Do you want to study for free in South Korea? Who wouldn’t? The great news is that you can apply for the fully funded Global Korea Scholarship program. How? You will find everything about GKS graduate (GKS-G) 2023-2024!
To attract more international students to Korea, the government plans to increase foreign admissions to 200,000 by 2032. As a result, they will offer more scholarships to international students.
If you wish to study at the forefront of global pop culture, consider applying for the Global Korea Scholarship. There are plenty of top-ranked universities and courses to choose from.
There are many good reasons to study in Korea. Korean universities open up many opportunities in an ever-growing and competitive job market, like today.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is the Global Korea Scholarship?
- About Universities, Courses, Seats, and Tracks
- Available Universities and Courses
- Eligibility Criteria For GKS Postgraduate
- Documents for 2023-2024 GKS-G
- Instructions and points to remember
- Scholarship Value and Benefits
- How to Apply?
- The Selection Processes
- Selection Criteria
- Evaluation Preference
- Medical assessment
- When and How to Submit
- 2023-2024 GKS Graduate FAQs
What is the Global Korea Scholarship?
The Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) program is a yearly initiative of the government of the Republic of Korea. Before, the name was KGSP, which stands for the Korean Government Scholarship Program.
The GKS offers academic scholarships to deserving students from different countries who wish to study in Korea.
The National Institute for International Education (NIIED) administers GKS. They manage on behalf of the Ministry of Education in Korea.
The program gives students a once-in-a-lifetime chance to earn their undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. degrees in Korea.
The objective of the GKS
GKS is an excellent opportunity for scholars across the globe. It enables them to pursue higher studies at educational institutions in Korea.
This motivates students to get admission to South Korea’s prestigious and best universities.
Many Korean universities take part in GKS graduate. And offer Bachelor’s, Master’s, doctorate, and research studies to aspiring candidates. This makes GKS the most popular and extensive Korean scholarship program globally.
GKS boosts international exchange in education. Besides, this fosters “mutual friendship” between South Korea and other participating countries.
Through GKS, the Korean government promotes Korean culture, brand value, and the Korean language. It gives many great reasons to study Korean, take TOPIK, and explore various aspects of Korea to boost their chances of getting GKS.
Benefits of GKS Korean Scholarship
Korea is a famous study-abroad destination for students worldwide for many reasons.
First, it is a fantastic place to explore. It is renowned for its technological advancements and courses at the top-ranked universities.
With this program, you’ll be able to study at well-known universities.
Since this is a 100% government-backed scholarship, it’s totally free.
There is no cost associated with the scholarship program. This means the selected students will not have to worry about living expenses. That’s right!
While we’re talking about benefits, it’s important to mention that a scholarship like this can significantly boost your CV.
On top of all this, the Global Korea Scholarship can help you learn Korean. Getting TOPIK level 3 is a condition before enrolling in a degree program.
You will improve your Korean language skills through immersion and practice with locals. This will sweeten your chances of finding Korean-speaking jobs.
About Universities, Courses, Seats, and Tracks
Let’s find out everything about courses, their duration, and how to apply for them.
What is the GKS Graduate Scholarship period?
- Master’s: The duration is three years. This includes 1-year of Korean language classes and 2-years of degree coursework.
- Doctoral: Ph.D. takes four years. It comprises one year of Korean language study followed by three years of Ph.D. study.
- Research Program: It is usually a one-year or six-month scholarship program.
Role of Korean training and TOPIK in GKS-G
Students must take a one-year Korean training course at an allotted center.
Those who have completed TOPIK 5 or 6 can skip the Korean language course. Instead, you can enroll directly in a degree program.
The TOPIK certificate is valid for 2 years. Thus, you must have passed the previous year, and its validity should not expire. NIIED updates the deadline to submit and the last test they consider.
GKS scholars who receive TOPIK level 5 or 6 within the first six months of the Korean program. They don’t need to finish the remaining 6 months of language training. As a result, they can start their degree program in the following semester (March 2023).
Upon completing a 1-year compulsory Korean learning, all GKS scholars must achieve at least TOPIK level 3. If not, they cannot continue with the degree program.
