Korean Literature and Language

Korean literature and language programs cover the oral and written traditions of this Asian nation. Read on to learn more about education and employment options for Korean literature and language scholars, before deciding if a study of this culturally rich country may be the right fit for you.

Is Korean Literature and Language for Me?

Career Overview

Korean studies programs, available on campus or online, can help you acquire a basic knowledge of the language, as well as become fluent in speaking and writing. As a graduate of a Korean language and literature program, you may be able to embark on a career in education, government, international business or translation.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for translators and interpreters was expected to increase by 46% from 2012-2022. In May 2013, interpreters and translators earned a mean annual salary of $47,920. If you'd rather work in business, you may be interested in a position as a management analyst. According to the BLS, a 19% growth in employment was projected for management analysts through 2022, who earned a mean annual salary of $89,990.

As an aspiring academic, you'll need a master's degree in Korean literature and language to teach at a community college. However, most 4-year schools and universities prefer to hire college professors who have a doctorate in their field of study. Nationwide, the number of job openings for postsecondary teachers in general was expected to increase by 19% from 2012-2022. As of May 2013, the mean annual salary for foreign language and literature teachers at the postsecondary level was $66,300 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Korean Literature and Language?

Undergraduate Programs

In an undergraduate program, you'll take classes in Korean grammar and punctuation, linguistics and conversational Korean. You'll also study advanced vocabulary, semantics and language structure. Coursework in classical and modern Korean literature, poetry, folklore and novels may also be part of the curriculum. In general, you'll approach these key literary works in English before tackling them in Korean.

As an undergraduate, you'll also learn about Korean history and modern society. Study abroad is recommended, usually after you've completed two years of Korean language studies.

Master's Degree Programs

For an advanced degree, such as a Master of Arts (M.A.) with a specialization in Korean language and literature, you'll need a strong understanding of Korean culture, history and society. Most programs also require a minimum of three years of study of the Korean language for admission. Program emphasis is on the analysis and criticism of contemporary and traditional Korean literature in its original form. Most master's degree programs require submission of a written thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs

After you earn your M.A. in Korean Language and Literature, you might want to consider a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the same field of study. Requirements may include courses in Chinese and Japanese language and literature, in addition to your focus on Korean studies. You'll also have to pass comprehensive oral and written exams, as well as write and defend a dissertation.

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