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7 Best Universities in South Korea for International Students

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Despite being a relatively small country, South Korea produces one of the highest rates of educated youth in the world. Higher education in this country is highly sought after by students from all over the world since it focuses on practicality and industrialization, and quality education can be obtained within smaller budgets here.

Among many others, South Korea also holds some of the best universities in the world, ranking among the top of various fields of study. Here we’ll talk about the top universities in South Korea for both local and international students.

How Many International Students Study in South Korea?

Among a total of 2 million students enrolled in South Korea, more than 123,000 students are international. Students from almost all countries come to study here, but most of the foreign students are Chinese.

Almost half of all international students come from China. Vietnam and the USA both hold the second largest population for the matter. Other notable countries include the UK, India, Japan, and Mongolia.

What is the Most Prestigious University in South Korea?

Seoul National University is considered the most prestigious in South Korea, both in terms of academic education quality and reputation. It sits among the top 40 best universities in the world because of its high research outputs.

Best Universities in South Korea for International Students

1. Seoul National University

As mentioned before, the Seoul National University is the best university in Korea for international students. For the same reason, it’s very difficult to get into, as only 10-20% of applicants before further processing can get admitted. It has 3 campuses holding up to 28,000 students and 5,500 academic faculties. The university operates under 16 colleges and offers 80 undergraduate and 100 graduate programs.

SNU also has a great research base. It has 3 laboratories, 3 research forests, and 4 research institutes. The library holds 4 million books, and the university has further affiliations with more than 700 institutions in 40 countries. All these elements made Seoul National University the 37th best in the world according to QS World University Ranking.

2. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is the best technical university in South Korea for international students. It was established in 1971 in Deajeon. Currently, more than 10,000 students and 640 academic staffs are here, among which more than a thousand students are international, coming from over 70 countries worldwide.

KAIST contains 5 colleges, 7 schools, and 13 graduate schools. Education programs are distributed into 27 academic departments. Unlike other universities, KAIST gives the freedom of choice to its students by operating under an open major system, where students can study 3 terms before choosing their favorite discipline.

However, KAIST is extremely selective when in admission. It ranks just after the KNU, being 39th best university in the world according to the QS ranking.

3. Korea University

Founded in 1905 in Seoul, Korea University (KU) is another great university in Korea for international students. It has over 36,000 students enrolled, among which more than 2,000 are from abroad. Close to 5,000 faculty members are here, giving it a 21:1 student to faculty ratio.

The university consists of 81 academic departments under 19 divisions and colleges. For graduates, there are 18 other schools. KU excels at research work, having over 115 research institutes and more than 3.3 million books in the library. KU is ranked 69th best in the QS ranking.

4. Pohang University of Science and Technology

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) was founded in 1986. Despite being comparatively smaller in population, it’s the second-best technical university in South Korea, having only 2,500 students and 447 faculty members, giving it an incredible 4:1 student to faculty ratio.

Students can choose among 11 departments falling under 4 divisions, 5 graduate schools, and 4 specialized. Another 650 researchers utilize its 93 research units. It also takes part in the POSTECH-KAIST science war every year, where the two best technical universities compete for innovation. POSTECH is ranked 77th best university in the world by the QS.

5. Yonsei University

Next on our list of best universities in South Korea for international students is Yonsei University because it boasts the highest number of international students and academic staff at a Korean university. Currently, more than 29,000 students and 5,500 academic staffs are hereunder 3 campuses, among which over 5,000 students and 300 faculty members are international. Yonsei University in addition to the SNU and Korea University are called together as SKY universities of South Korea.

Students can choose among over 7,000 courses offered here in both Korean and English. The graduate school has 79 academic departments. More than 343,000 alumni are spread across the world. QS ranked it in 85th place worldwide.

6. Sungkyunkwan University

Sungkyunkwan University, another top university in South Korea for international students, was founded way back in 1398. Currently, it holds more than 5,100 faculty members and 25,000 students, of whom 12% of undergraduate and 10% of graduate students are international.

Sungkyunkwan University also has a great research base with over 4,800 international papers and 330,000 USD research funds in 2015. It also offers great scholarship opportunities with tuition waivers depending on previous results. SKKU is ranked 88th best university by the QS.

7. Hanyang University

We end our article on the best Korean universities for international students with Hanyang University, which was founded in 1939 in Seoul, with another campus at Ansan. Currently, about 30,000 students are enrolled here. The Seoul Campus offers 60 departments under 15 colleges, and the ERICA campus of Ansan has 42 departments within 9 colleges.

The university also maintains partnerships with over 770 universities in 76 countries. It has a very high research output in fields like engineering and biological studies. QS ranked the university 146th best in the world.

I hope that this article on the best universities in Korea for international students was informative. If you are interested, visit the Asia Scholarships Category!