Student in Korea

Global Korea Scholarship for Undergraduate Students

The Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) is a fully-funded program available for international students. Offering Undergraduate, Graduate, and University-Industry Cooperation (UIC) options, the GKS provides around 200 scholarships yearly.
Global Korea Scholarship for Undergraduate Students
Photo by Christopher Lee / Unsplash
Global Korea Scholarship for Undergraduate Students
Photo by Christopher Lee / Unsplash

Global Korea Scholarship, also known as GKS or KGKS, is one of Korea's most popular scholarships for international students. This article will give you general information about all available options and the process.

As of March 2022, three types of GKS are available for international students in Korea: Undergraduate, Graduate, and UIC (University-Industry Cooperation), which are available for undergraduates only and included in the September announcement in 2022. The National Institute for International Education (NIIED) brought these programs to you in cooperation with Korean higher educational institutions.

Quick Facts

  • Fully-funded scholarship with a monthly allowance
  • The application period starts in September

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

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Program Degrees

Every year around 200 international students receive GKS Undergraduate support. The number may vary but not significantly; in 2022, there are only 85 places reserved for the embassy track and 119 for the university track scholars.

Associate Degree

1 year of Korean language training + 2~3 years of degree program

Bachelor's Degree

1 year of Korean language training + 4~6 years of degree program

The full list of participants through the embassy track includes only 67 countries. One important note: if a vacancy occurs due to a lack of candidates (e.g., not enough candidates were selected in the 1st round of selection or selected candidates were found disqualified in the 2nd round selection, etc.), then the quotas not fulfilled may be given to other countries with waitlisted candidates.

Available Universities

GKS gained popularity because it covers almost everything during your stay in Korea, and practically all Korean universities participate in this program. On top of that, GKS reviews programs from time to time and adds new fields of study. Recently, Medicine became available on this list.

Available Fields of Study

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

Note: this scholarship program does not apply to academic programs offered during evenings (night school), short-term, and online and distant-learning programs.

Eligibility

Nationality

  • Applicant should be a citizen of one of the designated countries (check the list of counties in the announcement).
  • Applicant and their parents should not hold Korean citizenship.

Level of Education

Bachelor's degree program is for applicants who graduated (or are expected to graduate) from a high school or an associate degree program.
Associate's degree program is for applicants who graduated (or are expected to graduate) from a high school.

  • Applicants who have a bachelor's degree cannot apply. Applicants who have an associate degree can only apply to a bachelor's program.
  • Applicants expected to graduate must first submit a certificate of expected graduation at the time of application. If such applicants pass the final selection round, they must submit a graduation certificate (or a degree certificate) by February 28, 2023.
  • Applicants who submit their provisional graduation certificate will be considered as applicants who are expected to graduate.

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 you cannot convert your 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 25 years of age

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:

  • An applicant tests positive on drug tests.
  • An applicant with a serious illness prevents him or her from studying abroad for a long time.

All Applicants who pass the second round of selection must submit an Official Medical Examination issued by a medical doctor or a licensed hospital

Required Documents

Application period: Each embassy and university has its own application deadline, so applicants must check with the respective institute before applying.

Method of submission: Each embassy and university conducting the first selection round may have its own document submission guidelines, so applicants must check with the respective institute before applying.

  1. Application Form (Required)
  2. Personal Statement (Required)
  3. Study Plan (Required)
  4. One Letter of Recommendation (Required)
  5. GKS Applicant Agreement (Required)
  6. Personal Medical Assessment (Required)
  7. Proof of Citizenship (Required, submit with apostille/consular confirmation)
  8. High School Graduation Certificate (or certificate of expected graduation) (Required, submit with apostille/consular confirmation)
  9. Academic Transcript of High School Curriculum (Required, submit with apostille/ consular-confirmation)
  10. Graduation Certificate (or certificate of expected graduation) of Associate Degree Program (Required for relevant applicants, submit with apostille/consular confirmation)
  11. Academic Transcript of Associate Degree (Required for relevant applicants, submit with apostille/ consular-confirmation)
  12. Proof of Overseas Korean (Required for relevant applicants, submit with apostille/consular confirmation)
  13. Proof of Korean Citizenship Renunciation Document (Required for relevant applicants, submit with apostille/consular confirmation)
  14. Proof of Korean War Veteran's Descendant (Required for relevant applicants, submit with apostille/consular confirmation)
  15. Score Report of Valid TOPIK (original) or English Proficiency Test (copy) (Optional)
  16. Copy of Awards and Other Certificates, etc. (Optional)
  17. Applicant's Passport (copy) (Required for relevant applicants)

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Application Period & Tracks

Embassy track

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

Embassy track applicants must check the requirements when filling in desired universities.

