1. Details

The SNU linguistics department has ten full-time faculty members who are experts in several different areas of linguistics.

Two faculty members, Ju-won Kim and Seungjae Lee, are experts in Altaic linguistics and the history of Korean grammar. Ju-won Kim is especially interested in the research on endangered languages. He has done a lot of Altaic language fieldwork in Mongol, Uzbekistan, and China.

The department has one faculty member for each of the following traditional core areas of linguistics: phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics. Ho-Young Lee is mainly concerned with articulatory phonetics. He is also interested in devising orthographies for those who do not have their own writing system. He recently invented one for Cia-Cia by modifying the Korean orthographic system, Hangeul. Heejeong Ko, Seungho Nam and Jongho Jun are generative linguists, specializing in syntax, semantics and phonology, respectively. Heejeong Ko is interested in formal and experimental syntax, syntax-semantics interface, and language acquisition.  Seungho Nam’s research interest includes quantification, polarity, spatial expressions and lexical semantic structure in generative framework. Jongho Jun is mainly concerned with phonetically-based phonology. He is also interested in morphology learning, the perception and production of non-native sounds and the architecture of Optimality Theory.

The two faculty members are experts in computational linguistics. Minhwa Chung obtained a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering and he is mainly interested in spoken language processing. Hyopil Shin obtained a MA degree in computer science and a Ph.D. degree in linguistics. He is mainly interested in natural language processing.

Recently two experimental linguists joined our faculty, Sunwoo Jeong and James D. Whang. Sunwoo Jeong’s research areas include experimental semantics and experimental pragmatics. James D. Whang has been working in computational modeling, laboratory phonology, language acquisition, speech production and perception.


  1) Course requirements

     MA students should take at least 8 courses (3*8=24credits) + take two courses in reading and research over two semesters (3*2=6credits)

     Ph.D. students should take at least 12 courses (3 * 12 = 36 credits) + take four courses in reading and research over four semesters (3*4=12credits)

     ※We recommend that you take reading and research from the 1st semester so that you can finish your course work within 4 semesters.

     Here is our recommended schedule. It will allow you to complete the course work within 4 semesters.


1st semester

2nd semester

3rd semester

4th semester




























※MA/Ph.D. students can take up to 12 credits each semester


2) Taking courses from other departments

You are allowed to take courses from other departments. We acknowledge up to 6 credits for MA students and 9 credits for Ph.D. students from outside of the department.

     Before you take courses outside the department, you should follow the steps below.

     Step 1: Consult your professor. Your professor will discuss the course content with the professor in charge of the course you wish to take, in order to determine if the course is eligible for credit.

     Step 2: If the course you wish to take meets the eligibility, let staff members in the Linguistics office know that you are taking a course outside of the department.

     ※ We are working on making an official list of courses outside of the Linguistics department which you can take for credit.

     Step 3: If necessary, credit eligibility will be discussed in the faculty meeting.

  3) Compulsory courses

     MA students who entered the program beginning in Spring 2016 must take 3 courses among the 4 designated as compulsory courses below in order to graduate.

       – Spring semester: Historical linguistics 1, Phonology 1

      - Fall semester: Syntax 1, Computational linguistics

  4) Thesis Submission Qualifying Examination

    4.1) Test Subjects

    4.1.1) Language exam

             Foreign students need to take one of the language exams. You do not need to write both the foreign language exam and the Korean exam.

             - Foreign language exam

             Choose one of Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and German. This test involves translation of the foreign language into Korean or English.

            - Korean exam

             This test is conducted by the Korean language & literature department at SNU.

            ※See 4.5 for substitute course of Korean exam

    4.1.2) Major exam

             Choose 1 question out of 1 section; choose 3 sections out of 4 sections; you cannot choose more than 2 questions from one section

             – Phonetics/Phonology

             – Semantics/Syntax

             – Historical linguistics

             - Computational linguistics/ Spoken language processing

    4.2) Cutline

           For MA students, 60 out of 100 / Ph.D. students, 70 out of 100 in both the foreign language exam & the major exam

4.3) Requirements for the exam

MA / Ph.D. – Complete at least 2 semesters & earn at least 12 credits

4.4) English test

TEPS or TOEFL scores must be submitted within 2 years from taking the test. The cutline scores are 701 and above (TEPS), 247 and above (CBT), 99 and above(IBT)

           If you applied to this department with a TEPS score above 701 (or equivalent), you do not need to take the test again. Native English speakers do not need to submit English test scores.

