The educational scheme adopted in South Korea is believed to be one of the effective systems as compared with that in more mature markets. One of the distinctive features attributable to Korean tertiary education is the strong and rigid hierarchical pyramid. This is responsible for appraisal of university education in South Korea.

Higher education in South Korea

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Advantages of education in South Korea

The competitive strength of education in South Korea depends on implementation of advanced technologies, low tuition, and prospects to get challenging and promising qualification degrees.

More importantly, the country is reputed for its traditions and special culture with a variety of cultural heritage and architectural assets remained till now. Thus, international students are apt to get solid education and learn customs and life manners in South Korea at first hand. They get the chance to see the well-adjusted blend of traditions and advances that go forward at a high pulse.

The English language is the principal language of study almost at all national universities though international students might prefer Korean.
Each university sets English language courses for various levels of proficiency. This helps students apply for programmes that are most necessitated and supportive to have a good command of the language that is required to be enrolled to the university. The English language proficiency certificate is kind of start-up to enter the tertiary education institution in South Korea.

Entrance requirements

The entrance requirements set by universities in South Korea are quite the same as in other countries. Consequently, the applicant should have the package of documents as specified below:

  • Leaving Certificate. By the way, this is not the only primary requirement related to education level. The applicant should study for at least one year at the tertiary education institution as part of the admission procedure.
  • Transcript of courses learned and TOEFL or IELTS Certificate is compulsory. If the applicant has the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK), it is better to attach the results to other papers, either, especially if the applicant shows high academic records. Since it is extremely competitive to become a student in Korea, high achievements will be in favor of an international student at enrollment and it is also responsible for the scholarship volume.
The applicants should take the standard test - College Scholastic Ability Test, or Su-neung, that makes of three sections: First Foreign Language Ability, Mathematical Ability and Language Ability. Optionally the applicant takes various elective subjects in physical and social sciences at his own discretion.

Below find documents required for admission:
  • Application form
  • CV made in English and Korean languages
  • Birth Certificates (a copy)
  • Foreign passport (a copy)
  • Reference letters provided by teachers
  • English or Korean language proficiency certificate.

Tertiary education in South Korea

Tertiary education in South Korea is made of three levels: Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s levels.
Bachelor level programme helps to enhance key skills and gives knowledge required for both working and further studying. Bachelor-level programme averages 3 to 4 years. The standard test Se-neung is required for Bachelor-level programme students. The Bachelor's Degree Examination for Self-Education is also available in South Korea that is responsible for scholarships. This exam is appreciated by students who plan to apply for Master’s or Doctor’s degrees in South Korea.
The student should perform excellent by the Bachelor programme to apply for Master’s degree. A copy of Bachelor’s Diploma is required to submit for Master’s programme. The area of specialization in Bachelor’s degree should match that majored in Master’s degree. A copy of Bachelor Diploma should be translated into the language of study, namely English or Korean language.
The Doctorate requires a notarized copy of Master’s Diploma translated into the language of study, a list of personal publications, drafts of researches planned and a CV.

International scholarships in South Korea

International students are granted with any of scholarships available as follow:
  • governmental – this financial aid is given to pay for Master’s or Doctor’s degree programme and for short-term scientific trainings. The scholarship covers the tuition, medical insurance and accommodation costs. The student is entitled for a particular amount of money to buy books once a year.
  • the second type of scholarship is provided for postgraduates and students majoring in engineering and exact sciences.
At their own discretion, several universities grant international students ranking higher in academic records with the discount for tuition as 50 – 70 % of the final cost.

Nuances of getting a Student Visa in South Korea

Below find documents required to get a Student Visa:
  • letter of acceptance from the university
  • a copy of the Leaving Certificate (translated into the language of study and duly notarized)
  • a copy of Higher Education Diploma (translated into the language of study and duly notarized)
  • documents that prove the applicant’s financial sufficiency
  • valid foreign passport.
The list of documents shown above is not however final and in some particular cases additional documents might be required.

Student’s resources during study

As adopted by many universities, an international student in South Korea is entitled for some kinds of job for the limited 20 hours, not more, per week during the academic period. The employment may be prolonged to full-day employment during vacations. An international student should get a work permit from the authorized body. The permit is given to students who study for at least 6 months at the tertiary education institution.

The graduate of the Korean university might take the advantage of staying in Korea and seek for a job in the area of qualification upon completion of studies. This requires high academic performance index proved during practical trainings or internship at Korean companies.

Those who plan to earn citizenship in South Korea are required to get a residence permit and show proper employment records. This is possible with legitimate stay within the country.

Some particular cases report on international students who legally receive a work permit but not entitled for re-entry. This varies from case to case and it depends on the degree and qualification of the student.
Higher education diplomas obtained in the South Korean universities are however wanted due to quality and high level of education that do not yield to that given at European universities.
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Education in South Korea - See also...

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