Study in South Korea
Having split from North Korea in 1948 into a separately governed country, South Korea has diverged considerably from its neighbor, developing into an internationally recognized Asian powerhouse in the fields of technology, education and tourism, to name but a few of its strengths. Embracing both tradition and modernity, this ‘Asian Tiger’ has much to offer international students, and capital city Seoul is currently ranked among the world’s top 10 student cities.
Investment in education and research has been at the heart of the South Korea's growth into the world’s 13th largest economy and the third largest economy within Asia. It’s this investment and growth in innovation and technology that has meant the country is known as one of the four ‘Asian Tiger’ economies, alongside Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In 2004 the South Korean government set a target of attracting 100,000 foreign students to its universities by 2012, and by 2011 the country had enrolled over 85,000 international students from 171 different countries. Now the initiative has sets its sights even higher, with an aim of 200,000 international students by 2020.
As part of this ongoing focus on internationalization, several universities in South Korea, including Yonsei University, are opening new international campuses to meet growing demand, while five universities have opened branch campuses at the Incheon Global Campus (IGC), including the State University of New York (SUNY).
Click on the tabs below to find out about universities in South Korea, student cities, tuition fees and more.
Document Checklist for Study Abroad
- application form
- self-introduction and study plan
- letter of recommendation
- academic record at previous institution and proof of graduation
- photocopy of passport or proof of nationality
- proof of Korean and English ability
- portfolio, video clips, etc. (for arts and physical education applicants only)
- documents proving financial stability
- proof of the student’s or financial guarantor’s bank balance (maintained for at least one month), domestic remittance, or currency certificate of the amount equivalent to or larger than the average annual expenses for tuition and living
- certificate of property tax payment
- pledge to bear study expenses, etc
※ Documents required and application deadlines are different for each university. Refer to each university’s homepage for details.
※ Information related to other universities and majors can be found at studyinkorea.go.kr
※ Depending on the document (usually a certificate proving the highest level of education) some places might require translation authentication or an Apostille confirmation.
* Apostille: A system that allows foreign documents to be used without the confirmation of the Korean embassy. Over 100 countries are involved in the Apostille system.
For the pre-Masters courses, typical entry requirements are at least 3 years of higher education and UK IELTS 5.5 (minimum of 5.0 in all skills).
If you do not meet the English language entry level but have at let UKVI IELTS 4.5 (minimum 4.0 in all skills) you can do a course that includes extended English and skills (EES).
If you want to apply for direct entry to a degree at university in Canada, and your native language is not English, you must provide proof of your proficiency.
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are the most common language requirement for American universities. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam scores are the most common language requirement for Canadian universities. But most universities will accept either test as proof of your English language ability. You can take TOEFL and IELTS exams at testing centers worldwide.
Intake: Students may be able to start in spring (January – April), summer (May – August) or autumn (September – November)
For spring semester, applications are accepted during the previous September-November period. For the fall semester, applications are also accepted during the May-June period. Many university applications can be found and completed on the Internet. There are two types of undergraduate admission (1) regular entrance requires the completion of a high school education, and (2) transfer between universities requires a certain amount of credits from the transferring school or completion of undergraduate study.
Although most universities use documents and scores to determine a student’s level of competence, some universities prefer to conduct interviews or require that student applicants take specially prepared tests.
General Admission Procedures for Foreign Students
Visa application procedures
Anyone who wants to study abroad must obtain a student visa from a Korean Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. This can be obtained only after preparing all the required documents to enter Korea, including an admission letter. The type of visa required differs according to what kind of course (Korean language training, regular degree, research, or exchange student) will be taken. For a student visa, applicants (seeking a degree higher than a professional school, research course, or exchange student course will require a D-2 visa) and those studying Korean language at a university language school will need a D-4 Visa (For more information on student visas, please visit the Korea Immigration Service website http://www.immigration.go.kr/HP/IMM80/index.do)
(1) Certificate for Confirmation of Visa Issuance
What is certificate for recognition of visa issuance?
Upon request for visa issuance approval by a foreign visa applicant or a Korean national trying to invite a foreigner, the Minister of Justice or the head of the Immigration Office (or the head of the local branch in case of Sejongno/Ulsan/Donghae branch) can do a preliminary inspection on the subject. Should they deem it necessary after the inspection, they may issue a certificate of visa issuance approval (or visa issuance approval number) prior to the actual visa issuance by the head of the overseas consulate.
- A foreigner who intends to enter Korea or a Korean trying to invite a foreigner can apply for a certificate of visa issuance approval to the competent Immigration Office (or its branch office in case of Sejongno/Ulsan/Donghae Branch) along with the required documents for visa issuance.
- Send the certificate of visa issuance approval (or visa issuance approval no.) to the person intending to enter Korea
- Upon receiving the certificate of visa issuance approval (or visa issuance approval no.), the person can obtain a Korean visa by presenting it to the Korean consulate.
※ The certificate of visa issuance approval is valid for 3 months and can only be used for a single visa issuance only.
Eligible subjects of visa issuance approval
- Nationals of countries that lack diplomatic relationship with Korea or otherwise specially designated countries
- Those eligible for Cultural Arts (D-1), Study Abroad(D-2), Industrial training (D-3), General training (D-4), Journalism (D-5), Religious Affairs (D-6), Supervisory Intracompany transfer (D-7), Corporate Investment (D-8), Trade Management (D-9), Professorship (E-1), Foreign language instructor (E-2), Research (E-3), Technological Transfer (E-4), Professional Employment (E-5), Arts & Performance (E-6), Special Occupation (E-7), Internship (E-8), Non-professional Employment (E-9), Vessel Crew (E-10), Family Visitation (F-1), Residential (F-2), Dependent Family (F-3), Overseas Koreans (F-4)& Miscellaneous (G-1) visa status.