Number of seats for GKS Graduate
A total of 1278 scholarships are available for GKS masters, doctorate, and research programs for 2023-2024.
The embassy track and the university track are two different types. There are 663 available through the embassy, and the remaining 615 are from the universities.
Candidates will receive 100% funded scholarships. This covers all costs regardless of the channel they apply through.
Total seats for Embassy Track
Of all the 1278 GKS seats, 663 are available for the embassy track.
This includes 603 General + 20 Overseas Koreans + 30 Korean Language Teaching Professionals.
In the general category, they chose 603 candidates from 145 countries.
They have reserved 20 quotas for overseas Koreans from 13 nations and 30 seats for Korean language teachers from 24 countries.
They also select 10 candidates for the research programs. So there are five quotas from five countries (Armenia, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Turkey). And they pick the remaining 5 from 145 participating nations as mentioned in the list.
Korean language instructors cover school teachers and professors at universities. Also, they should teach Korean at a government-approved institution.
The government-authorized education institution does not include for-profit after-school academies, institutions, or organizations.
Total seats for University Track
Five seats on the university track are not subject to a country’s quotas. Thus, any applicant from 76 NIIED-designated nations can apply.
See the quota for General Program and Science & Engineering majors of the Regional University Program below.
Available Universities and Courses
The R&D program is a new addition to the University Track. This course provides R&D-focused training and hands-on experience in research institutes and industries. In addition, the program aims to attract students to the field. Talented scholars in high-tech strategic sectors can be nurtured to benefit their future careers.
Applicants interested in Science and Engineering majors in the Regional University program should select a Type B university. Also, candidates should choose a Type A or Type B to apply to other university track programs (general and research programs).
Candidates applying for the Embassy track must select THREE different universities. And the major should be from the 59 universities listed above. Besides, it must include at least one university of Type B.
Available Fields of Study
- Applicants must select their majors (fields of study) listed in the ‘2023 GKS graduate Available Universities & Fields of Study’ file.
- As for the application Guidelines, visit www.studyinkorea.go.kr and check the GKS noticeboard for details and updates.
- Candidates should check with the respective university about the languages used to teach in each class. Applicants must read and review all the information on individual majors before applying. (You can refer to Appendix C. contact information of Korean universities)
- The short-term seasonal (evenings or night school), online, and distant courses are unavailable. And hence, they do not permit admission.
Eligibility Criteria For GKS Postgraduate
GKS graduate programs have many requirements that candidates must meet. NIIED has set the following eligibility criteria for the GKS graduate scholarship.
- The applicants and their parents must not be citizens of South Korea.
- Dual citizens who are also citizens of the Republic of Korea are not eligible.
- All applicants must hold citizenship from one of the invited nations selected by the NIIED. Yet, the parent (s) may be nationals of countries that do not participate in the GKS graduate program.
- There is an exception in the embassy track for overseas Koreans with Japanese citizenship. If their parents have a “Permanent Residency Permit” in Japan and have Korean citizenship, they can apply.
- They need documentation proving the renunciation of Korean citizenship for all applicants. This is also for their parents, who earlier held Korean citizenship.
For postgraduate GKS scholarship, applicants must be under 40 years of age (born after September 1, 1982).
Academic professors born after September 1, 1978, and under 45 years of age as of September 1, 2023, are also eligible to apply. They also must be citizens of one of the 107 countries designated as official development assistance (ODA) recipients.
For a Master’s program, one requires a bachelor’s degree or education similar to or higher than a UG degree.
For a doctoral program, one needs a master’s degree or education or equivalent or higher than a UG degree.
For the research program, you need to receive an invitation from one of the partner universities and must meet the criteria below:
- Postdoctoral Research Program: To be eligible, one requires a doctoral degree by February 28, 2023.
- Professor Exchange Program: One needs a Master’s degree or higher and must teach at a university as a professor.
- Program for Education, Science, Culture, and International Cooperation Professionals. One needs a Master’s degree or higher and must be a professional in the same (E.S.C.I.) Field.
Notes for appearing candidates / those whose results are awaited
You can also apply if you expect to graduate by August 31, 2023. In that case, you need first to submit a certificate of expected graduation. If you get the GKS graduate, you must submit the final academic transcript to NIIED before or by August 31, 2023.
