South Korea is one of the fastest-growing countries in the Asian continent. They’re pioneers in technology and innovation and they offer numerous opportunities for international students. Higher education is of the utmost importance in Korea, as they consider it instrumental for a person’s development and success in life. This is why heading to this country to pursue your higher studies might be the best decision for you. Quality is greatly valued and they have numerous cutting-edge university programs that offer the very best to their students.

However, language can get in the way if you’re not fluent in Korean. In consequence, they have opened numerous programs in English for international students that don’t know the local language. Although it’s advisable to learn Korean for your everyday life and to immerse yourself further into the culture, it’s not a condition to gain access to a university in the country. Students that choose an English-based program often worry about having to take the IELTS to be accepted. Here are some options in South Korea that don’t require this and some alternatives you can use to accomplish your dream.

5 Ways on Studying in Korea without IELTS

1. Present Your Results from Other Tests

Unlike other countries, the government of Korea doesn’t require proof of your proficiency in Korean or English for issuing a student visa if you’re entering an English-based program. However, some universities might require proof of English sufficiency. In these cases, they don’t have to necessarily be the IELTS. Most of these institutions accept TOEFL scores as sufficient proof that you’re fluent in the language. Other tests might be accepted as well, including proficiency tests from your university if you’re planning on starting postgraduate studies. However, the eligibility for this last test as proof of proficiency depends on each college.

2. Study In Korean

If you’re an international student and you’re fluent in Korean, then you won’t need to present any proof of your English proficiency. However, most universities will require evidence of your proficiency in the Korean language. You need to be at an advanced level to make the most of your classes and both understand the content and actively participate in your studies.

You can attend language schools in Korean universities to learn Korean. This is probably one of the most common ways to study in Korea without IELTS.

3. Present Your School Profile

Many universities accept a school profile as proof of sufficiency. Whether you’ll study in English or Korean, if your school taught its courses in any of these profiles, the fact that you graduated from this school is enough to forego any proficiency tests like the IELTS. Even if you’re not a citizen of an English-speaking country, proving that your education was in English will be accepted in numerous institutions. By studying in Korea without IELTS, you’ll get to save the money you would’ve spent in taking the IELTS.

4. Study the Language

If you decide to first get enrolled in a Korean Language School then they won’t ask you for English proficiency. This is a great way to begin to know the country and its culture and determining if you want to spend the upcoming years there. Furthermore, once you’ve learned the language, you’ll be able to take the courses directly in Korean. Not only you won’t need the IELTS but you will be able to integrate further in the community and have a more competitive profile once you’ve graduated school.

5. Prove You’re A Native Speaker

This is one of the simplest options if you happen to be born in a country where the native language is English. In this case, with just your birth certificate or your passport, you will have provided enough evidence that you’re an English native speaker. If this is the case, you can study in Korea without the IELTS and start focusing on the other parts of your application. Furthermore, any university with an English-based program is an option for you.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

4 Korean Universities that You Can Study Without IELTS

South Korea has a great number of public and private universities. The government is interested in increasing the number of international students, which makes it easier for foreign applicants to get access to these institutions. Here are some of the universities that accept international students without IELTS.

Seoul National University

This university is well-known for its excellence and ample research opportunities. International students are required to prove their sufficiency in either Korean or English. However, they don’t demand that the proficiency test be the IELTS. You can either present scores from a TOEFL test or a test developed by the university itself (TEPS). Furthermore, proof that you attended school in English is accepted at this institution. If you do so, you can study in Korea without IELTS.

Korea University

This institution is ranked among the best in the world. Admission is highly competitive, especially for its language programs. You will need to provide proof of sufficiency in either Korean or English. For English, your TOEFL scores or your high school transcripts are acceptable evidence. These last documents will be accepted as proof that you attended a school taught fully in English.

Sejong University

This private university has an ambitious plan in place aiming to become one of the top 50 universities in Asia. Therefore, they are currently improving their programs and curriculum as well as their offers for international students. Those interested in English-based programs can present TOEFL scores as well as TEPS scores. Furthermore, if applying for a scholarship, test scores might influence the financial aid for which you are eligible. In this case, presenting proficiency scores is in the best interest of the student.

Yonsei University

Being the oldest university in South Korea, Yonsei University is in the top three of the best institutions in the country. For international students, the university requires English or Korean proficiency for admission. Minimum TOEFL scores are required. Otherwise, proof of being native from an English-speaking country or having studied in an English-based program is enough.

These are only some of the options for international students interested in studying in Korea without taking the IELTS. There are hundreds of universities in South Korea and most of them offer English-based programs. Therefore, South Korea is filled with opportunities for foreign students looking to pursue their higher education in this country filled with technology and traditional culture.


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I hope this article on How to Study in Korea without IELTS was helpful to you. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!