KGSP Medical Exam

After you’ve passed the first an second stages of the KGSP application process (ie been approved by a university or embassy and also by NIIED), you will be required to get a medical examination.

There was mucho confusion regarding this medical exam amongst the 2014 acceptee pool, so I would like to clarify some things.

First of all, it seems very detailed (asking about teeth, mental state, etc), but that doesn’t mean you need to go to a hundred different specialists.

I, conveniently, had my exam done in Korea, and they checked eyes, height/weight, chest xray (for tuberculosis), blood pressure, and they took blood, urine and stool samples (lovely right?). Other than that they appear to have just looked at me generally and decided everything else was okay.

Now unfortunately, each country has a different medical system and requirements. A lot of doctors may not be willing to sign off so quickly without an actual exam. You will definitely need to find someplace that can at least perform the tests above.

You do not need to send xrays or specific exam results along with the form. [**EDIT** As of 2015 they did ask for specific exam results as well. Check the instructions carefully.] You just need to have your doctor fill in the relevant spaces on the form NIIED provides, and sign it.

The exception to this rule may be the drug test, and largest source of confusion in 2014.

In 2014, although there was some fine print saying a drug test was required, it was not included in the official form for the doctor to fill out. This meant that the doctors didn’t know about it, and many applicants did not have one done – until they were requested to submit one much later by NIIED.

So, make sure you specifically request that a drug test be done, especially if you think it may not be included in the form.

The second problem with the drug test is that NIIED specifically asks for a test called TBPE. Unfortunately, however, TBPE seems to only be available in Korea, and maybe a few other countries. They do mention that if TBPE is not available then you can get another equivalent drug test, but not what drugs the test is designed to detect. The main drugs they are looking for are opiates, marijuana (THC), cocaine, and methamphetamines. If you can get tested for all of these then that is best, but drug testing is not as widely available in some countries. If you can get some combination of these tests, then get what you can (and it wouldn’t hurt to include a note from your doctor about it). If you cannot find any drug tests then contact the Korean embassy in your country. They may be able to tell you where tests are available, or that there are none available and you are therefore exempt from taking the drug test. Make sure you confirm with them though because if someone else from your country is successful at getting tested (inside your country) then not knowing will probably not be an excuse.

I would recommend looking into the availability of drug testing early (even before acceptance if you can without an actual exam) because there is only about one month to complete the exam and these communications can take some time. (You might want to wait about contacting the embassy until after you are officially accepted though.)

If marijuana is legal in your country/state/area (or even if it isn’t) and you do occasionally indulge, I would recommend stopping as soon as you decide to apply for KGSP. A positive result will disqualify you for the scholarship and marijuana (THC) is most definitely illegal in Korea. If you are caught with marijuana in the country, you will be deported, so get used to not using it now.

I am hopeful that NIIED will try to revise some of their forms in order to avoid repeating this year’s confusion, but just in case you should be informed.

38 thoughts on “KGSP Medical Exam”

  1. They did? I’m worried that they’ll send me back to my country. I have a hole in my heart but it’s not serious because it’s very small. I am in perfect health. Do you advice for me to push through the scholarship or should i just withdraw?

    1. As long as your doctor says that you are fit for study it probably won’t be a problem. I know others who also had chronic diseases that were still accepted. If you have a doctor familiar with you and your condition who can do the medical exam that’s probably best. NIIED is mostly concerned with contagious diseases.

      1. You actually knew people with chronic diseases? Like sickle cell anemia?
        All my medical test results were okay, the HIV, Drug test and Hepatitis B all came out fine.
        But I am a sickle cell patient, and was able to manage this throughout my undergraduate studies with of course proper tri-monthly medical checkup.
        I told my doctor to explain that it won’t hinder my studies but he said it doesn’t matter as niied as an organization usually have quotas for people accepted with medical issues like that as it improves the credibility of niied in general.
        So, he just ticked a good health status for me I.e (excellent, good, fair, poor) health status. He signed, added his phone number and that’s all.
        I’m hoping for the best anyway, I believe I’ll scale through.
        If you really know KGSP with Hb SS,or if you could simply state chronic illnesses you’ve observed, I think my mind would be very at ease.

      2. Unfortunately (?) most people don’t usually talk about their medical problems. Or I don’t anyway (not that I have very many). So, no, I don’t know of anyone here now with that particular issue, but I wouldn’t worry too much. If you do make it through I would bring details of your past medications and/or treatments though so that you can continue in Korea. And if you will go to the doctor regularly here, you might want to look into getting some private insurance (NIIED does provide some but it might not cover as much as you’d like)

      3. Sure, I’ll bring my medications over, the tri-monthly checkup is just a formality like just for normal examination, I maintain my health such that I don’t need the doctors for anything more than the usual formality.
        I’ll look into the medical insurance too ,and ask NIIED if it will be necessary.
        Thanks, I just wanted to have other peoples view of this issue.
        Ill keep hoping for the Best

    1. Nope, I don’t know anyone who got sent back after coming. If you are honest on the medical exam that you send them (provide information from your doctor showing that your condition is under control and doesn’t affect your ability to study), then it shouldn’t be a problem after you arrive.

  2. Hey, thanks for your post! I have had a tuberculosis 5 years ago. I was treated successfully, had a surgery and medications. So it is inactive now, but I had experienced this disease. How do you think, if I am eligible for the program?

      1. Yes, you are correct, it doesn’t show on xray. There is only a suture after surgery on xray.

        I was not sure because I saw a question on health application about experienced sicknesses. Was wondering if they disqualify all the applications, who answer positively on them.

