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South Koreans are very proud of their higher education system, and rightly so. A winning combination of traditional values and modern innovation has pushed the country’s universities to the forefront of international research in subjects such as the Arts and Humanities, Engineering and Digital Technologies.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed by prospective graduates: South Korea has welcomed record numbers of foreign students in recent years and over 70,000 international students are now enrolled at its universities.
Postgraduate-level study in South Korea largely takes place in the country’s 40 graduate schools. Some of the ranked universities, such as Seoul National University, have their own graduate schools which offer tuition to international students.
This page summarises the performance of the top South Korean universities in the three most widely recognised international league tables.
The following table gives the 10 best universities in South Korea in 2020, according to global rankings.
Each ranking system uses its own methodology, with different factors having more or less influence on a university's result.
For more information on using international rankings as a postgraduate, see our guide.
|University||THE 2020||QS 2020||ARWU 2019|
|Seoul National University||64||37||101-150|
|Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)||89||95||151-200|
|Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)||=110||41||201-300|
|Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)||=146||87||401-500|
|Yonsei University (Seoul campus)||197||=104||201-300|
|Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST)||201-250||-||301-400|
|Kyung Hee University||301-350||=247||301-400|
|Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology||401-500||=322||901-1000|
|Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.|
International rankings use all sorts of metrics to assess universities and they aren't all equally relevant to postgraduate study. That's why we've put together a guide to university rankings for Masters students.
South Korea ranks reasonably well in the international league tables, with its top two universities placed in the top 50 on the QS World University Rankings 2020. Its highest-ranking institution, Seoul National University, also claims ninth place in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2019.
As South Korea’s economy continues to grow, so too does its reputation as a world-leader in university education. Postgraduate degrees from South Korean universities are highly regarded across the globe, especially those in specialised or highly-technical subjects.
South Korea also offer ‘Gold Cards’ to its international students who have graduated from postgraduate degrees specialising in high-end technologies. The Gold Cards are designed to assist foreign students with securing employment in South Korea – another reason to consider studying abroad there!
Last updated - 30/09/2019