global korea scholarship
Pedestrians walk across a road in Seoul on Oct., 2021. Source: Anthony Wallace/AFP

If you plan to study at the pinnacle of global pop culture today, consider the Global Korea Scholarship.

From BTS and Blackpink to the films “Parasite” and now hit TV series “Squid Game,” South Korea is now taking over the world with its cultural exports. Add that Samsung smartphone you’re probably holding, plus that Hyundai TV and refrigerator you use, and it’s clear to see that South Korea is the home of innovation.

As the South Korean government aims to increase foreign enrolment to 200,000 by 2032, now’s a good time to apply to one of the country’s 35 universities listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.

The Global Korea Scholarship will give you the opportunity to study at some of Korea’s top institutions including Seoul National University, KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), Sungkyunkwan University, and POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology).

Applications open in February, but it’s a lengthy and competitive process, so you have to start preparing early. Your first step? This handy, simple guide of all first-time applicants of the Global Korea Scholarship:

What is the Global Korea Scholarship?

The Global Korea Scholarship aims to promote “international exchanges in education” and “mutual friendship” between South Korea and other countries. It is open to aspiring undergraduate and postgraduate students.

You can pursue a master’s degree or PhD degree at the graduate schools of Korean universities. Sejong University — the alma mater of none other than Song Hye-kyo and Yoo Yeon-seok — offers master’s degree in the Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, Business Administration, Natural Sciences, Engineering, and more.

What is the scholarship period?

  • Master’s degree programme: three years (one year of Korean language programme + two years of degree programme)
  • Doctoral degree programme: four years (one year of Korean language programme + three years of degree programme)
  • Research programme: six months or one year

What will it cover?

The Global Korea Scholarship does not only cover your tuition. It also covers:

  • Airfare
  • Settlement allowance
  • Monthly allowance
  • Medical insurance
  • Language training fee
  • Tuition
  • Korean proficiency grants
  • Research support fee
  • Thesis printing fee
  • Degree completion grants

A man and woman ride an electric scooter on a road in Seoul on September 15, 2021. Source: Anthony Wallace/AFP

How do I apply?

Applicants can apply via one of two tracks: either via the Korean Embassy in their country of residence (embassy track) or via the university directly (university track).

Will I need to be fluent in Korean?

According to Study in Korea, grantees are required to take Korean language training courses for one year at a language institution located on-campus of the domestic universities.

However, those who have attained a Korean language fluency score higher than level 5 in the Test of Proficiency in Korea (TOPIK) are exempt from this requirement.

Am I eligible for the scholarship?

Among the criteria include:

  • Applicants and their parents must be citizens of their country of origin (applicants should not hold Korean citizenship)
  • Applicants must hold citizenship of NIIED (National Institute for International Education) designated countries that are invited to take part in the Global Korea Scholarship programme
  • Must be under 40 years of age (born after Sept. 1, 1981). Academic professors who are under 45 years of age as of Sept. 1, 2021 (born after Sept. 1, 1976) and hold citizenship of one of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipients are eligible to apply
  • Have a GPA above 80% from the last educational institution attended
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree by the date of arrival (applicants who have previously obtained an undergraduate, master’s or doctoral programme in Korea cannot apply for this programme)

Other requirements:

  • Master’s programme applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or a level of education equivalent to or higher than a bachelor’s degree
  • Doctoral programme applicants must hold a master’s degree or a level of education equivalent to or higher than a master’s degree

A woman and a child ride a bicycle past street market stalls in Seoul on October 1, 2021. Source: Anthony Wallace/AFP


Applicants via the embassy track and university track will need to check with either their embassy or university regarding the application deadline.

Scholarship announcement

The announcement of the graduate degree scholars of the Global Korea Scholarship is expected to be announced in mid-June of the year of your programme. The semester will begin in September 2021.