South Korea is becoming an increasingly popular study-abroad destination among international students worldwide. It is known for its innovative research, prestigious universities, quality education, and vibrant study environment. Additionally, the country’s exciting blend of traditional landmarks and technologically advanced cities offers international students a diverse cultural experience.
However, most students studying abroad often carry the burden of financing their studies. It is therefore important that students understand the costs associated with living and studying in South Korea. This article will help you prepare for that aspect of your educational journey. You will find here information on living and academic costs for prospective students interested in studying abroad in South Korea.
Is it Expensive to Study in South Korea for International Students?
The cost of studying and living in South Korea as an international student can be quite affordable compared to other popular study destinations like the UK or the US. However, tuition fees in this country vary depending on your university and study level.
For instance, tuition per semester for undergraduate programs can range from ₩2,400,000 to ₩5,000,000. Tuition costs for Master’s programs can cost a bit more at around ₩4,800,000 to ₩9,000,000 per semester. Doctoral programs may cost between ₩6,000,000 – ₩12,000,000 per semester. These are approximate values and are liable to change.
Although South Korea does not provide international students with free tuition, international students are offered numerous scholarship opportunities. They can help you cover living and study expenses or even tuition fees.
Costs of Studying in South Korea
Academic Costs / Tuition Fees
The cost of studying in South Korea varies with each university and study level. Here are five of the most popular universities in South Korea for international students, and their approximate tuition fee ranges for each study level.
|Tuition Fee (per semester)
|1. Seoul National University
|Undergraduate: ₩2,400,000 to ₩5,000,000
Postgraduate: ₩3,200,000 to ₩6,000,000
|2. Yonsei University
|Undergraduate: ₩4,000,000 to ₩8,000,000
General Graduate: ₩4,800,000 to ₩9,000,000
Professional and Special Graduate: ₩6,000,000 to ₩20,700,000
|3. Korea University
|Undergraduate: ₩4,300,000 to ₩5,500,000
Graduate: ₩4,900,000 to ₩7,900,000
|4. Dongguk University
|Undergraduate: ₩4,261,000 to ₩5,559,000
Masters & Ph.D.: ₩5,270,000 to ₩7,739,000
|5. Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)
Other Student Costs
Apart from tuition fees, international students may incur other expenses that are associated with the cost of living and studying in South Korea. These include application fees, healthcare expenses, accommodation costs, transportation expenses, and living expenses. While some of these expenses are fixed, others may vary depending on your circumstances.
For instance, international students will need to obtain private insurance coverage or enroll in the National Health Insurance. The cost will then depend on your selected insurance plan. Accommodation costs also vary based on whether you go for an apartment or a dormitory. Estimatedly, it could cost ₩380,000 to ₩1,550,000 per month for a single-bedroom apartment, depending on your location.
Living expenses, like utilities, food, and personal expenses, vary the most as they hinge on your lifestyle, such as what food you often eat, the mode of transportation you prefer, the utility plans you choose, and the amount of electricity or water you consume per month.
Costs of Living in South Korea
As said, your living cost in South Korea will depend on your lifestyle and the city. Living expenses are comparatively higher in popular cities like Incheon, Seoul, and Busan.
Here are some of the top cities known for their academic institutions in South Korea and their estimated living costs:
Seoul is the capital city of South Korea and comes with much higher living and studying costs than other Korean cities. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment could cost around ₩1,150,000 in the city center and around ₩750,000 outside the city center. Utilities costs like internet, electricity, and water may amount to around ₩300,000 per month, and transportation could cost around ₩60,000 for a regular monthly pass. The total monthly living cost for a single person, including food expenses, could amount to more than ₩1,500,000 without rent.
Busan, a vibrant city in South Korea, has a living and studying cost that is lower compared to South Korea’s capital. A one-bedroom apartment in Busan could cost ₩380,000 to ₩530,000, with an additional ₩300,000 for utilities each month. The monthly cost of transportation would be around ₩60,000.
In Incheon, the monthly cost for a one-bedroom apartment is around ₩380,000 to ₩530,000, the cost of utilities at around ₩320,000, and the cost of transportation is around ₩50,000.
The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Daegu would range from ₩380,000 – ₩560,000 each month. Transportation would cost around ₩60,000 and utilities ₩420,000 per month.
Monthly living costs in Daejeon would include approximately ₩400,000 – ₩450,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, ₩250,000 for utilities, and ₩35,000 for transportation.
Scholarships for International Students
Numerous scholarship opportunities are available for international students to help cover studying or living costs in South Korea. For instance, the Global Korea Scholarship offered by the Korean government provides full tuition coverage along with additional financial support.
There are also university scholarships. For instance, Korea University has the KU International Scholarship, which offers significant amounts for study costs. Lastly, the Seoul National University Scholarships, like the SNU Global Scholarship, may offer up to 100% tuition coverage and other study expenses.
As an international student in South Korea, it is typical to incur numerous expenses like transportation, accommodation, tuition fees, and other everyday necessities. Your living cost may vary depending on the city, with popular cities like Seoul or Busan being more expensive to live in. However, South Korea does provide international students with various scholarship opportunities to help with finances and make the cost of studying and living in SK bearable.
We hope you make use of this article once you decide to Study in Korea. If you would like to know the academic and living expenses of different countries, go visit our Cost of Studying and Living by Country page to compare and contrast the countries of your choice! Also, go over our list of Available Programs for International Students for more study options!