Graduate Studies & Language of Instruction in South Korea


In the previous article, we discussed the top ten universities in South Korea. Today, we are going to look at higher education studies as well as the language of instruction used in South Korea.

Higher education in South Korea: types of institutions

In South Korea, higher education institutions are divided as follows:

Undergraduate colleges

The length of study is 2 to 3 years, and 4 years if you are studying nursing. These are institutions that emphasize practical education. To graduate from a junior college in Korea, you must complete a minimum of 80-120 credits or enroll in a maximum of 24 credits per semester.

Universities and Colleges

Korean universities offer degree programs that last from 4 to 6 years. These programs are taught either in Korean or English. Universities and colleges focus on theoretical education in subjects useful for the country’s development.

Graduate Colleges

Graduate schools in Korea offer either academic research programs or practice-oriented studies. Academic programs require 2 or more years of study, followed by a qualifying examination and submission of their master’s thesis.

Those studying for a Ph.D. must complete at least 3 additional years of study. Graduate schools also offer post-doctoral programs for those who wish to continue their research after their Ph.D.

In addition, Korea has begun to implement distance learning in recent years, with accredited universities and paying close attention to the technology system.

Korean Universities

There are 3 types of universities:

1) National universities: They are under the administration and supervision of the central government.

2) Public universities: They are under the management and supervision of the local government.

3) Private universities: They are managed and supervised by private non-governmental organizations.

General information about higher education in South Korea

Course Registration

Students must register or re-register each year before starting to study in South Korea. Here’s how to register and apply to a Korean university.


At the end of each semester, students will be evaluated on the courses they have studied.

Study programs available in English

Students from all over the world are interested in studying in Korea.

There are universities where one-third of the study programs are taught in English. In addition, some universities offer complete study programs in English.

Korean Language Courses

Many Korean universities offer Korean language courses. Short-term programs (3-4 weeks) are designed to develop communication skills in Korean. On the other hand, long-term courses range from 10 to 40 weeks.

Seasonal Classes (Summer/Winter)

Students are allowed to study during the summer and winter vacations for one month only.

Leave of Absence

Once a student has been granted a leave of absence from the university, he/she must leave Korea within two weeks from the date the leave of absence was issued.


The student must reapply to begin studying after the leave of absence ends.

Dual Study: The student has the option of studying another discipline during his/her major studies, provided that he/she maintains the necessary qualifications for this. For example: studying civil engineering at the same time as applied arts.

Academic Warning

The student receives an academic warning letter when his/her grade is less than 5 points out of a total of 4 points (the ratio may vary from one university to another in Korea).

In addition, the student is dismissed after receiving 3 warning letters (dismissal from the university may cause problems related to the extension of the residence visa).

We will also discuss in detail how to obtain a resident visa in the following articles.

The Korean language

The best way to study Korean is at a Korean language school.

The study of the language takes 10 to 12 weeks. In addition, the tuition fee is approximately 950,000 Korean won.

On the other hand, some study courses require visits to archaeological sites in addition to local places in South Korea.

1 US dollar = 1,391.03 Korean won and 1 € = 1,391.08 Korean won

Examples of documents required to study the Korean language

  • An application to study the Korean language.
  • Copy of passport.
  • One passport photo.
  • Copy of a bank statement showing your credit.
  • Application fee.

The main levels of the Korean language

Beginner level A1: Teaching of the Korean alphabet, as well as some simple basic words. In addition, it allows the student to express himself in Korean.
The following levels are Elementary 1 and 2, Intermediate 1 and 2, Advanced 1 and 2, and the last level (the registration level). At this level, you become fully qualified to study Korean, and you can get a job as well. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know and engage more closely with Korean society.