  • Applicants can choose up to THREE different universities
    ※ Applicants cannot choose three different departments from a single university
  • Of the chosen universities, at least one university must be from Type B universities
    ※ If applicants fill out a Type A university in a Type B section, their application may be excluded from the evaluation

    Please be reminded that if applicants choose all three universities among highly competitive universities, even if they pass the second selection round, some can fail from all three universities in their final selection round.

Type A

  1. Ajou University,
  2. Chung-Ang University,
  3. Dongguk University (Seoul),
  4. Duksung Women's University,
  5. Ewha Womans University,
  6. Hankuk University of Foreign Studies,
  7. Hanyang University (Seoul),
  8. Inha University,
  9. Konkuk University,
  10. Kookmin University,
  11. Korea University,
  12. Kyung Hee University,
  13. Seokyeong University,
  14. Seoul National University,
  15. SeoulTech (Seoul National University of Science and Technology),
  16. Shinhan University,
  17. Sogang University,
  18. Sookmyung Women's University,
  19. Sungkyunkwan University,
  20. Sungshin Women's University,
  21. Tech University of Korea,
  22. UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology),
  23. University of Seoul,
  24. Yonsei University

Type B

  1. Busan University of Foreign Studies,
  2. Chonnam National University,
  3. Chungbuk National University,
  4. Chungnam National University,
  5. Daegu University,
  6. Daejeon University,
  7. Dong-A University,
  8. Dongseo University,
  9. Gyeongsang National University,
  10. Hannam University,
  11. Hoseo University,
  12. Inje University,
  13. Jeju National University,
  14. Jeonbuk National University,
  15. Kangwon National University,
  16. Keimyung University,
  17. Kongju National University,
  18. Konyang University,
  19. KOREATECH (Korea University of Technology and Education),
  20. Kyungpook National University,
  21. National Korea Maritime & Ocean University,
  22. Pai Chai University,
  23. Pukyong National University,
  24. Pusan National University,
  25. Semyung University,
  26. Silla University,
  27. Soonchunhyang University,
  28. Sun Moon University,
  29. Sunchon National University,
  30. Yeungnam University

University track

Application start date and deadline will be decided at each university's discretion. However, the application for the university track will be open until late October 21st.

  • University track applicants should fill in ONE university in their application

UIC

Bachelor's Degree Program

  1. Ajou University,
  2. Konyang University,
  3. Kookmin University,
  4. KOREATECH (Korea University of Technology and Education),
  5. Pusan National University,
  6. Sogang University,
  7. Soonchunhyang University,
  8. Tech University of Korea

Associate Degree Program

  1. Kyungbok University,
  2. Yeungjin University

Regional

  1. Busan University of Foreign Studies,
  2. Chonnam National University,
  3. Chungbuk National University,
  4. Chungnam National University,
  5. Daegu University,
  6. Daejeon University,
  7. Dong-A University,
  8. Dongseo University,
  9. Gyeongsang National University,
  10. Hannam University,
  11. Hoseo University,
  12. Inje University,
  13. Jeju National University,
  14. Jeonbuk National University,
  15. Kangwon National University,
  16. Keimyung University,
  17. Kongju National University,
  18. Konyang University,
  19. KOREATECH (Korea University of Technology and Education),
  20. Kyungpook National University,
  21. National Korea Maritime & Ocean University,
  22. Pai Chai University,
  23. Pukyong National University,
  24. Pusan National University,
  25. Semyung University,
  26. Silla University,
  27. Soonchunhyang University,
  28. Sun Moon University,
  29. Sunchon National University,
  30. Yeungnam University

Associate

  1. Kyungbok University,
  2. Osan University,
  3. Yeungjin University

Application Screening and Evaluation

Main Points of Evaluation

Review of Qualification: The selection committee will conduct a document examination (citizenship, level of education, academic grades, etc.) and verify whether an applicant is qualified for the program.

Review of Competency: The selection committee will evaluate each applicant‟s competency through document examination and an oral interview.

Additional Points

Applicants who hold a TOPIK level 3 or above will be given additional points (10% of the total allocated points).

Direct descendants of Korean War veterans who participated in the Korean War as a foreign military will be given additional points (5% of the total allocated points).

Evaluation Preference

  • Overseas Koreans
  • Applicants from low-income families or underprivileged backgrounds
  • Applicants who submit a high score of English proficiency test (TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS)
  • Applicants who applied for a natural science and engineering department in a regional university
  • (Relevant to associate degree applicants) Winner of a national-level competition on technical skills.
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Rules & Questions

Rule

Only GKS scholars who achieve at least level 3 on TOPIK by the end of the one-year Korean language program can proceed to the degree program.

