Korean Language Program

Korean is spoken not only by citizens of the Korean peninsula and members of the Korean diaspora, but recently also by a growing number of non-Koreans for various purposes. Korea is a relatively small country, only slightly larger than Kansas, but its population, South and North combined, is twenty-times that of Kansas. Korean is the eleventh most popular language on the globe. Spoken Korean has served the native population for all colloquial purposes for several thousand years. Although the Korean vernacular script known as han’gŭl (great writing) was invented in 1446, it has enjoyed wide-spread popularity for only about a century. Han’gŭl is easy to master, which contributes to the nearly 100% literacy among Korean citizens. While more than half of the Korean vocabulary came originally from Chinese, the structure and grammar of the language are similar to Japanese. 

KU is the only institution in Kansas offering elementary to advanced Korean language courses. The Korean language program at KU emphasizes almost equally speaking, listening, reading, and writing at each level. The first and second year Korean language courses consist of lectures (Tue and Thu) and drill sections (Mon, Wed, and Fri); third year Korean of three class meetings (Mon, Wed, and Fri) integrating lecture and drill. Many major universities in Seoul and other cities in South Korea are centers of learning for Korean language and culture. 

Korean Placement Exam 

If you are enrolling at KU for the first time, have learned some Korean before, and want to continue studying Korean, you should take an on-line placement exam, ideally prior to your arrival on campus. To take the exam, simply follow this link to the testing page, and access it with your KU ID (guest log-in options also available). 

Upon completion of the exam, you will be given a preliminary placement, which you should use to register for a specific Korean course. During the first week of classes, you should meet with your instructor to confirm the accuracy of the placement. If it is determined that another course would be more appropriate, you will be allowed to transfer to that course. 

Proficiency Goals for KU Korean Language Courses (PDF)



  • The Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center (EGARC) at KU houses numerous feature films from Korea, including several award winning movies by well-known directors. EGARC also has documentary movies related to Asia. Each year new movies are added to the collection. Students can check the digital catalog and availability of these movies online.