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Welcome to the Department of History

The Department of History was established in August 1946, when Bosung College was elevated to the status of a university and renamed Korea University around the first anniversary of national independence. The Department of History suffered from the ruins of the Korean War but soon began to develop with amazing speed following the 1953 armistice. The alumni of the Department who graduated in the 1960s and 1970s now form the backbone of the nation, playing their respective role in their specific field. In 1989, the Department of History reached a crossroads when it was divided into three separate departments: Korean History, Eastern History, and Western History. The three departments, each of which had up to 30 students, developed in tandem as both mutual rivals and supporters. In March 2004, the departments of Eastern History and Western History reunited as the Department of History, while the Department of Korean History remained independent, so as to provide students with more comprehensive and balanced knowledge of world history in face of globalization.

The Department of History offers various courses on Eastern and Western history. It provides both introductory and advanced courses such as intellectual and gender history as open-option courses. Its major courses cover various eras – from ancient to contemporary – of both Eastern and Western history, various nations and regions, and diverse themes such as the history of cultural exchanges and the history of science and technology. Currently led by seven enthusiastic professors exhibiting excellence in their respective fields, the Department provides an environment where students can obtain balanced historical perspectives. The Department also invites a Chinese professor of history to promote student understanding of the globalized world and encourage them to take part in international exchange. The Department also plans to invite scholars from other countries as well for that effect.

In addition to several seminars and study groups studying to attain various objectives within the Department, the annual field study trips held by the Department also help students to enlarge their boundaries of historical thought and expertise. The Department also organizes study abroad programs in China and Japan every other year to instill the students with a global perspective and is planning to develop other such programs in European countries as well as the United States. The undergraduate alumni of the Department of History continue to advance into academia through further study at the graduate level. Others serve in all sectors of society, including media, research institutes and corporations that call for professional knowledge of history and culture.

The Department of History offers two graduate programs in Eastern and Western history, where students can choose to specialize in the history of various eras, regions and nations. The Eastern History program, focusing on the history of Asia, offers courses on various regions and eras: Chinese history (ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern/contemporary), Japanese history, and South-East Asian history. The program also incorporates the history of India and Southwest Asia (Islam). The Western History program covers ancient, medieval, early modern, later modern, and contemporary history of the West. It also studies the history of specific nations (e.g., Greece, Rome, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and the United States). The programs are divided into Master’s and Ph.D. degree programs, enabling students to study and research as they pursue their interest in their respective field. During the course of the program, graduate school students are trained to become competent, perceptive and insightful scholars by studying diverse historical records and academic articles and studies through the Department’s systematic curriculum.

Students also receive assistance in honing their language skills in English, Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Russian to perfect their ability to comprehend historical records as well as academic manuscripts and articles.

The Graduate Student Union assists small study group activities and facilitates academic exchanges and social events for students. It also holds first-year core seminars and purchases research materials upon request with its own independent fund raised by students themselves. Most postgraduate researchers are currently involved in various research projects in a number of Korean universities and institutes. Their insight and knowledge as professional scholars of history certainly play a significant role as a beacon that guides the historical development of the Asian region and Korea in a professionally sound direction.