South Korea is not only the home of K-pop, K-drama, and K-beauty, it is also the place for an excellent education. This is well-reflected in the country’s statistics, with 70% of 24 to 35-year-olds having completed some form of tertiary education. Owing to its high-quality school system, Koreans are always in the top 10 of the Program for International Student Assessment.
With that being said, studying Medicine in Korea proves to be a good choice for locals and foreigners alike. If you are all set on becoming a competent physician-scientist, then you should consider any of these best medical schools in Korea.
How long does it take to finish medicine in Korea?
It takes 6 years to get a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine in Korea. Students straight from high school need the first 2 years for undergraduate studies, while the 3rd and 4th years are devoted to pre-clinical basic science. The last 2 years, on the other hand, are intended for clinical rotations.
Apart from high school graduates, holders of another bachelor’s degree can apply at any of the medical schools below. This is known as a transfer option, as they only enter medical school during the 3rd year of study.
How much does it cost to study in Korean Medical Schools?
There are many costs involved in studying at medical schools in Korea. One of the biggest costs is tuition, which can cost up to $15,000 a year. In addition to this cost, there are living costs such as rent, food, and other expenses. Although this can be a lot, there are ways that international students can study for free. If you are interested, read about How to Study in Korea for Free (9 Steps).
What are the general requirements for foreigners who want to apply to medical schools in Korea?
Foreign students need to take the SAT/ACT, as well as the Korean Language Proficiency Exam, to be considered in most Korean medical schools. Applicants may also need to take a TOEFL or IELTS exam, especially if they were educated in a Non-English curriculum school.
Applying to medical schools in Korea can be a tough process, so we compiled a guide on How to Study Medicine in Korea for International Students. Check the guide if you feel lost!
Medical Schools in Korea
1. Seoul National University (SNU) College of Medicine
The SNU College of Medicine is not only the best medical school in Korea, but it is also considered the best in Asia (according to the US News Rankings). It is housed in the SNU Yeongeon campus, which is in the northeastern part of Seoul.
Established in 1889, the college was only given its current name in 1946. Now 120 years old, SNU has produced some of the world’s brightest doctors with the help of its breakthrough Lee Jong Wook curriculum.
After honing the foundational skill sets of students for the first 2 years, they are taught to improve their skills during the medical proper. For graduate school, aspiring physicians are allowed to specialize in either Medicine, Clinical Medicine, or the Biomedical Sciences.
2. Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) School of Medicine
Established in 1398 during the Joseon dynasty, SKKU is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions in South Korea. However, its School of Medicine is quite young, having been only founded in 1997, but it is considered as one of the best medical schools in Korea.
Although that is the case, the SKKU School of Medicine has managed to produce many of Korea’s great physicians. This is due to its breakthrough problem-based learning system. In fact, SKKU was the first in the country to offer such a curriculum for pre-clinical education.
SKKU is affiliated with three hospitals, the most famous of which is the Samsung Medical Center. Apart from this hospital, medical students can also have their clinical rotation in other institutions, such as the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital and the Samsung Changwon Hospital.
3. Yonsei University College of Medicine
The college’s humble beginnings can be traced back to 1886, which makes it the oldest medical school in Korea. Through the persistence of Dr. Horace Allen and Dr. J.W. Heron, the college’s forerunner – the Che Jung Won Medical School – was born. It stood strong despite the war, as it was the only medical school for Koreans – by Koreans – during the Japanese occupation.
Following a merger in 1957, the school was finally named Yonsei University College of Medicine.
As a top private institution, Yonsei has a selective system that allows only 100 successful applicants per year. With the guidance of more than 550 full-time faculty members, the elite few are educated through an intuitive problem-based learning system. They are then rotated in the respected Severance Hospital, which has an inpatient capacity of 2,300.
4. University of Ulsan College of Medicine
Located in the southeastern region of Korea, the University of Ulsan was founded as the Ulsan Institute of Technology in 1969. It was made a full-fledged university a few decades later in 1985. After three years later, the illustrious College of Medicine was established.
The college has 450 professors who supervise the students’ rotations in its many affiliate hospitals, including the Gangneung Asan Hospital and the Ulsan University Hospital.
Medical students also get to intern at the prestigious Asan Medical Center, which was established in 1989. With a total of 2,705 beds, the hospital is well-known for its revolutionary medical services and advanced clinical research.
