Studying in South Korea is something you should look forward to because of her rich cultural heritage and quality standard of education delivered.
If you are keen on quality education, then you might consider studying in the Best Universities in South Korea for International Students.
This article highlights the best universities in South Korea for any international student to explore. Just make your choice!
Due to its close diplomatic ties with the United States and all the prosperous countries, South Korea is very open to international students and the number of international students visiting South Korea increases day by day.
In this writing, you will be richly enlightened on all you need to know about studying in South Korea, what it cost to study in South Korea as well as the Best Universities in South Korea for International Students.
About South Korea
South Korea is officially known as the Republic of Korea and is located in the southern part of the Korean peninsula in East Asia.
One of the driving factors is undoubtedly its friendly nature. They are easy to carry and tend to flow well with foreigners in your country.
Investment in quality education and research has been at the forefront of South Korea’s development. Hence, the country has transited to become the thirteenth largest economy in the world and the third-largest economy within Asia.
This investment has been worthwhile, as South Korea is known as one of the four “Asian Tiger” economies along with Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Why Should I Study in Korea?
Studying in Korea is a beautiful experience. South Korea has been the dream of countless foreign students worldwide especially those that watch a lot of Korean movies.
It must have been a determining factor why the desire among young people, students, in particular, want to travel to Korea to experience its culture and thrills.
Famous TV shows made in Korea have exposed their values and standards, which makes Korean life and universities attractive to international students. Living and studying in Korea is a unique opportunity in life, as a beautiful and vibrant country is a wonder to behold.
How Much Does it Cost To Study in South Korea?
An undergraduate course at a public university costs an average of US $2,000 to the US $4,500 per semester (humanities courses tuition is lower while the medicine is higher).
The average annual tuition cost at the 10 internationally classified Korean universities has an estimated cost of US$6,800.
The average tuition fee in a private university can cost up to $7,000 while the average income is above the $20,000 mark.
South Korea has the third-highest enrolment among OECD countries but is below the average of those in-state scholarships and student loans, according to the Ministry of Education
You should keep in mind that there are two semesters in each academic year when calculating the total cost and undergraduate programs in South Korea usually last four years (or six years for subjects such as medicine and dentistry).
How Can I Study in South Korea for Free?
Let’s show you some ways you can keep the cost of studying in Korea to a minimum, or even better, you can study in Korea for free!
The best way to obtain an education abroad without any financial burden is by securing a scholarship. Be sure to check the available scholarships and their requirements before applying for one.
Can You Study in Korea Without Knowing Korean?
Education has far gone global and students have the freedom to go anywhere in the world to study the courses that work best for them.
More than 8 million students are expected to study abroad for their graduate studies in 2025. Faced with this trend, leading universities around the world have standardized to accommodate people from all over the world.
Korea is one of those countries that welcomes students and professionals from all over the world and they blend very well to earn a living in the country.
Known for its kind and generous hospitality, Korean citizens makes it easy for people to blend in with the culture of the country.
So, if you find yourself in Korea and you have no clue about their language, these are the things you can do to blend in fast:
#1. Learn their own English Style:
The English taught at Korean universities can be a bit different and difficult to follow. You can pay more attention to learning their accent.
Although the lessons are in English, just check and make sure they are in English as it is natural for people and trainers to revert to their native language.
If things don’t go your way, you can always learn some common names for their country’s food, like their Kimchi, Chimaek, Barbecue, or Ramyeon, the food is heavenly.
Most times, students get used to their language, and the journey goes smoothly.
What are SKY Universities in South Korea?
SKY is an acronym used to refer to the three most prestigious universities in South Korea: Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University.
The term is widely used in South Korea, both in the media and by the universities themselves.
In South Korea, admission to one of the SKY universities is widely considered as a determinant of the top career and social status.
Many of the most influential politicians, lawyers, doctors, engineers, journalists, professors and policymakers (bureaucrats) in South Korea have graduated from one of SKY universities.
How Many Public Universities in South Korea?
In total, there are 43 national universities and almost 180 private universities. Undergraduate programs normally last four years (six years for medicine and dentistry).
In 2010 there were 83,842 foreign students from 171 countries studying in South Korea.
National Universities in South Korea
National universities in South Korea were established by the South Korean government to provide higher education to help the country’s development. There are 15 major national universities, which were established to play a role in the development of each region.
Among all the universities in Korea, the most prestigious is the Seoul National University.
South Korea currently has more than 220 universities, as well as Global Campus opened by international universities, as this is part of South Korea’s internationalization plan.
For the sake of this study, we will restrict our list to the best universities in South Korea for international students 2022.
Best Universities in South Korea for International Students
Here is the list of the best universities in South Korea for international students. Some of these universities are owned by the government, while others are privately owned. They have a high-quality education standard that is recognized worldwide.
