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First North Korea Studies Master’s programme created outside South Korea

20 July 2015

Chris Theobald

Professor Hazel Smith leads pioneering UCLan course

The first master’s course - outside South Korea - dedicated to the study of North Korea, has been created at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Students starting the programme in September will be taught about all aspects of North Korean society, including its politics, history, international relations and language.

The course will be run in the University’s International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU). The multidisciplinary hub of was opened last year, with substantial investment from UCLan, as part of the University’s strategic commitment to building a national and international centre of excellence in research, teaching and public policy on the two Koreas.

“There aren’t any academic courses available on North Korean studies that allow students to gain well-founded knowledge and to investigate the weird and wacky stories for themselves.”

Leading the course is Professor Hazel Smith, an internationally respected authority on Korea whose twenty-five year record of research on North Korea includes publications, advice to governments and international organisations, frequent interviews by global media - as well as the acquisition of a full North Korean driving licence from her two years living and working in North Korea.

Professor Smith said: “Not a week goes by without a story about North Korea’s supposed weirdness hitting the mainstream press. Yet there aren’t any academic courses available on North Korean studies that allow students to gain well-founded knowledge and to investigate the weird and wacky stories for themselves. This Masters programme allows students to do just that – to study North Korea for themselves.”

UCLan has rapidly become one Europe’s leading higher education institutes for Korean studies. Over the last two years it has also seen a surge in interest from students wanting to study the Korean language or an aspect related to it. Currently nearly 120 students are enrolled on Korean or Korean-related programmes.