In the past several years since 2014, there has been a steady increase in the number of international students enrolling in South Korean universities, peaking in 2019 shortly before the global pandemic broke out. Nonetheless, the drop in the international student population in 2020 was not that significant.
Many people associate this increase with the booming Korean entertainment industry, considering the internationally renowned Korean films, directors, artists, and K-Pop groups. However, the high quality of education and the attractive culture of the country have made it a popular destination among international students.
On the other hand, since South Korea’s economy is among the most developed and the educational standard is among the highest in Asia, many international students have the false impression that education and living costs in the country would be too expensive for them. As such, this article will discuss some of the most affordable universities for international students in South Korea, including the tuition fees per semester for undergraduate and graduate programs.
- Seoul National University Scholarships
- Sungkyunkwan University Scholarships
- Kyungpook University Scholarships
Cheap Universities in South Korea
1. Kangwon National University
- Tuition fees for Undergraduate Programs – KRW1,400,000 – 3,400,000
- Tuition fees for Graduate Programs – KRW2,200,000 – 4,400,000
Founded in 1947, Kangwon National University lives on its founding spirit Sil-Sa-Gu-Si, which means “seek for truth from reality.”
It currently has two campuses: Chuncheon and Samcheok, which house various departments of the university’s six main fields of study: Arts, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, Medical & Pharmacy, Natural Sciences, and Sports Science.
In addition to the affordable tuition fees at Kangwon National University, prospective students may also apply for several scholarship grants available in the university. That’s why the university has seen a steady rise in the number of new enrollees every year.
2. Pusan National University
- Tuition fees for Undergraduate Programs – KRW1,700,000 – 5,000,000
- Tuition fees for Graduate Programs – KRW2,300,000 – 7,100,000
Pusan National University, located in the popular and beautiful city of Busan, officially opened in 1946 as the first national university in South Korea. Since then, it has produced numerous national leaders in various fields, such as politics, economy, and several other industries.
The university is also a leading institution for research and has received multiple national government awards. In addition, it ranks high in global university rankings and aims to get an even higher ranking by 2030.
Its diverse course offerings under 15 colleges cover almost all study areas. Also, Pusan National University is a cheap university in Korea for international students, making it an attractive university for local and international students. Currently, Pusan National University is home to over 34,000 students, which includes roughly 2000 international students.
3. Chonnam National University
- Tuition fees for Undergraduate Programs – KRW1,800,00 – 2,500,000
- Tuition fees for Graduate Programs – KRW2,200,000 – 4,300,000
Chonnam National University’s long history dates back to 1909, and since then, the university has continued to grow in terms of the number of degree programs offered and student population. Currently, the university has almost 24,000 active students in both its Gwangju and Yeosu campuses.
New international students can benefit from several scholarships offered by the university. No application is necessary as all newly registered international students are automatically considered for the scholarship as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.
4. Chungnam National University
- Tuition fees for Undergraduate Programs – KRW1,800,000 – 2,600,000
- Tuition fees for Graduate Programs – KRW2,200,000 – 4,600,000
Located in Daejeon, Chungnam National University is another affordable university in Korea for international students and a relatively lower cost of living compared to other major cities in South Korea.
Daejeon is a populated city at the center of the country and is home to major scientific and technological studies and development. Moreover, this location is ideal for international students to gain easy access to other parts of the country through the highly developed and accessible transportation system.
Meanwhile, the university is very competent in that it receives substantial research funding and offers significant employment opportunities to its graduates onsite and with its partner companies and institutions.
5. Kyungpook National University
- Tuition fees for Undergraduate Programs – KRW1,900,000 – 2,700,000
- Tuition fees for Graduate Programs – KRW2,500,000 – 4,700,000
Kyungpook National University, launched in 1946, has grown to become a student-centered university that has gained international recognition by global university ranking bodies.
Home to over 36,000 students—5% of which are international students—KNU takes pride in being one of the top national universities in South Korea in terms of graduate employability and quality of education.
The university also receives national funding that supports over 60% of its students in scholarships and grants. International students may also benefit from the university’s onsite dormitories in both Daegu and Sangju campuses.
6. Seoul National University of Science and Technology
- Tuition fees for Undergraduate Programs – KRW2,300,000 – 5,500,000
- Tuition fees for Graduate Programs – KRW3,200,000 – 4,000,000
Seoul National University of Science and Technology (SeoulTech) has its roots as a vocational school back in 1910. It has gone on to become a high-ranking university both domestically and abroad.
The university’s state-of-the-art facilities and the high quality of education and research are designed to equip students with the necessary skills and qualifications, resulting in a high employment rate and global competence.
This affordable university in Korea is also conveniently located in South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, allowing students to explore the rich culture of the country as well as find prospective career opportunities in a developed and competitive society.
7. Seoul National University
- Tuition fees for Undergraduate Programs – KRW2,400,000 – 5,000,000
- Tuition fees for Graduate Programs – KRW3,200,000 – 6,100,000
Seoul National University (SNU) is probably the most popular and the most sought-after university in South Korea. Founded in 1946, SNU is currently among the top 60 universities in world rankings and the top 15 in Asia.
The university takes excellence seriously as it accepts only the top 2.5% of students based on national university exam results and employs globally competent and highly educated faculty members. In addition, the university has received international renown in research.
Its vast alumni network consists of nationally recognized and influential leaders in business, government, and international organizations like the WHO and UN.
The university aims to become even more global by welcoming more international students and professors with its growing number of English courses.