How to Become a Medical Doctor in Korea (Step by Step)

Being a medical doctor in Korea will be a great experience, with exposure to equipment that enhances medical care.

If you want to study medicine in Korea or attend any of the medical schools in Korea, then this article is for you.

Being a doctor in Korea is a great opportunity for most people.

While the income is decent, the added benefits are even better. To become a doctor many foreigners aspire to study in Korea.

Korea is one of Asia’s most rapidly developing countries. South Korea is well-known for its culture but has much more to offer visitors.

Moving to Korea and earning a medical degree there has several benefits.

Degrees in medicine are particularly popular in South Korea, which offers a diverse selection.

Thus, this article will explain the tips for becoming a doctor in Korea and help you learn about studying medicine in Korea.

Studying Medicine in Korea:

Studying and teaching in a foreign country is both difficult and rewarding at the same time.

Korean colleges teach medicine in their original language so that future doctors can fully comprehend and comprehend their teachings.

Various medical schools in Korea accept students from outside the country.

Even on their official websites, international offices for students who plan to study medicine are listed.

Pursuing a medical degree in Korea can be challenging for international students.

Only a few candidates are accepted into Korean medical schools, and the admissions exam is exceedingly rigorous compared to other programs.

On the other hand, only approximately 5% of students graduate from Korean medical schools each year, but those who finish the six-year program are much rarer.

Studying medicine in Korea is a challenge, but not out of reach.

Requirements for becoming a Medical Doctor in Korea:

1. Language Requirements:

In studying medicine in Korea, you must know how to speak Korean.

However, learning Korean can be challenging but not impossible if you don’t already speak Chinese or Japanese.

Basic Korean can be learned in three months by beginners, but fluency takes two years of dedicated study.

Moreover, learning the Korean alphabet, or hanja, is the first step in the process.

There are certain differences between Latin and Chinese, yet it is easier to learn than Chinese. It is required that you learn Korean to practice medicine in Korea.

2. Academic Requirements:

It takes at least six years to complete a medical degree and then specialize in a particular field in Korea.

As an international or foreign student, you must meet all the prerequisites before beginning your undergraduate degree.

The documents for academics include:

  • Your high school report card
  • Previous educational history
  • Passport and university application paperwork
  • A Korean language proficiency test and a student visa are all included in these documents.
  • If you attended a non-English school, you may be required to take an IELTS or a TOEFL to demonstrate your ability in English.

Curriculum Requirements:

There is no difference in the medical curriculum between Korea and other countries.

However, the time of study is slightly longer. There is no field specialization required to receive a medical degree in Korea.

Pre-medical training will take up the program’s first two or four years.

Pre-clinical basic science, including hospital visits and patient interaction, will be the sole focus of the next two years.

Finally, clinical rotations are similar to internships but aren’t the same as internships. Students will work in shifts with the help of professionals.

Read more: China Student Visa (Applications, Requirements, Steps, Benefits)

How to Become a Medical Doctor in Korea:

Regarding East Asian countries and the world at large, South Korea is among the best-developed nations.

More than 25 million people live in the greater Seoul area, making it the world’s fifth-largest city.

Here are the tips on how to become a medical doctor in Korea:

1. Learn to Speak Korean:

The first stage in learning Korean is to master the Hangul alphabet, which is very different from Latin and can be quite a struggle, but it is also a lot easier than Chinese.

If you study 7 to 10 hours a week, you should be able to hold a three-minute conversation in Korean in roughly three months or 90 days. Furthermore, if you keep up this pace for a year, you can converse fluently in Korean.

2. Study Medicine in Korea:

Students who plan to become doctors in Korea can begin by studying medicine in the country, which will help them immerse themselves in the language and culture and prepare them for their future careers.

It is estimated that graduation takes 6 years. The first two years are devoted solely to general education, while the next two are devoted to the study of medical science.

Students in their final two years of schooling must complete practical/clinical training.

