Study in South Korea from the UK: visa, universities, and costs

Gert Svaiko

Thinking of studying abroad? A growing number of UK students choose South Korea for undergraduate and postgraduate study, attracted by its advanced modern cities, fantastic culture and reputation for academic excellence.

But is it right for you, and how easy is it to go study in South Korea from the UK? We’ll answer these questions and more here in this handy guide. It includes info on visas, universities, tuition fees and Korean government scholarships.

To help you manage your money when studying in South Korea, get the Wise card. You can spend in the local currency (KRW) from the moment you arrive. Your GBP is automatically converted at the mid-market exchange rate, and there’s no need to change currency right away.


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Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

Can I study in South Korea coming from the UK?

As a UK national, you can absolutely go to South Korea to study. But you’ll need to meet a number of requirements, starting with getting a visa.

Once you’ve been accepted onto a course at a Korean university, you’ll need to get a student visa from the Korean Embassy or Consulate here in the UK.¹

The type of visa you’ll need can vary depending on your course. You’ll need to provide a number of documents during your application, including proof of funds to support yourself during your time in the country.¹ We’ll look at all the paperwork you’ll need next.

Another key requirement to study in South Korea is language proficiency. Even if your chosen course is taught in English, international students may still need to demonstrate that they have a certain level of Korean - in order to have a comfortable stay in the country.

So, you may need to take and pass a Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK)¹ when applying for your course.

What are the Korean student visa requirements from the UK?

Before you can apply for your South Korean student visa, you’ll first need to identify which type you need. Here’s a quick overview:

  • D-4 Visa - for non-degree courses such as Korean language study
  • D-2 Visa - for students seeking a degree.

You can apply for your student visa by post. The first step is to pay your visa fees by bank transfer. It costs €180/£159* to apply, plus a service fee of €60/£53*. There’s an additional fee of €15/£13* to post your passport back to you.²

Next, you’ll need to complete this application form and post it along with your supporting documents and proof of payment to the Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC) in London.²

Here’s what paperwork you’ll need:²

  • Your passport with at least 6 months validity remaining
  • The Business Registration Certificate of the Korean university you’re applying to
  • A recent photograph of yourself
  • A Certificate of Admission from the university
  • Documents proving your academic record
  • Proof of finances (such as a recent bank statement) - to show you can pay your tuition fees and living costs

You can see full details on the visa application process here.

Universities in South Korea for UK students

Which universities you apply to will depend on what you want to study, entry requirements and where in the country you want to live. But to help you start your search, here are some of the most popular universities in South Korea for international students:³

  • Korea University
  • Yonsei University (Underwood International College)
  • EWHA women’s university
  • Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology (UNIST)
  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)
  • Seoul National University (SNU)
  • Sejong University
  • Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)
  • Jeonbuk National University.

Which Korean universities offer scholarships for international students?

The cost of studying in Korea isn’t as high as in some other countries. However, it could still be worth exploring whether you’d be eligible for a scholarship.

Here are a handful of the many Korean scholarship programs available for international students:⁴⁵

Scholarship nameHost universityEligibility
SNU Scholarship in South KoreaSeoul National University (SNU)Open to all international applicants
Jeonbuk National University ScholarshipJeonbuk National UniversityOpen to all international applicants
KNU International Graduate Scholarship ProgramKyungpook National UniversityOpen to all international applicants
Korean Government Scholarship Program for International StudentsAll participating Korean universitiesOpen to all international applicants
Seoul National University of Science and Technology Scholarship Program (Masters)Seoul National UniversityOpen to all international applicants
SUNY Korea Scholarship ProgramThe State University of New York, KoreaOpen to all applicants
Korea University of Technology and Education Research Scholarship ProgramKorea University of Technology and EducationOpen to all international applicants
Hanyang University Scholarship ProgramHanyang UniversityOpen to all applicants

What is the Korean Government Scholarship?

The Korean Government Scholarship Program for International Students is a great option for UK students looking for funding to study in South Korea.

It offers around 220 undergraduate and 1,080 graduate scholarships a year, for 4-year courses at participating universities in the country. If your application is successful, you’ll be required to take a 1-year Korean language training course.⁶

You’ll find full details of the scholarship program here.

Cost of studying in South Korea

Tuition fees in South Korea vary depending on the type of course, level of study and the university. As you’d expect, private universities tend to charge more than national ones.

Here’s roughly what you can expect to pay per semester:⁷

Level of studyTuition fee (per semester)
Undergraduate£1,365 to £10,052
Graduate degree£1,121 to £10,635

Money is always a concern when you’re a student, especially when you’re living in another country and dealing with a different currency.

The Wise card can make it easier and more affordable to spend in South Korean won. So, there’s no need to change currency or even to open a South Korean bank account right away.

Register with Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region.

Can international students work in South Korea?

If you have a Korean student visa but want to earn some money to support your studies, you’ll need to apply for a work permit from the immigration service.

This will give you permission to work up to 20 hours per week (30 hours for postgraduate students).⁸ Take a look here for some tips on getting a job in South Korea.

How affordable is moving to South Korea as a student?

The cost of living in South Korea varies depending on where you live. But on average, rent and restaurant prices are as much as 80% cheaper than the UK.⁹ You may find groceries and some other consumer prices a little more expensive, though.

After reading this guide, you should have all the info you need to start researching universities and courses in South Korea.

It’s a welcoming country for international students, and has a reputation for academic excellence. This means you’ll need to work hard to keep up, but you should leave with an internationally recognised qualification. Good luck!

*1 EUR = 0.8816 GBP (09-11-2022)

Sources used:

  1. Study in Korea - Student Visa Application Information
  2. Visa for Korea EU - How to Apply Guidance
  3. Global Scholarships - Best Universities in Korea for international students
  4. Opportunity Desk - Scholarships in South Korea for International Students
  5. AScholarship - Korean Scholarships for International Students
  6. Study in Korea - Global Korea Scholarship
  7. Study in Korea - Tuition Fees
  8. Dream Studies Abroad - Study in Korea
  9. Numbeo - Cost of Living Comparison Between South Korea and UK

Sources last checked on date: 07-Nov-2022

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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