on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


[Dr. S.Y. (Se Young) Jang(


Attendance policy: a strict attendance policy is imposed. Missing more than three sessions during the semester gets you barred from further attending the course and your papers may not be graded. Any absences must be notified in advance. Dispensation from the attendance rule for extenuating circumstances can only be given following consultation with the coordinator of studies.