International Institute of Korean Studies

The International Institute of Korean Studies UCLan (IKSU) is UCLan's multidisciplinary hub of research, teaching and public policy, leading the way in the study of the two Koreas.

About us

IKSU was established in 2014 as a multidisciplinary hub of research, teaching and public policy in the study of contemporary Korea. IKSU is based in the School of Humanities, Language and Global Studies at UCLan, bringing together university wide research expertise on global Korea in the context of language, development, political economy, society and culture, anthropological discourse, and international relations surrounding both Koreas. UCLan IKSU has become an official Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) test venue since 2019, and launched the only Korea Corner, funded by Korea Foundation in the UK in April 2019.

IKSU is nestled under the Institute for the Study of the Asia Pacific (ISAP) which serves as the umbrella institute for Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.

north korean building


North Korean Studies, MA

Learn about the society, economy, politics and international relations of North Korea with our MA in North Korean Studies.

For inquiries about PhD programme in Korean Studies, contact Dr Sojin Lim

View course

Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK)

UCLan is an official TOPIK test venue. In the UK, you can take TOPIK tests twice a year in London or Preston (UCLan). For more information, visit the TOPIK website. For inquiries, please contact Ms Hye-Young Park or Dr Gigi Choi.

Korea Corner

Korea Corner is a Korean cultural space, which has over 4,000 books and DVDs on both South and North Koreas, in English and Korean, along with some Korean artefacts. The space is funded by the Korea Foundation, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United Kingdom.

IKSU Korean Literature Translation Seminar Series

Based on the ‘Korean Literature Translation Workshop Grant’ provided by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea), IKSU provides Korean literature translation seminar series.


We offer several different scholarships at postgraduate level for both taught courses, and research degrees. For more details, see our scholarship listings:

For more details, please contact Dr Sojin Lim.

Honorary professors and doctorates

Current PhD students

Previous PhD students

Our partners

IKSU and UCLan have established a network of cooperation with strategic partner institutions in South Korea. International partnerships allow IKSU students to make the most of their studies, experiencing life and culture in South Korea. At the same time, Korean students are welcome in the UK, to spend a semester or summer abroad. Additionally, the IKSU Buddy Programme was launched in 2018–19 academic year for Korean subject students at UCLan and exchange students coming into UCLan from Korea. IKSU Buddy recruitment process happens twice a year, at the beginning of each semester.

Annual conference


Economic Development and International Development Cooperation of the Korea Peninsula: Past, Present and the Future

University of Central Lancashire, UK, 3-4 April 2023

Venue: Samlesbury Hall, PR5 0UP, UK or online.

To attend the conference, please register using the links below:
Online participation
In-person participation

This conference is open to all.

Day 1: 3 April 2023 (Monday)

9.30 AM – 9.50 AM / Registration
9.50 AM – 10.00 AM / Opening Remarks (Sojin Lim, Director of the IKSU)

10.00 AM – 11.50 AM / Session 1: Development Assistance to South Korea and Its Implications for Economic Development

Chair: Virginie Grzelczyk (Aston University, UK)
Speakers (30 minutes x 2 speakers, 60 minutes)

Fostering new allies in the face of an 'aggression': Italy's aid to South Korea in the wake of the Korean war / Marco Zappa (Università Ca’Foscari Venezia, Italy).
The German Economic Advisory Group (DVB) to Korea, 1962-1968 / Max Altenhofen (University of Tűbingen, Germany)

Discussant (20 minutes)
Kevin Gray (University of Sussex, UK)
Discussion with Q&A (30 minutes)

2.00 PM – 3.50 PM / Session 2: Development Assistant from South Korea and the Implications

Chair: Marco Milani (Bologna University, Italy)
Speakers (30 minutes x 2 speakers, 60 minutes)

Analysis of South Korean ODA in Mongolia under a Gender Mainstreaming Approach / Patricia Chica-Morales (University of Malaga, Spain)
Towards Trilateral and Multilateral Cooperation beyond Aid / Jae-Eun Noh (University of Western Australia, Australia)

Discussant (20 minutes)
Sojin Lim (University of Central Lancashire, UK)
Discussion with Q&A (30 minutes)

Day 2: 4 April 2023 (Tuesday)

9.00 AM – 10.50 AM / Session 3: Development Assistance from South to North Korea

Chair: Kyoungyun Moon (Junbuk University, South Korea / Visiting Scholar at University of Cambridge, UK)
Speakers (30 minutes x 2 speakers, 60 minutes)

Altruism or Ulterior Motives? South Korean Aid towards North Korea’s Sustainable Development / Queralt Boadella-Prunell & Lauren Robertson (University of Central Lancashire, UK)
Economic Sanctions on North Korea: The Role of Legislatures and Effects on Development Assistance from South Korea and the United States / Matt Abbott (Chicago Council on Global Affairs, US)

Discussant (20 minutes)
Marco Milani (University of Bologna, Italy)
Discussion with Q&A (30 minutes)

11.00 AM – 12.50 PM / Session 4: Experience of Development in South Korea and Its Implications

Chair: Jeong-Im Hyun (University of Central Lancashire, UK)
Speakers (30 minutes x 2 speakers, 60 minutes)

When Film Met Aid: The Transformation of Korea Model / Suweon Kim (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea)
Transposing Miracle from the Han River to the Mekong River? Revisiting Roles of South Korea’s Economic Development to Mekong River Basin Countries / Juhee Jeong (Heidelberg University, Germany)

Discussant (20 minutes)
Juliette Schwak (Franklin University Switzerland, Switzerland)
Discussion with Q&A (30 minutes)
12.50 PM – 1.00 PM / Closing Remarks (Sojin Lim, Director of IKSU)

Summer School 


Working Paper Series

We welcome submissions of previously unpublished manuscripts from across disciplines, which cover a range of issues related to Korea.

