If you are looking to study in South Korea, you are surely making a great choice. This location has a lot to offer for international students, including world-class universities and exciting student experiences. With more than 184 universities and colleges in South Korea, you’ll surely have a wide range of choices.
Out of 184 universities in South Korea, Seoul National University and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology are the top-performing schools in South Korea. This list covers both public and private institutions in South Korea.
To help you narrow down your school options, we’ve compiled the best universities in South Korea. We based our rankings on academic reputations from reputable sources and the number of international students. By doing this, you’ll have an efficient way of comparing your target universities and choose your host university in South Korea.
|1||Seoul National University||1946||Public||Seoul|
|2||Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology||1971||Public||Daejeon|
|6||Pohang University of Science and Technology||1986||Private||Pohang|
|7||Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology||2009||Public||Ulsan|
|10||Kyung Hee University||1949||Private||Seoul|
|11||Kyungpook National University||1946||Public||Daegu|
|12||Ewha Womans University||1886||Private||Seoul|
|13||University of Ulsan||1970||Private||Ulsan|
|17||Pusan National University||1946||Public||Busan|
|21||Jeonbuk National University||1947||Public||Jeonju|
|22||Chonnam National University||1952||Public||Gwangju|
|23||Sungshin Women’s University||1936||Private||Seoul|
|25||University of Seoul||1918||Public||Seoul|
How do I get admission to the best universities in South Korea?
Applying to the universities in South Korea involves submitting requirements and following specific admissions procedures set by your chosen university. The requirements often include a student visa, application packages, and language scores. Check out our guide for international students who want to study in South Korea to learn more about applying for admission in this country’s universities!
How much are the tuition fees at the best universities in South Korea?
Tuition fees at South Korea’s universities can vary depending on which university, degree, and program you will be enrolling in. Generally, tuition fees for the bachelor’s level range from 1,633,000 KRW to 26,751,000 KRW , while tuition fees for the master’s level range from 1,610,000 KRW to 29,175,600 KRW. If you are interested, check out the affordable universities in South Korea!
As we cover the best universities in South Korea for international students, feel free to check out the university’s information on Admission, Tuition, Courses, and Language Requirements by looking at the individual university pages.
Top Universities in South Korea for International Students
1 Seoul National UniversityView Page
Seoul National University tops the list for best universities in South Korea.
Seoul National University (SNU), often called the “Harvard of South Korea,” is a prestigious institution in Seoul. With a mission to foster excellence in education and research, SNU aims to cultivate creative and socially responsible leaders. The university boasts two campuses, Gwanak and Yeongeon, known for their picturesque landscapes and modern facilities. SNU’s commitment to academic excellence, research, and global engagement has solidified its reputation as one of the top universities in Asia and the world.
Consistently being counted among the top schools in South Korea is a great sign for quality education. Seoul National University is definitely a great university to consider if you’re planning to study in South Korea.
2 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologyView Page
Second on this list for best universities in South Korea is Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Because of its strong academic reputation, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology regularly has a sizable student population, 7.6 % of which are international students.
KAIST, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, is a renowned Daejeon, South Korea institution. The university aims to drive scientific advancements, nurture creative talent, and contribute to national and global development. KAIST operates a single campus in Daejeon and is recognized for its strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. It has consistently ranked among the top universities globally and has a reputation for producing talented graduates and impactful research.
3 Yonsei UniversityView Page
Another great school in South Korea is Yonsei University. It is also one of the most widely-recognized names in education around the world and gets high numbers of student applications annually.
The foundation of Yonsei University can be traced back to Christian missionary work in the region, particularly in the establishment and growth of two institutions – Korea’s first modern hospital, which transformed over the years into Severance Medical School, and a school that expanded and transformed into Yonhi University. The two institutions survived the tumultuous years of Japanese colonization and supported the democratization and modernization of Korea after the war. Severance and Yonhi merged in 1957 to become Yonsei University, which has grown into one of the best universities in the country and is a driving contributor to its economic and political growth. Its Christian roots are an essential part of its identity – Yonsei aims to train future national and world leaders in the spirit of Christianity, with an abiding commitment to truth and freedom.
4 Sungkyunkwan UniversityView Page
It's always a good plan to have several options when choosing your host university abroad. And among your top choices at South Korea is Sungkyunkwan University.
Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) has a long and glorious history, going back to its foundation at the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty. It is the oldest university in East Asia, and is respected for being a guardian of Korea’s rich traditions. For over 600 years, SKKU has been guided by the ideology that students strive to contribute to society and become the best leaders they can be. It has withstood dynasty changes, foreign occupation, independence movements, wars, and even fire, emerging as a leading Korean university. The university expanded and opened a new campus in Suwon to house its science programs, while the humanities and social sciences programs that it is known for continue to be taught at the Seoul campus. SKKU has ranked consistently within the top 100 world universities and top 20 Asian universities, and blends tradition with modernity to produce global leaders for the 21st century.
5 Korea UniversityView Page
Next on our list of top universities in South Korea for international students is Korea University. This university provides good programs in various fields such as Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, and Smart Security.
