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One of the most exciting aspects about college is that you have the freedom to decide where you want to study. For some students, that means choosing an online university, and for others, it may mean traveling abroad to study internationally. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of top Korean universities, as South Korea continues to grow in its popularity and attraction of college students.

Here, we’ll cover some of the reasons why you may want to study in South Korea, along with providing a look at some of the most eminent private and public institutions.

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Why Study in South Korea?

There are various reasons why South Korean universities continue to bring in students from around the world. From its economy to its quality of life, here are some of the country’s main selling points:

Innovation hub

South Korea has a large economy, and as such, the country continues to innovate. Some global companies out of South Korea include KPMG, Samsung, and Hyundai. Along with the big companies, there are startups that breed a strong environment for those looking to create something new or join a company early on.

Booming economy

Strong imports and exports are driving forward the growth of the South Korean economy. According to Reuters, South Korea experienced a 5.9% year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2021.

International students welcome

One of the biggest selling points that is attracting students to South Korea from around the world is her scholarship programs for international students. Government scholarships typically assist about 2,000 international students per year. Along with the government assistance, the universities themselves help to cover the costs for international students with financial aid.

High quality of life

The OECD’s Better Life Index ranks Korea above average in many segments of life, including: education and skills, jobs, personal security, earnings, civic engagement, and housing. South Korea is also considered to be a very safe country, with lower crime rates than the U.S.

Top Universities in South Korea

In 2020, South Korea was reported to have 203 universities and 136 community colleges. Among the various options for higher education, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top Korean universities for anyone considering studying there.

Seoul National University 

Seoul National University is a non-profit and public institution of higher education located in Seoul, a large urban setting. There is an additional campus located in Suwon. The university is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 10-20%. Students have the option to choose from many undergraduate degree programs as well as graduate programs. It’s well known for its research departments, including in Engineering and Natural Sciences. The average tuition fee is about $6,000 per semester, but that number can vary based on the major a student is enrolled in along with the number of credits they choose to take.

Korea University

Founded in 1905, Korea University is a private institution that was originally called Bosung College. In 1946, the name changed to Korea University. There are two campuses to choose from: one is in Sejong, and the other is in Seoul. Most of the students study at the larger Seoul campus. Both international and domestic students can expect to pay the same tuition fees, which range between $4,000 to $5,000 for undergraduate degrees. The graduate degrees can cost slightly higher. The graduate programs include a law school, school of medicine, and business school. The business school boasts the most classes that are taught in English.

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology 

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is located in Daejeon. Daejeon is considered to be akin to Silicon Valley in that it is a technology hub and capital. The public research university was the first research-led science and engineering institution in the nation. For students enrolling in a bachelor’s program at the university, they can expect to spend roughly $7,000 per year. For master’s degrees, that cost jumps to about $27,000 per year. However, you get what you pay for as the university is ranked in the top three of institutions in South Korea.

Yonsei University 

Back in 1885, Crhistian missionaries founded a hospital that later became a part of Yonsei’s University. The university is a private institution that was founded in 1957 and is located in Seoul, Songdo, and Wonju. Students can enroll in liberal arts programs, business and economics, theology, engineering, and more. Some programs are taught in English, such as programs at the Underwood International College (the liberal arts institution), but the main language of the university is Korean. The tuition varies by program and more information can be found here on the school’s website. 

Sogang University 

Founded in 1960 and located in Seoul, Sogang University is the older Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education in South Korea. Within walking distance from the campus, students can access all major attractions in the heart of Seoul.  Programs are taught in both English and Korean, depending on the subject. The university offers a choice of 24 majors, as well as doctoral and master’s programs. Bachelor’s programs will cost about $7,000 per year, which is roughly the same cost of master’s degrees.

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Closing Thoughts

As a Korean student or an international student, the top Korean universities offer something for everyone. In most cases, these institutions charge the same fees to both domestic and international students, making it an enticing option for international students to explore.

For international students, there are a variety of reasons why studying abroad is a solid choice. Not only do you have the option to enroll in one of the aforementioned top universities, but you can also set up in South Korea and earn your education online from the University of the People. We offer four degree programs, as well as degree certificates, that are all entirely online and tuition-free.

South Korea is a dynamic locale with an innovative and booming economy. The nation is welcoming to students from around the world, so if you feel that it’s the place you want to be, take your pick from one of the top Korean universities and start applying!

University of the People