Submission Guidelines

  • No more than 8,000 words, including references
  • Abstract up to 200 words
  • List five keywords at the end of the abstract
  • Include all authors' titles, affiliations and email addresses
  • Times New Roman, 12 font
  • Reference at the end of the paper by using Harvard referencing style
  • Use British spellings

If you would like to submit a paper to be included in our working paper series, please email to

Authors are responsible for ensuring that submissions do not breach copyright laws.

News and grants


Dr Sojin Lim discussed recent North Korean crackdown on foreign media with Australian ABC News on 7 June 2021

Co-Directors of the IKSU, Professor Niki Alsford and Dr Sojin Lim have published a co-edited book “Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison (Brill, 2021), with the late Bruce Jacobs. You can find some more details here.

In May 2021, our previous MA North Korean Studies student (also former BA TESOL-Korean at UCLan), Lauren Robertson published an article on shrinking international presence in North Korea due to the pandemic published at The Peninsula Report. See her report here.

On 4 February 2021, our current MA North Korean Studies student (also previous BA Asia Pacific Studies Korean pathway), Kate Allanson published an article on female North Korean migrants in China published at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. Find the article here.

Dr Sojin Lim was featured in the podcast ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ in the episode of North Korea. You can listen to it via Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

MA North Korean Studies course leader, Dr Sojin Lim published a Conversation piece about North Korea’s recent famine situation, cause by the COVID-19 self-isolation.

We are proud to share this great news: Callum John Moran, one of our APS students, won the second prize in the Peace in Korea Essay Competition organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the UK. Congratulations Callum. 

Essay Brief:
The essay covers a wide range of topics varying from how to mitigate failed defections occurring now, to how neighbouring countries would react to a western-aligned nation's expansion in the region, after unification. It includes coverage of some more common concepts such as comparing German unification, and some less obvious ones such as increased cooperation with ASEAN as things to be considered when looking at the next steps for peace on the Korean peninsula. Find more of the winners on the Announcement page.

Activities and events


2023 UK-Korea Forum for Early Career Researchers and Young Scholars: Peace and Unification in Korea Peninsula

University of Central Lancashire, UK, 28-29 August 2023
Venue: Brockholes, Lancashire, UK

The International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is hosting a 2-day networking forum for next-generation scholars between United Kingdom (UK) and South Korea, in the field of peace studies, international relations, diplomacy studies, Korean studies, and any other related disciplines in relation to peace and unification of Korea Peninsula.

We are inviting early career researchers who have obtained a PhD degree in the last 5 years, and PhD candidates who are near to completion of their PhD programmes, doing their research in relation to the theme of the forum.

In-person participation:

  • 10 participants from universities and research institutes in the UK
  • 8 participants from universities and research institutes in South Korea

Online participation:

  • 5 participants from universities and research institutes in the UK
  • 7 participants from universities and research institutes in South Korea

For in-person participants, travel costs will be covered as follows:

  • Flight cost for participants from South Korea will be reimbursed up to GBP 700.
  • Train cost for participants in the UK will be reimbursed up to GBP 100.
  • Accommodation will be booked and paid by the University for 3 nights (27, 28, 29 August).

All participants are required to conduct 10-minute presentations about their research projects at the forum.

The forum will be held at Brockholes, a floating venue in the heart of the nature reserve in Lancashire, UK.

How to apply:

Deadline: 30 April 2023


28 August 2023 (Monday): Participant presentations
29 August 2023 (Tuesday): Meet journal and book editors; guest talks; and discussion sessions about challenges ahead

Exploring Korea: Essay Competition for A Level Students

The University of Central Lancashire's International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) is holding a contest for UK A-level students. You can win big prizes by writing an essay about Korea!

A panel of experts in Korean Studies will judge your essay.

There will be award certificates, along with prizes:

  • First prize (1 place): £500 love2shop voucher
  • Runners up (4 places): £100 love2shop voucher each

(Vouchers can be spent in over 20,000 stores and restaurants.)

You can choose one of these essay questions:

  • Did the success of Parasite at the 2020 Oscars signify Korean cinema becoming a global cultural phenomenon?
  • Is K-Pop truly Korean?
  • What is the best explanation for why the Korean peninsula remains divided?
  • Why does South Korea maintain its alliance with the United States?
  • Why and how has South Korea reduced poverty, and become one of middle power global economies?
  • To what extent can one use social theory to provide an understanding of the Haenyeo of Jeju Island?

Your essay should be 4,000 words or less and be sent as a Microsoft Word file. On the cover page, include your name, school, year, and email address.

Deadline: 31 August 2023
Submission to:
Any inquiries:

The winners will be contacted by email individually by the end of September 2023.

2023 IKSU Book Talk I

The North Korean Army: History, Structure, Daily Life (Routledge, 2022, by Fyodor Tertitskiy)

Date: 1 February 2023
Time: 1 PM – 2 PM
Venue: online

Register here.

2023 IKSU Book Talk II

Korea and the Global Society (Routledge, 2023, edited by Yonson Ahn)

Date: 15 February 2023
Time: 2 PM – 3 PM
Venue: online

Register here.

2023 IKSU Guest Talk I

Environmental Science Diplomacy: Science Engagement with North Korea (by Professor James Hammond, Birkbeck, University of London)

Date: 10 March 2023
Time: 2 PM – 3 PM
Venue: ABLT4, UCLan

Related articles

  • north korean building

    Research led by Dr Sojin Lim on North Korea has informed policymakers’ approach to the country in the United Nations, the UK, the USA, and South Korea.

    Tuesday 7 September 2021


The International Institute of Korean Studies
Adelphi Building 149
University of Central Lancashire

Tel: +44 (0)1772 89 4511