Student in Korea

Global Korea Scholarship for Graduate Students

Discover how to navigate and successfully apply for the fully-funded GKS scholarship program in South Korea. This guide provides a comprehensive look at eligibility, application requirements, tracks, and much more for international students.
Global Korea Scholarship for Graduate Students
Photo by Thomas Roger Lux / Unsplash

GKS is one of the most famous fully-funded scholarships to study in Korea. Along with two undergraduate programs, there is an opportunity for prospective graduate students to be accepted for a degree or research.

Quick Facts

  • Fully-funded scholarship with a monthly allowance
  • The application period starts in Feb, and deadlines depend on embassies and universities
  • You can apply for a master's, doctoral, or research program

The announcement about the undergraduate programs appears on the studyinkorea.go.kr, the only official GKS website in February on GKS Notice page.

Program Degrees

Approximately 1,400 graduate students receive GKS yearly, 7 times more than undergraduate students.

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Master's Degree

  • 1 year of Korean language program + 2 years of degree program

Doctoral Degree

  • 1 year of Korean language program + 3 years of degree program

Research Program

  • 6 months or 1 year

Academic programs offered during evenings (night school), short-term, online, and distant-learning programs do not apply to this scholarship program.

Available Universities

Universities in the scholarship are divided into Type A and Type B, as you can find in the undergraduate guidelines.

Embassy Track

59 schools all over Korea for the embassy track are ready to review your application.

Embassy track applicants must choose three different desired universities, but the list must include at least one university from Type B. Research Program applicants can apply to all universities among Type A and B.

University track

The university tracks give you more options to choose from. There are 100 universities divided into categories General, Regional R&D.

R&D Program is newly added to the University Track. The program will provide an R&D-focused curriculum and field experience in research institutes and industries.

Research Program applicants can apply to all universities on the list.

Available Fields of Study

  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Engineering (AI)
  • Entertainment & Sports
  • Humanities
  • Medicine
  • Natural Science
  • Social Science

Eligibility

Nationality

  • An applicant should be a citizen of one of the designated countries (check the list of counties).
  • Applicant and their parents should not hold Korean citizenship.
  • For Overseas Korean applicants (Embassy Track) holding Japanese citizenship, if their parents have a "Permanent Residency Permit" within Japan while holding Korean citizenship, they are exceptionally eligible to apply.

Level of Education

Master's Program Applicant: Must hold a bachelor's degree or a level of education equivalent to or higher than a bachelor's degree.

Doctoral Program Applicant: Must hold a master's degree or a level of education equivalent to or higher than a master's degree.

Research Program Applicant: Must have received an invitation from one of the partner universities and must meet the criteria below;

  • Postdoctoral Research Program: Must hold a Doctoral degree (by February of the application period year)
  • Professor Exchange Program: Must hold a Master" s degree AND must be currently teaching at a university as a professor
  • Program for Education·Science·Culture·International Cooperation Professionals: Must hold a Master "s degree AND must be a professional in Education, Science, Culture, or International Cooperation (E.S.C.I.)
    Applicants expected to graduate by August 31st (of the application period year) can also apply for the program with a certificate of expected graduation. (not applicable for applicants currently in a doctoral program) Such applicants must submit their official graduation certificate (or diploma) and final academic transcript to GKS Center, NIIED, by August 31st (of the application period year).

Grades

Applicants should have a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) equivalent to or higher than any one of the criteria below from their previous school.

  • Score percentile should be 80%+ (out of 100%) or be ranked within the top 20% in your class.
  • CGPA: 2.64/4.0, 2.80/4.3, 2.91/4.5, 3.23/5.0

If your transcript doesn't include information on CGPA or cannot convert their grades into any one of the GPA scales (4.0, 4.3, 4.5, 5.0, or 100-point scale). In that case, the applicant must submit additional documents officially issued by their school describing its grading system.
(Applicants who are expected to graduate) Calculate CGPA at the time of application.

Age

Must be under 40 years of age

Academic professors in one of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipients under 45 years of age are eligible to apply.

  • DAC List of ODA Recipients on 2022 and 2023 flows (www.oecd.org)

Health

All applicants must be in good health, both mentally and physically, to study in Korea for the full duration of the program.

If an applicant is found to be in one of the following conditions, the applicant will be disqualified in the final round of selection:

  • The applicant tested positive on drug tests.
  • An applicant who has a serious illness that prevents them from studying abroad for a long time.

Additional Criteria

Previous or current GKS scholars who meet the additional criteria below are eligible to apply.

  • Hold a grade of 90% or above on a 100-point scale or be ranked within the top 10% of a class
  • Hold TOPIK level 5 or 6 (must hold a valid certificate at the time of application)

Required Documents

Master's Program

  1. Application Form
  2. Personal Statement
  3. Study Plan
  4. ONE Letter of Recommendation
  5. GKS Applicant Agreement
  6. Personal Medical Assessment
  7. Bachelor's Graduation Certificate (or Diploma)
  8. Bachelor's Degree Transcript
  9. Applicant's/Parent(s)' Proof of Citizenship and Family Relationship Document
  10. Proof of Overseas Korean Document/Proof of Korean Adoptee Document (Optional)
  11. Proof of Korean Citizenship Renunciation Document (Optional)
  12. Proof of Korean War Veteran's Descendant (Optional)
  13. Current Korean Language Teaching Professionals 1) Certificate of Employment (teaching subject clearly indicated) 2) Certificate of Teaching Career (years taught specified) (Optional)
  14. Preliminary Korean Language Teaching Professionals 1) Certificate of "Korean language teaching professionals training course (한국어 교원양성 과정)" (classes taken should be specified) (Optional)
  15. Score report of valid TOPIK or English Proficiency Test - submit printouts from an official website (Optional)
  16. Published books and research papers, copy of awards and other certificates etc. - submit in photocopied documents (Optional)
  17. Applicant's Passport Copy - submit in photocopied documents (Optional)

