10 Best Scholarships in Korea for International Students

//10 Best Scholarships in Korea for International Students

While South Korea is popular for its K-pop icons and K-beauty products, not a lot of people know that it’s a great destination for studying.

For one, the peninsula is home to excellent institutions, 7 of which are listed in the World University Rankings’ top 200.

Despite being a financially stable country, the cost of living here is cheaper than in other first-world nations.

More importantly, South Korean food and culture continue to attract enrollees from all over the globe.

Like them, you too can enjoy your studies in South Korea. And with the help of any of these top Korean scholarship programs for international students below, you can even obtain a degree for free!

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Top Scholarships in South Korea

1. Global Korea Scholarship (GKS)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full cost of tuition (not exceeding KRW 5 million/$4,415)
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees at select Korean universities

The GKS program, arguably the best scholarship in Korea for international students, was created by the Korean government to promote international educational exchanges and mutual friendships with other countries.

Through this, 220 undergraduate and 1,080 graduate students have the chance to study for free at select Korean institutions.

The scholarship also includes a resettlement allowance, living allowance, medical insurance, and language course fees. Those who exhibit excellent Korean Language proficiency will be awarded a prize of KRW 100,000 ($90).

Graduate students are also entitled to research support, dissertation printing costs, and a completion grant of KRW 100,000 ($90).

To qualify, applicants must be under 25 years (undergraduate) or 40 years (graduate) of age. A GPA of at least 80% from the previous institution is required as well.

2. Samsung Global Hope Scholarship Program

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for 8 semesters (undergraduate), 4 semesters (Master’s), or 6 semesters (Ph.D.)
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees at Samsung partner universities

The Samsung Global Hope Scholarship Program is open to applicants coming from the DAC list of OCD recipients. These are nations that are listed as least developed, low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income.

Scholars are chosen according to academic intellect, language proficiency (Korean & English), and financial need. Additionally, awards are given to students who are most likely to return to their countries and facilitate their development.

Applications should be sent to the student’s university of choice.

3. POSCO TJ Park Scholarship for Asian Students Studying in Korea

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for 4 semesters
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s and Doctoral degrees

As the name suggests, this scholarship in Korea is exclusive to Asian students who wish to undertake graduate studies in South Korea. It was developed to help groom the next-generation leaders from every corner of Asia.

Apart from shouldering the tuition fee for 4 semesters, the scholarship award will also provide a living subsidy of $900 a month.

To be eligible, the applicant must have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Korea or any other country.

Despite this minimal requirement, all applicants will undergo 2 rounds of selection. The first evaluates the submitted documents, while the second relies on the applicant’s interview.

Upon passing the 2 selection rounds, the student must have successfully applied (and passed) his/her university of choice. Only then will the student be named a POSCO Asia fellow.

4. Yonsei University Underwood International College (UIC) Admissions Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for 4 years
  • Eligible Degree: Yonsei UIC undergraduate programs (16 majors under 5 divisions)

Yonsei University, one of South Korea’s best institutions, has recently opened the country’s first English-language liberal arts college. Named UIC, it currently has 2,500 students from 66 countries.

What’s great about the UIC scholarship is that all applicants are automatically considered. Awardees for this top scholarship in Korea are chosen according to their academic credentials. Once selected, the notice of scholarship will be sent together with the admission packet.

As with other scholarships, students must maintain a certain GPA to renew their eligibility for the next school year.

5. Korea University Scholarships for International Students

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Partial to full tuition for 8 semesters
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree

As a private institution, Korea University has some of the more expensive tuition costs in the country. Thanks to these awesome Korean scholarship programs, many foreigners have managed to finish their undergraduate studies at the institution – free of charge.

A select number of new students, for example, may be given Entrance scholarships. There is no separate application required as the awardees are handpicked based on their merits.

Current students, on the other hand, may qualify for the Academic Excellence or Academic improvement scholarships.

As with most merit awards, the student must maintain a certain GPA to renew his/her grant for the following year.