    4.5) Substitute courses

You are exempt from the Korean language exam if you take one of the two courses, ‘Understanding Korean & Korean culture 1 & 2′ offered in the Korean literature and language department. You need to receive a grade of ‘S’ in order to pass.

*These courses are not included in the course work credits required for graduation.


5) Delaying the examination of a thesis

MA students should submit their thesis within 4 years (For Ph.D. students, 6 years) of completing one’s course work. If this is not possible, you need to submit a form that seeks approval of a thesis submission delay. Once your application is approved, you can extend the submission/examination of your thesis up to 4 semesters.


6) Scholarship

Here are the steps you need to take in order to apply for scholarships:

- Go to There is English version too.

- Click Academic Affairs/Administration

→ Registration/Scholarship → Scholarship(subdirectory of Registration/Scholarship) → Scholarship Application (subdirectory of Scholarship) → Fill out the form on the website → Click ‘Registration’ → Print out the form and have it signed by your professor → Submit the form to the Linguistics office


2. Admissions

For the admission of foreign students, regular or visiting, the linguistics department follows the general requirements of SNU. Please refer to The Office of International Affairs for relevant information.

- Applicants can choose only one course among (M Master’s / C Combined Master’s & Doctoral / D Doctoral).
- Combined Master’s & Doctoral Course: This course is offered for applicants who wish to obtain Ph.D degree without master’s degree. The applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and should apply for ’Combined Master’s & Doctoral Course’.


3. Courses
MA students of Linguistics are required to take 24 credits (8 courses) at the graduate level, plus 6 credits (2 courses) of Reading and Research (논문연구) under the tutelage of their supervising professor. To foster a more complete understanding of the entire field of linguistics, the following courses taken from each of the four research tracks of the department (phonetics/phonology, syntax/semantics, historical linguistics, computational linguistics) are required:
- Phonology 1
- Historical Linguistics 1
- Syntax 1
- Computational Linguistics 1
Ph.D. students are required to take 36 credits (12 courses) at the graduate level, plus 12 credits (4 courses) of Reading and Research (논문연구) under the tutelage of their supervising professor.
The complete list of courses offered by the Department of Linguistics is given below.
All courses are taught in Korean, unless otherwise noted.


  • Studies in Phonetics 1
  • Studies in Phonetics 2
  • Studies in Phonology 1
  • Studies in Phonology 2
  • Studies in Syntax 1
  • Studies in Syntax 2
  • Studies in Semantics 1
  • Studies in Semantics 2
  • Studies in Historical Comparative Linguistics 1
  • Studies in Historical Comparative Linguistics 2
  • Studies in Experimental Phonetics
  • Studies in Altaic Linguistics
  • Studies in Indo-European Linguistics
  • Studies in Computational Linguistics 1
  • Studies in Computational Linguistics 2
  • Seminar in Phonetics
  • Seminar in Pnonology
  • Seminar in Syntax & Semantics 1
  • Seminar in Syntax & Semantics 2
  • Seminar in Historical Comparative Linguistics
  • Seminar in Individual Languages 1
  • Seminar in Individual Languages 2
  • Seminar in Linguistic Theories
  • Seminar in Computational Linguistics
  • Seminar in Philology
  • Studies in Sociolinguistcs
  • Studies in Pragmatics
  • Studies in Dialectology
  • Studies in History of Linguistics
  • Studies in Psycholinguistics
  • Studies in Morphology
  • Studies in Linguistic Typology
  • Studies in Spoken Language Processing 1
  • Studies in Spoken Language Processing 2
  • Seminar in Spoken Language Processing
  • Seminar in Experimental Linguistics