Korea University is a research-oriented university located in Seoul, South Korea. As a private university established in 1905, it is among the oldest institutions of higher learning in South Korea and is not exactly what you would expect in Korea if you are a Westerner looking to study abroad.
Initially, Korea University was known as Bosung College and was a nationalist academic institution. The institution was the first in South Korea to offer various programs in disciplines like Economics, Law, and Journalism. In the year 1945, the college was elevated to a university and would comprise of three colleges, Economics & Commerce, Political Science & Law, and Liberal Arts. Notably, in June 1949 the University conferred its first bachelor’s degrees. The graduate school was established in September of the same year.
During its infancy stages, Korea University was largely challenged by a serious financial crisis which was a result of the recession experienced worldwide in 1929. The year 1961 saw rapid expansion and the addition of facilities to the university, including the completion of the Liberal Arts building fondly known as the Seokwan, museum, greenhouse, an agricultural laboratory among other students’ amenities. Further, an experimental farm was added to the facilities.
True to its initial creed to maintain outstanding levels of academic excellence, Korea University has continually retained a mark in the world of academia. In particular, the university ranked position 104. Further, it ranked position 20 in Asia as recorded by the QS World University Rankings. In the Republic of Korea, the university ranked position 4. Noteworthy, the University ranks first among all private universities in Korea.
When it comes to the specific programs offered, the 2014 QS World University Subject Rankings listed some major programs within the top 50 in the world. These include Chemical Engineering, Economics, Politics, and Communication. The students’ population boasts of about 35,446 spread across the different faculties on offer on the two main campuses. Anum Campus is home to 19,017 undergraduate and 9,060 graduate. On the other hand, Sejong Campus inhabits 6,498 undergraduates and 871 graduates. Korea University also has quite a substantial population of foreign students at 2,716.
Korea University has a wide range of majors. Among these are:
Political Science & International Relations
Materials Science & Engineering
Industrial & Management Engineering
Civil, Environmental& Architectural Engineering
Computer & Communications Engineering
Art and Design
Home Economics Education
Various languages and literature
Available too are some interdisciplinary programs which include Science and Technology Studies, Telecommunication System Technology, Public Health, Bio Microsystem Engineering, Advanced Mechatronic Converging Technology, Applied Linguistics and Culture Studies, Micro/Nano Systems, Cultural Heritage Studies, Visual Information Processing, Micro Device Engineering, Classics Translation, Biostatistics, Visual Culture, Comparative Literature, Financial Engineering, Mechatronics, and Bioinformatics.
In its quest to continue being a center of academic excellence, Korea University has an extremely competitive admission procedure, and all decisions are purely based on each and every applicant’s high school score. These are evident from the transcripts and the scores on the South Korean College Scholastic Ability Test. To put this in perspective, the class entering 2016, the admissions rate was a paltry 25%.
Business and Law
The Law Department in Korea University is highly reputed. For instance, in the year 2003, the Korea University Law students contributed 15% of the almost 900 persons who excelled in the annual Korean bar examination. Further, the business programs offered at Korea University obtained international certification. This was facilitated by the acquisition of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) which is for both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Also, it achieved the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) which is notably the first time this happened for any academic institution in South Korea. In matters business, the Financial Times rankings (EMBA) had Korea University Business School’s Executive MBA program ranked at 27 in the world.
Korea University has under its belt quite a number of research institutes where various research work is carried out. These include Battelle@KU Laboratory, Ilmin International Relations Institute, Institute of Biotechnology, Research Institute for Information and Communication Technology, Research Institute for Korean Studies, Center for Information Security Technologies, and Korean Language and Culture Center. The university’s Anam campus is strategically divided into the four main divisions namely, Humanities and Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Science and Engineering, and Medicine and Life Sciences. Further, it is located within approximately five minutes walking distance to restaurants, shops, bars and a famous Buddhist temple.
For the students, there are some extra-curricular activities to engage in when they are not in the lecture halls. First, Korea University has a well-entrenched culture of clubs and societies. For instance, there are Social Science, Exhibition and Creative Art, Religion, Language Studies, Life culture, literary art, Science and Technology clubs among others. Additionally, there is increased activity in sports like soccer, swimming in the campus swimming pools, track events and others.
Korea University has some traditions synonymous with it. These include the April 18 Marathon, The Granite Tower Festival known as the Seoktap Daedongje, Korea-Yonsei Friendship games and the Ipselenti-Cry of “Ji Ya” which is basically a festival involving a lot of cheering by the university’s cheering squad at the very last night of Seoktap Daedongje.
For international students, Korea University presents an opportunity to study at a renowned institution where a lot of experiences are shared. For instance, the opportunity may present an avenue where new foreign knowledge may be learned. Similarly, it provides an opportunity future overseas employment, internships, or volunteer work. On the social aspect, studying abroad provides an opportunity to interact with different people from all around the globe and exchange ideas and views on different ways of life.