While South Korea is popular for its K-pop icons and K-beauty products, not a lot of people know that it’s a great destination for studying. For one, the peninsula is home to excellent institutions, 7 of which are listed in the World University Rankings’ top 200.

Despite being a financially stable country, the cost of living here is cheaper than in other first-world nations. More importantly, South Korean food and culture continue to attract enrollees from all over the globe.

Like them, you too can enjoy your studies in South Korea. And with the help of any of these top Korean scholarship programs for international students below, you can even obtain a degree for free!

Can International Students Receive a Scholarship in Korea?

International students are eligible to apply for scholarships offered by Korean institutions and even by the Korean government. Since colleges in Korea want more diversity and additional numbers to join their ranks, many international applicants receive some sort of scholarship and financial aid when studying abroad in South Korea.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

How Can International Students Receive Full-Ride Scholarship in Korea?

To receive a fully-funded scholarship while studying in Korea, your best option is to apply for Global Korea Scholarship, which is a prestigious award offered by the Korean government. Awarded only to top applicants, the GKS Scholarship covers your tuition fees, airplane tickets, resettlement allowance, health insurance, stipend for Korean language courses, and more!

Top Scholarships in South Korea

1. Global Korea Scholarship (GKS)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full Tuition Coverage for Entire Academic Program
  • Eligible Degrees: Bachelor, Master, Doctoral Degrees for Select Korean Institutions

The GKS program, arguably the best scholarship in Korea for international students, was created by the Korean government to promote international educational exchanges and mutual friendships with other countries.

Through this, 220 undergraduate and 1,080 graduate students have the chance to study for free at top Korean institutions.

The GKS Scholarship also includes a resettlement allowance, living allowance, medical insurance, and language course fees. Those who exhibit excellent Korean Language proficiency will be awarded an additional prize of KRW 100,000.

Graduate students are also entitled to research support, dissertation printing costs, and a completion grant of KRW 100,000 (USD $80).

To qualify, applicants must be under 25 years (undergraduate) or 40 years (graduate) of age. A GPA of at least 80% from the previous institution is required as well.

If you are interested in other government scholarships, check out the Government Scholarships Page!

2. Seoul National University (SNU) President Fellowship

Founded in 1946, Seoul National University is considered the most prestigious institution in the Korea.

Expectedly so, it offers an equally prestigious SNU President Fellowship program, one of the top scholarships in Korea for international students. It is given to Ph.D. students who are faculty members in universities in Asia, South America, and Africa, to name a few.

Preference is given to applicants who have exhibited impressive accomplishments in the fields of public health, agriculture, medicine, engineering, developmental studies, and Korean studies.

Deserving recipients will receive a full-tuition scholarship for 6 months, apart from monthly living expenses of KRW 1,500,000 (USD $1,220), group medical insurance, and round-trip airfare.

SNU will also shoulder the cost of language programs, granted that they’re only taken during the evenings of fall & spring terms.

The awardee must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 to receive this lucrative benefit for 3 years.

3. Yonsei University Underwood International College (UIC) Admissions Scholarship

Yonsei University, one of South Korea’s best institutions, has recently opened the country’s first English-language liberal arts college. Named UIC, it currently has more than 2,500 students from 66 countries.

What’s great about the UIC scholarship is that all applicants are automatically considered. Awardees for this top scholarship in Korea are chosen according to their academic credentials. Once selected, the notice of scholarship will be sent together with the admission packet.

As with other scholarships, students must maintain a certain GPA to renew their eligibility for the next school year.

4. Korea University Scholarships for International Students

As a private institution, Korea University has some of the more expensive tuition costs in the country. Thanks to these awesome Korean scholarship programs, many foreigners have managed to finish their undergraduate studies at the institution – free of charge.

A select number of new students, for example, can be given Entrance Scholarships. There is no separate application required as the awardees are handpicked based on their merits.

Current students, on the other hand, may qualify for the Academic Excellence or Academic Improvement Scholarships.

As with most merit awards, the student must maintain a certain GPA to renew his/her grant for the following year.