From their respective universities, applicants must maintain a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of or higher than any one of the following:
- The CGPA: 2.64/4.0, 2.80/4.3, 2.91/4.5, or 3.23/5.0
- The score percentile must be 80% or above on a 100 point scale. You are also eligible if you rank within the top 20% of your class at the last educational institution you attended.
If an applicant holds a transcript without information on grade point average or cannot convert grades into one of the GPA criteria mentioned above. In that scenario, one must submit an official document issued by the applicant’s university describing the university’s grading system.
- To complete the duration of their degree in Korea, an applicant must be in good mental and physical health.
- They may disqualify an applicant who fails a drug test or suffers from a serious illness. If such a thing prevents them from studying in Korea for a long time during the final selection round.
All applicants must submit a “Form 8 Personal Medical Assessment” as part of the application process. Also, all candidates who pass the 2nd round of selection must undergo a comprehensive medical examination. Then, they need to submit an official medical test conducted by a licensed doctor or hospital.
Upon arrival in Korea, all GKS graduate scholars will undergo a medical examination administered by the NIIED. Upon arrival in Korea, they will disqualify GKS scholars from scholarship if they suffer from a severe illness after the medical test.
GKS scholars reapplying to the GKS-G program
The former or current GKS scholars (earlier known as KGSP) who meet the added criteria below are eligible to apply for GKS for the Master’s program:
- The applicant needs a grade point average of at least 90% or more on a 100-point scale. Or one ranks within the top 10% of one’s class.
- The applicant must hold a TOPIK level of 5 or 6. This should be a valid certificate within the 2-year expiry period.
Former or current GKS scholars can only reapply once for a higher degree program.
- Bachelor’s → Masters,
- Master’s → Doctoral or Research (Professor Exchange Program, Program for E.S.C.I. Professionals),
- Doctoral → Research.
They prefer applicants with natural science and engineering majors in the Ph.D. research program.
All current and previous GKS scholars re-selected as GKS scholars in 2023 do not need to take Korean language courses.
Korean Language Teaching Professionals
Applicants can apply to the program if they meet the following additional criteria:
- Applicants must be elementary and secondary school teachers, university lecturers, or professors who teach Korean at a government-approved educational institution. They don’t consider for-profit after-school academies, institutions, and organizations as they are not government-authorized educational institutions.
- The applicants need at least two years of teaching experience as of February 28, 2023.
- You require level 4 of TOPIK or higher (They accept certificates earned after January 1, 2020). Check the TOPIK test schedule.
- Candidates must have a major in the Korean language and should choose the same while picking their major/field of study.
Applicants may opt out of the Korean language program if they want.
Students who have graduated from a Korean high school or university are ineligible to apply. Overseas Korean adoptees and former GKS Scholars are exceptions.
Students who have earlier studied at a Korean university on an exchange or as visiting students can apply.
Previous GKS (KGSP) selected applicants who have withdrawn from the scholarship cannot apply. It includes those who did not come to Korea after being picked as GKS scholars and resigning from their studies. Or disqualified during their scholarship period.
There is an exception for former GKS scholars who lost their scholarships because of failing to pass TOPIK level 3 or above. After completing the Korean course, they can reapply if they have passed TOPIK level 5.
Candidates can only select and apply for only one track.
Applicants have to pick one of these 4 options for the embassy track. — General, overseas Korean adoptees, Korean language teaching professionals, or research programs.
For the university track: applicants have to decide on one of 3 choices. — General, research programs, or science and engineering majors at a regional university.
Documents for 2023-2024 GKS-G
Before applying, let’s find all the relevant documents and things you need to remember.
Mandatory documents for (Masters, Ph.D., and Research Program)
- Complete Application Form (Form 1)
- Personal Statement (Form 2)
- Two Letters of Recommendation (Form 5)
- GKS Applicant Agreement (Form 7)
- Personal Medical Assessment (Form 8)
- Applicant’s Proof of Citizenship Document (Original)
- Applicant’s Parent’s Proof of Citizenship Document (Original)
Optional documents for (Masters, Ph.D., and Research Program)
- Certificate of valid Korean test, only TOPIK score.
