South Korea, after its separation from North Korea in 1948, has developed considerably in the fields of science and technology. It is now regarded as the 11th largest economy in the world. With the advancements in technology and leading positions in global trends like music, South Korea has certainly taken hold of the central place in the world.

South Korea is home to around 130,000 international students. Around 123,000 international students are enrolled in the most prestigious educational institutes in South Korea. Additionally, most of these renowned Korean universities are highly positioned in several university world-ranking sites, meaning the universities are acknowledged for providing top-quality education to their students.

Now, let’s take a look at some Korean universities that are difficult to get into. Here’s a list of universities that have implemented strict policies for admitting domestic and international students.

Universities in South Korea with Low Rates of Acceptance

1. Ewha Woman’s University

Ewha Woman’s University is a private research university located in Seoul, South Korea. The university was built in 1886. It progressed gradually and started providing professional education in 1925. As of now, Ewha Woman’s University is considered the world’s largest educational institute for women. It provides professional education in fields like arts, social sciences, medicine, engineering, music, natural sciences, and education. Ewha Woman’s University comprises several colleges and graduate schools where international students can pursue their studies.

2. Seoul National University

With the main campus in the Gwanak district of South Korea, Seoul National University (also known as SNU) has become the most distinguished educational institution in South Korea. It was established in 1946 and has grown over the years offering several degree programs and courses. SNU has earned a great reputation in the world because of the success of its many students. The notable alumni of SNU include various politicians, scientists, scholars, and other office-bearers. Almost 25% of presidents of South Korea graduated from SNU.

3. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Located in Daejeon, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is one of the most prominent universities in Korea. It is a public university that was established in 1971. The main purpose of this university in Korea with low acceptance rates was to train advanced scientists and researchers. Most of the services of lectures, research, and housing are available at the main campus of KAIST. Other than engineering departments, the university is also famous for its School of Business. Faculty members of KAIST are high-level researchers.

2. Pohang University of Science and Technology

Located in the Pohang district of South Korea, Pohang University of Science and Technology (also known as POSTECH) is a private research university. It was founded in 1986 with the purpose of research and education in the field of science and technology. The university is ranked among the best universities in Asia and in the whole world. POSTECH is famous for its programs in science and engineering technologies. The benefit of studying at POSTECH is the financial support. Many international students avail this opportunity.

5. Korea University

Located in Seoul, Korea University is one of the private universities in Korea with a good reputation. It was established in 1905. The university is quite famous for its law, economics, and journalism departments. Its ‘college of law’ is famous worldwide. Korea University has several departments which are organized into professional colleges and schools. They offer several undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as short-term courses. The alumni of Korea University are famous worldwide.

6. Pusan National University

Pusan National University (PNU) is a public research university located in Busan. It is considered among the top five universities in South Korea together with Seoul National University. It was built in 1946 to increase the literacy rate in South Korea. PNU is famous for its mechanical engineering program. The academic staff of PNU consists of hundreds of full-time researchers and teachers. Currently, PNU is organized into colleges and professional schools to serve the vast student population.

7. Hanyang University

Hanyang University is a private university located in Seoul. The university was built as an engineering institute in 1939. As of now, the university is organized into several colleges, departments, and graduate schools, with thousands of students enrolled at Hanyang University. This university in Korea has more than several international student enrollments every year. It is famous for having the maximum number of publications among the other South Korean universities.

8. Chung-Ang University

Chung-Ang University (CAU) is also a private university located in Seoul. It was established in 1918 as a comprehensive educational institute. CAU is famous for being the first institute in South Korea that offer professional education in pharmacy, business management, and energy system engineering. CAU has trained the most intellectual personalities in the nation. Chung-Ang University comprises several colleges, departments, professional schools, and specialized graduate schools. 

9. Yonsei University

Yonsei University is a private university with a main campus in Seoul. It was established in 1957. As of now, the university has three campuses in different areas of South Korea. Yonsei University is well known for its contribution to the development and industrialization of South Korea. Its main campus comprises several colleges, graduate schools, and divisions. This university in Korea with low acceptance rates is famous for courses in economics and modern languages.

10. Konkuk University

With the main campus in Seoul, Konkuk University is a private institute in South Korea famous among domestic as well as international students. It was established in 1931 and has been a top university for years. Konkuk University has several undergraduate colleges and graduate schools offering more than 150 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to local as well as international students. Life at Seoul Campus is wonderful because of the scenery and easy access to everything. The alumni of Konkuk University include several scholars, players, politicians, and researchers who have played an important role in the development of South Korea.


*There is no published estimated acceptance of Korean universities for international students available. We’ve estimated the acceptance rates of Korean universities by their rankings, by the number of international students, and through third-party sources like ranking sites.*


We hope this article on the top Korean universities with low acceptance rates was informative. To learn more about other educational opportunities in Korea, check out the Study in Korea page! And if you are still unsure what program to take, go over to Available Programs for more study options!

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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