The emergence of South Korea as an economic power can be traced to its emphasis on the sciences in higher education.

Country Overview

South Korea came into being in 1948, after the Korean Peninsula was divided at the 38th parallel following World War II. The southern part became a republic, and the northern part became a communist-style dictatorship. During the Korean War (1950-53), the United States fought beside soldiers from the republic to defend South Korea from attacks from the north supported by China and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at the 38th parallel. Over the next several decades South Korea, under military rule, flourished economically on the strength of family-owned industrial conglomerates, and exports of electronics and automobiles. It is the third largest economy in Asia. A multiparty political system was restored in the 1980s, and the country’s first civilian president was sworn into office in 1993. Tensions with its northern neighbor – with whom it is technically still at war – remain a concern.


Part of the East Asian monsoonal region, South Korea has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The movement of air masses from the Asian continent exerts greater influence on South Korea's weather than does air movement from the Pacific Ocean. Winters are usually long, cold, and dry, whereas summers are short, hot, and humid. Spring and autumn are pleasant but short in duration. Seoul's mean temperature in January is -5° C to - 2.5° C; in July the mean temperature is about 22.5° C to 25° C. Because of its southern and seagirt location, Cheju Island has warmer and milder weather than other parts of South Korea. Mean temperatures on Cheju range from 2.5° C in January to 25° C in July.

Annual rainfall
The average annual precipitation varies from 1,370 mm (54 inches) in Seoul to 1,470 mm (58 inches) in Busan. There are occasional typhoons that bring high winds and floods.  Rainfall is concentrated in the summer months of June through September. The southern coast is subject to late summer typhoons that bring strong winds and heavy rains.





Overview of Higher Education

The emergence of South Korea as one of the wealthiest, most technologically advanced countries in the world can be traced to it emphasis on the sciences over liberal arts in higher education.

The country has seven categories of postsecondary institutions: universities and colleges, industrial universities, universities of education, broadcast and correspondence universities, junior colleges, technical colleges, and other institutions.

Degrees are awarded on the basis of a U.S.-style credit system. The main undergraduate degree is the bachelor’s, which generally requires four years of study. Study for a master’s lasts two years, while study for a doctorate lasts another two years.
In 2007 some 1.9 million students were enrolled in postsecondary institutions in South Korea.
(Sources: BBC, The CIA World Factbook, The Europa World of Learning, South Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology)

Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 352

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (private/non-state): 291

Number of Higher Education Students

Number of students enrolled: 3,500,000

Contact Information

Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology

Central Government Complex
77-6 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 110-760

Web site: http://english.mest.go.kr/


E-mail: webmaster@mest.go.kr

Contact: Ahn, Byong Man, Minister of Education, Science and Technology