- Certificate of valid English Ability exam (TOEIC, IELTS, TOEFL, etc.)
- Published books & research papers, etc.
- Awards and other certificates
- Applicant’s passport copy
Documents according to the programs and candidates
- Statement of Purpose (Form 3) — For masters and doctoral programs.
- Document for Bachelor’s degree and its transcript — For masters and doctoral programs.
- Document for Master’s degree and its transcript — For doctoral and research program.
- Documents for Overseas Korean, Korean Citizenship Renunciation, Korean Adoptee (Original and Optional). This only applies to relevant applicants.
- Certificate of Employment (teaching subject) and certification of a teaching career (years taught). (Original and Optional). This is only for Korean teaching professionals for UG bachelor’s and master’s programs.
Documents only for research programs
- Research Proposal (Form 4)
- University’s Official Letter of Invitation (Form 6)
- Original documents for the doctoral degree and its transcript. This only applies to postdoctoral research programs.
- Certificate of Employment (Original)
The second round of successful applicants also needs to give the results of the complete medical examination.
Instructions and points to remember
You need to keep these vital things in mind while applying and sending documents.
Pointers on filling out the application forms
- All documents must be in either Korean or English.
- The applicant’s English name must match the name on their passport.
- Applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation from two different recommenders. They should be the ones who can assess the applicant’s academic abilities. Seal it in an envelope and then send it to the embassy or university that conducts the first selection round.
- Examples of preferred recommenders should be academic advisors or the dean (department head). Or a professional in one’s field of study. If a research program applicant is currently working at a research institute. Then, applicants must submit letters from the organization’s head (or research institute).
Pointers about required documents
- Document requirements may vary. It depends on which embassy or university conducts the first-round selection. Thus, applicants should check the university or embassy website regarding document submission requirements.
- Candidates must submit 1 set of original documents and 3 sets of photocopied documents for the Embassy track.
- They disqualify those documents that are fraudulent or incomplete. They also lose scholarships, even for the selected applicant.
- If the university requests supplementary documentation beyond NIIED’s requirements. Then, the applicant should submit those documents directly to the university.
- You may submit photocopies of published books, research papers, awards, or other relevant documents.
Instructions on ‘Certificates’
- The application documents should all be originals. Let’s say an applicant submitted photocopies. Then, one needs to apostilled or do consular confirmation. Afterward, one can submit these certified documents. From 2022, they won’t accept notarized ones.
- If applicants feel they won’t get their academic documents reissued in the future. Then, they submit apostle or consular-confirmed educational documents. This is in place of the original ones. They may not return all the submitted papers to the applicants.
- The notary public must notarize the translation of documents other than Korean or English.
- For proof of citizenship, each applicant must submit a copy of their family register or birth certificate. Also, applicants and their parents should submit non-notarized passport copies if their citizenship is not on their documents.
- Korean Language Teaching Professionals need “Certificates for Employment” and “Certificate for Teaching Careers.” They should mention teaching subjects and must include the Korean language.
Scholarship Value and Benefits
Below is a complete breakdown of the scholarship value:
- As long as you purchase economy class tickets, they will provide you with the actual airfare.
- You will receive a one-time KRW 200,000 as a resettlement allowance when you arrive in Korea.
- Postgraduate students receive a monthly living allowance of KRW 100,000 (masters and doctoral) and 1,500,000 (research program).
- All candidates receive free national health insurance worth 20,000 KRW. They provide it twice a year at the start of each semester.
- They cover the total cost of language courses, up to a maximum of 800,000 KRW a quarter.
- You will get reimbursement for the actual tuition fee costs (no more than KRW 5 million per semester).
- Students with valid TOPIK levels 5 or 6 receive a reward of KRW 100,000 per month. That’s one of the advantages of TOPIK.
- As a research support fee, you get 210,000 KRW for L.S. (Liberal Arts and Social Science majors) and 240,000 KRW for N.S. & E (Natural Science & Engineering majors).
- Applicants also get a one-time thesis actual printing expense of 500,000~800,000 KRW.
- After completing the degree at the time of final departure, the student receives KRW 100,000.
How to Apply?
