List of Cheap Korean Universities for International Students with Tuition Fees, Cost of Living in Korea and Student Visa Information

Want to study in korea? Here is a research work on cheap Korean Universities for international students with tuition fees, Korean student visa requirements and how to apply, cost of living in Korea, & how to get their health insurance. Please read on…

About South Korea

South Korea is geographically central to East Asia and has played an important role in the region’s continuing technological and economic rise. Renowned for its hi-tech industries and the international success of companies such as Samsung, Hyundai, Kia and LG, the country is also rich in history and possesses a range of striking geographical features.

South Korea greatly values education and research and is investing heavily in these fields. Little wonder that South Korea has grown to become the world’s 13th largest economy and the third largest economy within Asia.

It’s this investment and growth in innovation and technology that has meant the country is known as one of the four ‘Asian Tiger’ economies, alongside Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

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Key Facts;

  • South Korea has a population of around 50 million, roughly half of which is concentrated around the greater metropolitan area of the capital, Seoul.
  • The country is governed as a liberal democracy, with an elected President and National Assembly.
  • The climate is seasonal and partly subtropical, with a monsoon period in summer, a warm autumn and substantial temperature drops during winter months.
  • South Korea is an increasingly popular tourist destination, with visitor numbers rising at roughly 10% year on year.
  • The currency is the South Korean Won (₩). ₩1 is roughly equivalent to $0.001.
  • Various faiths (including Christianity and Buddhism) are popular in South Korea, but the country has no state religion and many of its population express no religious beliefs.
  • The official language is Korean. English is also spoken by a large number of South Koreans and taught from an early stage in all school.

Accommodation and Living Costs

Accommodation in a university dormitory will usually be the most affordable option available to you as a PhD student in South Korea. The government estimates costs at between ₩320,000 and ₩1,075,000 (roughly equivalent to between $300 and $1000) per semester, varying depending on the number of individuals sharing a dormitory and the provision of other services such as catering.

Private accommodation designed for students will be available in and around most university regions. The cost for this is substantially higher than most university accommodation, however. In expensive regions rent can be as much as ₩20,000,000 ($18,000) per term and substantial personal deposits may also be required by some landlords.

One alternative form of private accommodation is the Hasuk Jip, a form of boarding house. These can cost as little as ₩800,000 ($750) a month, but prices and facilities are very variable.

Your university should be able to offer you some information and advice on the arrangements for its own accommodation as well as the cost and quality of nearby Hasuk and other private options. You should contact them early as you may need advance confirmation of accommodation to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself during your studies.

General Living Costs

The majority of South Korea is relatively inexpensive to live in, though prices in Seoul can be substantially higher than in other regions.

Most universities will offer affordable catering on their campuses and a meal from these facilities can cost as little as ₩2,600 ($2.50). In general, South Korea’s native cuisine will cost less than food from western restaurant franchises, but either should be affordable. The South Korean government estimates the cost of food at roughly ₩300,000 ($300) per month for students using university catering.

Access to South Korea’s world-leading high-speed internet services will usually cost around ₩420,000 ($30) per month.

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Korean Student Visa Application Procedure

As an international student wanting to study in South Korea you will typically need to acquire a Visa for Regular Educational Program (D-2).

In certain circumstances (usually where your course is focussed upon technical training and / or does not take place at an academic research institute) you may need a Visa for General Training (D-4). If in doubt, your university’s international office will be able to advise you.

Application for a Visa should be initiated by contacting a South Korean embassy in your home country. You will normally be required to submit the following documents;

  • A Passport, valid for the duration of your intended stay in South Korea.
  • A completed visa application form.
  • A processing fee, equivalent to $50 for single-entry or $80 for a multiple-entry visa.
  • Confirmation of admission to your programme of study, provided by your institution and recognising your aptitude and financial capability.
  • Certification of your educational record and qualifications.
  • Financial verification, demonstrating that you have resources equivalent to at least $12,000 ($13,000 for residency in Seoul) available for your studies. This can take the form of a current bank balance and / or confirmation of funding or other financial support.

In some cases you may be able to apply for a Certificate for Confirmation of Visa Issuance to simplify and speed up your application process. This can be submitted in place of documents confirming admission, educational record and financial verification, but requires sponsorship by someone within South Korea. Certificates are issued by Korean immigration offices and are valid for three months

Tuition Fees

One great thing about studying in a South Korean university is that tuition fees are the same for both domestic and international students; this is as part of the national plan to attract more international students to the country. These fees will vary depending on the course and university. If you receive a scholarship from a Korean university, these fees will likely be covered.

An undergraduate course at a public university costs from US$2,000 to US$4,500 per semester (with humanities subjects at the lower end and medicine at the top). At a South Korean private university, fees are estimated between US$3,000 and US$6,000 per semester.

Average annual tuition fees at the 16 internationally ranked universities in Seoul are US$6,800. To calculate the total cost, bear in mind that there are two semesters in each academic year, and South Korean undergraduate programs typically last four years (or six years for subjects like medicine and dentistry).

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Arrival in South Korea

Getting Health Insurance

You will need to register for health insurance at an office of the National Health Insurance Corporation, providing documents confirming residency, visa approval and student status. This will entitle you to medical treatment at all of South Korea’s hospitals and costs around ₩21,000 ($20 per month) though the price may vary depending upon employment status.

Registration at the Immigration Office

Within 90 days of arrival in South Korea you (or an approved representative from your university) will need to visit the immigration office that oversees your region in order to receive an Alien Registration Card, which you will be required to carry at all times during your stay.

The fee for this is ₩10,000 (roughly $10) and you will need to present a certificate of enrolment at your university, your passport and a passport sized photo as part of your application. At this point you should also notify your country’s embassy in South Korea of your arrival.

If you wish to leave and re-enter South Korea during your studies you will need to submit a report form through your university, confirming your temporary departure. Absence during the period of your visa should not normally exceed 30 days, but exceptions will be made for travel required to carry out research as part of your PhD or present work at international conferences.

In these cases you will need to submit confirmation of the purpose of these absences together with a covering letter from your supervisor.

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List of Cheap Korean Universities for International Students

  • Korea University
  • Sungkyunkwan University
  • Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)
  • Yonsei University

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