5. Korea University College of Medicine
Korea University is a private university based in Seoul. Founded in 1905 as Bosung College, it was granted its current name 41 years after.
The College of Medicine was initially created to educate women doctors in the field of western medicine. More than just making reputable women physicians, the school has made impressive leaps and bounds since then.
Guided by its philosophy of molding doctors with strong ethics, the college has produced many of Korea’s top female and male physicians.
Apart from providing its students with good preclinical and clinical medicine knowledge, this medical school in Korea encourages its wards to engage in overseas exchanges and outreach problems.
KU students usually spend their internships in any of the college’s three affiliate hospitals, which are the Anam Hospital, Guro Hospital, and Ansan Hospital.
6. College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea
Next on our list of best medical schools in Korea is the Catholic University of Korea- College of Medicine. The university itself traces its humble beginnings back to 1855, with the founding of St. Joseph’s Seminary. Its School of Medicine, on the other hand, was created almost a century after the university was established.
The College of Medicine follows an OMNIBUS curriculum, where premedical education is specialized for each student. The program also includes two 6-week competency development programs, which cover consultations, diagnosis, simple medical procedures, and other treatment opportunities.
As a Catholic University, it also has a humanity education program that covers insight meditation and sympathy courses.
As for clinical rotations, students get to rotate in any of the university’s 8 affiliate hospitals – which has a combined capacity of 5,700 beds.
7. Kyungpook National University (KNU) School of Medicine
Based in Daegu, the KNU School of Medicine is the second-oldest medical school in Korea. Founded in 1923, it offers MD and MD-Ph.D. courses.
As one of the most prestigious schools in the country, KNU only accepts an average of 110 applicants every year.
The School of Medicine has 2 affiliate hospitals, namely the KNU Hospital and the KNU Medical Center. Catering to 25 specialties, these hospitals have a combined capacity of almost 1,400 beds.
With its high quality of medical education, the School of Medicine has produced more than 8,500 doctors. With the help of its 260 faculty members, KNU continues to shape physicians and physician-scientists who shine in their respective specialties.
8. Pusan National University (PNU) School of Medicine
Located in Busan, PNU is considered the second-best public university in Korea. Also known as Busan National University, it was initially founded in 1946 as a two-year college.
While PNU is widely known for its Engineering courses, it is also famous for its School of Medicine (not to be confused with the School of Traditional Korean Medicine, which is another department in the university).
Apart from creating exceptional doctors, this medical school in Korea takes pride in molding global leaders in the field of medicine. It also focuses on global and specialized research, which are fostered through the Research Institute for Medical Science, Cancer Research Center, and the Medical Research Center for Ischemic Tissue Regeneration.
9. Inje University College of Medicine
Located in Gimhae, Inje University was founded in 1932 as the “Paik Clinic”. In 1979, the Inje Medical College was opened, which became a university a decade after.
The College of Medicine was established to create ‘warm-hearted doctors essential to the 21st century.’ In 2009, it was named the best school by the Evaluation of Medical Education Accreditation body.
The curriculum makes use of problem-based learning and standardized patients, which help the students become more effective physician-scientists. It also offers competency-based education, which can help improve the student’s problem-solving ability.
The College of Medicine also offers several medical humanities courses, which aim to inculcate the golden value of patient safety.
The College of Medicine is affiliated with five Paik hospitals located in Seoul, Busan, Sanggye, Ilsan, and Haeundae. These institutions, which are considered some of the best in the country, together constitute a bed capacity of 3,600.
10. Hanyang University College of Medicine
We end our list of top Korean medical schools with Hanyang University, which is a private institution based in Seoul. It was founded as the Donga Engineering Institute in 1939, which was the first engineering school in the country. It was then renamed Hanyang, which is the former name of Seoul.
While the creation of the College of Medicine was already visualized in 1965, it was only three years after when the school started accepting its first batch of 80 students.
Hanyang students have the opportunity to undergo their clinical rotation in the esteemed Hanyang University Medical Center. Under this system is Hanyang University Guri Hospital, as well as the famous Hanyang University International Hospital.
As part of a globally-renowned research university, the College of Medicine is widely known for its regional research outputs.
I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Korea Scholarships Page!