International Education



Higher Education in Thailand

Thailand has a strong higher education system which includes some highly ranked public universities as well as a number of technology universities and private institutions. The Office of Higher Education Commission, which is under the Ministry of Education, controls and administers public and private higher education.

Admissions criteria at public universities have undergone continual changes over the past decade but generally have included secondary school grades and scores on aptitude tests or entrance exams. A central admissions system is used by some universities while others ask students to apply directly. Tuition at public universities varies between schools and programs but is generally very reasonable. Private university tuition is higher and varies by school.

Types of Schools and Degrees

Higher education institutions have numbered about 165 in recent years and include public universities, public teacher universities, public technology universities, and a number of private universities and colleges. Most public universities have selective admissions but two are open universities where anyone who has completed secondary school can attend.

Several universities have been highly rated in world rankings including Chulalongkorn University, Chiang Mai University and Mahidol University. In general, Thai universities are respected for their programs in medicine, the arts, humanities and information technology.

Degrees that can be earned follow the typical western structure with bachelor's degrees earned in four years, master's degrees in one or two years and doctoral degrees in two to five years. Bachelor's degrees in architecture and education take five years and medical degrees take six years.

International Students

The number of international students attending universities in Thailand has been increasing steadily in recent years with over 19,000 foreign students attending 103 Thai universities in 2009. Foreign students may study as full-degree students, as exchange students through a foreign university or college, or as a visiting student who is attending school elsewhere.

The major universities have numerous programs taught in English, many of which are designed to attract international students. Those whose first language is not English may need to take a standardized English language exam before being admitted. International students typically pay substantially higher tuition than local students at public universities but tuition fees vary widely between universities and programs.

About Thailand

Thailand, which is located in Southeast Asia, is governed by a constitutional monarch along with a democratically elected legislature. However, political unrest in recent years has resulted in violence and political instability. The approximately 67 million residents primarily speak Thai while English is taught as a core subject in schools but is only spoken fluently by a small portion of the population.

Thailand has an emerging economy which is highly dependent upon exports of rice, textiles, footwear, fishery products, rubber, jewellery, cars, computers and electronic appliances. The country generally ranks near the middle in measures of quality of life, economic freedom and corruption although it recently ranked 34th out of 125 in global competitiveness. Education is a government priority with the percentage of GDP spent on education exceeding the percent spent by many other countries including the UK, China and France.


Office of the Higher Education Commission – Bureau of International Cooperation Strategy

Office of the Higher Education Commission (Thai language)

Toursim Authority of Thailand

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