6. Ewha Global Partnership Program (EGPP)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition subsidy for 8 semesters (undergraduate), 4 semesters (Master’s), or 6 semesters (Ph.D.)
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees at Ewha Woman’s University (EWU)

EWU is a private university based in Seoul, South Korea. Semestral fees for undergraduate studies start at $3,300 while graduate fees cost about $4,700.

With the EGPP, however, the entire costs for undergraduate or graduate studies are covered. Awardees also stand to enjoy free dormitory lodging and a living stipend. Insurance, however, is not included in this grant.

The EGPP is given to female applicants from developing countries. Awardees are selected according to their academic capacity and leadership potential.

Eligibility is subject to screening and renewal every year.

7. Korea National University of the Arts – Art Major Asian Plus (AMA+) Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition subsidy (regular semesters)
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

K-NARTS was founded in 1993. Not long after, it opened the AMA scholarship. Established in the year 2004, it has funded 309 students from over 30 OECD DAC recipient countries.

On top of providing full tuition coverage, this Korean scholarship comes with a monthly allowance of KRW 800,000 ($710), health insurance, and round-trip airfare.

As mentioned, the number 1 criterion is the applicant should come from any of the OECD DAC recipient nations. The student should have a high school diploma (for undergraduate study) or a Bachelor’s degree (for a Master’s program).

Those with a TOPIK level 6 are exempted from the Korean Language Training requirement for scholars.

As an art scholarship, applicants must submit a portfolio of their works (unless otherwise stated) as well.

Other requirements include an accomplished application form, academic transcripts, personal statement, study plan, personal medical assessment, and 3 letters of recommendation.

8. Kyungpook National University International Graduate Scholarship (KINGS)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for 2 years (Master’s) to 4 years (Ph.D.)
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s and Doctoral degrees at Kyungpook National University

Kyungpook National University is a public educational institution based in Gyeongbuk, South Korea.

It offers several scholarships, one of which is the KINGS award. This is granted to 70 foreign graduate students every year.

However, the students may not apply for the scholarship themselves. Instead, their respective departments will send the names of possible awardees according to their academic rankings.

After doing so, the Office of International Affairs will process the documents. It will then pass them to the Admissions Committee for the formal selection process.

As the scholarship will be renewed every year, awardees will need to maintain a certain GPA to keep their eligibility.

9. Changwon National University (CWNU) Graduate School Full Time Research Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition subsidy for 4 semesters
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s or Doctoral degree at CWNU

CWNU is a public institution based in the southeastern area of South Korea.

It is home to a prominent Graduate School, which is just one of the many Korean institutions that offer full scholarships for foreign graduate students.

The requirements for this scholarship in Korea, however, are quite stringent.

Master’s applicants need to be the Lead/First author for 1 paper – or a co-author for 2 papers. Likewise, Ph.D. applicants should have been able to publish a study to be considered.

Art majors, on the other hand, may replace this research requirement with 1 or more exhibits, performances, or art presentations.

To continue to be eligible for the next term, the awardee must maintain a GPA of at least 3.5.

10. Seoul National University (SNU) President Fellowship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for 6 semesters
  • Eligible Degree: Doctoral degree at SNU

Founded in 1946, SNU is considered the most prestigious institution in the country.

Expectedly so, it offers an equally prestigious SNU President Fellowship program, one of the top scholarships in Korea for international students. It is given to Ph.D. students who are faculty members in universities in Asia, South America, and Africa, to name a few.

Preference is given to applicants who have exhibited impressive accomplishments in the fields of public health, agriculture, medicine, engineering, developmental studies, and Korean studies.

Deserving recipients will receive a full-tuition scholarship for 6 months, apart from living expenses (KRW 1.5 million or $1,352 monthly for 4 years), group medical insurance, and round-trip airfare.

SNU will also shoulder the cost of language programs, granted that they’re only taken during the evenings of fall & spring terms.

The awardee must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 to receive this lucrative benefit for 3 years.


I hope that this article on the best scholarships in Korea for international students was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Korea Scholarships Page!