  3. Dear Sir
    What kind of medical report they will ask for KGSP. Is it necessary?. Recommendation letters are important or not. I hope you will give your advice

    1. I can’t say anything about exactly how important recommendations are because I’m not an insider. I don’t know if it’s 10% or 20% or what, but in general assume that it is important. Recommendations can be very useful. They can put your grades in perspective relative to other students in your school or country. They can provide relatively unbiased insight into your personality and dedication. And so much more. Choose your recommender wisely, and if there are specific things you want them to mention, then tell them.

      About the medical exam, it’s fairly comprehensive. It is required for all applicants who have passed the second selection (by NIIED announced in May.) You will need to wait for the specific forms, which will be published with the May result.

    1. Sorry, unfortunately I haven’t really asked people about their IELTS scores. It’s most important if the course you’re applying for is mostly or entirely in English. If it’s not then it might not matter very much.

  4. Hi. I am presently in Korea and need to take the medical examination and drug tests in order to confirm my scholarship. I know it has been a while but was the hospital you went to affordable? If yes, could I perhaps get the name of the place?

    Best regards,

    A.R.

    1. Mine was not too expensive as I recall. Less than 100,000 won… Probably around 60,000? It was in the basement of Electric Land (?) in Yongsan, Seoul. 전자랜드의원. I was able to make an appointment before going. You can find more info in Google.

  5. Thank you for your responses here.I have passed the 2nd round of this year’s KGSP and my medical results are normal.Is there a possibility not to be accepted into the program?

  6. hello, thanks a lot for your informative writing.
    i have been selected in the 2nd round (university track) and currently working on the official medical examination form. now, my query is what does the word **M.D mean? should the doctor just write his/her name beside this?
    moreover, should the doctor use any seal & cellphone number?

    1. MD is Medical Doctor (so your doctor). If there is a seal or stamp then I would recommend using it. But read the instructions carefully to see if one is required. If it doesn’t say anything and your doctor doesn’t have a stamp/seal it may be ok without it, but if he does have one stamp just to be safe. Contact info is always good.

  7. Hello, I got a bit worried on the medical examination result, related to the drug test since the clinic i went two, can only provide 2 types of drug test (only 1 match with the 4 listed on the form). I have already submitted those result since Mid of May but before this, i have made a call to the person who is in charge of this, she said it is ok with that result! I also got confirmation email when i submitted and haven’t get any more requests from her or NIIED since then. Do you think it is ok? and yes, will NIIED contact you if there is a problem with it? meaning to say they will not just failed you, right?

    Sorry for such a long question, because i am a bit worried on this.

  8. Hello, I got a bit worried on the medical examination result, related to the drug test since the clinic i went two, can only provide 2 types of drug test (only 1 match with the 4 listed on the form). I have already submitted those result since Mid of May but before this, i have made a call to the person who is in charge of this, she said it is ok with that result! I also got confirmation email when i submitted and haven’t get any more requests from her or NIIED since then. Do you think it is ok? and yes, will NIIED contact you if there is a problem with it? meaning to say they will not just failed you, right?

    Sorry for such a long question, because i am a bit worried on this.

    1. In my experience, NIIED will notify you if the results you submit are insufficient. And you are certainly not the only person who is unable to submit results for all four kinds of drugs. Unfortunately (for NIIED but fortunately for you) I think a majority of countries do not offer these kinds of drug tests, or at least that’s the impression I got. If you have done your best to submit what is possible, and the results were what NIIED is looking for then you should have no trouble. All the best for this journey!

  9. I am considering going through embassy for undergraduate however,my grades are BBC from maths,chemistry and physics in that order. I was 4th of 207 students. Do you think i should still apply?

  10. Thank you for the information. I want to apply next year for a doctoral program. Six years ago I got arthritis but with the right mediciation I am well (practically having a normal life). About the medical form in the first round, is there any chance to be rejected because of my illness and the medication I´m taking?

    1. I wouldn’t worry about it. As long as it doesn’t affect your ability to study and it’s not something that can spread to other people (and that Korea has decided it wants to control through immigration restrictions), there should be no problems with your application on medical grounds.

  11. Thank you very much for the information. As many people here I´m worried about being rejected. I want to apply next year for a doctoral program. Six years ago I was diagnosed with arthritis but with the right medication I´m well (practically having anormal life). I would like to know if there is a chance to be rejected because of my illness and the medication I´m taking in the first round. As you know, I should include this information in the medical form for the first round. I will appreciate a lot your answer 🙂

    1. NIIED will ask for the medical exam after the second selection. In my year, I believe we got the notification that we had been selected by NIIED on May 1. They give you the forms at the same time. I believe they were due by the end of the month. You can check the schedule in the new announcement.

  12. I tested positive for Hep B, but the LFTs are okay and the doctor remarks says one is good enough for the program? I’m just curious and nervous to know if I will be considered for the program.

  13. Hello, I just found out that I’m HBV positive, and I’m curious do you think if that disqualifies me from getting scholarship? It was my plan for a couple years and I’m kinda heartbroken right now… My whole world would be ruined really… I can’t find any source giving some insider info ;/

    1. It’s hard to say for sure. Korea does have a record of denying visas due to certain diseases, but they recently eliminated the requirement for HIV testing for English teachers, so I think they are moving away from that kind of discrimination. If you can show that you are aware of your condition and it is under control medically, then it might not be an issue. Good luck!

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