5. Ewha Global Partnership Program (EGPP)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fees
  • Scholarship Amount: Full Tuition for Entire Academic Program
  • Eligible Degrees: Bachelor, Master, Doctoral Programs at Ewha Woman’s University (EWU)

Ewha Women’s University is a private university based in Seoul, South Korea. Semestral fees for undergraduate studies start around $3,000 while graduate fees cost about $5,000.

As the scholarship recipient of EGPP, however, the entire costs for undergraduate or graduate studies are covered. Awardees also stand to enjoy free dormitory lodging and a living stipend. Insurance, however, is not included in this grant.

The EGPP is given to female applicants from developing countries. Awardees are selected according to their academic capacity and leadership potential.

Eligibility is subject to screening and renewal every year.

6. Kyungpook National University International Graduate Scholarship (KINGS)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Full Tuition Coverage for Entire Graduate Program
  • Eligible Degrees: Master, Doctoral Programs at Kyungpook National University

Kyungpook National University is a public educational institution based in Gyeongbuk, South Korea.

It offers several scholarships, one of which is the KINGS Award, which is granted to 70 foreign graduate students every year.

However, the students may not apply for the scholarship themselves. Instead, their respective departments will send the names of possible awardees according to their academic rankings.

After doing so, the Office of International Affairs will process the documents. It will then pass them to the Admissions Committee for the formal selection process.

As the scholarship will be renewed every year, awardees will need to maintain a certain GPA to keep their eligibility.

7. POSCO TJ Park Scholarship for Asian Students Studying in Korea

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full Tuition for 4 Semesters
  • Eligible Degrees: Master and Doctoral Programs

As the name suggests, this scholarship in Korea is exclusive to Asian students who wish to undertake graduate studies in South Korea. It was developed to help groom the next-generation leaders from every corner of Asia.

Apart from shouldering the tuition fee for 4 semesters, the scholarship award will also provide a living subsidy of $800 per month with a settlement allowance.

To be eligible, the applicant must have completed a bachelor’s degree in Korea or any other country.

Despite this minimal requirement, all applicants will undergo 2 rounds of selection. The first evaluates the submitted documents, while the second relies on the applicant’s interview.

Upon passing the 2 selection rounds, the student needs to be successfully admitted to his/her university of choice. Only then will the student be named a POSCO Asia fellow.

8. Samsung Global Hope Scholarship Program

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full Tuition for Entire Academic Program
  • Eligible Degrees: Bachelor, Master, Doctoral Programs at Partner Universities with Samsung

The Samsung Global Hope Scholarship Program is open to applicants coming from the DAC list of OCD recipients. These are nations that are listed as least developed, low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income.

Scholars are chosen according to academic intellect, language proficiency (Korean & English), and financial need. Additionally, awards are given to students who are most likely to return to their countries and facilitate their development.

Applications should be sent to the student’s university of choice.

9. Korea National University of the Arts – Art Major Asian Plus (AMA+) Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full Tuition Coverage
  • Eligible Degrees: Bachelor, Master Degrees

K-NARTS was founded in 1993. Not long after, it opened the AMA scholarship. Established in the year 2004, it has funded 309 students from over 30 OECD DAC recipient countries.

On top of providing full tuition coverage, this Korean scholarship comes with a monthly allowance of KRW 800,000 ($650), health insurance, and round-trip airfare.

As mentioned, the number 1 criterion is the applicant should come from any of the OECD DAC recipient nations. The student should have a high school diploma (for undergraduate study) or a Bachelor’s degree (for a Master’s program).

Those with a TOPIK level 6 are exempted from the Korean Language Training requirement for scholars.

As an art scholarship, applicants must submit a portfolio of their works (unless otherwise stated) as well.

Other requirements include an accomplished application form, academic transcripts, personal statement, study plan, personal medical assessment, and 3 letters of recommendation.

10. Changwon National University (CWNU) Graduate School Full Time Research Scholarship

CWNU is a public institution based in the southeastern area of South Korea.

It is home to a prominent Graduate School, which is just one of the many Korean institutions that offer full scholarships for foreign graduate students.

The requirements for this scholarship in Korea, however, are quite stringent.

Master’s applicants need to be the Lead/First author for 1 paper – or a co-author for 2 papers. Likewise, Ph.D. applicants should have been able to publish a study to be considered.

