Korea University Department of Political Science and International Relations

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Brief History

On September 25th, 1945, the Board of Bosung College resolved to reestablish the university as a four-year institution and reorganized its academic departments. The Department of Law and the Department of Economics became the Department of Politics and Law and the Department of Economics and Trade, respectively, with majors available for each department. The first students admitted as Politics majors at Bosung College then began their second year as sophomores at the Korea University Department of Political Science in the College of Politics and Law after the U.S. military government in Korea approved establishment of Korea University. On August 15th, 1946.

Korea University thus became the first university in the nation to offer specialized study in Political Science an independent academic discipline, one year before Seoul National University, successor to Kyung Sung Imperial University, offered a major in the field.

The Department of Political Science has enjoyed full authority over its academic affairs since 1949 when it became an independent department in the College of Politics and Law following the reorganization of departments after liberation. The Department s autonomy was reflected in its wide-ranging academic curriculum, which was expanded to total 184 Credits. The study of Korean Politics, Korean History, Western History, Eastern History, and Logic was made Compulsory for Freshmen, Constitutional Law, Civil Law, International Law and Politics for Sophomores, and Administrative Law, History of Diplomacy and Study of the State for Juniors. Seniors were required to take History of Political Science, International Politics and Social Policy, while Introduction to Law, Social Science, History of Political Thought, Science of Law, and the History of Chosun were provided as electives.

In June 1949, the first graduation of the Department of Political Science took place. Even more importantly, the graduate school was launched that same year. This holds special meaning in that it laid the essential groundwork for advanced research in Political Science. The first president of the graduate school was Jin-Oh Yoo, who had been serving as the Dean of the College of Politics and Law. The graduate school provided a two-year M.A. program and a four-year Ph.D. program.

After the Korean War, the Department of Political Science went through another makeover. At the time, Korea University was engaged in several projects establishing several new departments, increasing the number of fixed students, and extensively reorganizing its Colleges. The Core reform revolved around abolishing the College of Politics and Law and establishing the College of Law. The existing Department of Law and the newly established Department of Administration were placed in the College of Law. The Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics (which had belonged to different Colleges, the College of Politics and Law and the College of Economics and Trade, respectively), were joined together in the Department of Political Science and Economics. The new department, in turn, reverted to the College of Arts and Sciences. After this reorganization, the University had four Colleges and 17 departments, with a fixed number of 3,000 students a doubting of its original size.

In 1959, the Department of Political Science and Economics was finally elevated to the College-level as it became the College of Political Science and Economics in April. At the same time, the Department of Political Science was renamed the Department of Political Science & International Relations. The department of Political Science & International Relations was now rooted in the College of Political Science and Economics.

From 1959 until the 1990s, no major changes in the status of the Department occurred. However, with the launch of the College System in 1999 (in which students are required to Complete a two-year College Course before declaring a major), several new developments began to take shape. The most important was the realignment of departments: the Department of Political Science & International Relations, the Department of Administration, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Journalism and Mass Media Were all grouped together in the College of Politics and Economics (in 2002, the Department of Statistics was added). Students in the College of Politics and Economics were then required to choose from among these departments as their major. Since the launch of the College System in 1999, about 60 percent of students in the College have registered as majors in the Department of Political Science & International Relations. In March 2006, the total number of undergraduate majors in the Department Was 259. In addition, 40 students are admitted to the graduate school every year. In March 2006, the total number of graduate students in the M.A. and Ph.D. program was 84.

The Department is considered the best Political Science & International Relations department in Korea. Its faculty and students continue to make Outstanding academic and educational Contributions. The Department is particularly proud of its designation as the "Education and Research Corps for East Asian Studies" as part of the Brain Korea 21 Initiative sponsored by the Ministry of Education. Through this program, the Department has had seven years of Comprehensive research accomplishments (1999- Feb, 2006). The Department is also proud of its number one ranking by the Korea Research Foundation in 2000 (in its annual evaluation of Korean universities), the JoongAng Daily in 2001, and the BK (Brain Korea) Corps.