Residential (F-2) status is only applicable to the spouse of a Korean national or a holder of permanent residency (F-5) status.
- A person whose necessity is acknowledged by the Minister of Justice
※ Those not eligible for visa issuance approval
- Those with Diplomacy (A-1), Official Business (A-2), Conventions/Agreements (A-3), Visa Waiver (B-1) and Tourist in transit (B-2), Internship (E-8), Permanent Residency (F-5) or Working holiday (H-1) status.
- Those with Residential (F-2) status that are recognized as a refugee, is a large scale investor, have lived in Korea for over 7 years or have lost permanent residency (F-5) status.
universities have lower tuition fees than private universities. Since tuition fees may differ depending on Procedures to Embassy/Consulate
(2) Student visa (D-2)
• Eligible Applicants
- Study and research at educational. academic institutions (community college or higher)
- A person who wants to study, research or enroll in a full-time program (i.e. Bachelor's, Master, Ph.D.) at academic institutions (community college or higher) established under either the Higher Education Act or the Special Act.
• Maximum length of stay
You are allowed to stay for up to 2 years
• Application Centre
By principle, you must apply at a Korean diplomatic mission in your country or in a country where your last school is located.
• Required documents
- ① Visa application form (form #34), photocopy of passport, one standard size photograph, fee
- ② Photocopy of Business Registration Certificate (or distinct number certificate) of a respective education institution
- ③ Standard Acceptance Letter (issued by the dean/president of the university)
- ④ Documents proving your family relations (Only when your parent’s certificate of balance is submitted.)
China, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mongolia, Thailand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Peru (Total: 21 states)
* Please indicate your English name on the Korean version and enclose a photocopy of your passport.
Examples of Family Relations Certificates
China: Family Relations Registry or notarized document proving family relations, Philippines: Family Census, Indonesia: Certificate of family relations (KARTU KELUARGA), Bangladesh: 점머 까꺼즈 or 점마 싸이드티켓, Vietnam: 호적부 (So Ho Khau) or Birth Certificate
(Giay khai sinh), Mongolia: Certificate of Family Relations, Pakistan: Family Certificate,Sri Lanka: 빠울러 Certificate, Myanmar: Family Relations Certificate (잉타웅수사옌), Nepal: 전마 달다, Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan/Ukraine/Thailand: Birth Certificate
For a comfortable stay in Korea during the study period, we recommend considering the cost for transportation, study materials, dorm fees and miscellaneous expenses.
|Documents for each program||Required documents|
|Master's degree. Ph.D.||yourself (tuition and living expenses for a year)|
|Specific Research Program||
※ The Chief of mission may ask additional documents in order to examine the purpose of stay, genuineness of invitation, and qualifications of the inviter and invitee if deemed necessary.
(3) General Trainee (D-4)
• Range of Activities
You are eligible to apply if you research, study or train at an educational organization, academic research center, private enterprise and other groups that do not fall under D-2 categories. For example, you are
- - A person learning Korean at a university-affiliated language center
- - A person studying at an educational organization or an academic research center that does not fall under D-2 categories
- - A person practicing skills/techniques at a public/private research institute or training center
- - A person who is on-the-job training, researching, or is an intern at a foreign investment company or foreigner-invested company.
• Limit on period of Sojourn:2 years
• Application Location
- - The immigration (Branch) Office having jurisdiction over your new school
- - You can apply online at Korea Visa Portal (www.visa.go.kr) (for a person-in-charge of international students only)
• Required documents:
※ Here is the required documents for Language Trainee (D-4-1).
- ① An application for a visa issuance confirmation (form no. 21), a copy of passport, one standard size photograph, fees
- ② A copy of business registration of the education institute or a photocopy of distinct number card
- ③ Standardized acceptance letter* (issued by the President/Dean of university)
* You can replace the letter with FIMS information confirmation, or if you are a scholarship student invited by the National Institute for International Education, you can substitute the invitation card issued by the head of the Institute for the letter.
- ④ Enrollment letter or duplicate copy of your graduation diploma of your final level of education*
* The original copy is reviewed in principle, however, if necessary, a duplicate copy can be attached after an official-in-charge compares the original copy and a duplicate copy to confirm authenticity.
- ⑤ A document proving your financial ability to support yourself during your stay*
* If you submit your parent's balance statement, you must submit a family relations certificate as well.
※ In principle, documents proving your financial ability must be reviewed through the original copy (e.g. balance statement, bankbook, scholarship receipt deposit/withdrawal statement), however, if necessary, a duplicate copy can be attached after an official-in-charge compares the original copy and a duplicate copy to confirm authenticity (Balance Statement is only accepted when it is issued within the past 30 days).
- ⑥ Training Plan (including the lecture Schedule, list of lecturers, training facility details, etc.)
※ The head of the immigration (branch) office may ask additional documents in order to examine the genuineness of invitation and the qualifications of the inviter and invitee.
※ For detailed information, please visit the official website of Korea Immigration Service. (http://www.hikorea.go.kr)