SEOUL, July 29 (Korea Bizwire) – The Ministry of Education announced on July 28 plans to overhaul the graduate school system in Korea to reflect current education trends. Benchmarking the Grandes Écoles of France, higher education institutions that receive excellent ratings on their structural reform evaluations will be allowed to reduce undergraduate student numbers and accept more graduate students.
As early as the 2017 school year, students who seek college admission may be given the opportunity to apply for a five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s program at institutions with specific degree programs.
The Grandes Écoles of France were established outside of the main university system, where a small group of highly qualified students is selected for admission based on scores from competitive examinations. Generally, these top-rated schools run integrated programs for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in politics, administration, business, and engineering that can be completed in five years.
Graduate schools in South Korea can currently be divided into three categories – general graduate schools (183 institutions), specialized graduate schools (201), and graduate schools dedicated to working professionals (813).
General graduate schools already have integrated programs that offer both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, and now specialized graduate schools will adopt the same system as well.
Besides typical specialized graduate programs such as MBAs, law schools and medical schools, new areas of study including international studies, IT, energy, design, and cultural content creation are beginning to embrace integrated programs.
“The new integrated programs are intended to not only shorten the study period but also enhance the quality of education provided to students, as the Grandes Écoles are designed to foster top-notch experts in various fields,” said an official from the Ministry of Education.
The number of newly admitted students will vary depending on the rating each institution receives on its structural reform evaluation. Institutions with good ratings will have fewer restrictions, whereas those with low ratings will have more strict limitations.
“Universities with excellent ratings will have an easier time adjusting the number of students admitted to their graduate schools. This change is intended to develop these schools into research-oriented institutions by fostering well-qualified graduate students,” said an official from the Ministry of Education.
Furthermore, international students will be accepted to graduate schools in Korea without restrictions, yet only institutions that have passed the certification process will be permitted to do so.
By establishing more student exchange programs at Korean institutions, foreign students can earn credits or even dual degrees from their home countries when they attend schools that have campuses in Korea.
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)