Top Universities in South Korea 2024

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Top Universities in South Korea

South Korea is renowned for its education system, with one of the world’s most educated workforces and a top OECD position for academic accomplishment. The country has just recently gained popularity among overseas students. As a relatively new foreign destination, many students may be unsure where to begin when it comes to applying to South Korean universities. In this blog, we will enlighten you about the top universities in South Korea. 

Did you know: For its spectacular natural splendour of mountains and clean lakes, it is known as the ‘Land of the Morning Calm.’

Why Study in South Korea?

South Korea is comparable to other Asian destinations in many respects. It has sophisticated, contemporary cities and people that are always on the go. The country is a mix of ancient and contemporary, with many temples, palaces, and UNESCO World Heritage sites coexisting with modern buildings, densely populated residential neighbourhoods, and world-class universities. It has been heavily impacted by American society, yet it has managed to retain its strong past and culture. Let’s explore what does this country have to offer to international students:

Globally Renowned Universities 

South Korea is among the best study destinations for international students. Korea is widely recognized for its extraordinary higher education system and universities. The country even earns top marks among OECD countries in terms of scholastic achievement and educational competitiveness. International students in South Korea not only have access to excellent educational options, but they also have access to outstanding jobs, career development, and assistance while attending colleges and universities in South Korea. 

Affordable Cost of Studying

Both education and living expenses are relatively low in comparison to Western countries in South Korea. On average, an international student studying in Korea will spend around $6,500 (INR 4.6 lakhs) every year to study at a university in South Korea. Also, the cost of studying varies depending on the field of study, university, and course chosen by the student. Students are expected to pay between USD 3,000 and USD 7,000 (220,942 INR – 515,532 INR) every semester for an undergraduate course at public universities in South Korea. On the other hand, a master’s degree course will cost between INR 2 – and INR 4.5 lakhs each year. 

Courtesy: Saurav Tanwar

High-Quality Education

Korea’s academic atmosphere is very competitive. Quality education is among the topmost priorities and aims for Koreans. South Korea boasts several prominent universities, most of which are in Seoul. Attending universities in South Korea is seen as a requirement for success in Korean society. There are numerous fields of study to choose from when considering studying in South Korea. Arts, Literature, Business Studies, Economics, Engineering and Natural Sciences, Management Studies, and Social Sciences are among the top courses to study in South Korea. If you are an international student interested in any of these subjects, enrolling in any of the universities in South Korea will ensure that you receive the best education available in the country.

Booming Economy

After China, Japan, and India, South Korea is Asia’s 4th largest economy. South Korea is not just one of the ‘Asian tigers,’ but it is also the world’s 12th largest and 25th freest economy in the world. The country is home to some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Samsung, KPMG, and Hyundai. For students interested in these fields of study, the country’s expertise in information technology and robotics makes it an excellent choice for popular study abroad destinations for international students.

Employment Opportunities

Studying at one of the universities in South Korea will provide you with a plethora of job options. Graduates from Korean South universities are in great demand by businesses worldwide. Furthermore, the South Korean economy is highly solid, ensuring a financially secure future after graduation for international students. Students can even work part-time for up to 20 hours a week during their studies.

Did you know that during the global financial crisis of 2008, South Korea was one of the few developed countries to avoid a recession?

List of Top 30 Universities in South Korea 

These days, young scholars aspire to study in a place that is both affordable and home to some of the world’s greatest universities. South Korea possesses all of these qualities. Some of the best universities in the world are found here, and they frequently appear at the top of prominent university rankings lists. These schools and universities are well-known throughout the world, with a strong reputation and high ranking among prominent institutions. Here is a list of the top 30 universities in South Korea where aspirants can study next:

Universities in South Korea Times Higher Education Ranking (2024) QS World Universities Ranking (2024)
Seoul National University6241
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)101–20056
Sungkyunkwan University145145
Pohang University of Science and Technology  (Postech)145100
Korea University201–25079
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology199266
Yonsei University7676
Kyung Hee University251–300332
Sejong University251–300436
Hanyang University301–350164
Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology401–500328
Ajou University501–600631-640
Chung-Ang University401–500494
Ewha Womans University601–800498
Konkuk University601–800801-850
University of Ulsan501–600751-760
Chonnam National University801–1000851-900
Inha University801–1000691-700
Kyungpook National University501–600520
Pusan National University611-620611-620
Yeungnam University601–800951-1000
Catholic University of Korea601–800781-790
Chonbuk National University1201–15001001-1200
Gyeongsang National University1201–1500651-680
Kookmin University1501+1001-1200
Chungbuk National University1201–15001001-1200
Dongguk University671-680
Dankook University1001-1200
University of Seoul801–1000951-1000
Seoul National University of Science & Technology1201–15001001-1200

Study in Asia: Top Countries, Universities & Courses

Different Types of Universities in South Korea

South Korea has a wide range of public and private academic universities and vocational institutions. Some of the most common types of universities in South Korea are mentioned below:

