2015 KGSP Graduate Scholarship

So the new guidelines for 2015’s graduate scholarship have been released. You can find the info here:

2015 KGSP Graduate Scholarship Info

The first thing you need to check is what kinds of quota’s your country has this year, and decide which one to use for your application, either University or Embassy.

Next, please go to that University or Embassy’s website and check for their information about the scholarship. They will be the ones to tell you about the deadline for sending your application. It WILL be different depending on the country or the university, so if you can’t find it for any reason, contact them to ask. Don’t just assume it will be the same as someplace else. Most of the deadlines will be in early to mid-March, so you actually don’t have much time to get everything together, especially if you need to send documents to Korea.

You’ll find the quotas and the application forms all in the first document entitled “01. GKS Graduate Program Guidelines(English-Korean).doc

I, personally, copied the application forms into a separate Word document and worked with that.

There appear to be a couple of differences between the 2014 and 2015 programs.

The first thing I noticed is that they have taken out the part about starting your degree program in March if you achieve TOPIK 5 or 6 in September-January. There is still the possibility of starting your degree program right away if you have TOPIK 5 or 6 when you apply (and if you submit your score then it is mandatory, not optional to start your Master’s or PhD in September 2015). I’m not sure what the deadline is to submit a score. I have several classmates who got TOPIK 5 in the April 2014 test (results announced in early June?), who were not allowed to start early. I don’t know if this was because of some problem with how they reported it, or if it was just too late. If this is something that concerns you, you can check directly with NIIED about this issue. (EDIT: There is a check box in the application for starting in September, which means you should already have TOPIK 5 or 6 when you apply. So in other words it is already too late if you don’t have it yet. But again if this is something that is important to you, you might want to check with NIIED anyway. If you do come back and comment here, to let me know how it went.)

I’m not 100% sure if it will be impossible to start in March if you fulfill the requirements, or just a different process from this year. Again if this was something you were hoping to do, and affects whether you apply/accept the scholarship, then please ask for yourself.

The second change is a new university quota for “Designated Regional Universities” for people applying in Natural Science and Engineering Fields. You can read more about this in the information, but basically they are trying to attract Natural Science and Engineering students to the regional universities (in other words outside of Seoul). The quota per university has been increased, so that they can accept more NS&E students for the scholarship, which can increase your chances of getting in. There is also a special quota within the university quota for some countries just for NS&E students applying to these regional universities, so it means at the second round (NIIED selection) you are competing against fewer students from your country. If you are a Natural Science or Engineering major (and your country has this option) then this may be a good way to apply.

Some things about this new category:

  • You can apply for a Natural Science or Engineering major at any of the 66 available universities, but only the 35 Designated Regional Universities (as listed in the info) will be available for this special quota.
  • Some countries with a university quota only have a “General” quota, and not a “Regional” quota. This doesn’t mean that you cannot apply to one of the regional universities under the university quota, it just means that your application will be considered with other “general” applicants to the university instead of under this quota, and at NIIED your application will be considered with all scholars from your country regardless of major. (Of course you can apply to these universities under the Embassy quota as well).
  • You do not have to apply to these 35 Designated Regional Universities with a Natural Science or Engineering major. You can choose from any of the majors listed in the University information. But again, if you choose another major you will be compared with a different group of students.

**In the application forms there are two versions of “Attachment #1: Personal Data.” One is for Embassy and one is for University. Obviously, you should choose the correct one. In the University version, under “Type of Recommendation” (which on my computer is labeled 1, but should be 2) there is only a check box for “General.” If you are applying for this Designated Regional University quota, then I would probably add a check box for that, so there is no confusion over which quota you are applying with.**

The third change, is a special category for Research Programs. These appear to vary in length from one month to a year, and do not include Korean Language Study. If this is something that applies to you, then you know who you are and what to do, if you’re not sure where to start, then it probably doesn’t apply to you.

Those are the major changes that I noticed. As usual there are probably some changes to the countries and what kind of quotas they have, and also to the list of universities. If you were making plans using last year’s information make sure you double check that your country and universities are still there.

Also, make sure you check the University Information. If you have been looking directly at university websites, then it is possible you found departments and majors that aren’t available to KGSP students. The University Information lists only those majors that are theoretically available to KGSP applicants. By “theoretically” I mean that not all departments will consider foreign applicants who don’t have sufficient Korean skills when they apply, even if those departments are listed in the University Information. If you are concerned, contact the department to ask.