3. Take Assessments:

Korean-approved medical degrees must be obtained before you can sit for the final exam that will award your authorization to practice medicine in the country.

An internationally renowned university or one in Korea can award this diploma.

If you are not a graduate of a recognized university, you may need to spend a few more semesters at a Korean university or take a qualifying exam before you can appear for the final exam.

Read more: Top 10 Jobs For Doctors Without USMLE

4. Medical License/ KMLE:

KMLE (Korean Medical Licensing Examination) is an important exam you need to become a doctor in Korea.

Korean medical licensing examination is designed to determine if candidates have the knowledge and abilities necessary to practice primary care medicine and a professional demeanor.

The number of non-Koreans passing this exam can be as low as zero in some years.

But, if you’re not fluent in Korean, you may want to focus on that before preparing for the exam, which takes about a year to complete and is conducted entirely in Korean.

Moreover, most Korean doctors pass this exam, while only a small percentage of those with non-Korean medical degrees do.

Like the Preliminary Exam, this exam has both written and practical components.

5. Get a Work Permit:

The E-5 (Special Occupation) visa is the type of visa you’ll require if you’re a doctor.

You will, nevertheless, need to take and pass the KMLE exam to practice medicine in Korea, with very few exceptions, even if you have a foreign degree.

Read more: Why do People become doctors? (Best answers)

How to be a Medical Doctor in Korea as a foreigner:

Foreign doctors seeking certification in Korea face a lengthy and demanding process.

The applicant must hold a doctor’s license and a medical degree from their home country.

They can now sit for the KMLE certification exam.

Candidates must also pass a qualification exam, which can take up to two years to study for if their medical degree is not recognized by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW).

Most MOHW-recognized universities are in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, and other nations.

Only a handful of foreign doctors pass the KMLE exam, which is administered in Korean and requires a high level of fluency in the language.

Top 10 Medical Schools in Korea

  • Seoul National University (SNU) College of Medicine
  • Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) School of Medicine
  • Yonsei University College of Medicine
  • University of Ulsan College of Medicine
  • Korea University College of Medicine
  • College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea
  • Kyungpook National University (KNU) School of Medicine
  • Pusan National University (PNU) School of Medicine
  • Inje University College of Medicine
  • Hanyang University College of Medicine

1. Seoul National University (SNU) College of Medicine:

The SNU College of Medicine was established in 1889 and is considered one of the best medical schools in Korea.

Medical schools place a premium on developing Kindhearted Leaders who Value Principles. Graduate school allows aspiring physicians to concentrate in one of three areas: medicine, clinical medicine, or biomedical sciences.

Visit School

2. University of Ulsan College of Medicine:

University of Ulsan College of Medicine is one of the best medical schools in Korea.

The University of Ulsan frequently appears on lists of the world’s top universities compiled by recognized survey organizations such as QS, THE, and CWUR.

In medical and life sciences, we are ranked among the top ten universities in Korea; biology, chemistry, and material science are among the top twenty.

Consider the school to be one of the best private institutions in Korea.

Their exceptional accomplishment is due to our unwavering commitment to practical education and research, founded on the bedrock of daring and adventure that underpins Korea’s brilliant success today.

Visit School

3. Pusan National University (PNU) School of Medicine:

The School of Medicine at Pusan National University (PNU) is ranked second among Korea’s public universities.

Apart from producing great physicians, this Korean medical school takes pleasure in grooming future world leaders in medicine. Additionally, it emphasizes worldwide and interdisciplinary research.

To be a medical doctor in Korea, especially at PNU, you must be ready for exotic research.

Visit School

4. Hanyang University College of Medicine:

Hanyang University College of Medicine is one of Korea’s most prestigious medical schools.

While the College of Medicine was envisioned in 1965, it was not until 1968 that the school began accepting its first class of 80 students.

Students at Hanyang can complete their clinical rotations at the prestigious Hanyang University Medical Center. Hanyang University Guri Hospital,

as well as the renowned Hanyang University International Hospital, are included in this system.

