Korean Government Scholarship Program

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The Korean Government Scholarship Program, or KGSP, is an academic scholarship funded and managed by the National Institute for International Education (NIIED), a branch of the Ministry of Education in the Republic of Korea (South Korea).[1]

NIIED runs the Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) which covers various types of support programs for academic exchanges between Republic of Korea (South Korea) and international countries. There are two types of programs, and both belong to GKS.

The Korean Government Scholarship Program for International Students (KGSPIS) (대한민국 정부 초청 장학금)[edit]

This is to support international students' study in Korean universities (both undergraduate and postgraduate levels). This is one of several scholarship schemes of the Global Korea Scholarship (GKS).

The Korean Government Scholarship Program for Study Overseas (KGSPSO) (대한민국 정부 국비유학)[edit]

This is to support Korean students' study abroad (postgraduate level). This is one of several scholarship schemes of the Global Korea Scholarship (GKS).

The List of GKS Programs[edit]

In addition to above two programs, there are various programs to invite international students to the Republic of Korea (South Korea), which all belong to the "Global Korea Scholarship (GKS)".

  • The Korean Government Scholarship Program for International Students (KGSPIS)
  • The Korean Government Scholarship Program for Study Overseas (KGSPSO)
  • The Korean Government Invitation Program for Partner Countries
  • The Korean Government Support Program for Foreign Exchange Students
  • The Korean Government Support Program for Self-financed Students
  • GKS for ASEAN countries' Science and Engineering Students
  • GKS Summer Program for African and Latin American Students
  • Korea-Japan Joint Higher Education Student Exchange Program

Korean Government Scholarship Program for International Students (대한민국 정부 초청 장학금)[edit]

The Korean Government Scholarship Program for International Students (KGSPIS) provides "non-Koreans" and "overseas Koreans (who fulfil certain criteria)" with the funding and opportunity to conduct either undergraduate or postgraduate level studies in universities in Republic of Korea (South Korea). Either it is needed by a university or a scholarship awardee wish, they can receive additional financial support for learning Korean language. Since its conception in 1967, over 3,000 students from 148 countries have successfully completed the scholarship program. [2][3]

This scheme is designed to invite international talent to South Korea, and to integrate the scholars into Korean culture and society. If accepted, each scholar typically spends one year in South Korea learning the Korean language, followed by a 2 - 4 year university program, depending on their level of studies. In 2015, 820 students from 162 countries were accepted into the scholarship program.[3] However, 270 scholars failed to obtain their degree in the years 2011 - 2015, citing language and cultural barriers.[4]

Each scholar is provided financial support by the Korean government in the form of a monthly allowance. Undergraduate students receive 800,000 KRW a month whereas graduate students receive 900,000 KRW a month.[5] In addition, NIIED provides airfare to student to and from their home country at the beginning and end of the program. Stipends and other allowances are also given to each scholar.[2]

Support for Korean Language Program[edit]

Prior to starting their degree studies, KGSP scholars are required to take one year of intensive language studies at a designated language institute. All scholars are required to obtain at least level 3 (intermediate) in the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) before they can continue to their degree studies.[6] According to NIIED, TOPIK level 3 allows the individual to "perform basic linguistic functions necessary to use various public facilities and maintain social relationships."[7]

The normal duration for the language program is one year, but it can be waived, shortened or extended depending on the scholar's TOPIK results. Scholars who have previously obtained a TOPIK level of 5 or 6 (advanced) are exempted from the language program, and are required to start their studies immediately. If a scholar obtains TOPIK 5 or 6 within the first six months of the language program, then they are required to start their studies at the beginning of the next semester, reducing their time at the language institute by six months. Additionally, scholars who fail to achieve TOPIK 3 after one year of language studies cannot proceed to their degree studies, and must do another six months of language study at their language institute.[8] Students may not leave South Korea during the language program so that they may concentrate on their studies. However, exceptions are made in case of emergencies and family matters .

The language institute is designated by NIIED and cannot be changed.[6] The language institutes include schools like Keimyung University and Dongseo University, and are typically in a different city than the school chosen for the degree program. This gives each scholar the opportunity to explore multiple cities within South Korea.

Those without a resident visa are required to have a D-4 visa to undergo language studies.[9]

Support for University Degree[edit]

During the application process, scholars choose a program and university for their degree program which cannot be changed, barring extreme circumstances. The scholarship program allocates four years for scholars pursuing their bachelor's degree, two years for a master's degree and three years for a PhD. The graduation requirements for each scholar is dependent on their program and university.

Scholars who have TOPIK level 5 or greater are granted an additional 100,000 KRW a month for their monthly allowance during their degree studies. Additional money is given to scholars in postgraduate research based fields.[2]

Those without a resident visa are required to have a D-2 visa to undergo their studies.[9]

Additional Support[edit]

In addition to support for tuition, living cost and learning Korean language, below will be covered by the Government of Republic of Korea.

* National health insurance
* Flight ticket between home country and Republic of Korea (once)

Participating Countries[edit]

As of 2014, citizens from 157 countries are able to apply for KGSP. Note that the list of countries is updated every year, but most countries throughout the world is included.


Eligible Universities[edit]

As of 2014, 60 universities are designated by NIIED as eligible institutions for postgraduate degree studies.[10]

Korean Government Scholarship Program for Study Abroad (대한민국 정부 국비유학)[edit]

This is the Korean government scholarship program for Korean students' studying at international universities. This scholarship scheme started from 1977, though the Korean government had operated other scholarship programs before 1977. Normally, the selection criteria and schedule are announced on March or April, and screening and examinations are being held on June and July. Selected awardees receive support for flight tickets and tuition for their studying at international universities.


For those who obtained bachelor's degree from a university in Republic of Korea and who keeps the Korean nationality.


Unlike the "Korean Government Scholarship Program for International Students" which is available for both undergraduate and postgraduate degree studies, this support for Korean people is only available for postgraduate level studies.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "About NIIED". Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "KGSP (Korean Government Scholarship Program)". Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "NIIED News". June 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  4. ^ "Foreign students quitting studies in Korea on rise". September 8, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "Korean Government Scholarship Program: How-Tos". Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "NIIED Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) 2015". February 12, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  7. ^ "About the Examination (TOPIK)". Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  8. ^ "Foreign Government Awards Program - Korea". March 23, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Issuing Visa and Immigration". Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "2014 Korean Government Scholarship Program Guideline for International Students in Graduate Programs" (PDF).