Korean Universities for international students: The Top and most affordable learning institutions in Asia’s Tiger Economy!

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What are the top Korean universities for international students?

South Korea is a diverse country that has so much to offer. Unsurprisingly, it is among Asia’s top study abroad destinations. Thus, the demand for Korean universities for international students is continuously increasing. 

Let us introduce the top Korean universities for international students. 

Moreover, we will also discuss the most affordable Korean universities for international students, plus the scholarships in the country.

Finally, we also included Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about Korean universities for international students.  

Top Korean Universities for international students 

The following universities (based on Times Higher Education) are not only famous in South Korea, but they are also popular among students from all around the globe!

Seoul National University (SNU)

World Rank: 56

National Rank: 1

Seoul National University was established in 1946 and is among the best Korean universities for international students. 

Despite the high competitiveness, it is popular among global learners. One reason for this popularity is the large offer of courses in English. 

Moreover, SNU is also part of the elite SKY universities, a 3-member league of the best and most respected universities in South Korea. 

In addition, SNU has a wide range of programs where students can choose to study humanities, medicine, data science, administration, or engineering.

Yonsei University

World Rank: 78

National Rank: 2 

Yonsei University is the country’s oldest learning institution and one of the prestigious SKY University members.

Aside from being one of the top Korean universities for international students, it has a high global interest, and even tourists visit the campus. 

However, applicants must face competitive admission rates due to the high rankings. 

Once accepted, they will benefit from various study fields and research departments supporting interdisciplinary tasks in context with recent global issues, like climate change. 

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

World Rank: 91

National Rank : 3 

The Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is also among the leading Korean universities for international students. It is famous for outstanding innovation, entrepreneurship, and science & technology performance. 

In 1971 the Korean government opened KAIST as the first public research-oriented institution for science and engineering. Until today, the university highly engages in entertainment, engineering, and eco-energy research. 

One reason international students want to study at KAIST could be their focus on creating global value. That’s why most courses are in English. Moreover, the diversity among students, with around 600 international students each year, reflects the international approach of KAIST.

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) 

World Rank: 163

National Rank: 4

POSCO, a Korean steel company, established the Pohang University of Science and Technology. 

As a relatively young private research university, POSTECH is achieving impressive rankings yearly, making it one of the best Korean universities for international students. 

POSTECH is respected explicitly in the fields of science and technology. Students receive the best education to become specialists in sci-tech and engineering. Therefore, many global students apply for their master’s or doctorate degrees. 

Additionally, it maintains good relationships with national and international institutions to support innovation. 

Moreover, POSTECH and KAIST host the annual Science War, where students can exchange knowledge.

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) 

World Rank: 170

National Rank: 5

Sungkyunkwan University strives for an academic society and education inspired by Confucianism. Furthermore, SKKU has a long history and still carries the name of Sungkyunkwan, the Joseon dynasty’s primary educational institution. 

However, today it is a modern institution known as a pioneer in business and technology.

Due to its expertise as one of the leading Korean universities for international students, Hyundai, Samsung, and many government agencies sponsor SKKU’s research departments. 

Consequently, it has a significant impact on Korea’s industry and society. Global learners can benefit from the newest high-tech equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters.


Though reasonably priced, expect the same level of quality education when you enroll in the most affordable Korean universities for international students below:

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies 

Tuition fee per semester: 2,490 EUR

Aside from being the no. 1 international university in Korea, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies is the 2nd best student city worldwide in the QS Universities Rankings.  

It is one of the best Korean universities for international students, offering extensive educational programs in Economics, Engineering, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and more. 

Hanyang University 

Tuition fee per semester: 2,490 EUR

Hanyang University focuses on entrepreneurship, technology, and innovations. It ranks globally as the top Korean university for international students, specifically producing the country’s best CEOs.

Aside from its popular engineering programs, learners can choose from more than 30 educational courses

Dong-A University 

Tuition fee per semester: 1,990 EUR

Dong-A University is one of Asia’s best private learning institutions. Aside from being one of the most affordable Korean universities for international students, you will certainly enjoy its location in Busan. During school breaks, you can explore majestic beaches, stunning mountains, historic temples, and more!

Moreover, Dong-A University offers three major campuses with specializations ranging from Natural Sciences to Business Administration. 



South Korea is dedicated to attracting more international students. Therefore, universities and government institutions regularly provide scholarships and research funds for students from overseas. In addition, around 2000 students receive government scholarships each year. 

University Scholarships

Nowadays, Korean universities care about the internationalization of their institutions. You can search each university’s homepage for scholarships, as many offer individual grants.

study south korea people traditional dresses
Around 2000 students receive government scholarships each year!