Visit School

5. Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) School of Medicine:

Sungkyunkwan University’s (SKKU) School of Medicine was founded in 1398 under the Joseon dynasty, making it one of the best medical schools in Korea. 

The Medical Building is a nine-story structure that houses various educational and research facilities, including multimedia classrooms, problem-solving laboratories, conference rooms, and a huge auditorium for academic symposiums.

The high-speed network connects not just on-campus but also to affiliated hospitals located off-campus.

Visit School

6. Korea University College of Medicine:

Korea University College of Medicine is one of the country’s most prestigious medical schools. The College of Medicine was initially established to educate female physicians in Western medicine.

Beyond producing respected female physicians, the school has made tremendous strides since then.

The college has produced several of Korea’s finest female and male physicians, guided by its ideology of developing highly ethical doctors.

Apart from imparting a sound understanding of preclinical and clinical medicine, this medical school in Korea encourages its students to participate in international exchanges and community service projects.

Visit School

Read more: How to Become a Dermatologist (Steps, Duration, Skills)

7. Yonsei University College of Medicine:

Yonsei University College of Medicine is one of Korea’s best and oldest medical schools.

YUCM will aspire to be the most dependable medical institution by valuing patients and providing high-quality care through advanced technology, expertise, and collaboration with other medical institutions.

The elite few are educated via an intuitive problem-based learning method under the direction of more than 550 full-time academic members.

Visit School

8. Inje University College of Medicine:

Inje University College of Medicine is one of Korea’s most prestigious medical schools.

The College of Medicine was founded to educate physicians critical for the twenty-first century. 

Visit School

9. Kyungpook National University (KNU) School of Medicine:

The School of Medicine at Kyungpook National University (KNU) is one of the most distinguished in the country, with an average of 110 candidates each year.

As one of the premier medical schools in the country, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine recently played a pivotal role in developing a new medical curriculum, which began in the early 1990s and has since become the norm for medical education in Korea.

The Kyungpook National University School of Medicine has a long and glorious history.

Visit School

10. College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea:

College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, was established nearly a century after the institution was founded.

The College of Medicine uses an OMNIBUS curriculum, ensuring each student receives a customized premedical education.

The curriculum includes two six-week competency development sessions that include consultations, diagnosis, minor medical procedures, and other treatment options.

The Catholic University of Korea’s College of Medicine educates professionals who may significantly contribute to human society in the spirit of Catholicism.

Visit School

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Become a Medical Doctor in Korea: 

How many years does it take to become a doctor in Korea?

There are six years of study required to earn a medical degree. Undergraduate education takes up the first two years of residency, while the next two years focus on medical fundamentals. Practical/clinical education takes place in the final two years of schooling.

Is it hard to become a doctor in Korea?

To become a doctor, you must first complete your undergraduate or graduate studies at a medical school. Medical school admission is quite competitive.

What do Koreans think of doctors?

Patients in Korea have great respect for their doctors, and doctors aren’t used to answering inquiries or explaining their treatment plans to them. Some people may be insulted if a patient goes to another doctor for a second opinion.

Is medical school hard in Korea?

Medical school in Korea might be particularly challenging for international students. Since only a small number of students are accepted, and the exams are particularly demanding compared to other programs, medical school entrance exams in Korea are extremely competitive.


As with any other country, gaining admission to a medical school in Korea is a straightforward process.

You must show a desire to give back and work with a diverse community to meet their particular needs.

You will likely be accepted if you spend some of your spare time volunteering, exploring culture, or learning a new language.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

Editor’s Recommendations:

If you find this article good, please share it with a friend.

Paschal Uchechukwu
Paschal Uchechukwu

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain is a professional and passionate SEO writer on Education, including homeschool, college tips, high school, and travel tips.

He has been writing articles for over 5 years. He is the Chief Content Officer at School & Travel.

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain holds a degree in Computer Science from a reputable institution. Also, he is passionate about helping people get access to online money-making opportunities.

Articles: 804