Art majors, on the other hand, may replace this research requirement with 1 or more exhibits, performances, or art presentations.

To continue to be eligible for the next term, the awardee must maintain a GPA of at least 3.5.

11. University of Ulsan Global Korea Scholarships

The University of Ulsan is located in Mugeo-dong, Ulsan, and it is one of the top universities in Korea that is highly focused on supporting local and international students. This university provides financial assistance to students who are experiencing financial difficulties or who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.

As soon as international students are accepted to the university, they will be eligible for the Global Korea Scholarship. The number of students supported by this program varies according to enrollment and funding. It typically helps 1,000 students. Unless you received a TOPIK score greater than level 5, you must enroll in a one-year Korean language proficiency course to qualify for this University of Ulsan scholarship. The Global Korea program funds the scholarship and will cover the student’s tuition fees, living costs, and extra expenses.

12. Dongseo University Academic Scholarships

Dongseo University Academic Scholarships are the best opportunity to benefit from academic success, and the college claims that academic-based scholarships are available to all international students. The scholarship amount may be partial or complete regarding living expenses and tuition coverage, depending on how well you did in your previous semester or academic year.

The highest-scoring students may have all of their fees covered. This program’s rules and regulations are subject to periodic revision. Application is not needed for this Korea scholarship because it is merit-based, meaning that awards will be based on the results that students achieve through their studies. Additional information regarding this fascinating university can be found in the attached scholarship link.

13. Hongik University Global Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: 800$ in the first semester and up to full tuition coverage in the next semester
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree

Hongik University is one of the most well-known private universities in South Korea and is located in the capital city of Seoul. The primary goal of the institution is to establish a solid connection between academics and the outside world through practical and efficient studies. All overseas students at Hongik University, except for those enrolling in the colleges of fine arts and architecture, are given an $800 stipend during their first semester. A person’s academic success will decide the amount offered for the second semester of their studies, and students are eligible for financial aid ranging from $1,070 to the entire cost of tuition if their GPA is at least 2.0.

14. Jeju National University A-Grade Scholarships

Jeju National University (JNU) is situated in South Korea’s unique region of Jeju. This university hosts close to 12,000 students in its facilities, of which 600 are international students. The A-Grade International Student Scholarship is available to new students that have completed the enrollment process, and it offers qualified candidates complete tuition coverage.

The university currently has 12 undergraduate colleges, including those for art, design, humanities, law, and political science, and offers graduate degrees in the subjects of Law, Medicine, Interpretation, and Business Administration.

This scholarship in Korea is available to approximately 8.5 percent of the international student body at Jeju National University, with preference given to applicants with TOPIK ratings of five or higher.

15. Handong Global University Cornerstone Scholarships

The Handong Global University Scholarships have over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students attending their university programs, of which close to 300 are from different countries in the world. The university has a general application fee that is mandatory for all international students, and that fee is close to 80 dollars.

The Handong Cornerstone Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships that are part of this university, and it is intended for 15 students who have excelled academically and possess other qualities the university is looking for.

Successful applicants for this Handong Global University scholarship will receive up to 100% tuition coverage, a monthly allowance, and food cost coverage, depending on their qualifications. This scholarship can be maintained for more than one year if students show promising and distinguishing results through their studies. Additional information regarding this university can be found in the attached scholarship link.

16. Konkuk University New Student Scholarships

Konkuk University is a private university located in the capital city of South Korea and has many campus buildings in other major cities in the country.

Although attending a university abroad can be expensive, many students come from difficult financial backgrounds, which is why the tuition costs are generally regarded as reasonable for international students at Konkuk University. Each department at this university has its own cost structure, and there are differences between undergraduate and graduate tuition. That is why the university has scholarships available so it can help potential students achieve higher education.

The value of the award depends on the students’ success in the university, where students that achieve an average evaluation of 3.50 to 4.24 will get 30% tuition coverage, and students that get an average evaluation of over 4.25 will get 50% tuition coverage. Extra information about this great educational opportunity can be found in the attached scholarship link.

17. POSTECH Excellent Talent Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: amount varies based on the student’s score and potential
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree

The Pohang University of Science & Technology is a private South Korean institution and it is located in the city of Pohang. This university is one of the top universities in Korea and it was among the top four universities in the last educational evaluation.

