Study in South Korea
Nicknamed the Land of the Morning Calm, South Korea is a unique blend of old and new, ancient and modern, nature and technology. You can experience a long historical landscape, full of natural beauty, with the plus side of seeing a major tech and entertainment hub in the city of Seoul.
These days, South Korea has achieved popularity among international students – and for good reason! There is a wide variety of universities and programmes for students everywhere to pursue their Master’s and Bachelor’s degree programmes. Plus, living and studying in South Korea is relatively inexpensive for most people. So, going to South Korea would ensure both stunning surroundings, interesting friends, and great value.
Why study in South Korea?
1. Affordable tuition fees
A cool thing about South Korea is that it doesn't differentiate between local and international students. Both categories pay the same fees. And these fees aren't even that high, especially when compared with how much you'd pay in the US, Canada, or Australia.
For most Bachelor's and Master's programmes, costs start at 1,000–1,500 USD and can reach 21,000 USD per semester. This may not sound exactly cheap, but remember that at American universities tuition can easily jump over 50,000 USD per year.
Engineering, Medicine, and Humanities are often the most expensive academic disciplines.
2. Plenty of scholarships are available
Many South Korean universities offer scholarships to international students. The requirements for each scholarship are different, but many such prizes are often awarded based on your previous GPA or academic performance.
3. The education system is excellent
South Korea prides itself with some of the best universities in both Asia and the entire world. Its schools are often ranked among the best higher education institutions, and South Korean students occupy one of the top 3 places in the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) Survey Results.
4. South Korea is an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) leader
When it comes to ICT, few countries can match the impressive progress and contribution of big South Korean companies like Samsung, LG, or SK Hynix. It is also an important player in the automobile industry, thanks to Hyundai and Kia.
5. Explore the beauty of South Korean culture and history
While studying and living in South Korea, you can discover its unique culture and history by visiting amazing monuments and sites, such as: the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the N Seoul Tower, the Bukchon Hanok Village, the Lotte World adventure and water park, the Nami Island, Everland, Seongsan Ilchulbong, etc.
What it is like to study in South Korea?
Two words: constant excitement. If you find yourself studying and living in South Korea, you’ll have endless chances for adventure. Major technology hubs like Seoul, alongside wonderful countryside and mountain regions – you can spend all of your time outside of classes exploring and soaking in the scenery.
Apparently, in South Korea, there is a reputation of students dressing nicely to all of their classes. Several international students and locals have reported on this tradition, and it has come to be a stereotype of Korean university life – every student dresses up as if they are going to a job interview.
This is a stark contrast from, say, American universities, where students roll immediately out of bed in their pyjamas and slippers. In South Korea, it’s all about the professional look that compels everyone to think: ‘this guy must be important.’
What to study in South Korea?
South Korea is a place known for embracing technology, entertainment, and media. It’s a place where you can go to be inventive, bringing new and fresh ideas into the world. But, it’s also a place with a long, interesting, complicated political history, making it a great place for social scientists and history geeks.
Here are some ideas for subjects to find in South Korea:
- Languages degrees in South Korea
- Civil Engineering degrees in South Korea
- Business Administration degrees in South Korea
- Music degrees in South Korea
Where to study in South Korea?
By ‘major cities’ we mostly mean Seoul. And can you blame us? It’s such a wonderful place. It’s surrounded by mountains, it’s a bustling city full of life, people, and entertainment; and it’s got some excellent university options.
Seoul has started to turn into a hugely diverse city, welcoming more and more international people every year. Plus you’ll have a legendary nightlife in Seoul, with plenty of places to meet people and have fun after your classes.
Which universities and colleges to attend in South Korea?
South Korea has really started to boost its offer of English-taught study options for international students. Universities there are starting to gain a widespread reputation for producing some of the sharpest minds in the world, and bringing brilliant students into contact with the careers of their dreams.
Here are some universities to keep an eye out for:
How to apply
Each university in South Korea has its own system on their website that allows future students to apply for and enrol in their degree programmes. So, once you select the university of your choice, you can go through their application and submit your materials there.
Here are some of the basic requirements you’ll need for every application:
- A scan of your diploma (high school or Bachelor’s degree)
- A transcript/record of your previous courses
- A scan of your passport and/or birth certificate
- Your CV
- Testing scores
- Evidence of scholarship or funding
- Letters of recommendation (between 2-3)
- Portfolio and/or writing samples
Helpful ways to make sure you qualify for a university in South Korea
Take Preparation Courses
These kinds of courses enable degree-seeking students to get an extra educational boost just before they start their Master’s degree or other post-graduate degree programmes.