Rule

Applicants with TOPIK level 5 or 6 will be exempt from the Korean language training. Those who receive TOPIK level 5 or 6 within the first 6 months of the Korean language program will be exempt from the remaining 6-month language training and must start their degree program in the following semester (September 2022).

Question: I have studied in Korea as an exchange student. Am I eligible to apply for this program?
Answer: Yes, you are eligible to apply. However, those with a high school diploma issued by a Korean high school are NOT ELIGIBLE to apply.

Question: I have obtained a Bachelor’s degree in my country. May I apply for the program?
Answer: No, you are NOT ELIGIBLE to apply for the GKS-U program. However, if you are interested in pursuing a higher degree, e.g., a Master’s or Doctoral, please refer to the application guidelines for the GKS Graduate-degree programs.

Question: I will graduate from high school in LATE March 2023. May I apply for the 2023 GKS-U program?
Answer: No, you are NOT ELIGIBLE to apply. Only those who have already graduated or are expected to graduate by February 28, 2023, can apply for the program. You may, however, apply for the 2024 GKS-U program.

Question: When is the deadline for the application?
Answer: Each institute (Korean embassy or university) where the first selection round is conducted decides its own deadline. You must check with the Korean embassy in your home country or with your desired university regarding the exact application deadline and submission guidelines.

Question: Must I submit the certificate of language proficiency (English or Korean) when I apply for GKS?
Answer: It is not mandatory to submit a language proficiency test result. However, if you are an applicant from a highly competitive country, the Korean embassy may require a certain level of language proficiency. Some universities or departments may also require a certain language proficiency level for admission, so please check with the university before you apply.
Applicants with a valid TOPIK level 3 or above will be given additional points (10% of the total allocated points) at their 1st and 2nd rounds of selection.

Question: Who should I get my recommendation letter from?
Answer: We recommend you receive your recommendation letter from someone who can provide a thorough assessment of your academic abilities, such as a high school teacher, the school principal, or the chair of your department. The recommendation letter should be dated within a year from the last date of the application deadline.

Question: If my documents are not written in English or Korean, how should I submit them?
Answer: Please have the documents officially translated (certified translation) either into Korean or English. An original or a certified true copy of the documents written in their original language must be submitted together with their certified translation. All certificates must be authenticated by a consulate or apostilled before submission.

Question: [Embassy Track] According to the Application Guidelines, I must submit one set of original application documents and three photocopied ones. How can I prepare the photocopies of my recommendation letter, which must be sealed?
Answer: [Embassy Track] Please ask your recommender first to write one original recommendation letter and then make three identical copies (simple photocopies or printouts) of the original recommendation letter. The recommender should date and sign all four letters and seal them in an envelope. They can be either sealed separately or sealed altogether in an envelope.
[University Track] Please submit one original recommendation letter from a single recommender.

Question: Can I be exempt from the Korean Language Program?
Answer: If you submit a valid level 5 or 6 on TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean), you will be exempt from the language program and must start your degree program in the first semester in March 2022. Another benefit of having an advanced TOPIK level is the Korean Proficiency Grants, which gives a scholar an additional 100,000 won each month on their degree program during the period of exam validity.

Question: How many universities and departments can I apply for admission?Answer: [University Track] You must choose only ONE university and ONE department. [Embassy Track] You must choose THREE universities under Type A or B. At least one of your three choices must be chosen from Type B universities(If not, the application will be excluded from an evaluation). Note that you may choose the same department for all three universities. However, you should NOT choose three different departments from a single university.

Question: May I change my final choice of a university for an undergraduate degree during the preliminary Korean language course?
Answer: No, you may NOT. After the final announcement of 2022 GKS-U Scholars, changing the university or transferring to another university is NOT PERMITTED under any circumstances. Changing departments is also not allowed. Please give yourself enough time to consider your choice before notifying NIIED about your final choice of university. We ask all applicants to obtain sufficient information about your desired university and department before applying.

Question: Is it mandatory for all GKS scholars to pass at least level 3 on TOPIK after one year of Korean language training?
Answer: Yes, it is. Every GKS scholar must get at least level 3 on TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) within a yearlong Korean language program in order to proceed to his or her degree program. Please note that NIIED assigns a Korean language institution for each GKS scholar with various factors in consideration. Once a scholar is assigned to a Korean language institution, it is not allowed to change the assigned language institution. Usually, Korean language institutions are assigned in a different city/region from the universities of the degree program. During the language program, scholars are required to live on-campus, and accompanying family members during the Korean language program is not allowed.

Question: What if I do not attain a degree within the scholarship period? Can I extend my scholarship period until I graduate?
Answer: Even if you do not attain a degree within the scholarship period NIIED has designated, once your initial scholarship period is over, your scholarship benefits will come to an end. The extension of the scholarship period is strictly forbidden.

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