Guide to Study in Korea for International Students 2023

South Korea is an east Asian country on the lower half of the Korean peninsula. Close to China and Japan, Korea shares some cultural overlaps with these countries. But Korea is a completely unique and worthwhile destination to study and live that is growing in prominence among international students!

Korean universities are highly ranked globally, and their degrees are valued all over the world. With affordable tuition and high living standards, international students can have an advanced education while learning the valuable Korean language at the same time. Korea is well-known for its pop culture, but the nation also has a strong history, fascinating cities, and gorgeous nature. With 21 UNESCO heritage sites and over 200 universities, there is plenty for students to explore on their studies!

🌆 Best Cities to Study in Korea


Often compared to New York City or Tokyo, Seoul is a lively city that combines new, old, and the future. The city is famous for its food, drink, and shopping culture. Historical sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace and Korean traditions like taking a dip in a public bathhouse offer plenty of opportunities to relax and embrace Korean culture. You can even get a birds eye view from the top of N Seoul Tower.

Universities in Seoul: Seoul National University, Korea University, Yonsei University, Ewha Womans University


Made globally famous by the zombie thriller Train to Busan, this city has much more to offer than its movie scene! Located on the coast, Busan has a thriving global commerce industry. Logistics, marine science, research, and hospitality students will find plenty of opportunities among the beaches and shipyards of Busan. It is the heartbeat of culture and economy in southern Korea.

Universities in Busan: Pusan National University, Pukyoong National University, Dong-A University


Daejeon is known for being South Korea’s center of science and technology. STEM, technology, and computer science would do well to study at some of this city’s notable scientific universities! In addition to being packed with science museums, expo parks, and high-tech firms, Daejeon also has plenty of hot springs, cafes and bakeries, and even forest adventures and hiking trails just outside the city center.

Universities in Daejeon: Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, Chungnam National University, Solbridge International School of Business

⏲ Application Dates and Schedule

Korean universities have two semesters: Spring (March-June) and Fall (September-December). The applications to start studying in Korea are usually due 3-4 months before the start of the new semester.

Students who want to start studying in the spring semester will apply from September-November of the previous calendar year.

Students who want to start studying in the fall semester will apply from May-June of the same calendar year.

Spring Semester
Runs from March to June
Application deadline: Sept-Nov
Fall Semester
Runs from September to December
Application deadline: May-June


💸 What are the Application Fees to Study in Korea?

Korean universities require an application fee to cover the cost of processing the application. The average application fee to apply to Korean university is between 20-200 USD.

As part of your application, you will also need to send financial proof that you can afford your studies. You will likely need to send a bank statement in your name or in a family member’s name with minimum $20,000 USD. This is proof that you will be able to pay the tuition and afford university in Korea.

Seoul National University
International students at Seoul National University.

🤑 Korean University Scholarships

Korean universities offer many excellent scholarship opportunities to international students. Here are a few of them:

Global Korea Scholarship

  • Scholarship is for:
    • Undergraduate course: 4-year courses at designated universities
    • Graduate course: Master’s or Ph.D. courses at general graduate schools of Korean universities
  • Scholarship covers:
    • Airfare, insurance, tuition fees, language courses, research support
  •  Requirements:
    • Non-Korean Citizen
    • Average grade (GPA) above 80%
    • Under age 25 (undergraduate), under age 40 (graduate)
  • Learn More: Official Website

University Scholarship Type A

These scholarships are given by the universities to students with high grades. More information can be found on the individual university’s websites.

University Scholarship Type B

✍English Exam Scores

To study in Korea in English, you will need to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS. These are the required minimum scores to study in Korea:

At the undergraduate and masters level, a minimum score of TOEFL 71 and IELTS 5.5 is required.

At the PhD level, a minimum score of TOEFL 79 and IELTS 6 is required.

✍Korean Language Exam Scores

If you are going to study in English, it is probably not required for you to take a Korean language exam.

If you want to study in Korean, you will need to a minimum score Level 3 on the Test of Proficiency in Korean(TOPIK). You will need to test at least TOPIK Level 4 by the time you graduate from a Korean-language program.

Ewha Woman's University study in korea
Students at Ewha Womans University.

📝Korean University Application Documents Requirements

When you apply to study in Korea, you will need to provide these documents:

Bachelors Application Documents

  • Passport
  • Passport photo
  • Graduation diploma
  • Transcripts
  • English or Korean language certification
  • Personal Statement
  • Bank statement/Financial Support affidavit
  • Recommendation letter
  • CV/resume
  • Application form
  • Passport/ID documents of parents

Masters Application Documents

  • All of the above, and…
  • Bachelors degree diploma
  • Bachelors transcripts
  • Work experience (if required)

PhD Application Documents

  • All of the above, and…
  • Masters degree diploma
  • Masters transcripts
  • Masters thesis
  • Any other application documents.
Study in Korea
Exploring the autumn foliage and historic sites of Busan, Korea.

How to Study Abroad in Korea

On Global Admissions, applying is easy and convenient! Just follow these steps.

  1. Book a call with us
    1. It’s free! Talk with our admissions counselors about your plans, timeline, and budget. We’ll help guide you to good programs and universities.
  2. Find a program
    1. You can search programs for free here
    2. If the program you want is not listed on our database yet, click here
  3. Check your eligibility
    1. Make sure you meet the entry criteria and have the required examinations!
  4. Submit application documents
    1. On Global Admissions, you can use one platform to apply for multiple universities in Korea or around the world
  5. Pay the application fee
  6. We will send in your application!

After completing these steps, you just need to wait for your university acceptance and then you can apply for a student visa!

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