Try a pre-M.B.A., pre-Law, or pre-Medicine programme, as well as any other foundation or preparation courses that will allow you to study in the degree programme of your choice.
Improve your English through an English-language prep course
If you’re attending a degree programme in South Korea you will need to prove that your language skills are good enough to participate in the classes and understand the lectures. These courses will also prepare you for any of the English-language tests that universities require.
To apply to study in South Korea, you’ll need to provide proof you have a diploma for your English proficiency.
The certificates generally accepted by the universities in South Korea are:
Living in South Korea
Let's take a closer look at tuition and living expenses in South Korea:
Like most countries around the world, South Korea separates their universities into public (government-backed) and private universities.
Yet, one of the unique things about South Korea is that they don’t charge a different price to international students; instead, foreign students have the same fees as their local South Korean classmates.
Tuition fees at public universities
- 1,600–10,800 USD/semester for Bachelor's degrees
1,100–20,900 USD/semester for Master's degrees
Engineering and Medicine degrees are usually the most expensive.
International students who enrol at private universities should expect to pay higher tuition fees.
Cost of living in South Korea
South Korea can be a rather expensive place for your studies with average living costs of 900–1,400 USD/month. But, you can find plenty of ways to save money and budget properly while you’re there.
Here is a breakdown of costs in South Korea:
- accommodation (university dormitory): 600–1,400 USD/semester
- accommodation (private rent): 300–400 USD/month plus the security deposit (3,000–5,000 USD)
- food and groceries: 300–500 USD/month
- medical insurance: 20 USD/month
- monthly transport pass (train, metro, bus): 40 USD
- 3-course meal for 2 at a midrange restaurant: 34 USD
- Milk: 2.10 USD
- Loaf of bread: 2.45 USD
- Cappuccino: 3.80 USD
About South Korea
South Korea, officially called The Republic of Korea, is an independent state in East Asia, covering the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The country is fenced in by the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, the closest neighbouring countries are North Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan. With an overall population of over 50 million, the capital Seoul- a vibrant city, second largest in the world, is home to almost 20 million people.
Interesting facts about South Korea
- When Korean’s write a name in red ink, it means that someone is dead or is about to die.
- In 1999, South Korea passed a law requiring all online shopping and banking to be done using Internet Explorer. It is still in place. Probably why they miss out on so many deals.
- South Korean wedding garments are usually red, which is a symbol of good fortune
- When taking a photo, South Koreans say “kimchi” instead of “cheese.”
Universities, colleges and schools in South Korea
- SolBridge International School of Business (1 Bachelor)
- Pusan National University (2 Bachelors)
- Soonchunhyang University (1 Bachelor)
- Sungkyunkwan University (1 Bachelor)
- Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (1 Bachelor)
- Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) (1 Bachelor)
- Woosong University (1 Bachelor)
- University of Ulsan (64 Bachelors)
- Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (15 Bachelors)
Interested in scholarships for South Korea? Check out our scholarship search page.
How to Apply to a Master's in South Korea
If you've decided to study a Master's degree at a university in South Korea, you will have to gather the right documents to prove that you fit the university requirements. Provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information, and a personal statement.
What documents do I need to provide to apply in South Korea?
To apply to a university in South Korea you will likely be asked to provide some of the following documents:
- birth certificate;
- recent photos;
- your passport or national identity card;
- one or more reference letters from past employers or teachers;
- copies of past diplomas or certificates, including your graduated Bachelor's degree;
- academic transcripts;
- letter of intent;
- Curriculum Vitae;
- Some form of proof that you can support your stay in the country during your studies.
Depending on the subject or specialization of your chosen Master's, you might also be asked to provide scores for additional tests like the GRE, GMAT or LSAT. Check if your programme requires any of these, or others.
The list of documents depends on the specific requirements of universities in South Korea so you might be asked to include additional documents. It’s also likely you’ll have to provide official English translations of your documents, or translations in the local language.
Prove your English skills
Because you’ll study an international degree in English, you'll have to present a language certificate. Some popular options for international students are IELTS, TOEFL or C1 Advanced language certificates. You’ll have to meet a minimum language score set by the university, and your test scores shouldn’t be older than 1-2 years. If you don’t meet the minimum language requirements, you will have to improve your skills and scores by taking an English preparation course.
Application deadlines for South Korea
The deadlines for applying to a Master's in South Korea are usually during summer (June-July), or in winter (January-February). Keep in mind that some universities don’t have application deadlines, which means you can apply whenever you are ready.
To avoid delays or missed deadlines send your required documents with plenty of time in advance.