Their ranking factor is mainly due to their acceptance rate since most of these schools have strict and competitive possibilities of offering admission, especially to international students. We will start with the SKY universities.
#1. Seoul National University
Considered one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in South Korea, Seoul National University (SNU) occupies the first position, as the best universities in South Korea for International Students that offer students the opportunity to study in the Heart of the bustling capital of the country.
Seoul frequently ranks as one of the best cities in the world for higher education, and the university is comfortably among the best universities in Asia.
Seoul National University is the first national university in South Korea and has a reputation for living up to the high ideals of democracy. The university has also maintained peace in the area of the Korean peninsula.
The university has 16 colleges, a graduate school, and 10 professional graduate schools that offer hundreds of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses.
The main campus, Gwanak, is based in southern Seoul and comprises over 200 buildings that serve thousands of students and staff. The site is served by its own subway station.
The Yongon University campus, located just north of the Han River, houses the major branch of the Seoul National University Hospital and the schools of medicine, nursing, and dentistry.
A little outside the city, the Pyeong Chang campus includes the Graduate School of International Agriculture, as well as the Bio Verde Institute of Science and Technology and the university’s own agricultural complex.
Famous Alumni include former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, former president of the International Criminal Court, Song Sang-Hyun and Lee Jong-Wook, who used to lead the World Health Organization.
The faculty also has the Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen and the winner of the Fields Medal, Hironaka Heisuke.
Acceptance rate: 10%.
Tuition: 6.33 million KRW
#2. Korea University
Founded in 1905, Korea University is one of the largest and oldest universities in the country and one of the best universities in South Korea for international students.
There are many clubs and associations for students, including a ping-pong club, an acoustic guitar club, an environmental preservation club, and a Korean ladies club.
The university is known for developing international education programs. There are global campuses located throughout the world and many associations to facilitate the exchange of students.
In addition to sending more than 1,200 students abroad each year in student exchanges, the university welcomes 4,500 international students, which consists of short-term visiting students, as well as 2,000 students seeking degrees.
Acceptance Rate: 25%. The acceptance rate of international undergraduate students at Korea University is estimated to be around 26.5 percent. Approximately 52.9 percent of graduate students are expected to get accepted.
#3. Yonsei University
Yonsei University is a private research university located in Seoul, South Korea. Established in 1885, Yonsei is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in South Korea and among the best universities in South Korea for international students.
The modern version of the university was created in 1957 when Yonhi College and Severance Union Medical College merged (Yonsei is the combination of the first letters of the two previous schools).
Ranked in one of the best private universities in the country and also among the most prestigious universities in Korea, Yonsei University continues to build on its base to become the best university in Korea for international students.
Through creative thinking and analytical reasoning, Yonsei University has been able to advance in various fields of science.
This university continues to challenge and inspire its students to think creatively and also to think outside the box.
Acceptance Rate: 35%
#4. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Another main Korean university where all the geniuses of mathematics and science attend is the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
In this university, they mainly focus on forming an elite group of scientists and researchers that can affect the nation and also the world.
As the name implies, KAIST is very famous for its science and technology, and one of the famous advantages of KAIST is its robot technology.
Created by the government in 1971 with the help of American advisors, KAIST was the first research and science university led by South Korea and has earned the reputation among the best universities in South Korea for international students.
Based in the central city of Daejeon, the university was created “in recognition of the nation’s need for elite human resources in science and technology,” and has remained true to its founding philosophy.
The university is highly esteemed: it is possible that your smartphone, laptop or car has been designed by a KAIST graduate, and the excellent teaching and cutting-edge research carried out at the university has been crucial to developing Korea’s reputation Southern High-Tech Skill.
The university has an innovative academic system and is allowed to operate autonomously, outside the government curriculum and admission standards applied in other universities.
KAIST has the first South Korean exam-free admission system (admissions are based on grades, teacher recommendation letters, and personal statements); and university students can try courses before choosing their specialty and can change their specialty at any time.
More than 80 percent of the courses at KAIST are taught in English.
KAIST offers undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs. The vast majority of courses are taught in English.
Acceptance rate: 35%
#5. Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)
Sungkyunkwan University was founded over 600 years ago and is the oldest university in East Asia. The university has two campuses: the campus of humanities and social sciences in Seoul, and the campus of natural sciences in Suwon.
The university has academic exchange programs and partnerships with 653 universities in 73 countries. It also aims to expand its double degree programs with many prestigious universities around the world.
Currently, the university is running 33 double degree programs with partners including the Engineering and Business Schools of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana, Fudan University, Peking University and the University from Birmingham.
It also offers the first MBA program fully taught in English in South Korea.