Korea University’s origins can be traced back to the establishment of Bosung College by Lee Yong-ik, and its history is deeply tied to the country’s history. It emerged as a space to understand nationalism through education and was a key venue for the struggle against Japanese occupation. Renamed Korea University after the national liberation, the institution is an important symbol in the Republic of Korea’s modern history, embodying the spirit of resistance and the country’s conscience. Over the years, Korea University has grown and expanded to become not only a top national university, but a leading research-driven global university in the 21st century.
6 Pohang University of Science and TechnologyView Page
Besides academic and research excellence, extracurricular activities, leadership participation, and career opportunities are also worth it to consider when choosing your host university. All these reasons make Pohang University of Science and Technology one of the best universities in South Korea.
Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), renowned as Korea’s leading science and technology institution, is a private research university in Pohang, South Korea. Established in 1986, POSTECH’s mission is to excel in education, research, and innovation to improve society and the world. The university is known for its rigorous academic programs, cutting-edge research facilities, and collaborations with prestigious institutions worldwide. Moreover, it strongly focuses on science, engineering, and technology-related disciplines.
7 Ulsan National Institute of Science and TechnologyView Page
Located in Ulsan, South Korea’s industrial powerhouse, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology is a young university with great ambition. In its relatively short life, the university has gained an impressive reputation in its field and is making rapid strides toward fulfilling its vision of becoming a leading global university that is engaged in advancing science and technology for the betterment of humanity.
8 Hanyang UniversityView Page
Born during the tumultuous years of the Japanese occupation, Hanyang University was founded with the dream of liberating Korea. This dream tied education with independence and emphasized Hanyang University’s commitment to teaching students to achieve growth and stability. Through the most eventful period in Korean history spanning the last few years of Japan’s colonization, the Korean War, as well as the ensuing period of rapid economic growth and democratization, the university kept true to its founding principle of encouraging innovation to advance national good. In the past few decades, it has grown at an impressive rate, adding departments, increasing student enrollments and even opening a new campus in Ansan. Even as Hanyang University has developed into a leading university in the country, it has expanded its ambit to include the growth of Asia and the world.
9 Sejong UniversityView Page
Established first as a 3-year higher educational institute called Kyung Sung Humanities Institute, Sejong University (SU) underwent many name changes and reorganizations before it got its current name and status. Now a full-fledged university offering programs across disciplines at its campus in Seoul, SU stays true to its founding educational ideals of the spirit of Love, Christianity, and Teaching of the People.
10 Kyung Hee UniversityView Page
Kyung Hee University, also known as KHU, is a prestigious private institution in Seoul, South Korea. Established in 1949, the university aims to foster global leaders who contribute to developing humanity and peace. With a vision to become a world-class university, Kyung Hee emphasizes holistic education, cultural enrichment, and social responsibility. Moreover, the university is recognized worldwide for its research achievements and commitment to global engagement.
11 Kyungpook National UniversityView Page
Kyungpook National University is one of the leading Korean universities, with more than 35,000 students studying at its main Daegu campus and its Sangju campus. It has the vision of being a knowledge-driven university with a global orientation while being guided by its principles of truth, pride, and service. A regional educational hub established with support from the local community, the university has a reputation for producing top intellectuals and contributors, and now aims to bring growth and innovation to the world.
12 Ewha Womans UniversityView Page
The origins of Ewha Womans University can be traced back to the establishment of the country’s first modern educational institute for women by an American missionary. From its humble beginnings with one student in a Korean-style house, the university has seen tremendous growth and expanded to include more than 21,000 students enrolled at its beautiful campus in Sinchong. With a vision of building an innovative platform for a sustainable society, Ewha aims to train future women leaders with an emphasis on the Christian spirit. Decades of progress have propelled Ewha as the top women’s university in the country and a global hub for women’s education.
13 University of UlsanView Page
Established as the Ulsan Institute of Technology in 1970 by Asan Chung Ju-Yung, founder of the renowned Hyundai business group, Ulsan University is guided by its founder’s philosophy of “pioneering entrepreneurship, love for mankind, and thirst for learning.” The university aims to train young leaders, equipping them with practical knowledge to contribute to the upliftment of the world. Located in the metropolitan city of Ulsan, considered the country’s industrial heart, students benefit from the proximity to one of the world’s largest industrial complexes. Not only does it have a strong partnership with the Hyundai Group, but Ulsan University also has a strong education-industry-government nexus, providing students with many opportunities for learning, research, field training, and job placements.
14 Gwangju UniversityView Page
Gwangju University, commonly known as GU, is a renowned institution of higher education in South Korea. Its inception dates back to its establishment to provide quality education, foster innovation, and contribute to societal progress. GU envisions itself as a hub of intellectual growth and academic excellence, shaping competent individuals with a global outlook and a sense of social responsibility. GU prides itself on its diverse academic programs and commitment to providing students with a conducive learning environment and ample opportunities for personal and professional growth.