On the personal front, this is my last week of Korean class and next month I will be moving on to my graduate program. Personally, I am ready to leave. The language study has been fun, and I’ve learned so much, but if I had to stay for another 6 months, I think I’d go crazy. That’s just me though. If you start at the beginning or intermediate level, then you’ll constantly be challenged (though you’ll still probably experience some lows, culture shock is par for the course). If you’re at a high-intermediate/advanced level now, and they really won’t let you go in March, then I’d consider all options before applying. Frankly, my language university hadn’t (in recent memory) had a level 6 class, let alone programs for people after that, so it remains to be seen what people in my class who don’t get level 5 or 6 will do for the next 6 months. Being in Korea is great, learning Korean is great, but being tied to a program that really doesn’t know what to do with you can be difficult. If it is true that anyone who doesn’t have TOPIK 5 or 6 right now will need to study in a language program for a year, then for some people it might be better to stay home and get money and/or work experience and apply in 2016 with TOPIK 5/6 already under your belt (that is if you feel confident about getting it in the next year). Either way you’d be starting the graduate program in Sept 2016, and there might be a more productive way of spending the next year. If you’re planning on doing a graduate program in Korean (like the lectures are in Korean, not that you are studying Korean Language/Literature) though, then that year of preparation might not be a bad idea, even if they don’t know what to do with you in your language program for 3, 6, or 9 months. (My degree program is in English, so while Korean is useful, it’s not totally necessary.)

13 thoughts on “2015 KGSP Graduate Scholarship”

  1. Hello,

    Thanks for your really helpful blog. Glad I found this. I hope you don’t mind but I have a question about the documents that one is supposed to submit to the embassy. When you applied for this, did you ever have to submit original copies of some documents, like your IELTS, perhaps?

    1. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I’m a native speaker of English, so I’m not sure of the process for getting original score reports for those. If it is an easy thing to get then I would submit an original document.

      I had taken the TOPIK test, so I did submit the “original” of that. But by original I mean that I requested an official copy from the people who organized the test where I took it, I didn’t send the score report that I received right after the test. I would assume that IELTS also provides such documents.

      If they will only send them directly to the Embassy (not to you), then I would email the Embassy to let them know it is coming, and put a note in your application to remind them to add it to your application.

      Transcripts and recommendations should be original and sealed in an envelope. I got 4 copies from my university because they were free and easy to get, but if that’s not the case just include one with your original application packet and the Embassy will copy them for you. Never open the envelopes.

      For your diploma, never include the original that you got when you graduated. Your university may provide an official copy, or you can have a photo copy notarized (and Apostilled if available in your country). If you haven’t graduated yet then a letter from your school saying when you will graduate is fine.

  2. I see. We do have the same option for IELTS, so I’ll probably just have one sent to the embassy. But with regards to the transcripts, I have no idea they have to be in a sealed envelope. I thought it’s just the recommendation letters. Thanks for pointing that out. I may have to go back to the registrar’s office for that. Good luck to your graduate program classes, by the way. I hope you’ll have a great time. I really appreciate your prompt response.

  3. hello!
    It’s been great reading your point of view related to the KGSP this year (as you’ve been accepted to the program). I’m really thankful that you are willing to share the information and your experience to other people through this site.
    I really hope that I could also get the scholarship from the Korean Government.
    Do you think that someone’s coming from a very small institution in a region (not a big city) could also get this scholarship? 😦 I think that there will be so much competitors who are coming from renowned university in my country..

  4. Hello,
    I have a question and I think your situation was similar to mine.
    I am about to apply to KGSP this year via embassy and Yonsei GSIS is one of my choices. Do I need to complete the online application on their website too? I read conflicting information on the Internet.
    Thank you!

    1. For GSIS I had to complete the online application and submit 1 extra recommendation (2 total). I didn’t do this until they asked me to (after the second round of KGSP when NIIED made their decision). You can do it earlier, but for KGSP they waived the essay part (you probably don’t have to write it again, but make sure it is the same this year). I prepared the extra letter of recommendation though and just had to send it when they asked. Look at the GSIS page. They now have the requirements for university KGSP people up in the notices. It will be the same for embassy, but the deadline will be later.

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