Woljeonggyo Bridge at night South Korea

Korean Language Program

The Korean language program at SDSU offers Korean language and culture courses that meet diverse needs of the San Diego community. 

The general language courses focus on helping students develop integrated language skills and understand modern Korean language and culture.  In addition, the program offers a variety of Korean courses in a wide range of topics on Korean language and culture such as Korean studies through media, Korean civilization, Korean, and Business Korean.  We have also added an Internship course as well as a Practicum course in teaching Korean as second language. 

We offer a Korean Language and Culture Certificate that declares student’s advanced level of language ability and in Korean and foundational understanding of the culture, history, socio-politics, and religions of Korea. 

The lower division language courses can be used to fulfill the GE foreign language requirements.

All Korean courses are part of the curricular for Asian and Pacific Studies and International Business Program.


The Certificate in Korean Language and Culture aims to train and produce students who are linguistically able and culturally informed.  The program consists of two major components.  The first is to build students’ language proficiency in Korean in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing.  The second is to offer students foundational understanding of the culture, history, socio-politics, religions of Korea.  The Certificate allows students to focus on Korean studies, which cannot be attained through the existing degree or non-degree programs in the Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages and Asian and Pacific Studies.

It is hoped that the Certificate enhances students’ job opportunities in Korea-related companies in and outside San Diego.  The Certificate may also enhance employability of Teaching English as Second Language to learners with a Korean background (in and outside Korea), as the Certificate demonstrates knowledge/ability in the Korean language and understanding of the Korean culture.

Courses & Requirements

The Certificate requires 14 units to include:
  • Required course (11 units total): 
    • KOR 202 (Intermediate Korean II)
    • KOR 301 (Advanced Korean I)
    • KOR 302 (Advanced Korean II)
  • One Course (3 units total) selected from the following:
    • KOR 321/ASIAN 321 (Korean Civilization)
    • KOR 430/ASIAN 430 (Contemporary Korean Culture through Media)
    • KOR 496 (Topics in Korean Studies)

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is sometimes possible for one equivalent course (or rarely, two equivalent courses) taken elsewhere.  All applications for transfer credit are evaluated individually by the Certificate Program.  No academic credit for course work is granted for work experience.

How to Apply for the Certificate

(1) Fill out the Certificate Enrollment Form and and send to [email protected].

(2) Register and pay for the certificate.  You can register, and pay for, courses for the Certificate in any of two ways:

  1. As an undergraduate candidate for a bachelor's degree, taking the courses as electives (Note: International Business majors may count most of the Certificate course work toward their major requirements, but other majors may count no more than six units toward both an undergraduate major or minor (other than a Linguistics minor), unless otherwise stated).  Information regarding fees can be found at the SDSU University's Tuition and Fees page. You must have been admitted to San Diego State University through the regular application process.

  2. Through the SDSU Global Campus ("Open University").  Additional information is available at SDSU Global Campus website. No application or acceptance procedure is necessary; the SDSU Global Campus is the division of the university open to the general public. (Note: the course work and all Certificate requirements are the same regardless of the way you register and pay for them, and there is no difference between Certificates earned by individuals registering through Global Campus and those earned by individuals registering as admitted students.)

Frequently Asked Questions for the Certificate

Does it matter in what order I take the Certificate courses?
There is no required order, except that KOR 301 must be taken before KOR 302.

Is there a time limit for completion of Certificate coursework?

How long does the Certificate program take?
Since 301 and 302 are given once a year, and since 321 and 430 are scheduled once a year, it should be possible to finish the Certificate Program in two semesters.

Lower Division

KOR 101. Elementary Korean I (5)
Language skills to include reading, writing, listening, speaking Korean at elementary level. Basic sentence patterns, useful expressions, basic communication strategies, relationship between language and culture.

KOR 102. Elementary Korean II (5)
Prerequisite: Korean 101 or two years of high school Korean.
Continuation of Korean 101. Elementary-level reading, writing, listening, speaking Korean. Language competence to include sentence patterns, useful expressions, communication strategies.

