Contributed paper, published as part of the Proceedings of the 20th Topical Conference on High-Temperature Plasma Diagnostics, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 2014 The motional Stark effect (MSE) diagnostic is used to measure the radial magnetic pitch angle profile in neutral beam heated plasmas. This information is used to calculate the safety factor, q, with magnetic equilibrium reconstruction codes such as EFIT. The MSE diagnostic is important during active shaping of the q profile to optimize confinement and stability, and it has become a key diagnostic in high performance tokamaks. A multichord photo-elastic modulator (PEM) based MSE system is being developed for a real-time plasma current profile control in Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR). The PEM-based approach is a standard method that measures the polarization direction of a single Stark line with narrow tunable bandpass filters. A tangential view of the heating beam provides good spatial resolution of 1–3 cm, which provides an opportunity to install 25 spatial channels spanning the major radius from 1.74 m to 2.84 m. Application of real-time control is a long-term technical goal after commissioning the diagnostic in KSTAR, which is expected in 2015. In this paper, we describe the design of this newly-constructed multichord MSE diagnostic in KSTAR. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.