South Korea is widely known as the home of K-pop and K-beauty. But unbeknownst to many, it’s a great location for higher education as well. With two of its universities placed in the top 100 (and 5 more in the top 200) of the World University Rankings, South Korea proves to be a prime destination for quality education.
While studying and living in South Korea can get quite expensive, you can easily defray these costs. As long as you follow these tips on how to study in South Korea for free, you can finish your degree program without spending a lot of money.
How to Study in South Korea for Free
1. Get your application together and submit it
The admission period for Korean universities depends on the time you wish to study. That being said, you need to have all your requirements ready before the intake period. If you want to enroll in Spring for example, then you should submit the necessary documents between September to November. Should you wish to enter the university during the fall, you need to submit your requirements from May to June.
Apart from submitting a diploma/credentials, you will need to take the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) as well to be considered.
Foreign student applications can be coursed through the Study in Korea website.
2. Receive for Scholarships in Korea
Scholarships are Korean universities are funded by several entities. Some come from the government (Global Korea Scholarship), while some are financed by the universities themselves. Several organizations such as the POSCO Park Foundation, Korea Foundation, and Daewoong Foundation offer scholarships as well. Getting these scholarships will help you to study in Korea for free.
3. Apply to affordable universities
Depending on your course, the tuition fees can cost as much as $21,600 a year. However, you can pay a smaller amount if you apply at affordable universities. At Pusan National University, you only need to pay $2,535 a year. At SeoulTech, the fees only cost about $5,000 a year.
Study Undergraduate Programs in South Korea for Free
You can take your Bachelor’s degree free of charge in Korea at the following universities:
Seoul National University
South Korea’s top-ranked university offers scholarships that are available before and after the admission process. Those still in the former phase may apply for the Korean Government Scholarship Program, which is awarded to 20 to 40 students a year. This covers tuition for 8 semesters, as well as airfare, living allowances, language training fee, and medical insurance. You can study in Korea for free by getting SNU scholarships.
After admission, a student may opt to apply for the Glo-Harmony Scholarship, which is open to students from developing countries. Apart from covering full tuition fees, it also comes with a living expense allowance of 600,000 KRW.
Yonsei is one of the SKY universities or the three most prestigious institutions in South Korea. Here, foreign undergraduate students may apply for the Global Korean scholarship, which is a government-sponsored program that aims to attract talented learners from all across the world.
The scholarship covers the full tuition of up to 5 million won for a 4-year undergraduate course (including a 1-year Korean language course), which will enable to study in South Korea for free. It also comes with roundtrip airfare tickets, an allowance of KRW 800,000 monthly, medical insurance, and research support.
To qualify, applicants must have a cumulative GPA of at least 80%. The student needs to be ranked in the top 20% of his/her graduating class as well.
Kyung Hee University
There are 7 Admission Scholarships available for foreign undergraduate students. However, only Admission Scholarship G covers the full tuition costs for a 4-year program. This is awarded to students entering the College of Engineering or the College of Electronics who have placed in the top 50% of the Interview Evaluation.
Pusan National University
PNU offers the following scholarships to international students:
- Merit-based Scholarship – apart from covering 100% of the tuition amount, this bursary also comes with a living allowance. It will also cover 100% of graduate school tuition should the student continue his/her Masters’ studies at PNU.
- College of Nano Science and Technology Scholarship – for students with a minimum GPA of 3.5.
- College of Natural Resources and Life Science – open to students with a high GPA (minimum 3.5).
- Naman Scholarship – available to students suffering from financial difficulties.
- Scholarship Committee Accredited Scholarship – for students who excel in sports.
EHWA Woman’s University
EHWA offers 2 full scholarship programs to international applicants. One is the EHWA Global Partnership Program, which is given to applicants who show leadership potential. This covers the full tuition fee for 8 semesters, admission fees, dormitory fees, even a stipend.
Applicants may also go for the International Students Scholarship program, which features full tuition coverage for 8 semesters.
Korea National University of Arts
At Karts, foreigners listed in 142 eligible countries may apply for the Art Major Asian+ Scholarship. With this, the institution hopes to educate qualified students about the importance of spreading Asian art to the rest of the world.
The AMA+ Scholarship includes full tuition fee coverage, round trip plane tickets, a monthly allowance, and limited medical insurance coverage. This also includes a 3-month intensive language course before the start of the school year.
Study Master’s in South Korea for Free
Completing your Master’s degree for free in Korea is possible at any of these Korean universities:
Seoul National University
Foreigners who wish to take postgraduate courses in SNU may apply for these scholarship programs:
- Graduate Scholarship for Excellent Foreign Students – available to Asian students (except those from Japan or China), it covers the tuition fee for 4 semesters plus an allowance of 500,000 KRW per month.
- Silk Road Scholarship – open to students from the Silk Road region who wish to study the Korean language, history, and culture. It comes with tuition fee exemptions, living allowances, and roundtrip airfare.
- Korean Government Scholarship Program – comes with a full-tuition scholarship, living expenses, airfare, and language training.
- SNU Global Scholarship – open to 160 applicants, it covers tuition, living expenses, and airfare.
- Glo-Harmony Scholarship – covers 4 semesters of MA studies.
Should you decide to take up your Master’s in Yonsei, you may apply for any of its many postgraduate scholarships. Students of immense academic potential may qualify for the Incoming Student Award, which covers 100% of the tuition cost. There’s also the Dean’s Scholarship, which is awarded to 20 students with a high GPA.
Yonsei also offers an External Scholarship coming from the Korean Government. You can study in Korea for free by receiving Yonsei University scholarships because apart from covering the full amount of tuition, this comes with a living stipend as well.
Some Yonsei institutes, such as the Graduate School of Business, also offer scholarships for MBA students. These include merit-based fellowships, Global fellowships for diversity, and YSB fellowships for the financially disadvantaged.
At the Korea University Graduate School, about 80% of international students are granted scholarships. One such bursary is the Global Leadership Scholarship, which covers 100% of the tuition costs, as well as the entrance fee and dormitory costs. It is open to applicants with exceptional GPA, TOEFL/IELTS, and TOPIK scores.
Study Ph.D. in South Korea for Free
Seoul National University
SNU Ph.D. students may get a full scholarship for 6 semesters via the Korean Government Scholarship Program. This comes with living allowances, medical insurance, airfare, and language training as well.
Another option is the Glo-Harmony scholarship, which provides full coverage for 6 Ph.D. semesters.
Several scholarships are offered by various departments within Yonsei. At the Global Institute of Technology, the school will cover the tuition of eligible Ph.D. students. This bursary also covers fees for the dormitory and campus settlement.
Korea University offers a variety of scholarships for foreign doctorate students.
Ph.D. applicants from 8 Asian countries may go for the Hyundai Motor Chung Mong-Koo Foundation Scholarship. It covers full tuition for 8 semesters, arrival support, as well as living expenses.
There’s also the Higher Education for ASEAN Talents Scholarship, which is open to citizens of 10 ASEAN countries. This covers the tuition of a 3-year Ph.D. program, as well as airfare, monthly allowance, settlement allowance, dissertation printing costs, language training fee, and medical insurance.
I hope that this article on how to study in Korea for free was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Korea Scholarships Page!