Top 9 Universities in South Korea for International Students

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, has developed into an internationally recognized Asian powerhouse in the fields of technology, education and tourism, to name but a few of its strengths. Embracing, both, tradition and modernity, this country has much to offer to international students. South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, is currently ranked among the world’s top 10 student cities.

universities in south korea for international students
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As part of the internationalization, several universities in South Korea are opening new international campuses to meet growing demand, while four universities have opened branch campuses at the Incheon Global Campus (IGC).

With over 370 official higher education providers in total, South Korea has plenty to offer interested students. The country boasts no less than six top-20 entries and 57 representatives in total in the QS Asia University Rankings 2019, and 29 ranked institutions in the QS World University Rankings 2019. Among the country’s many quality higher education institutions, nine of them have been chosen to be on the list of top Korean universities for international students. Read on for an overview on the list of universities in South Korea for international students.

  1. Seoul National University

Seoul National University (SNU) is a national research university located in Seoul, South Korea. Founded in 1946, Seoul National University is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the country – placed #36 in the QS World University Rankings 2019 and 2nd in the QS South Korea University Rankings.

The University has 3 campuses: the main campus in Gwanak and two other campuses in Daehangno and Pyeongchang. The University comprises 16 colleges, one graduate school and 9 professional schools. According to the data collected by the Korean Educational Development Institute, Seoul National University spends more on its students per capita than any other South Korean universities in the country that enrolls over 10,000 students.

Seoul National University has an impressive portfolio of international partnerships, with as many as 289 universities in 58 countries collaborating with the University.

  1. KAIST – Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology

KAIST (formally the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) is a national research university situated in Daedeok Innopolis, Daejeon, South Korea. Establish in 1971 by the Korean government, KAIST was the country’s first research-oriented science and engineering institution. The Institute also has been internationally accredited in business education, and hosting the Secretariat of AAPBS.

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KAIST ranks 40th in the QS World University Rankings and 3rd in the QS Top 50 Under 50, a ranking of the world’s leading universities under 50 years old. The majority of programs at KAIST are within STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. The Institute also ranks among the world’s top 100 institutions in 13 subjects.

  1. Pohang University of Science and Technology

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) is a private research university located in Pohang, South Korea. The University is dedicated to research and education in science and technology. Established in 1986, POSTECH was ranked 1st in the Times Higher Education university rankings of “100 Under 50 Young Universities”. Since its establishment, POSTECH has been maintaining its prestige and reputation as one of the most prominent young research universities in the world, being 83rd overall in the QS World University Rankings 2019 and 12th best in QS Asia University Ranking.

POSTECH comprises 11 undergraduate departments, 11 graduate departments, 4 divisions, 5 graduate schools, and 4 specialized graduate schools.

POSTECH was the first South Korean university to be officially labeled a bilingual campus in 2010, with the majority of events and programs at junior, senior and graduate level taught in both Korean and English.

  1. Korea University

Korea University is a private research university based in Seoul, South Korea. Established in 1905, Korea University is one of the country’s oldest and most prominent higher education institutions. The University’s academic breadth is broad with its 81 departments in 19 colleges and divisions, as well as 18 graduate schools.

Korea University is a large research institution, notable in South Korean history for being the first educational institution to offer academic programs in Korea in various disciplines, such as law, economics and journalism. It is particularly well-known for its College of Law, which is widely considered to be one of the most well-known undergraduate law programs in South Korea.

Ranked 86th in the world and 3rd in South Korea, Korea University has a long-held rivalry with Yonsei University which is reflected in the many competitive sport events between the two. The rivalry between these two top private South Korean universities gains regularly national attention.

  1. Sungkyunkwan University

Sungkyunkwan University is a private comprehensive research university in South Korea. Ranked 100th in the QS World University Rankings 2019, 82nd in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, and 4th in South Korea, Sungkyunkwan University has two main campuses; a Humanities and Social Sciences campus in Seoul and a Natural Sciences campus further south in Suwon. The University’s history traces all the way back to its founding in 1398 by the Joseon Dynasty.

