Get the right information to get into the classroom

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Get the right information to get into the classroom


Korean and foreign students attend a class at a local university. [JoongAng Ilbo

There are a number of reasons that international residents find themselves living in Korea: work, study, entrepreneurship and family, to name a few. Many students come to Korea to study in Korean graduate programs or Korean language programs. Others come and end up interested in going back to grad school in their home countries. For those interested in higher education, let’s take a look at some of the programs and resources available in Korea.

Applying to Korean graduate studies programs

There are several reputable graduate schools in Korea and many schools have been clamoring for international students. Popular programs are listed below, but a thorough search for programs that specialize in your personal area of interest is certainly recommended.

A. Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies (

Yonsei’s GSIS program has a wide range of degree options for students interested in entering for a Master’s or Ph.D., including Korean Studies, Area Studies, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, and International Management. The program also has options for a dual degree where you are able to earn two Master’s degrees in only two years (one from Yonsei and one from another international partner school). The international partner schools are of exceptionally high reputation, such as the University of Chicago, the University of Geneva and Keio University. They also have exchange student programs set up with over 500 various universities internationally.

B. Ewha Womans University Graduate School of International Studies (

Ewha’s GSIS program offers their students multiple graduate studies tracks for both Master’s and Doctoral degrees, including International Trade and Investment, International Business, International Cooperation, and International Relations. Their Korean studies program offers two graduate degrees: Korean Culture and Teaching Korean as a Foreign Language. A highlight of Ewha’s program is their joint degree program with the George Washington University, earning students two Master’s of International Studies degrees in only five semesters.

C. Seoul National University Graduate School of International Studies (

SNU’s GSIS offers a variety of program options for both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in International Commerce, International Cooperation, International Area studies, Korean studies, and International Development Policy. A highlight of the program is their exchange student programs with different universities from Australia, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States.

D. Korea University Graduate School of International Studies (

Korea University’s GSIS offers Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in International Commerce, International Development and Cooperation, International Peace and Security, Regional Studies, and Korean Studies. The program has established dual degree programs with New York University and American University, to enable students to receive M.A. degrees from both schools simultaneously. Korea University also offers summer, exchange and executive programs.

E. Sogang University Graduate School of International Studies (

Sogang’s GSIS program offers Master’s and Doctoral degrees in areas such as International Relations (including National Intelligence and Security), International Trade, International Finance, and East Asian Studies (including Korean Studies). One unique characteristic of Sogang’s program is their Global Executive Forum. This program is held every Wednesday and allows students to learn from “experts from domestic and foreign governments, embassies, large corporations and NGOs.” Sogang also has a dual degree program with Hawaii Pacific University that gives students an opportunity to earn both an MIS and MBA degree in two years.

F. Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Pan-Pacific International Studies (

Kyung Hee’s GSIS offers both Master’s and Doctoral degree programs in International Trade and Economic Cooperation, International Development Cooperation, International Business, International Relations, Latin American Studies, and Korean Studies. Kyung Hee also offers two unique programs: the MKE and IDC programs. The MKE program offers a Master’s degree program in Korean Economy and Development Cooperation, focusing on the Korean economy and development and implications of this for other developing countries. The IDC program offers both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in International Development Cooperation to train experts who are interested in learning about international development aid and policies.

Additional graduate programs are available at: Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (, Chung-Ang University Graduate School of International Studies (, Hanyang University Graduate School of International Studies (, Hansung University, (, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Graduate School of International and Area Studies (

The information and Web sites listed above pertain to each school’s respective International Studies programs but all also offer admission into regular programs for students with Korean language ability. For more information, check the school’s general Web site.

Studying Korean language

Most major universities in Seoul and other large cities offer Korean language programs for foreigners. Each program has its own unique traits, curriculum, and reputation, but most of the programs are geared to people who are interested in intensive Korean language study. Their full-time programs typically run for 2.5 months and classes are generally Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., a total of 20 hours a week. That’s 200 hours for one term; each session typically costs between 1 million won (Hansung) and 1.6 million won (Sogang and Yonsei). The universities also offer part-time and short-term intensive programs, but are best known for their full-time programs.

Sogang University KLEC:

Yonsei University KLI:

Ewha Womans University ELC:

Seoul National University KLCP:

Sookmyung Women’s University KLP:

Kyung Hee University IIE:

Hansung University KLP:

The Seoul Global Center, its affiliated Global Village Centers, and other NGOs also offer free Korean classes, with only book fees paid to register. The SGC’s Korean language course will kick off this year on Feb. 8 and will run for 12 weeks until May 3. Registration for the course will begin today and end tomorrow with level tests next Monday (Jan. 25) and Tuesday (Jan. 26). There are a variety of class schedules and levels available, so for more information, visit

Applying to grad schools back in your home country

Each country and each university has their own requirements. Generally speaking, an application must be completed (these are predominantly done now online), and transcripts and letters of recommendation must be sent. In some cases test scores are also required.

For those applying to schools in English-speaking countries whose second language is English, scores from tests such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) must be submitted. In Korea, you can register for the Internet-based test online. The test costs $170. Prospective students from an English-speaking country are not required to submit these test scores.

For those who are interested in graduate study in the U.S., an additional test is typically required; either the GRE (general graduate studies), GMAT (business and management graduate studies), LSAT (law) or MCAT (medicine). For the purposes of brevity, let’s take a look at the process for taking the GRE in Korea.

Unfortunately Korea is one of only three countries - the other two are China and Taiwan - that don’t offer individual computer testing throughout the year. Instead, the GRE is only offered twice a testing year for the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the test, with paper-based administration. The computer-based Analytical Writing section, however, can be scheduled flexibly within a certain time period. It’s important to note that you must have the Analytical Writing section of the test completed before you can register for the paper-based Verbal and Quantitative section testing.

The next GRE test date is June 12, 2010. To register for this test, you must have taken the Analytical Writing portion between Sept. 20, 2009 and May 8, 2010.

After taking the writing section, an admissions ticket to the paper-based test date will be mailed to you, usually at least three weeks before the paper-based test date. The testing fee is $205 and there are three university locations for the paper-based test in Seoul, Daegu, and Gwangju. For more info, visit

Scholarships for studying in Korea

Scholarship options for international students are beginning to pop up from a variety of sources as Korea works hard to improve its international rankings and exchange networks between other international schools. Most universities in Korea offer their own scholarship for promising international students, based on GPA and letters of recommendation.

There are also scholarship opportunities from outside sources. Some of the largest scholarships come from the Korea Foundation, whose mission is to encourage the study of Korea in other countries, in order to promote international relationships and understanding. The foundation offers language study, research and graduate studies fellowships for students in Korea and those majoring in Korea-related studies in their home countries. For more information, visit

Another new scholarship comes from the government office, the National Institute for International Education, which offers scholarships for study in Korea. There are scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate studies but all of the programs typically include a year of sponsored Korean language study before regular studies can begin. The information for the scholarship can be found at their Web site ( but the graduate studies scholarship information is not expected until the end of March or April.

There are many options when it comes to studying in Korea. The above resources should help get you started, but just as in your home country, before making such a big commitment, it’s best to investigate different programs thoroughly by visiting the department you’re interested in, meeting with professors, and asking opinions of current students or alumni.

For more information on all of the programs, it is advisable to check out their Web sites above.

By Shannon Heit Contributing writer []
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