Throughout history, International Politics have always had a profound effect on the Korean Peninsula. The events of this past century – rise of Western great powers, colonial Japanese rule, bloody civil war, division of a nation, long lasting Cold War – show that a better understanding of International Politics is necessary for a better future of our country. With the coming of an Internet Age and Economic Globalization, such discussions about politics, economy, society, culture, or the environment is no longer restricted to the physical boundaries of a nation. Thus, the International Relations Major seeks to formulate academic and practical schemes to solve the international political problems of the past, present, and tomorrow.
The field of Social Science in the earlier years had been developed under the unilateral influence of the Western academic world. During this time, International Relations Major – with the support of Professor Lee Yong-Hee – had made an important contribution in directing the future of International Relations study in Korea as they actively searched for an unique yet generalizable concept and perspective rooted on the Korean experience. Such an effort had dramatically changed the academic map of the field of Social Science in Korea.
Beyond academia, International Relations Major alumni also establish themselves as core players of Korean foreign relations, allowing the Major to function further as a training ground for future foreign policy and international relations leader to steer the nation in the complex international political arena
International Relations Major in Seoul National University has been developed in two stages: firstly, as part of the College of Humanities at Dongsung-dong campus, and secondly, as part of the College of Social Sciences at Gwanak campus (from 1975). From the earlier years, even with a relatively small group of faculty and students, the academic and practical influence of the Major on the Korean society was significant.
Since the University moved its campus to Gwanak in June 1975, and the Major placed under College of Social Sciences, the Major has developed significantly both quantitatively and qualitatively. Our faculty members grew to 9 distinguished professors, and the average number of students grew to 50 annual admits in the undergraduate program, and 20 in the graduate program. As the faculty strives to continue and develop the unique academic traditions of our Major, our more than 1000 undergraduate program alumni and 200 graduate alumni also continue to play influential roles in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, academia, social services, journalism, and politics.
International Relations Department also played a role in establishing the Center for International Studies, an institution based in Seoul National University, in February 1972. When the university moved its campus to Gwanak mountain area in June 1975, the center relocated from being included under the College of Humanities to the College of Social Sciences. Since its founding day, the Center has been in charge of numerous important studies regarding the Korean government and its foreign policy, in an effort to improve the status of the nation in the international stage.
Today, as the world approaches a new era of international politics through globalization, the International Relations Major of Seoul National University faces another opportunity to make a brilliant contribution in bettering the future of the Korean peninsula, Asia, and the World.