  • Research universities: Research universities are among the most prestigious universities in South Korea and are split into three different categories:
    • Public universities: These universities in South Korea are being supported by the federal government of the country.
    • Local universities: These universities in South Korea are supported and financed by the local governments in the country.
    • Private universities: These universities are supported by private educational foundations in the country.
  • Industrial universities: Industrial universities in South Korea are another type of university that provides more vocational training courses to students along with bachelor’s degrees. Tuition is almost always less expensive than at research universities. 
  • Junior colleges: Junior colleges provide technical education and many degree programs that last for 2-3 years. Junior colleges provide courses in early childhood Education, Nursing, Home Economics, Agriculture, Engineering, and Business administration to students.
  • Universities of education: These are universities that specialize in teacher education and offer primarily four-year degrees.
  • Cyber universities: These universities mostly provide online degrees and have grown in popularity since their founding in 2004. Bachelor’s and associate’s degrees are among the most popular degrees that are offered by cyber universities in South Korea.

Also, explore MBA in South Korea for Indian Students

Requirements to Study in South Korea

Whether you are planning to study at world-class universities in South Korea after 12th or graduation, there are certain admission requirements that you need to accomplish. Here are the major requirements to study in South Korea for international students:

  • Education Qualification: For undergraduate courses in South Korea, the candidate needs to have completed 10+2, i.e. 12 years of education (primary and secondary) and for postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree to apply for a master’s program and a master’s degree for Ph.south.
  • Language Proficiency Tests: If you are applying for English-taught courses in South Korea, you will have to provide TOEFL scores while for Korean-taught programs, you need to appear for a test of proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) and then submit topic scores with your application.
  • Additionally, you will also have to submit letters of recommendation (LOR), statement of purpose (SOP), and CV, among others.

Know about Seoul National University Acceptance Rate 

With South Korea’s focus on increasing the number of international students and aiding those who are not financially stable, several scholarships and other awards are offered. So if you are planning to study at a university in South Korea then, here are some of the scholarships that you can consider:

  • The Undergraduate Korean Government Scholarship
  • Yonsei University scholarship for undergraduate program
  • Global Korea Scholarship
  • GKS for ASEAN South nations
  • Korean Government Scholarship Program
  • Seoul National University Scholarship for graduates and undergraduates
  • Korea University Scholarship for graduate and undergraduate program
  • GIST scholarship
  • UST scholarships

Let’s explore the Top Scholarships for Indian Students To Study Abroad

How to Apply to Korean Universities?

If you want to study in South Korea, you should be aware that the application procedure is determined by the semester you pick. Furthermore, all institutions in South Korea require students to apply directly to the university via an online application. The following are some general documents that students must present while submitting their applications:

  • Carefully fill out the application form
  • Letter of recommendation [LOR]
  • Proof of proficiency in either Korean or English language (depending on the program one is applying to)
  • Past transcripts/academic records
  • Passport copy
  • Statement of purpose [SOP]
  • Student Visa copy 
  • Medical statement

Note: After securing admission to one of your shortlisted universities, you will require a study or what is called a D-2 visa to study in South Korea. It is for any student enrolling in a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD program at a junior college, university, or graduate school.

Read more about the South Korean Education System – One of the Top in Asia!

When to Apply to Universities in South Korea?

The universities in South Korea, like many other prominent nations, have a two-semester system. So, if you are intending to study in South Korea and want to know the differences between the autumn semester and the spring semester, read the following points:

  • The academic calendar commences in March
  • Some universities also offer admission in September
  • For March enrollments, the applications are accepted between September-November
  • On the other hand, for September admissions, applications are accepted between May and June

Did you know: Seoul, South Korea’s capital, is classified as a ‘megacity’ due to its population of more than 10 million people?

Related Articles:

Scholarships for South KoreaUniversities in South Korea
Korean Government Scholarship ProgramSouth Korean Student Visa for Indians: Process, Requirements & Duration
MBA in South KoreaSeoul National University Acceptance Rate


How much does it cost to study in South Korea?

The cost of studying will depend on the program you have chosen. On average, studying in South Korea will cost:
Associate Degree: $1,500-$2,600 [Rs 106,000-Rs 184,000]Undergraduate Course: $1,600-$10,000 [Rs 110,000-Rs 710,000]Postgraduate Program: $1,100-$10,000 [Rs 78,000-Rs 710,000]

Which is the number 1 university in Korea?

The number 1 university in South Korea is the Seoul National University.

Is Korea expensive to study?

No, it’s not! An undergraduate course at a public university costs around US$4,350 per semester. At a South Korean private university, fees are estimated at US$5,800 per semester.

Is it hard to get into Korea University?

Korean students have a difficult time getting into Korea University. As a result, Korea University’s acceptance rate for international undergraduate students is expected to be approximately 25%. Around half of graduate students get accepted, according to estimates.

These are the best universities in South Korea! Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

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