Where to start if you want to attend Graduate School in South Korea


Where to start if you want to attend Graduate School in South Korea

Are you considering South Korea for graduate school but don’t know where to
start? Find helpful tips and steps here to help you decide how to start that BIG move.
Attending Graduate School in South Korea would surely be a life-changing
experience. It is way more serious than doing an exchange program and it is a major
commitment - emotionally, physically, and financially. It would take up at least 2 years of
your life. If you are considering going to Grad School in Seoul or other parts of South
Korea, here are some tips to help you begin.

1. Find a university specializing in your preferred major
Not all universities are created equal — some universities are known for
business, while some others are popular for engineering. The most popular high-
ranking universities in Korea are called the S.K.Y. Schools, namely Seoul
National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University.
In 2018, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, more known
as KAIST, was recognized as the number 1 school in South Korea by the QS
South Korea University Rankings. Nonetheless, as mentioned, all universities will
have their own strengths. Do not skimp on researching about universities to
make the most out of your graduate school experience. You may also connect
with your current university in your respective country and inquire about
university tie-ups. Your school might have a partnership with a university here
which would make things a lot easier for you. 

2. Look for foreign student communities/groups on Facebook/social media
Most likely, there are foreign students who have come before you. These groups
would be very helpful in giving you updated information about admissions,
feedback on university culture, classes, and other considerations. Moreover, it
would be better if you find a student community from your own country — these
students would be able to teach you about how to adapt to local culture coming
from your native culture. Other foreign students might also be able to connect
you to their professors.

3. Look for Scholarships
Graduate school costs A LOT. Take advantage of available scholarships and
stipends from various universities and organizations. South Korea offers the
Global Korea Scholarship regularly (you may also find the KGSP group on
Facebook). This scholarship is funded by the Korean government and will require
you to learn and pass the Korean Language certification before you are able to
study your major. This scholarship includes tuition and a stipend. For more
information about the Global Korea Scholarship, click here. Aside from GKS,
universities also offer their own scholarships. Some offers a percentage off of the
tuition fee depending on your English or Korean language scores. Once you
start, your department may also offer teaching assistant jobs so make sure to
inquire to your department about the details. 

4. Find a supervisor
Like in other countries, graduate school would be about finding a good
supervisor. As important or even more important as choosing a university is
choosing the right supervisor. Whether you plan to attend a Masters or a
Doctorate degree, your supervisor will have the power to help you succeed. Look
at university websites, reach out to International Admissions, ask current
students, e-mail potential Professors. Some universities will make you choose a
supervisor after a semester or two, but it would be so much better for you to be
accepted by a Professor beforehand. This commitment will be the biggest
relationship you will have while you are in graduate school (and after). Your
professor would be able to help you with funding and scholarships.

5. Prepare for a thesis topic
Once you get in touch with a potential supervisor, you are expected to have a
potential thesis topic. This will help the professor decide if he/she can be your
supervisor. If you choose to connect with a professor in the university, it is
expected that you have read about their background and their research field.
Therefore, your research topic should be within their area of expertise.
Remember, the professor is not obligated to accept you as his/her student.
Consequently, you will be expected to write research paper/s and publish them to
start your career as an academic with the guidance of your supervisor. 

6. Mind the deadlines
Spring Semester in South Korea starts in March and recruitment starts as early
as September. While Fall Semester starts by the end of August/early September.
Make sure to take note of all requirements and be prepared to send your
documents via DHL or Fedex. If you are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS test
results for English proficiency, you may indicate the university’s address when
you register for the exam. After submission of your application packet, the
university might setup an online interview, if needed. Not all universities will
accept documents submitted online so make sure to double check the
requirements and instructions. Also do take note of a contact person/e-mail
address from the university you are applying for follow-ups.


Done with all of the above steps and already preparing to start your first semester in
Graduate School? Read “The Startup Guide to doing Grad School in South Korea”

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03 May 2019


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