The application period is usually February-March for GKS graduate programs (Masters, Doctorate, and Research). In contrast, GKS for undergraduates takes place in September.
Visit the official Korean government website for all relevant information. You can also access the application forms.
Those who wish to apply for the Global Korea Scholarship Program can do so in two ways. We know these as ‘the embassy track’ and ‘the university track.’
Choosing one or the other track depends primarily on the applicant and their country of origin.
This is because countries receive different quotas and channels. It depends on what place you are from. You may pick either the embassy or university track or both.
Let’s take a closer look at both tracks in detail.
The Selection Processes
There are two ways.
The most significant difference between both tracks is applying to 3 different universities through the embassy track.
On this track, the applicant must apply to the Korean embassy in their country.
They award scholarships to students if one of three universities accepts their applications. There are three rounds on this track.
This route requires applicants to submit their applications directly to the Korean university they wish to attend.
The applicant becomes a GKS scholar once the university accepts their application. Unlike the embassy track, which comprises three stages (Embassy * NIIED * University), the university track is just two stages (University → NIIED).
The selection process is simple. However, depending on your chosen track, you may encounter diverse rounds during the selection process.
The NIIED first invites its Korean embassies and domestic universities to recommend candidates. Students can then send their applications to the preferred Korean college or their home country’s embassy.
After reviewing the applications, the embassies and universities recommend candidates to NIIED.
After the first round is over, the NIIED evaluates applicants who passed. They selected the university track applicants as GKS grantees at the end of the evaluation process.
Candidates who go with the embassy track will advance to the third round.
The universities review the applicants in the third round. At least one university must admit the candidate to pass this round.
As soon as a university accepts the candidate as a student, they become GKS scholars.
During the selection process, a committee evaluates each applicant.
The selection criteria and committees can vary from round to round. Still, some factors can contribute to an applicant’s selection.
In this statement, applicants must describe their motivation to apply for the GKS graduate scholarship.
Besides, the candidate can discuss their interests or background.
Research Proposal or Statement of Purpose
Applicants must outline their goals and study plans. Applicants may also address their future goals.
Let’s say the applicant is applying for a research program. They must state their research plan and goals in this case.
Candidates may submit letters of recommendation. The importance of these letters varies from university to university.
Language test certificate (English or Korean)
Certificates of language ability may also affect your evaluation. For example, they give preference to candidates who already know Korean well.
Various other factors
Other factors are publications, awards, academic transcripts, extra-curriculum activities, achievements, interview performance, etc.
Certain factors can help you get some extra points and enhance your prospects.
TOPIK level 3 or above can fetch you extra points, 10% of total allocated points. Plus, they give preference if you submit scores of English language tests like TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS.
They give preference to Ph.D. degree holders in Natural Science and Engineering for research programs. You get an edge for majors in the same field if they have to pick on the same marks as other candidates.
Professors are currently teaching and belong to one of 104 ODA countries. Then, they get preference when they decide on the same marks.
They also give preference and extra points to descendants of Korean War veterans (5% of the total points), low-income and underprivileged families, third-generation overseas Koreans, and majors under the industrial, professional training project.
When and How to Submit
Each country has its own deadline for submitting applications. It may vary between 3 and 4 weeks. This is because the embassy of the country in question sets these deadlines.
The rules and guidelines also differ across universities and embassies. So, check with concerned embassies for updates and accurate information.
An unsuccessful candidate for an embassy track can reapply to a university track. But this is not possible if the candidate has cleared the first round.
The applicants from China and the Czech Republic must apply directly to the CSC under the Ministry of Education in China and the Czech Ministry of Education. This is because of the bilateral agreement.
Depending on which program you choose, the deadline will also vary. You can find all about the Global Korea Scholarship program on the official website.
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 82-2-3668-1364
- Address: 191, Jeongjail-ro, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do (13557), South Korea.
- Websites: studyinkorea.go.kr (official site), (mofa.go.kr – Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Korea.net (Korean Portal), sejonghakdang.org (learning Korean), academyinfo.go.kr (for Higher Education in South Korea), and immigration.go.kr and hikorea.go.kr (Immigration and Visa).
You can find GKS updates, announcements, and guidelines on the GKS noticeboard section of the site.