Korea is quickly becoming one of the most popular study abroad destinations for foreign students. This is not shocking given that Korea’s education system is excellent, the costs are more than reasonable, and universities and the government have several scholarships and awards to assist international students. Korean schools are becoming increasingly common as the country is regarded as highly safe and inexpensive. Student satisfaction is also very high, owing to low costs, excellent schooling, a wide range of cultural experiences, and, of course, the delicious Korean cuisine.

The Korean government, on the other hand, is heavily involved in education promotion and is continuously working to improve foreign relations. One of the reasons Korea has so many scholarships is because of this. Since 1967, the Korean government has given scholarships to 6,556 foreign students from 148 countries, and about 2,000 students are supported each year. In this article, we will be looking at Korean Government scholarships for international students.

Korean Government Scholarship Program

The Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) Program is available to foreign students studying at Korean universities. Undergraduate and postgraduate students at designated institutions are eligible for the award. It is important to note that once granted, scholars are not permitted to transfer to other universities even if the study program is the same.

Depending on the budget, the scholarship is intended to be given to numerous undergraduate and graduate international students.

The following scholarship benefits GKS offer are as follows:

Undergraduate Benefits Graduate Benefits
1. Tuition Fees
2. Airfare tickets
3. Settlement allowance
4. Monthly stipend
5. Language training fee
6. Medical insurance fee
7. Degree completion grants
** Additional 100,000 KRW for students with valid TOPIK 5 or 6 certificate
1. Tuition Fees
2. Airfare tickets (roundtrip)
3. Settlement allowance
4. Monthly stipend
5. Language training fee
6. Medical insurance fee
7. Degree completion grants
8. Research support fee
9. Thesis printing fee
**Additional 1,000,000 KRW for students with valid TOPIK 5 or 6 certificate


Considering that the prices of tuition and overall living costs in Korea are low, any kind of financial help can be very beneficial for international students, as they can comfortably live in the country while studying. Korean government scholarship is a fully funded scholarship that covers tuition fees and living expenses.

Eligibility Criteria: Korean Government Scholarships

To be able to qualify for government scholarships in Korea, students must meet certain criteria. To begin with, the language is a requirement, as it is in many Korean institutions, so all students who are awarded this scholarship must attend Korean language courses for one year, except for students who have a TOPIK score higher than level 5. The Korean language is important even if there are English-taught classes available, considering that the student will need the language skills in everyday life. All Korean schools have pretty strict rules when it comes to proficiency in the Korean language.

Furthermore, to be eligible for the Korean Government scholarship, both the student and his or her parents must be non-Korean nationals. The applicant must be physically and mentally fit before the application. Undergraduate students must be under the age of 25, and postgraduate students must be under the age of 40, depending on the course, the participant must proof of school completion, high school diploma and/or transcript of records for undergraduate studies, and bachelor’s or master’s degree for graduate studies.

Graduates who have already completed school in Korea are not able to apply unless their average GPA is above 90% and their TOPIK score is 5 or higher. As mentioned above, Korean language proficiency can be crucial for the success of any international student. Also, Koreans value education very much and expect excellent academic achievements from students, so one requirement to be considered for the scholarship in the first place is that a GPA from previous education has to be over 80%.

Recommended Reading: Best Scholarships in Korea for International Students

How to Apply: Korean Government Scholarships

The National Institute for International Education is responsible for the application process. In the first screening process, the embassy or the partner university is in charge of selecting potential scholars. They will be the ones to contact the candidates and personally present them with the offer.

Selected students are then expected to collect all of the documentation required for the examination. The records include an entry form, documentation of prior schooling, citizenship certificates for the candidate and parents, certificates of language proficiency (Korean and English), and more.  Additional documents and interviews depend on the course chosen, and the university at hand. Sometimes even letters of recommendation and introduction are requested.

The submission is then returned to the Korean Embassy or partner university, where the first selection happens. After this, the second round of Korean Government scholarships begins, and all the papers and students are sent to NIIED for further review.

Competition at Korean universities is very competitive and there are many applicants each year, so it’s advised to learn all about the necessary steps along with some preparatory Korean language courses, to improve your chances of enrolling.

Application Deadlines: Korean Government Scholarships

For the embassy track, the GKS scholarship deadline does vary per embassy, but for undergraduate students, the deadlines are usually September to October, and for graduate students, they are around February to March.

For the university track, the GKS scholarship deadline does differ by university, but they generally follow approximately the same deadlines as the embassy track. Check with the university of your choice for their specific deadlines.


To summarize, there are many explanations why South Korea is quickly becoming the top destination for foreign students. This beautiful country has a plethora of cultures, a high-quality school system, reasonable costs, and an overall pleasant way of life. People are polite and friendly, and universities are working closely with the government to ensure all students are treated equally.

Furthermore, there are several grants and prizes available to foreign applicants, with Korean Government scholarships being one of them. With tuition and other expenses paid, health care given, and a monthly stipend provided, students can relax and devote their time to their studies. With low acceptance rates and high-quality education, it is better to arrive prepared and remain vigilant during the schooling process.


We hope this article on the Korean Government Scholarships has inspired you to apply for scholarships! If you’re interested in studying abroad make sure to check out the Open Courses and Study in Korea pages!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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  1. Anonymous September 2, 2023 10:12 pm - Reply

    how to check courses that will by gks scholarship

    • Hyun Lee September 3, 2023 4:18 pm - Reply

      Hello, you can check your countries’ Korean embassy website for courses eligible for Global Korea Scholarships!

  2. Anonymous September 25, 2023 5:00 pm - Reply

    How I get link to apply for studying in Korea for masters

    • Hyun Lee October 16, 2023 6:18 pm