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Study Abroad in South Korea

What You Need to Know Before You Study Abroad in South Korea

South Korea has become one of the most popular study abroad destinations over the past ten years. Each year, international students flock to South Korea to study or teach English.

The number of international students in South Korea has increased to more than 89,000, with nearly 2,500 of them being American, up from 522 in the 2000-2001 academic year.

South Korea is a great choice for a study abroad destination because of its competitive and challenging academics, beautiful sights, culture and history.

(If you decide to study abroad in South Korea, make sure you have a professional transcript and diploma translation!)

College Admission in South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

Higher education in South Korea is known around the world for its competitive nature. Including junior colleges and universities, there are 370 institutions in South Korea. Enrollment numbers are around 3.3 million students.

Private institutions are the most dominant in South Korea, accounting for over 80 percent of institutions of higher education.

In order to be admitted to a South Korean junior college or higher university, students must take an exam known as the College Scholastic Ability Test. The test is well-known for being extremely rigorous and students spend years preparing for it. In order to pass, a student must score at least 250 out of 400 points, though higher scores are required for a place at the country’s most prestigious universities.

South Korea uses a semester system similar to the US education system. There is a spring semester and a fall semester, consisting of 16 weeks each.

Degrees in South Korea

The structure of South Korean higher education is modeled after the US system. The lowest level of higher education is a junior college, which offers two or three-year programs and the equivalent of an associate’s degree. Though these institutions are more oriented towards technical education, students also receive general education and can go on to transfer to a four-year institution. Enrollment in junior colleges has increased in recent years.

Like in the US, it takes three to four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. Some programs, especially those in the medical field, can take five or six years. In order to earn a bachelor’s degree, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete a final project, thesis or cumulative exam at the end of their studies.

Master’s degree programs in Korea are also structured very similarly to US programs. In order to get into a master’s program, students will have to take qualifying exams in their field of study and English, take part in a selection interview, and they must have a 3.0 GPA. Students must also maintain a 3.0 GPA while they are in the program.

Tuition in South Korea

Tuition in South Korea can vary. For public universities, tuition for undergraduate programs can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per semester. For private universities, the range is from $3,000 to $7,000 per semester.

Students in South Korea are lobbying for decreases in tuition prices, so the price range could change in the future!

South Korea’s world class academics, history and culture make it an excellent choice for a study abroad destination. Join the growing ranks of international students in South Korea.


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