Doctoral Program

  1. Application Form
  2. Personal Statement
  3. Study Plan
  4. ONE Letter of Recommendation
  5. GKS Applicant Agreement
  6. Personal Medical Assessment
  7. Bachelor's Graduation Certificate (or Diploma)
  8. Bachelor's Degree Transcript
  9. Master's Graduation Certificate (or Diploma)
  10. Master's Degree Transcript
  11. Applicant's/Parent(s)' Proof of Citizenship and Family Relationship Document
  12. Proof of Overseas Korean Document/Proof of Korean Adoptee Document (Optional)
  13. Proof of Korean Citizenship Renunciation Document (Optional)
  14. Proof of Korean War Veteran's Descendant (Optional)
  15. Current Korean Language Teaching Professionals 1) Certificate of Employment (teaching subject clearly indicated) 2) Certificate of Teaching Career (years taught specified) (Optional)
  16. Preliminary Korean Language Teaching Professionals 1) Certificate of "Korean language teaching professionals training course (한국어 교원양성 과정)" (classes taken should be specified) (Optional)
  17. Score report of valid TOPIK or English Proficiency Test - submit printouts from an official website (Optional)
  18. Published books and research papers, copy of awards and other certificates etc. - submit in photocopied documents (Optional)
  19. Applicant's Passport Copy - submit in photocopied documents (Optional)

Research Program

  1. Application Form
  2. Personal Statement
  3. Research Proposal
  4. ONE Letter of Recommendation
  5. Letter of Invitation (issued by the research program university)
  6. GKS Applicant Agreement
  7. Personal Medical Assessment
  8. Bachelor's Graduation Certificate (or Diploma)
  9. Bachelor's Degree Transcript
  10. Master's Graduation Certificate (or Diploma)
  11. Master's Degree Transcript
  12. Doctoral Graduation Certificate (or Diploma): only applicable for Postdoctoral Research program applicants
  13. Doctoral Degree Transcript: only applicable for Postdoctoral Research program applicants
  14. Certificate of Employment: only applicable for E.S.C.I. Professionals
  15. Applicant's/Parent(s)' Proof of Citizenship and Family Relationship Document
  16. Proof of Overseas Korean Document/Proof of Korean Adoptee Document (Optional)
  17. Proof of Korean Citizenship Renunciation Document (Optional)
  18. Proof of Korean War Veteran's Descendant (Optional)
  19. Score report of valid TOPIK or English Proficiency Test - submit printouts from an official website (Optional)
  20. Published books and research papers, copy of awards and other certificates etc. - submit in photocopied documents (Optional)
  21. Applicant's Passport Copy - submit in photocopied documents (Optional)

Application Period & Tracks

General

Applicants must choose and apply for only ONE track.

  • Embassy track applicant must choose only ONE of the following programs: General or Overseas Korean adoptee, Korean Language Teaching Professional, or Research Program
  • University track applicants must choose only ONE of the following programs: General, Regional University, R&D Program, or Research Program. University track applicants can only apply to ONE university and ONE department

If an applicant applied to more than one track/university, his or her application will be disregarded at the 2nd round of selection.

Embassy track

Applicants must check with Korean embassies and desired universities regarding the exact application deadline.

Embassy track applicants whose applications have not passed the first selection round* may apply to a university track as long as they can meet the application deadline of the re-applying university.
* Successful candidates of the first selection round (whose names were forwarded to NIIED from each embassy, including backup candidates) cannot apply for a university track again.

University track

The application start date and deadline will be decided at each university's discretion.

Rules & Exceptions

Rule

Applicants who have graduated from Korean high school (including international schools) or university are NOT eligible to apply. (exception: Overseas Korean adoptees or previous GKS scholars)

Exception: Applicants who have previously studied in Korean universities as exchange or visiting students CAN apply

Rule

Former applicants who had withdrawn from the scholarship after being selected as GKS scholars (applicable to those who did not enter Korea or did not enroll at their Korean language institution/University, and who had renounced their scholarship) and whose scholarship was forfeited during their scholarship period are NOT eligible to apply.

Exception: Former GKS scholar whose scholarship was forfeited due to a scholar‟s failure to achieve TOPIK level 3 or above after completing the Korean language program may be deemed eligible to re-apply if a scholar submits a valid TOPIK certificate with level 5 or above.

Rule

Applicants who have previously received a degree program scholarship from one of the Korean government scholarship programs are NOT eligible to apply.

Exception: Applicants who received scholarships from the GKS Non-degree program for foreign exchange students CAN apply.

Applicants must check additional restrictions or eligibility set by each university

Please check if there are any additional eligibility set by each university/department

  • Embassy track applicants who succeed in the first and second rounds of selection may also fail in the third round of selection if they do not meet the additional eligibility set by each university/department
  • Please be mindful of any additional restrictions set by each university/department. If you do not meet this standard and fail to enroll in the university, your scholarship may be canceled, and you must return to your country at your own expense even though you have completed the Korean language program
    Please check if there are any additional restrictions (e.g., enrollment period) set by each university/department
  • Scholars whose Korean language program is delayed (e.g., return after a leave of absence) must check if their degree program is only available to start at a certain period of time. For example, if a program starts in September only, scholars cannot resume their degree program in March.
Study Business Administration in South Korea [graduate guidelines]
Comprehensive Guide for international students interested in a Business Administration degree is a straightforward, easy-to-follow eBook for students planning to study in South Korea. The Guide covers important information on top universities, scholarships, sponsorship options, and daily life concer…
Get a comprehensive guideline for undergraduate students!

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