Study Nursing in Korea for International Students (7 Steps)

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Why choose Korea? Korea has been a popular destination nowadays. From local food to pop culture, there is always something trendy and quirky to look forward to in Korea. For many practical reasons, the country is the most suitable place to live and work for its low cost of living and advanced technology. The weather is also just right for any seasoned traveler. It can get hot in the summer and cold in the winter, any season that fits every person. Aside from that, Korea’s educational system is highly competitive with international educational standards. You can expect top universities that are among the best schools around the world, featuring high-tech facilities and international affiliations.

Studying nursing in Korea is completed in four years for undergraduate programs. Most universities and colleges offer bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees. If you choose to study a course in Korean, it is required to take a Korean language course in an accredited institution before you can be eligible for the program. The Korean language test is called TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) and you must pass and reach a level three or higher for undergraduate programs, and TOPIK level four for graduate programs. Learning the language is highly essential for daily needs in stores and school conversations.

When should you apply to study nursing in Korea? Always check the recruitment dates of the schools so you can apply months before the deadline. They usually recruit twice a year in spring and fall. Moreover, the school’s website always has recruitment updates for you to check. The cost of living is not as expensive as compared to European countries.

However, if you wish to save more you can also study part-time as a student. You must inform the school and immigration to get the appropriate visa for work. If you have a work permit, you can work up to 20 hours every week and 30 hours for postgraduate students. This is where your Korean language comes in handy because if you reach a TOPIK level three or higher it is much easier and convenient to find a part-time job. It is very common to find a part-time job in restaurants and stores where minimal basic Korean is required.

To apply for a nursing degree in Korea, the steps to follow are listed below.

1. Understand the prerequisites of becoming a nurse in Korea

To become a nurse in South Korea, one must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Most schools in the country offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in nursing. One of the basic requirements to qualify for a nursing degree is a high school diploma.

At Korea University, they offer a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, Master’s Program in Nursing, Master of Science in Four Courses for Advanced Nurse Practitioner, and PhD Program in Nursing. To study nursing in Korea through the bachelor’s program, the applicant must be a graduate of an accredited high school and is proficient in the Korean language. Moreover, the applicants should hold good scores from Scholastic Aptitude Tests and the Activity and Achievement Records of the high school. Afterwhich, there will be a written examination and an interview.

Another example is Seoul National University. They require a high school diploma and transcript of records. If you earned a bachelor’s degree already, your college diploma and transcript should also be submitted. Moreover, an English proficiency test and Korean language proficiency should be submitted. For international students, the applicant’s parents should not be Korean citizens.

2. Look for Information on Nursing Schools in South Korea

Before studying nursing in Korea, you have to do some research on the best nursing schools in South Korea. Depending on your location preference, you can choose nursing schools in the countryside or city. It is generally more affordable in the countryside than in the city. If lifestyle and budget are the least of your concerns, several universities and colleges are situated in the city. These institutions have a promising quality education, with affiliations in the hospitals and state of the art facilities.

When selecting a nursing school, research on the list of board examination passers of the school, the percentage and if they are among the top students. This will help you give a general outlook on the school’s performance and quality of nursing education.

3. Satisfy Korean and English Requirements

As a rule of thumb, speaking the native language will help you throughout your entire stay in South Korea. You also have to look into the long-term advantages of learning more than two languages. In the future, when employers know you are knowledgeable in other languages, it is considered to be an advantage in your career. This is also beneficial if you plan to work in this country after studying nursing in Korea.

Most programs in South Korea are taught in Korean, with a few English-taught subjects. For instance, at Seoul National University, both Korean and international students are required to submit National English/Korean Test Score and English certification from any of the following: TOPIK, IELTS, TOEFL, TEPS, AP, or SAT.

4. Prepare financially to study nursing in Korea

As part of the requirements, having financial capabilities is a must-see by the schools and the Korean embassy for your student visa. This is highly essential to prove that you can pay for your daily expenses and the school tuition fees. On average, expenses including rent, food, school supplies, and other personal expenses can be about USD 2,500 per month.

Moreover, the average cost of tuition in nursing schools is about USD 4,000 to USD 7,000 depending on the location, year, and the type of school institution. At Yonsei University, the cost of tuition per academic year is USD 4,396 including admissions fee and tuition fee.

5. Put together the application to study nursing in Korea

Prepare your application documents in advance and check that your documents are valid and complete. All the necessary requirements are stated on the university’s website for studying nursing in Korea. For example, Kyungpook National University requires a completed Application form, Statement of Purpose and Study Plan, High School graduation certificate and Transcript, English or Korean proficiency test results (TOPIK, IELTS, etc.), Certificate of enrollment or completion at a Korean language school, and Copy of a valid passport.

6. Submit your application to Nursing Schools

When you have finished choosing a school and checking your eligibility to apply, you can start your application process. The application process for studying nursing in Korea generally involves the submission of documents, evaluation of documents, interview and/or examination. Finally, upon acceptance by the university, an admission letter is given to you.

For instance, at Kyungpook National University, the application process starts with online application submission and documents. Afterward, you will be screened for qualification and conduct an interview. Upon moving to the next step, you are required to submit your financial documents and be screened again. Once you pass the initial screening, you are notified with the admission result and proceed with the tuition fee payment. Lastly, you will be issued with a certificate of admission and attend an orientation.

7. Put Together application for student visa in Korea

After a long dreary application process, you can now start applying for a student visa. Generally, the required documents for a student visa are a completed Application form, Passport with six months validity, Passport size colored photo, Visa documents from a Korean university CoA or Confirmation of Visa Issuance, and Visa application fee receipt. Keep in mind that each country may have different documents.

You can check the Korean embassy of your country to know more about it. In any visa you’re applying for, it is always a must to have enough finances in your bank to show the embassy that you have more than enough to support yourself while studying nursing in Korea. The school and the Korean embassy will have to make sure that you can financially support your studies in South Korea.


I hope that this article on studying nursing in Korea was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Korea Scholarships Page!