15 Chung-Ang UniversityView Page
Chung-Ang University (CAU), often called Chungang, is a distinguished private institution in Seoul, South Korea. Since its establishment in 1918, CAU has been dedicated to fostering excellence in education, research, and service. The university aims to become a leading global institution that nurtures creative and socially responsible leaders. With two campuses in Seoul’s bustling metropolitan area, Chung-Ang offers students a vibrant and dynamic learning environment.
16 Ajou UniversityView Page
Ajou University’s history can be traced back to the establishment of Ajou Engineering Junior College by the Yusin Institute. It has since expanded its educational offerings, branching out to add graduate programs and open new departments. Ajou has set its sights high, with the ambition to become the “MIT of Asia” and the “Silicon Valley of Korea.” Recognized particularly for its engineering and technology programs, Ajou has more than 13,000 students studying at its campus in Suwon.
17 Pusan National UniversityView Page
Pusan National University (PNU), also known as Busan National University, is a prominent educational institution in Busan, South Korea. The university’s mission is to pursue excellence in education and research while promoting regional development and global cooperation. Moreover, PNU aims to cultivate talented individuals who possess a sense of social responsibility and contribute to advancing knowledge. It stands out for its diverse array of academic programs, dedicated emphasis on STEM disciplines, a prominent position as a leading research institution in South Korea, and unwavering dedication to community engagement and making a positive social impact.
18 Konkuk UniversityView Page
Konkuk University is a leading private university in Korea, founded with the goal to preserve the country’s sovereignty and produce graduates who would serve to build Korea. In addition to the founding philosophy of ‘nation-building through education’, the university currently hopes to face the challenges of a rapidly changing world through a focus on education that centers creativity and drives novelty. With over 25,000 students studying at its two campuses in Seoul and Chungju, Konkuk is a top choice for higher education in Korea.
19 Sogang UniversityView Page
Sogang University, often called “Sogang” is a prominent educational institution in Seoul, South Korea. The university’s mission is to cultivate intellectuals who can contribute to the betterment of society through critical thinking and ethical values. Notable facts about the university include its high rankings in the country, diverse international student body, and active engagement in research, particularly in social sciences, humanities, and business fields.
20 Dongguk UniversityView Page
Founded by Buddhist pioneers in 1906, Dongguk University has an eventful history, including two forceful closures during the Japanese occupation of Korea. These experiences cemented the three pillars of its identity: Buddhism, ethnicity, and history. The university has fostered specialists to contribute to Korea’s democratization and development and has been consistently engaged in efforts to develop Buddhism in the country. Although a Buddhist university, it welcomes staff and students belonging to all faiths.
21 Jeonbuk National UniversityView Page
Jeonbuk National University’s history can be traced back to the establishment of the Provincial Iri Agricultural College. The institute was founded a couple of years after the nation’s liberation with the motto Freedom, Justice, Creativity. Jeonbuk National University has grown to become a leading public university in the country. It expanded its academic offering to include graduate and doctoral programs, opened new departments, and is now located at three campuses in Jeonju, Iksan, and Gochang.
22 Chonnam National UniversityView Page
Chonnam National University was established in the period after the Korean War with the support of the local community in Gwangju. The founding ideal of the institute is to nurture the leaders of tomorrow, equipping them with noble character and professional knowledge to help in the development of the country and the world. The university has survived plenty of political strife, always staying on the frontline in the fight for democracy and human rights. With the motto of truth, creativity, and service, Chonnam National University has grown rapidly to become a leading higher education institute offering a wide range of programs.
23 Sungshin Women’s UniversityView Page
Founded in 1936, it is one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious women’s universities. The university is named after its founder, Sook-Chong Lee, who envisioned providing quality education to women in Korea during a time when opportunities for women’s education were limited. The university is committed to promoting women’s empowerment and fostering leadership qualities among its students. It strives to create an inclusive and supportive community where women can thrive academically and personally.
24 Yeungnam UniversityView Page
Yeungnam University was established in 1947, and like many other universities founded following the turbulent years of the Japanese occupation and the Korean War, it was committed to the idea of rebuilding the nation through education. Yeungnam retains the same spirit today, ready to lead the way through the challenges of a rapidly changing world. One of the top universities in the country, Yeungnam has nearly 33,000 people studying at its main Gyeongsan campus and the smaller Daemyung Campus. Alumni from the university include many top company executives, heads of local governments and councils, congressmen, and Supreme Court judges.
25 University of SeoulView Page
The University of Seoul’s history dates back more than a century and can be traced to the establishment of an agricultural college in 1918. Over the years, it has expanded to add more departments and transformed into a comprehensive university offering programs across different disciplines at its campus in Seoul. The university is committed to its mission to explore truth and facilitate innovative research to serve society. It aims to continue producing future leaders of the country and lead the way forward in this technology-dominant era by supporting advancement in crucial areas, including big data and artificial intelligence.
We know that choosing your dream school in South Korea not an easy task. After all, you need to consider other factors like the cost of your education, school background, and population, as it can be overwhelming on your part.
So, to help you out further in weighing your school options for studying in South Korea, make sure to visit our list of the best public and private universities in South Korea! These articles will surely help you in deciding your next study destination!