Korean education system

In the last class, I introduced Korean education system for a few minutes, but I think it is a little lack of information and accuracy. I am trying to find more accurate and specific information. Most of my introduction parts are correct, but several parts should be fixed and updated. Please, read below if you are interested in Korean education system.

School System

– Education system : a single-track 6-3-3-4 system
– Compulsory education : nine years including six years of elementary school and three years of middle school
– School semesters : the first semester-from March to August, the second semester-from September to February
– Vacation : the summer vacation-July to August, the winter vacation-December to February

Korean Education System


Higher Education in Korea

Korea’s higher education institutions include universities, industrial universities, junior colleges, universities of education, open universities, technological universities, and other miscellaneous institutions. Korean universities are divided according to the body that established them, ie. into national universities established and run by the Korean Government, public universities established and run by local governments, and private universities established and run by incorporated educational institutions. Regarding the selection of students at universities, the Korean Government only stipulates the minimum basic requirements in order to extend the scope of university autonomy. By allowing the admission department of each university to autonomously set all screening documents and standards such as the national academic aptitude test, essay examinations, qualifications, recommendation letters, etc., the authority to select students of universities has been expanded. As of April 1, 2010, there are 411 universities in Korea. These include 179 universities proper, 145 junior colleges, 40 graduate schools, 20 cyber universities, 11 industrial universities, 10 universities of education, and 6 others.

The purpose of university education to research profound academic theory and wide ranging and detailed application methodology necessary for the development of the nation and human society, and to cultivate leadership. The length of the courses are 4~6 years. Medicine, oriental medicine and dentistry each require 6 years of study. There are degree courses in thirty different majors including literature, law, theology, political science, economics, business administration, public administration, pedagogy, library science, science, engineering, dentistry, oriental medicine, pharmacy, nursing, agriculture, veterinary medicine, fishery science, fine arts, music, etc. The total number of credits required for graduation generally is 140 credits. Undergraduate degrees are conferred on those who have completed the course as set out in the school regulations.

Junior Colleges

Junior colleges are organized in terms of various majors such as Humanities and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Performing Arts and Physical Education, Health, etc., and have a minimum course length of two or three years. 2 year junior college requires 80 credits for graduation and 3 year junior college requires 120 credits. A diploma from the junior college is conferred on those who have completed the course as set out in the school regulations. Those who have graduated from junior colleges may enroll in universities, industrial universities or open universities.

Graduate Schools

Graduate schools are designed to pursue the objectives of higher education more profoundly, while cultivating both the ability to guide academic research and creative talent. These are divided into generalist graduate schools centered on academic research and specialist graduate schools which are practice-orientated.

Master’s Course

The required course of study for a Master is two years or more. Usually, students are required to obtain 24 credits. After gaining the prescribed credits and passing the set examination, candidates for a Master degree submit a Master thesis which must pass the examination of at least three examiners.

Ph. D Course

The required course of study for a Ph. D is three years or more. Usually, students are required to obtain 36 credits. After gaining the prescribed credits and passing the comprehensive examination, candidates for a Ph. D submit a Ph. D thesis which must pass the examination of at least five examiners.

Post-Doc Course

These courses are for continuing research after completion of a Ph. D course. Presently, many Korean universities are inviting post-doc researchers to work on research projects for the BK21 program.

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