Structure of the Educational System in Korea

Study abroad in Korea (du học hàn quốc)is governed by a structured system in elementary school (lasting six years), elementary schools (three years), high school or institutes (three years), junior college (two or three years) and universities (up to 4 years).

The school period begins in the month of March and ends in the month of February of the following year. It is structured in two semesters. The spring semester from March to June and the fall semester from September to February. Between the two periods there are a few weeks of vacation that includes from the last week of June until the end of July.

The admission period begins in the month of October and it is necessary to know the specific requirements that each university demands of its students. To do this it is best to visit the websites of the Universidad s and begin the academic and bureaucratic procedures as soon as possible.

The foreign students can study in South Korea adhering to various forms depending on the time you want to spend in the country and knowledge of the language.

Elementary School – Elementary School

It begins at 7 years after several years of optional stay in the nursery. From three to five years they can enter the kindergarten and, if they want, at five years they can start the elementary school period, although it is normal to wait until seven years.

The duration of this stage is six years, concludes at 12 years. It is mandatory and is usually taken in public education although there is no difference between studying it in a type of private or public center.

Elementary School – Middle School

The transition from elementary school to elementary school requires an entrance exam. The completion of this exam depends on the place of residence of the student. This type of education is free and includes the age of 13 to 15 years.

Primary education is structured in nine themes; moral education, Korean language, social studies, mathematics, science, physical education, music, fine arts and practical arts.

There are many private schools that teach children who are in this stage although the pedagogical differences are not significant with respect to the public.

High school

It covers the period from 16 years to 18. There are three years and there are several different branches of study: the one oriented to the field of business and the one oriented to the areas of foreign languages, physical education and science. The choice of one or the other depends on the proximity of the high schools to the places of residence of the students.

Junior college

In this educational period, 150 private centers predominate, compared to 10 public ones. They usually also provide accommodation for students and it is cheaper than the university. They are usually 2 or 3 years of specialized study in subjects such as agriculture, fishing, nursing, health sciences, social relations, physical education. After completing the studies, there is an internship that provides technical and practical knowledge.


Korea has 250 universities, the vast majority private, that offer a varied educational offer. Most universities teach 24 subjects each semester and at the end of the course they represent a minimum of 140. Each center has a minimum of subjects to obtain the degree.


After obtaining the university degree you can continue higher education with MA Degree, the equivalent of the master’s degree and then continue with the Ph Degree, PhD. To obtain a master’s degree it is necessary from 2 to 3 years, and for a doctorate from 2 to 4 years.

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