KOR 201. Intermediate Korean I (5)
Prerequisite: Korean 102 or completion of the third year of high school Korean.
Acquisition of grammatical patterns of complex sentences. Expansion of vocabulary and phrases in expressing ideas in various settings. All four language skills emphasized with cultural competency. Not open to students with credit in Korean 202, 301, or a higher-numbered Korean course.

KOR 202. Intermediate Korean II (5)
Prerequisite: Korean 201 or completion of the fourth year of high school Korean.
Continuation of Korean 201. Further development of four language skills with emphasis on cultural competency. Complex sentence structures and ability to write short essays. Reading of contemporary work.

Upper Division

KOR 301. Advanced Korean I (3)
Prerequisites: Korean 202; and completion of the General Education requirement in Foundations of Learning II.C., Humanities.
Spoken and written modern Korean. Acquisition of complex sentences with advanced grammatical patterns. Development of fluency in conversing on a variety of topics in everyday situations.

KOR 302. Advanced Korean II (3)
Prerequisites: Korean 301; and completion of the General Education requirement in Foundations of Learning II.C., Humanities.
Continuation of Korean 301. Spoken and written modern Korean. Acquisition of complex sentences with advanced grammatical patterns. Build competency in communicating on a variety of topics in everyday situations.

KOR 321. Korean Civilization (3)
Prerequisites: Upper division standing; and completion of the General Education requirement in Foundations of Learning II.C.,Humanities.
Development of art, religion, philosophy, political, social institutions through different periods in Korean history. Humanistic dimensions of the Korean mind, traditions, heritage. Taught in English.

KOR 331. Business Korean I (3)
Prerequisite: Korean 202.
Language skills to perform basic business in Korean business environment. Learn business etiquette and attain broad understanding of business culture in Korea.

KOR 332. Business Korean II (3)
Prerequisite: Korean 331.
Continue to develop language skills to perform business in Korean business environment. Broaden understanding of business culture in Korea. Develop language and cultural competency in business Korean.

KOR 430. Contemporary Korean Culture Through Media (3)
Prerequisite: Upper division standing.
Contemporary Korean culture and society as reflected in various modes of media (news, drama, film, instructional technology). Korean culture in neighboring countries and beyond. Historical perspective to modern Korean culture. Taught in English.

KOR 490. Practicum in Teaching Korean as a Second Language (3) Cr/NC Six hours of activity.
Prerequisites: Native or native-like fluency in Korean (through proficiency test) and consent of instructor.
Supervised experience and practicum in basic methods of teaching Korean, culminating in a written report. Students will be assigned to appropriate class sections within selected Korean language classes as tutors under staff supervision. Maximum credit six units.

I am an American student. I studied Korean for 2 years in Korea. I can read and write Korean but I still need to take a Korean class to improve my knowledge of Korean language. Which Korean class do you recommend?

See instructor for proficiency evaluation

How many different Korean language classes are currently offered at SDSU during the academic year?

SDSU offers three different levels of Korean language classes: KOR 101 and 102 (Korean Elementary Classes), KOR 201 and 202 (Intermediate Korean Classes), and KOR 301 (Advanced Korean Classes). KOR 101, 201 and 301 are offered at fall semester only and KOR 102, 202 and 302 are offered at spring semester.

Do I need to take placement test to enroll Korean classes?

Placement tests for Korean Language Classes are not offered at this time. However, you need to get approval from the instructor for a Korean class.

Can I use Korean classes to fulfill GE Requirements?

Yes. KOR 101, 102, 201, 202 fulfill “FOUNDATIONS - HUMANITIES" requirements. GE requirements and KOR 301 and KOR 302 fulfill “Exploration of Human experience” requirements. KOR 101, 102 and 201 fulfill all GE requirements. For more detail information, refer general catalog.

I am not a SDSU student but I want to take a Korean class at SDSU. Can I register a Korean class?

Yes. You can take Korean classes through Open University Program at SDSU.


Contact Us

Kyung Chun, Program Advisor
Email: [email protected] | Office: SHW 207

Soonja Choi, Program Senior Advisor
Email: [email protected]

Darlene Bych, Certificate Program Coordinator
Email: [email protected] | Phone: (619) 594-1915 | Office: SHW 215


Important Links

SDSU Catalog | Class Schedule | Program Brochure