Sungkyunkwan is considered to be home to one of the best medical schools in South Korea (ranked 101-150 globally in the subject rankings and 3rd in South Korea), which is affiliated with the world-famous Samsung Medical Center. The University appears among the world’s best for a further 29 subjects, including the top 50 for mechanical engineering, library and information management, and materials sciences.

  1. Yonsei University

Yonsei University is a private research university located in Seoul, South Korea. The University is one of the 3 SKY universities among with Korea University and Seoul National University — a group of universities widely regarded as the most prestigious in the country. Established in 1885, Yonsei University is one of the oldest higher education institutions in South Korea.

Yonsei University was ranked 105th overall, 24th in Social Policy and Administration, 12th in Modern Languages and 51-100 in economics by QS World University Rankings. It was ranked 104th worldwide and 2nd in the nation by Center for World University Rankings, and was placed 20th in the Asia / Pacific regions and 3rd in South Korea by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

Yonsei University operates its main campus in Seoul and offers graduate, postgraduate and doctoral programs in Korean and English. The University also holds 3 notable international programs including:

    • Yonsei International Summer School (YISS), which is usually held from late June to early August.
    • Winter Abroad at Yonsei (WAY), a relatively new program that started in 2013. The program is composed of two separate 3-week sessions which start in late December.
    • Study Abroad at Yonsei, which is Yonsei University’s Exchange / Visiting Student Program that offers opportunities to students who plan to study for a year or a semester in South Korea.
  1. Hanyang University

Established in 1939 as an engineering institute, then called the DongA Engineering Institute, Hanyang University is one of the leading private research universities of South Korea, especially in the field of engineering. The University’s main campus is in Seoul, and its branch, the Education Research Industry Cluster at Ansan, or ERICA campus, is located in Ansan. Hanyang University has 777 partner universities in 76 countries as of 2018. It is the second world university to have 300mm semiconductor process equipment after Albany University in New York, US.

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Hanyang University ranks 150th globally by the QS World University Ranking and #48th in the QS WUR By Subject Ranking. The University currently ranks #1 among Korean universities in technology transfer revenues. Moreover, teh HYU Center for Business Incubation is consistently recognizes for its standard of excellence each year by the Ministry of Information and Communication. Furthermore, HYU is the only Korean university to earn the highest rating for 5 consecutive years in the University led TLO (Technology Licensing Office) program supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology.

The University maintains active research programs in biological sciences, natural sciences, medicine, natural resources and environment, media and communication, and business administration.

  1. Kyung Hee University

Founded in 1949, Kyung Hee University is a private university in South Korea and is considered one of the best universities in the country. The University has campuses in Seoul and Suwon. It is part of the Kyung Hee University System, which offers comprehensive education from kindergarten through graduate school. The University is composed of 23 undergraduate colleges, one general graduate school, 13 specialty graduate schools and 49 auxiliary research institutions. Kyung Hee University also offers a study abroad program in partnership with 434 sister universities in 69 countries.

Kyung Hee University is known for its prestigious College of Korean Medicine, which is considered to be a leading school in traditional Korean medicine and other traditional Asian medical practices.

As of 2019, Kyung Hee University was ranked 8th in South Korea, 37th in Asia and 264th in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings. The University’s Hospitality and Leisure Management program was ranked 50th in the world in 2018, the highest of all the school’s program areas.

  1. Ewha Womans University

Ewha Womans University is a private women’s university. Founded in 1886, Ewha Womans University is located in Seoul, South Korea. It is currently the world’s largest female educational institution and is one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Ewha Womans University collaborates with around 830 partners in 64 countries around the world.

The University comprises 11 colleges, 15 graduate schools and 66 research institutes. Although it is a women’s educational institution, in 2003, Korean JoongAng Daily reported that there were 10 male students enrolled at Ewha Womans University at the time. Additionally, in 2009, Asian Correspondent reported that male students make up 30% of all foreign international students at the University.

In 2013, Ewha Womans University ranked 1st among Korean universities in CWTS Leiden Ranking and in the number of law clerks produced. Currently, the University sits at #331 in the QS World University Ranking and #101-150 in the QR WUR By Subject Ranking.

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19 thoughts on “Top 9 Universities in South Korea for International Students

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