Becoming a Korea Expert – Leveraging Fellowships and Study Grant Opportunities

If you have an academic interest in the Korean Peninsula and are looking to get in-country study without committing to a full-term degree program under the Korean Government scholarship, there are numerous under-the-radar options for you to consider. In this blog, we take a close look at two particular institutes that offer short-term research fellowships, applications for which close later this month.

A tranquil oasis of Korean studies

First of all, the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS), located close to Seoul in Seongnam city, offers several short-term programs throughout the year. To browse the full list of past opportunities or find updates on upcoming programs, you can check their notice page. If you are interested in traditional classical Chinese literature or hanmun, the annual Jangseogak Hanmun Summer Workshop, which typically runs for three weeks, offers a unique opportunity to learn more about this field and interact with fellow scholars, researchers and linguists.

Jangseogak Archives, Academy of Korean Studies campus in Seongnam.

AKS also runs an annual Summer Program for International Students, which includes special lectures on Korea, an intensive Korean language course, field trips, and traditional cultural activities. The program is open for undergraduate students of second year or above from universities abroad focusing on Korean Studies or taking Korea-related courses at their home university. 

Yet while these short term programs are worth noting, the real highlight is the AKS Graduate Fellowship program, which is open to current Master or PhD Degree students. Although the AKS campus is located away from Seoul, it is a beautiful location and students can enjoy access to the Jangseogak Archives (pictured above) and work with an assigned research supervisor throughout the program.

The next round of the AKS Graduate Fellowship non-degree program will take place from 1st September 2021 to 28th February 2022. Online applications ( for the Fellowships, which will open on April 19th, must be submitted by 5pm KST on Friday, May 14, 2020.

Fellowship benefits include a monthly stipend of 750,000KRW, a round trip airfare and the on-campus guesthouse (free of charge).

 Click here to find out more

Delving into North Korean issues and inter-Korean relations

Secondly, if you are interested in North Korean and inter-Korean relations, there is a terrific fellowship opportunity from the Ministry of Unification (South Korea’s government body responsible for relations with North Korea). The “Academic Exchange Support Program for North Korean and Unification Studies” is designed to expand the base of experts on peace and unification of the Korean Peninsula as well as North Korean studies in the international community. The Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Korea designated the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University and the University of North Korean Studies as institutions to support the two branches of the program (Fellowship/ Scholarship). 

As part of the program, you can choose between a 6-month fellowship (extendable to a full year) at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies or apply for a full degree Master or PhD program at the University of North Korean Studies. Unlike the AKS Fellowship that is open to Master Degree students, this Fellowship program targets PhD candidates or professionals with over five years of experience in relevant fields. Korean language proficiency, previous contributions to academic journals and media, previous presentations to academic conferences and seminars, public sector work experience relevant to North Korean and Korean unification issues are also considered favourably. 

Key benefits of the fellowship include: Living expenses (KRW 2,300,000 to 3,000,000/month), round-trip flight ticket (expense reimbursement), national health insurance (Korea’s National Health Insurance), initial relocation subsidy (KRW 1,000,000). Application deadline for the next program round is 6 pm KST on April 30, 2021.

You can download the 2021 programs brochure here to learn more about the fellowship and full-degree programs. If you are already undertaking a degree program or language study in Seoul, it’s definitely worth approaching the Institute of Fair Eastern Studies (IFES) or another academic think tank for an internship alongside your studies, to help you gain research experience and boost subsequent applications to Fellowship or Scholarships programs.

Additionally, if you are looking for short-term academic opportunities to engage with North Korean Studies and Unification issues, the Institute for Unification Education (IUE) of the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Korea invites junior scholars and professionals who have actively addressed Korean affairs in its Emerging Leaders Fellowship program (ELF). The ELF involved taking part part in virtual unification academy which includes lectures, virtual field trip, research presentation, and webinar. The academy will take place between June 14 – 16 (3 days), with online lectures to be posted (June 1 – June 13) prior to the unification academy.

Applications for the ELF 2021 close on April 20, 2021.

Interested in learning more about IR opportunities in Korea?

Other related scholarship programs to have on your radar include:

For a general overview, make sure to check out our Korea Scholarships page and stay tuned for an upcoming blog about international affairs internships in Seoul and other cities!

If you have an interesting opportunity to recommend be featured on Asia Options, please feel free to reach out to us.

The following two tabs change content below.

Kate Kalinova

Kate Kalinova is a Project Manager at the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) in Korea. She writes for Asia Options and

Leave a Reply