The Korean school system consists of six years of elementary school, three years of middle school, three years of high school, and four years of university (two to three years of vocational college). Universities also offer two to three years of master’s course and two to three years of doctoral courses.
School Table of Korean Education
|General Course||Special Course|
|8||1||Elementary Education||Elementary School||Special Schools|
|14||7||Secondary Education||Middle School||Special Schools, Public and Civil, Other Schools|
|17||10||High School||Special Schools, Cyber High Schools, Technical Schools|
|20||13||Higher Education||University (Bachelor Degree)||Vocational Colleges (2-3 year courses), Industry Universities, Universities of Education, Technical Schools, Cyber University, Korea National Open University|
|24||17||Graduate School (Master Degree)|
In Korea, the school year begins in March with summer vacation during July and August, and the second semester beginning in September. Winter vacation is from late December to the end of February.
- Start of Year: March
- First Semester: From March to August
- Second Semester: From August/September to February
Primary education in Korea, which provides children with the very basic knowledge necessary to live as a citizen, is compulsory and tuition free. In most cases, children go to preschools when they are 3-5 years old. Though children become eligible for elementary school from the age of 5-7, it is a usual practice for them to enter elementary school when they turn 8. Most elementary schools are public schools with 6-year programs. There is little difference between public and private school curriculums.
The purpose of middle schools is to provide regular secondary education on the basis of education received from elementary schools. Since 1969, middle school admissions have been subject to a no-test system, and all those who wish to enter middle school are assigned by computer lottery to schools close to their residence. The course of study is three years and is also free of charge. Private schools account for a higher percentage than elementary schools, but the curriculum is not much different between national, public and private schools.
The purpose of high school education is to provide secondary and basic professional education on the basis of the education received from middle schools. High schools are divided into general high schools, specialized high schools and special-purpose high schools (such as foreign languages, arts and physical education, and science high schools). The duration of study is three years. Specialized high schools and special-purpose high schools choose their own students, but regular high schools are usually assigned students by lottery to schools close to their residence, just as with middle schools.
※ There are no restrictions on foreign students entering schools (elementary, middle and high schools) in Korea. Under the current education law, foreign student admission is determined by each school’s regulations, so the student can go to the school they wish to attend, and consult with the school's guidance.
College offers programs after secondary education. The purpose of professional or vocational college education is to foster middle-class technicians with a solid foundation of theory and technology. They are able to get a job after graduation by learning practical expertise or functions, or by transfer to a four-year university if necessary.
Universities provide four-year courses with a bachelor's degree, with six-year courses in medicine, oriental medicine and dentistry. Korean universities operate in the form of general universities, so each university has various departments. Each university has its own Bachelor's Code on obtaining credits, minimum required graduation credits, standard credits and the maximum credits to be earned per semester, and restrictions on how to acquire credits and special credits. Schools are divided into national, municipal and private entities according to the founding principle.
※ The admission conditions vary slightly from school to school, but there is often not much difference. For anyone wishing to study in Korea, entering university is not a big problem. Language may not be a big problem because Korean language courses run before the major lectures.
Master’s Degrees and Doctorate Degrees
University graduate schools have courses for students wishing to obtain their Master’s Degrees (2 to 3 years) and Doctorate Degrees (2 to 3 years). Graduate schools are divided into schools for basic theory and academy research, professional graduate schools for the adaptation of practical theory and research and development, along with special graduate schools that provide education to business people through night classes.
- Division in Charge : Innovation Education Division, Gwangju Metropolitan Office of Education
- Contact : +82-62-380-4302