Tuition: 4.557 million KRW
#6. Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)
Founded in 1986 in the south-eastern port city of Pohang, this research-focused university is an inexhaustible source of excellent graduates, which produces world-class research and fosters close ties with industry and commerce partners.
Standing among the best universities in South Korea for international students, POST TECH is one of the best research universities in the Asian continent.
Due to its numerous research and technology buildings, POST TECH placed a great emphasis on research and continues to impact the world through its diverse discoveries.
POSTECH, a relatively new private institution, has risen in the rankings at an impressive rate, gaining recognition from the academic community around the world.
The university has adopted an innovative, student-centered approach, admitting a small number of the best and brightest students, and using the most personalized teaching method to adapt to people in order to nurture the next generation of innovative world leaders.
Academic and research activities focus on science and engineering, and the university has some of the best facilities and more than 70 research institutes. POSTECH has its own bilingual campus, and students and teachers come from all over the world.
POSTECH aims to continue to open new paths, both in terms of the research it does and in the way it teaches students.
#7. Hanyang University
Hanyang University also emphasizes research, but mainly in engineering. Located in Seoul, Hanyang University was the first architecture and engineering school in Korea, and this university is also affiliated with many famous universities such as MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and the University of Cambridge.
Hanyang University is one of the best universities in Korea. “Hanyang” was an old name for the capital of South Korea that is now “Seoul.”
Founded in 1939, this university is well known in Korea and in the academic circles of the world due to its excellence in education. It is well known as one of the best universities in South Korea for international students.
Tuition: KRW 4.456 million
#8. UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology)
The Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) is one of Korea’s best universities in science and technology. It is a very young university that was founded in 2007 but has already established a reputation for academic excellence.
Also strongly focused on science and technology, UNIST is ranked among the top 10 universities in the nation, and UNIST is located in one of the largest industrial cities in Korea.
Due to its strong investment in research and technology, UNIST has become one of the premier research universities in Korea.
#9. Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology
In addition to being located in one of the best universities in Korea, GIST is classified as one of the best universities in the world and continues to be consistently classified as one of the best universities for outstanding faculties.
The members of the GIST faculty are recognized for their experience in their respective fields and continue to expand their horizons by publishing laboratory papers and reports.
#10. Jeonbuk National University
Jeonbuk National University is a national research university founded in 1947, located in Jeonju, Republic of Korea. As the flagship national university in Jeollabuk-do province.
Jeonbuk National University has been ranked 501-550 in the world by QS Top Universities Ranking in 2016.
The Jeonbuk National University was founded in 1947 under the name of Chonbuk National University, after the liberation of the Republic of Korea, by the Provincial fund within the framework of the Korean national university system; It is one of the top 15 Korean national universities.
JBNU has grown to 16 colleges and 14 graduate schools (one general, nine specialized and four professional graduate schools).
The JBNU campus in Jeonju offers approximately 32,000 enrolled students and 2,000 teachers and staff members with educational, research and support facilities.
JBNU maintains cooperative programs with international educational institutions, and more than 500 international students are enrolled in their degree programs, in addition to around 100 international researchers.
Acceptance Rate: 19.2%
#11. Kyung Hee University
Among the other best Korean universities is Kyung Hee University. This university is famous for its service to the community and its interaction with students and has earned a good spot among the best universities in South Korea for international students.
Kyung Hee University places great emphasis on affordable education and does everything possible to offer an excellent education at an affordable price.
This university strives to create a civilized world by teaching its students mutual respect for others and to be as technical as possible in learning.
In addition, this university is friendly to international students. First, Kyung Hee University has several English courses available. For students, there are few specialties that are taught entirely in English.
If you want to specialize in different fields other than those taught entirely in English, you should definitely work hard to learn Korean.
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Tuition: $7,000 a year.
#12. Kyungpook National University
Kyungpook National University is a national university that represents the metropolitan city of Daegu and Gyeongbuk province in South Korea.
It is located in the metropolitan city of Daegu, which is the capital of Gyeongbuk Province, South Korea.
The Kyungpook National University was founded in September 1946 by upgrading the Daegu Colleges of Education, Medicine, and Agriculture to the National College. In October 1951, the faculties of education, medicine, agriculture, liberal arts and sciences, law and political science were combined at the Kyungpook National University.
Other departments, including Engineering and Dentistry, were established sequentially to create what is now known as the Kyungpook National University.
Tuition: $4,000 a year,
#13. Chungbuk National University
Chungbuk National University (CBNU) is one of the ten emblematic Korean national universities. It takes its name, Chungbuk, from the common abbreviated form of the Korean name of Chungcheongbuk-do province.
Chungbuk National University is located in the central-western part of the city of Cheongju, which is the provincial capital of North Chungcheong Province.
