01 About the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Korean Unification Studies
Offered at both the Master’s and Doctoral levels through the Yonsei University Graduate School, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Korean Unification Studies, overseen by the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies, is a degree program jointly operated by two or more departments related to Korean Unification Studies. The Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Korean Unification Studies are accredited by the Yonsei University Graduate School.
The easing of international tensions surrounding the Korean peninsula this century has led to rapid progression in inter-Korean relations. Beyond vague expectations and prospects, today unification requires concrete preparatory steps and alternatives along the lines of inter-Korean social and cultural exchange, economic cooperation and other such measures of mutual reconciliation. Germany was able to put in place various institutional improvements and establish a human resource pool for reunification over the course of long-term exchange and cooperation, and yet despite thorough advanced preparation, it was not able to completely avoid certain aftereffects of reunification. Seen in this light, it is clear that Korea is woefully unprepared for the prospect of unification.
Although research has been carried out separately in the political, economic, social and cultural fields, there has been no attempt to systematically synthesize the various research outcomes of each discipline, and even the concept of Korean Unification Studies has yet to be fully formulated. It follows that there has been increasing pressure regarding the need for interdisciplinary research into effective strategies for Korean unification. Korean Unification Studies seeks to analyze the domestic and international political, economic, social, cultural, and various other phenomena related to Korean unification in addition to pursing research into effective unification strategies.
Research undertaken in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Korean Unification Studies employs an interdisciplinary approach in order to develop and integrate existing research on Korean unification. It also aims to build educational synergy with an eye to training up professionals in various fields to have a deep understanding of Korean unification issues combined with a background in theory. The program seeks to meet the educational needs not only of academics wishing to pursue research into Korean unification, but also of practitioners in government, business, media, and the NGO sector undertaking work related to North Korea and Korean unification.