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Structure of Education in South Korea

School Education in South Korea 

South Korea follows a 6-3-3 system. Compulsory education in South Korea lasts for 9 years and includes six years of primary education, followed by 3 years of lower secondary education (Middle school). High school lasts for 3 years and is not compulsory.  The Upper secondary education (High School) in South Korea is offered by- academic (general); vocational; and special purpose or specialised high schools. 

Higher Education in South Korea 

Higher Education in South Korea is offered by different types of institutions: colleges and universities (national, public and private); industrial universities; universities of education (national); junior colleges (national, public and private); Broadcast and Correspondence Universities (national); technical colleges; and other types of institutions (private). The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is responsible for higher education in South Korea. 

Compulsory Education

The compulsory education in South Korea lasts for 9 years and includes 6 years of primary education and 3 years of middle school education. 

Entry age: 6 years old

Exit Age: 15 years old

Structure of Education in South Korea 

South Korea Education System comprises of Primary education, Secondary education and Higher Education. 

Primary Education

School Type: Elementary Schools
Duration: 6 years
Age group: 6-12 years old

Secondary Education

Secondary education encompasses Middle schools and High Schools.

Lower Secondary Education

School Type: Middle School
Duration: 3 years
Age group: 12-15 years old
Academic Credential: Diploma

Upper Secondary Education

School Type: High School (General/Academic)
Duration: 3 years
Age group: 15-18 years old
Certificate Awarded: High School Diploma

Higher Secondary Education

School Type: Special Purpose  or Specialised High School
Duration: 3 years
Age group: 15-18 years old
Credential Awarded: High School Diploma

Vocational Secondary Education

School Type: Vocational High School
Duration: 3 years
Age group: 15-18 years old
Credential: High School Diploma

Higher Education

Higher Education in South Korea is for students aged over 18 and includes Colleges and Universities, industrial universities; universities of education, junior colleges, Broadcast and Correspondence Universities, technical colleges, and other miscellaneous institutions 
  • Age: 18 and above
Higher Education in South Korea has following qualifications- Associate, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees.

Associate Degree: The Associate degree lasts for 2-3 years and is offered by Junior Colleges and Industrial Universities.

Bachelors’ Degree: The bachelor degree is offered at Universities and Colleges and usually takes 4 years for students in South Korea to obtain their bachelor’s degree. Undergraduate course of study develops students academically and professionally. 

Masters’ Degree: The Master’s degree is offered at Universities and lasts for 2 years.  Students who have attained a bachelor degree are eligible for Master degree program. 

Doctoral Degree: The doctorate degree lasts for 3 years and requires the completion of a dissertation. 
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