For 2014, the university is made up of 15 colleges, 83 departments, and 9 graduate schools. There are 36 research institutes that serve as adjunct centers for faculty research activities.
Other support organizations include the University Libraries, the University Museum, the Centre for Research Instruments and Experimental Facilities, and the University Computing Centre.
#14. Jeju National University
Jeju National University is a public university founded in 1952 in the city of Jeju, the provincial capital of Jeju, South Korea. In 2008, the National University of Cheju and the National University of Education in Jeju merged into the National University of Jeju.
In 1952, Cheju Provincial Junior College was founded and became a four-year university in 1955. It became Cheju National College in 1962, with law and science faculties.
The graduate school was established in 1979, and the university received university status in 1982.
Tuition: $3,000 a year
#15. Ewha Womans University
Ewha Womans University is a private university for women. Founded in 1886, Ewha Womans University is located in Seoul, South Korea. It is currently the largest female educational institution in the world and is one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
Ewha Womans University collaborates with around 830 partners in 64 countries around the world.
The university comprises 11 colleges, 15 graduate schools, and 66 research institutes. Although it is an educational institution for women, in 2003, Korean JoongAng Daily reported that there were 10 male students enrolled at Ewha Woman University at that time.
In addition, in 2009, the Asian correspondent reported that male students represent 30% of all foreign international students at the University. In 2013, Ewha Womans University ranked first among Korean universities in the CWTS Leiden Ranking and in the number of law employees produced.
Acceptance Rate: 9.5%
Tuition: $6000 per year
Universities in South Korea where I don’t need to speak Korean
English is the most popular language in the world used as a medium for educating students in higher institutions globally.
This means that most universities in the world have made available courses and subjects that can be taught in English or any other popular foreign language, just to accommodate the presence of international students.
South Korea is one of such locations in Asia where most courses are taught in English. So, you don’t need to worry about your inability to speak Korean in the cause of your study. Many Korean universities have programs in English.
To compete in the globalized world, South Korean universities have increased their number of programs available in English.
With this effort to create a more globalized community, Korean universities are attracting more and more international students every year.
Most of the Best Universities in South Korea for International Students have English classes made available for international students.
Seoul National University is leading the chart as one of the universities in South Korea where lectures are delivered in English and you don’t need to speak or understand Korean to be part of it.
Colleges like Seoul National University College of Business Administration that believe in developing creative and socially responsible global leaders, has their courses taught in the English language.
KAIST is another haven for international students who cannot speak or understand the Korean language. So, classes are fully taught in English in some subjects.
Yonsei University and Sungkyunkwan University stand out too, as one of the leading universities in South Korea that offer lectures in English language and other foreign languages for international students.
Other are Sogang University, SolBridge International School of Business, Ajou University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Seoul Campus and Kyung Hee University
Overseas students who want to study in English or Korean must prove their language proficiency if the language is not their native tongue.
Schools differ on types of language exam scores they accept, so it is important to check with individual schools about their requirements.
Universities in South Korea for Master’s degree Students
If you are thinking about getting your master’s degree in a country where education is one of the national priorities and students from all over the world are warmly welcomed, South Korea is the right place to be.
Whether it is a postgraduate degree in Engineering or natural sciences or an MBA, South Korean remains the best option for you.
Obtaining a Master’s degree in South Korea is an excellent academic decision to make and an opportunity to consider. One of the current aims of the South Korean educational system is to increase the number of international students in the country’s schools, colleges, and universities.
Therefore, the study conditions for a Master in South Korea are highly favorable to foreign students.
Best Universities in South Korea – FAQs
These are the top 5 universities in South Korea
Seoul National University
Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)
An undergraduate course at a public university costs around US$4,350 per semester (with humanities subjects at the lower end and medicine at the top). At a South Korean private university, fees are estimated at US$5,800 per semester.
Although it may be a leap outside your comfort zone, Korea is an extremely safe destination for exchange students. Of course, every country has its dangers which students should be aware of before moving abroad, but overall, Korea is a remarkably safe environment for foreign students
Korean Universities are very hard for Korean students to get admissions. You need to be at least top 1% of all the students in Korea to get accepted in Korea University.
So, it is estimated that the undergraduate international students’ acceptance rate is around 25% for Korean Universities.
More than 40% of all classes offered at Korea University are taught in English. Most of the courses in the Graduate School of International Studies are taught in English.
Graduate courses available in English are Korean Studies, International Area Studies and International Business.
Getting a degree and being called a graduate is great, however, where the degree is gotten can decide how you are rated in your field of work.
Most graduates of the top world-recognized or Ivy-league institutions are treated with a lot of respect and preference.
You can distinguish yourself today by taking the bold step to prepare and plan to pursue your studies in one of the Best Universities in South Korea for International Students and become a certified and respected expert in your field of work.
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