Tips and Tricks for KGSP (Korean Government Scholarship Program): Part 1

[Series of articles on KGSP: First article | Second article | Third article | Fourth article .]

Korean Government Scholarship Program, or KGSP in short, has now been one of prestigious scholarship in the world. As the fame of South Korea raises up (perhaps partly because of KPOP and somehow because of Samsung as well), now more and more people are curious about South Korea. Moreover, as one of the fastest developing countries in this planet, studying in South Korea not only provides profound knowledge in one’s field, but it also give wonderful life experience witnessing the South Korea rapidly develop. Therefore, no wonder every year the selection to be granted as KGSP scholarship gets tougher and more competitive. This year, 2012, there are 337 students from around 90 countries all over the world that come to South Korea.

KGSP Students Experiencing Taekwondo Practice.

KGSP Students Experiencing Taekwondo Practice.

(For general information about KGSP, please refer to this NIIED’s website)

In this article, we will discuss about the KGSP for Graduate Program (Master or PhD), so if you’re looking for the Undergraduate Program this is not the right page. As I read from the NIIED’s website (NIIED is South Korean government’s institution that is responsible for managing KGSP), the following items are provided for the scholarship:

  • Round-trip airfare ticket from one’s country to S.Korea (and back)
  • Monthly allowance of 900.000 KRW per month (around $850 USD)
  • Research allowance of 210.000 KRW (social science) and 240.000 KRW (for natural science) per semester
  • Settlement allowance of 200.000 KRW upon arrival
  • FULL COVERAGE of language training (including 2 chances of TOPIK tests registration fee)
  • FULL Coverage of all admission and tuition fees to university.
  • Dissertation printing costs: 500.000-800.000 KRW (depending on actual costs)
  • Medical insurance with the value of 20.000 KRW per month.
  • Extra monthly allowance of 100.000 KRW per month for those with TOPIK 5 or 6.

Two Types of KGSP Programs

In general KGSP Programs can be categorized into two groups: The Embassy Quota and University Quota. What are the differences? In case of Embassy Quota, selected countries are provided with quota of number of students that it can recommends to South Korea (e.g. United States 15, Indonesia 2, etc). In order to apply for this, one should contact Korean Embassy in his country. The selection method normally depends on the requirement of the country.

Whereas in case of University Quota, one needs to apply to one of South Korean University, without having to contact South Korean embassy in his respective country. Each university has also maximum number of students it can accept (normally 15 students per university).

Difference University Quota Embassy Quota
Choices of University One can only apply to one university Via this program, one can apply up to 3 universities
Competitiveness Depends on the university. The more famous and highly favoured university will of course be more competitive. Depends on the quota of that country given by the Korean government. US for example has 15 slots while Indonesia has only 2.
Selection Process
  1. One sends his application to respective university.
  2. University will then select up to its maximum quota (normally 15 students)
  3. The selected students will then be recommended by the university to NIIED
  4. NIEED will finally select the students based on the country quota, university quota, and (of course) applicant’s application.
  1. One sends his application to Korean Embassy in his respective country.
  2. The embassy will select up to 150% of its maximum quota (e.g. Indonesia will select 3 students since it has 2 quota).
  3. The Korean Embassy in that country will nominate the applicant to NIIED.
  4. The NIIED will send the student’s applications to universities he applies.
  5. Selected students will then qualified for the scholarship.
Cautions If the university that one applies rejects the application, then he cannot do anything, since he can only apply to one university. Since the selection to university is conducted later, normally the allocation for many good university is already full (or only few left) so it could be tough and most people will have to choose his 2nd or even 3rd choice.
Good points If one applies to well-known university, and then be selected, his probability to be selected is very high. One can apply to 3 alternative universities, if some reject him, then he still have opportunity to be selected on the other one(s).

One applicant can only apply via one method. If the NIIED finds that he applies on both ways, then automatically he will be disqualified. So prior to applying, one needs to consider the best method for his goal. If the main goal is to go very good university, then applying via University Quota will give more chance (but of course it requires more efforts and great trade records). In reverse, if one’s country has more quota then applying via Embassy Quota will bring him more opportunity to be accepted. (Nonetheless, this is only my own PERSONAL opinion, so it’s very debatable).

I personally do not really know about this year selection process. However, here are some very useful documents from last year selections. For those who are intending to apply, these would be very good resources.


That’s all for the first post. I will be coming back soon with the second article. Good luck for those who wanna apply.