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Global Korea Scholarship (GKS)

The Korean government gives the Global Korea Scholarship to international Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral students studying at elite Korean institutions. Students can learn for free because the government pays everything from tuition fees, airplane tickets, resettlement allowance, health insurance, stipend, living allowance, medical insurance, and Korean language courses. Moreover, graduates receive research and financial support for their dissertation, including KRW 100,000 for graduation. 

Undergraduate students must be under 25 years and graduate students under 40 years old to apply for GKS. Additionally, students must have a GPA of 80% or higher. Students should submit all their scholarship applications to the Korean Embassy in their country of residence or the Korean university they consider. Then, they only send the best applications to the National Institute for International Education (NIIED) for the final selection. 

Korean universities for international students
“I would definitely say that South Korea is way past my expectations. And I’m so happy that I made this decision!”

Korean Government Support Program for Foreign Exchange Students

The Korean Government Support Program for Foreign Exchange Students provides meaningful experiences to international students in Korea and at the university. On the other hand, it strengthens the global competence of universities in South Korea. International students in South Korea can apply for the program for one or two semesters. The support program includes living expenses, settlement allowance, round-trip airfare, and medical insurance. 

However, only undergraduates from partner universities overseas of GKS for Foreign Exchange Students Program’s selected universities are qualified for this scholarship. In addition, master’s students from strategic cooperative partnership countries can also apply. Also, students must have already completed two semesters at their home institution. 


Korea is one of the most sophisticated study abroad destinations in Asia and the world. Therefore, there is a wide range of study programs at Korean Universities for international students. Students often combine participating in a study program with visiting Korean language courses simultaneously. If you want to know more about university language courses, click here.

Semester abroad (1-2 terms)

One of the easiest and most common choices for international students is to do one or two semesters abroad at a Korean university. Because of the excellent courses offered in English, students can go abroad and continue their studies at their home university by choosing suitable lectures at their host university. This way, students can experience Korean culture and travel the country while earning credits and boosting their CVs. 

Full Degree

Since Korea’s higher education is respected worldwide, many international students apply for a full degree at a Korean university. Of course, a full degree comes with many advantages, like enough time to immerse yourself in the culture or improve your Korean. Nevertheless, the application progress is more challenging, and students should plan well. 

Summer School

International students love to spend a summer in South Korea and get a taste of what Korean university is like! The summer school lasts four weeks, but students can earn up to 10 ECTS or 6 US credits within this short time. Students also join field trips besides the lectures in anthropology, cultural studies, Asian studies, and international business. 

Gap Year

Many students who have recently finished high school or graduated College crave a valuable gap year before taking the next steps in life. A gap year at a Korean University is the perfect break in-between. You don’t need to be enrolled at a university, but you can still educate yourself in business, economics, engineering, pharmacy, public relations, physics, and more. Consequently, you will grow academically and personally. 

What is the most affordable Korean language program for international students?

For only 1,990 EUR per semester, the Korean Language, Culture, and Business Immersion Program allows you to learn Korean while fully immersing in the culture. 

Moreover, you can choose different study fields in Economics, Marketing, Politics, Social Sciences, and more. 

Can I work in the country while enrolled in Korean universities for international students?

As an international student, you can get permission from the immigration office to work part-time. However, please check this in advance with your institution. Exchange students often look for internships, student jobs in an office, or even bartender jobs. The working hours depend on your exchange program. For instance, as a bachelor-level student, you can work up to 20 hours. In contrast, master’s-level students can work up to 30 hours during the week. In addition, international students have no limitations on working hours over the weekends.

After you have finished your studies, you can stay in South Korea to find an occupation. The Korean economy is stable, and there are jobs in all different fields. According to Korean law, international students can live in the country. Moreover, good Korean language skills higher TOPIK or KLAT are a huge advantage to getting that job you want! So, if you plan to work in Korea after your studies, you can start improving your references and contacts during your studies. However, you must have a valid visa. Usually, you have to apply for the Job-Seeking Visa (D-10 visa), valid for half a year. This includes participants in paid internships, activities related to intellectual property, and preparation for a start-up. You can upgrade to an E-7 visa or Specific-Job Visa when you have a job. 

Korean universities for international students
Studying in South Korea becomes more and more popular and you can do it too!

Summing it up

Because of Korea’s efforts to attract students from abroad and its prestigious higher education, there are many outstanding Korean universities for international students. Furthermore, the universities and government grant scholarships to incoming students from overseas. Depending on the individual needs, there are various study abroad programs for international students, from four weeks to four-year full degrees! All in all, South Korea has everything international students are looking for!

Schedule a free consultation today to start your journey in the best Korean universities for international students. 

To learn more about studying abroad and other exciting destinations, regularly visit our Blog section for updates. 

Moreover, besides the top Korean universities for international students, our Virtual Booth offers an extensive list of the best destinations globally to upgrade your education. 

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in the Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter!If you have any questions about studyingabroad, feel free tocontact us!We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This blog was written by Nelle and Mark!