Students with excellent entrance exam results are eligible for the POSTECH Excellent Talent Scholarship, a well-known Korean scholarship. The laureate should also exhibit the capacity to one day lead the scientific community on the international scene.

The scholarship amount varies based on the student’s score and potential, but the length is set at eight semesters or four years of study. This scholarship can also be maintained for more than 8 semesters only if students have a dual degree at the university.

18. Chung-Ang University Young Scientist Scholarships

Established in 1918, Chung-Ang University is a private university in Korea that has over 30,000 students currently attending. There are two campuses for the university—one in Seoul and the other in Anseong, Korea. There, students can pursue further education and enroll in programs for law school, medical school, and international MBAs to earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Exceptional students and those studying in engineering, pharmacy, nursing, science, or medicine who have received a recommendation from one of the overseas partner universities are eligible for this one. Additionally, students that have a high GPA of above 3.5 and are a part of research projects at the university can get an extra $450 stipend for living expenses. Extra information regarding the application phases and requirements can be found in the attached scholarship link.

19. Dankook University Scholarships

The Dankook University is a private research university located in Yongin, South Korea, and it serves as the cornerstone of prestigious education in this country.

Dankook University offers various scholarships that aim to help undergraduate students in their journey to achieve a formal education. One of those scholarships is for the Korean Track Program. This scholarship offers 15% to 55% waiver for the cost of tuition. This discount depends on a variety of elements, such as the test results in the TOPIK language test. The higher the results are in this language test, the greater the amount that the students will benefit.

Language skills are very important in this country, which is why this university has very high language requirements in the application process. Extra information regarding the language requirements and procedures can be found in the attached scholarship link.

20. Hanyang University Scholarships

Hanyang University offers great educational opportunities for students that have financial difficulties in their home country. International applicants who exhibit outstanding academic records and art portfolios are awarded the HISP. For freshman students, this scholarship in Korea is available for a total of 8 semesters; for transfer students, it is available for a total of 4 semesters. The student must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 each semester to keep this award.

The amount that is given to the student depends on their academic success, and it varies from 50% up to full tuition coverage. Extra information regarding the programs that are available at this university can be found in the attached scholarship link.

21. Kookmin University SungKok Scholarships

Kookmin University is one of the oldest universities in the country and is highly advanced in the programs that it offers. The university is located in the capital city of Korea and has many campuses throughout the country. This is one of the best opportunities for international students who want to undertake their studies in a foreign country.

All students who are enrolled in KMU are eligible for the SungKok scholarship. Due to the fact that only up to 14 students can receive it each year, it may be the most difficult scholarship to obtain in the country. The top student from each university department receives the scholarship from Kookmin University. The student must not only be at the top of their field but also have a GPA of at least 3.8. This means that a student will not be eligible for the scholarship even if he or she is the best in his or her field unless their GPA is higher than the minimum requirement.

22. Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Scholarships

The Hankuk University of Foreign Studies is a famous higher education institution in Seoul, and it is recognized as one of South Korea’s top universities. It was first established in 1954 as a college for foreign languages before developing into a private research university, and it offers different scholarships for graduate-level studies.

This institution offers education to over 26,000 students, where 10% are international students. The Hankuk University scholarship covers 50% up to 100% of the student’s tuition fees, and the amount depends on their academic success during their studies. This scholarship is available for Master’s, and Ph.D. degree studies, and it is a very good opportunity for your educational progress.

23. Pusan National University Academic Performance Scholarships

The Pusan National University is also known as the Busan National University, and it is one of the ten most well-known National Universities in South Korea. This university offers various scholarships, but one of the most notable is the Academic Performance Scholarship, which is offered only to the best students in the university.

This scholarship covers tuition fees each semester, and the amounts vary from 30% up to 100% of the tuition fees. Application for this scholarship is easy. The student’s GPA will decide the amount of the scholarship. This Korea scholarship is only available to students who successfully finished 12 credits and had an average GPA of 2.5 or better in the previous semester.

24. UNIST Scholarships for International Students

The public university of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology is devoted to research, science, and technology. It was founded in 2007 in Ulsan, a major industrial city that is known for its very successful global companies.

