Korea University Department of Political Science and International Relations

  • Sitemap
  • 한국어

International Relations


International Relations is a subfield of Political Science that analyzes the interaction among states and other actors in international Society. International Relations was first recognized as an independent field of study following the end of World War. However, the basic logic of and origins of International Relations can be traced back to the Greek historian Thucydides, who wrote the classic History of the Peloponnesian War in late 500 B.C.

Since 1648, when the Concept of the modern sovereign state began to take form under the Westphalian system, scholars of International Relations (IR) have focused much of their intellectual energy on studying the Causes of War, the Conditions of peace, and the logic of power. These studies, which can be most closely associated with realism, put great emphasis on states as the main actors in the international system and on the "balance of power as the main theme of international politics. However, the two World Wars in the first half of the 20th Century vividly demonstrated the destructive Consequences of the logic of power. This helped to introduce a new focus on institutions and Cooperation embodied in the emergence of liberalism/idealism. Today, the theoretical Competition between realism and liberalism/idealism Continues to support scholarly efforts to understand and explain international politics. Even new perspectives must first deal with the assumptions, principles and Concepts that derive from the two major paradigms.

International Relations is undergoing rapid change in the post-Cold War era. Globalization, in particular, has brought new and sustained interest in a range of transnational issues, which themselves have changed the way the field is understood. Traditional concepts of security, for example, have been dramatically redefined and expanded. Today, Security is often understood in a non-traditional and Comprehensive fashion and includes environmental security, economic security, human security, transnational Crime, and global terrorism. All of these new Concerns have become important areas of research. Globalization has also forced a rethinking of who the key actors are in international relations. Traditionally, the focus has been exclusively on states, but today international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and transnational Corporations (TNCs) are all considered important actors in World politics. Furthermore, as international society has become more Complex in the post-911 environment, there has been greater demand to develop more systematic and multilateral approaches to international relations.

In order to respond to the wide-ranging changes in the field, the Department of Political Science and International Relations provides an increasingly rich curriculum that covers theoretical, historical, and area-specific approaches to the study of IR. Key Courses include: the Theory of International Relations. Theories of International Politics," "Diplomatic History, the History of International Relations in the 20th Century, "American Foreign Policy, Chinese Foreign Policy, and "International Relations in Northeast Asia." To address the broadening and deepening scope of international politics, the Department also offers such Courses as "Contemporary International Security," "Dispute and Cooperation in International Society, and International Organizations."
Our faculty consists of scholars with outstanding research, teaching, and academic records. All are recognized at both the domestic and international levels.

The Department's faculty is comprised of renowned professors:
Professor In-taek Hyun is highly regarded for his research in international studies in East Asia, ROK-US relations and security studies.
Professor Shin-wha Lee holds high distinction in research on the United Nations and international organizations, security Cooperation in East Asia, and non-traditional security.
Professor Dong-Sun Lee has expertise in theories of international relations and military Security.
Professor Yong-wook Lee's fields of interest are East Asian financial and monetary Cooperation, Japan foreign policy and Constructivism.
Professor Dong-Hun Kim has been active in conducting research on diverse topics of international political economy including multinational Corporations and trade politics.
Professor Hun-Jun Kim’s fields of interest are human rights and international law.