Yonsei University is one of the three most prestigious universities in South Korea alongside Seoul National University and Korea University. They are collectively known as the SKY universities. It was said that admission to one of the SKY universities will shape one’s career prospect and social status in South Korea.
Yonsei University is a private educational institution which started as a hospital and a medical school on 1885. It was then called Gwanghyewon, Korea’s first western hospital. Before bearing the name Yonsei University, the school was formerly called the Underwood School, Gyeongsin School, and later Yonhi College.
Although Yonsei University is an elite private institution, it has a rich history in supporting the independence and modernization of Korea since the Japanese colonization, Korean War up to this day.
In a paper by Seunghan Paek & Dai Whan An (2018) published in Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering, they noted that the Yonsei University’s masterplan llustrates the architectural modernity of Korea as well as reflecting the continual interactions between different agents of power within and outside the country. This can be illustrated by the western and modernist design of its buildings owing to the fact that it was first established as a “missionary school.”
I had the chance to visit the campus during autumn. The autumn leaves falling on the university ground evoked a sense of peace and beauty to the changing season.
Its buildings are all heritage masterpieces that show South Korea’s elegance as it transitioned to the modern period. They are in fact reminiscent of old boy school’s dormitory or a county manor in England.
Today, Yonsei University remains to be one of the top universities not only in South Korea but also in the world. It is currently ranked #85 in the QS World Ranking. It is a leading institution in the fields of of medicine, biochemistry, human health, engineering, materials science, chemistry, and neuroscience. It also boasts strong programs in the field of humanities and social sciences.
International students can study at Yonsei University under a very competitive admission and scholarship process through the Korean Government Scholarship program. The University also offers other scholarship programs for university students.