Students may be awarded a scholarship that is paid for by UNIST, the Korean government, or another party, such as a business. Students can apply for the scholarship if they are enrolled in a master’s program for four semesters, a doctorate program for eight semesters, or a master’s-doctoral program for twelve semesters. Extra information regarding the tuition amount and procedures can be found in the attached scholarship link.

25. KAIST Scholarships for International Students

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, also known as KAIST, is a pioneering graduate school in science and technology that was established in Seoul in 1971. Students can anticipate learning from renowned professors and utilizing cutting-edge facilities in their journey towards improving their skills.

In most cases, students receive a complete scholarship for their tuition as well as a monthly stipend of KRW 350,000 (about $300) for master’s students for two years and KRW 400,000 (around $350) for doctoral students for four years. Additionally, this scholarship at KAIST for international students also covers national health insurance for doctorate students.

26. Inha University Jungseok International Scholarships

Inha University, formerly known as Inha Institute of Technology, is a private university in Incheon, South Korea. It was founded in 1954 as a polytechnic university, and it offers various scholarships based on performance and merit. Inha University has more than 1,450 international students that attend the university, and its international center offers a range of services and resources.

For this scholarship in Korea, the value depends on the language proficiency of the applicants; those who score a TOPIK level five to six or an IBT TOEFL 92 or higher will receive a 70% discount on entrance and tuition expenses. The lower the evaluation amount, the lower the tuition fee coverage will be, so the best way to achieve the highest amount is to achieve great results on language tests.

27. Hallym University Scholarship for International Students

One of the well-known private universities in Chuncheon, in the Gangwon province of the Republic of Korea, is Hallym University. It was established in 1982 and has held the designation of “Distinguished University” for three years running.

All undergraduate students are automatically granted a 50% tuition waiver for their first semester. They can increase this to a maximum of 60% if they maintain a good GPA. If graduate students work as TAs or RAs, they may be eligible for up to a 100% tuition price waiver.

28. Soongsil University Scholarship for International Students

Soongsil University is one of the top private universities in South Korea, and it is distinguished for its modern facilities and evolving programs. This university offers various scholarships for international students, and a number of them are financed by the university itself.

Students are eligible to receive a maximum of 70% of their tuition during the first semester, and they are qualified for up to a 100% tuition waiver starting with the second semester. The amount that is awarded is determined by their entrance test results, including TOPIK and English Proficiency scores such as IELTS and TOEFL, and also their GPA, which will determine which scholarships they will receive. Extra information regarding this golden opportunity can be found in the attached scholarship link.

29. Myongji University Scholarships for International Students

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Tuition waivers, accommodation, and a $400 monthly stipend
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s and Master’s degree

Myongji University is a Christian private university that was established in 1948 in South Korea. This prominent university provides higher education in the subjects of engineering, sciences, and humanities. This university features excellent professors, state-of-the-art infrastructure, an engaging curriculum, and plenty of amenities for students so they can perform at their highest level.

Those who are accepted by the university as overseas undergraduate students are qualified for a 40% tuition waiver, accommodation, and a $400 monthly stipend. Based on their GPA from the 1st semester, students can apply for full-tuition scholarships for the rest of their studies.

30. Ajou University Scholarships for International Students

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: From 80% up to 100% of the complete tuition amount
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees

Ajou University is one of the top-rated universities in Korea and was established in 1973. This university is recognized for its vast and resourceful programs in business administration, engineering, international studies, physical sciences, and computer science. Ajou University welcomes foreign students and strives to make the admissions process as quick and easy as possible. To do this, they offer a set of admission guidelines for foreign students that detail the application process, documentation requirements, and resources available to them.

In the admission guidelines, students can find the relevant details for this Korea scholarship.  For students at the bachelor’s level, the scholarship can cover 100% of the tuition fee, and the only requirement is for students to achieve a level 4 evaluation on the language proficiency test TOPIK. For students that want to attain a master’s or Ph.D. degree, the tuition amount varies from 80% up to 100% of the complete amount. This is one of the best opportunities for international students who are highly skilled in the Korean language.


We hope that this article on the best scholarships in Korea for international students was helpful. If you’re interested in studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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