Located in South Asia, Thailand is a fascinating destination. Although it has gone through rough political times, the number of visitors and the revenue from tourism haven’t stopped growing.
In 2017, Thailand received 37 million tourists. This number of international visitors also translates into a high amount of international students, making Thai universities the third most popular in Southeast Asia. Maybe people are attracted by the delicious food, the warm weather, the never-ending nightlife, and the wide variety of university options. In this article, we will be looking at cheap universities in Thailand.
The higher education system in Thailand has gone through multiple reforms in the last years with the objective of improving and unifying education. This includes changing the admissions tests, the academic calendar, the curricula, and funding.
Universities in Thailand divide into specialized, multidisciplinary, and community colleges. Around 30% of these institutions are located in the capital city, Bangkok. Until 2016, there were 156 universities that were accredited. 48% of them are private.
Thailand has an aging population that is growing quickly. This is why they are making important efforts to keep their young citizens at local universities and to attract international students.
For example, they’ve relaxed certain policies related to visas. In the case of higher education, the number of agreements with universities abroad has increased. They currently offer many double degrees in cooperation with foreign institutions. Many universities are also building satellite campuses in Thailand.
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- Best Universities in Thailand
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- Best Scholarships in Thailand
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How is the Admissions Process at Thai Universities?
The admissions process for public universities was recently changed. The Thai Central Admission System (TCAS) was introduced in 2018 and is comprised of five stages that combine tests and the examination of high school grades and diplomas. There are 54 universities in Thailand that currently use the system.
Private universities choose their own admission methods, which can include interviews, tests, essay writing, or just the submission of documents.
What is the Language of Instruction at Thai Universities?
Thailand’s official language is Thai, so the majority of degree programs are taught in this language. However, many universities have programs completely taught in English. Actually, it is estimated that in 2015, Thailand had 1,044 programs taught in English.
How expensive are Universities in Thailand?
As it happens in most countries, tuition fees for international students are significantly more expensive than for domestic students in Thailand.
Fortunately, they are still very affordable when compared to other universities. Tuition fees for international programs in English usually go from 2,000 USD to 6,000 USD per year. This makes universities in Thailand to be significantly cheap.
Sometimes, Thai universities include the cost of the whole program instead of the annual or biannual fees. If a program seems way too expensive, check carefully before dismissing a university. Chances are that the costs showed are for the complete program and you just have to the math and divide the sum into the number of years/semesters of the program.
Is Thailand an expensive country?
Like other countries in the region, living in Thailand is relatively affordable. Thailand’s official currency is the Thai baht (THB). 1,000 THB is 32 USD approximately.
Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs 13,700 THB (around 450 USD) per month. In other areas, rent could cost 8,500 THB (around 275 USD).
Thailand is famous for its delicious food comprised of multiple spices, exotic fruits, and succulent dishes. You can eat at a local restaurant for less than 5 USD and at a mid-range restaurant for 15 to 20 USD. And don’t forget that Thais eat with their hands!
Now that you know a little bit more about Thailand’s higher education system and lifestyle, let’s talk about the universities. As they have over 100 universities, this time we’ll only cover those that have international programs in English.
Cheap Universities in Thailand
1. MahaSarakham University (MSU)
The first cheap university in Thailand that we will be looking at is MaraSarakham University. This university came into existence in 1963 as a teaching training college. Its objective was educating the future teachers of Thailand. The institution started to expand and became the campus of another university. Today, MSU has more than 40,000 students and has much more programs than just teaching training.
MSU has two campuses: one is located in the center of MahaSarakham and the second is in the Kantharawichai District.
The university has 17 faculties, so you can be sure that any program you’re interested in will be available here! Actually, it is the only university in Thailand that offers programs in paleontology and certain programs in Khmer.
They offer 86 bachelor programs, 58 master programs, and 34 doctorate programs. The university also has nine research centers and two colleges of music and politics and governance.
The detailed steps to apply to MSU are explained in their admissions section. There is no test but you’ll have to submit many documents.
Tuition fees are affordable at MSU, and tuition fees for undergraduate and graduate degree programs go from 2,850 USD to 10,400 USD per year. The university also has student residences available for international students at both campuses. Rent goes from 2,000 (65 USD) to 9,500 THB (310 USD) plus services, which are could cost between 1,000 (32 USD) and 1,500 (50 USD) depending on consumption.
2. Chulalongkorn University
The oldest higher education institution in Thailand is Chulalongkorn University. This cheap university in Thailand was named after one of Thailand’s kings (this country has a parliamentary constitutional monarchy) and was created after two institutions merged together in 1917.
According to the QS World University Ranking, this is the best university in Thailand and the 247th best in the world.
It is located in Bangkok and has more than 35,000 students. This cheap university in Thailand has 19 faculties, a school of agricultural resources, four colleges, 14 institutes, and a graduate school.
An interesting aspect is that the King used to be the one that handed over the diplomas at graduations. Nowadays, it is done by members of the royal family. As the royal school was one of the institutions that merged to create this university, students are required to wear uniforms.
The university has student residences available for international students. CU iHouse has 846 fully furnished units that cost between 36 to 546 USD per month. It also has bus services for students.
Admission start by completing an application form online. Students may be asked to take a written test or go to an interview. Get more details by reading the information available here.
Majors are divided into two groups for determining tuition fees. Majors that belong to the first group cost 65,500 THB (2,200 USD) per semester. Majors that belong to the second group cost 61,500 THB per semester (2,000 USD). You can see that in either group, the tuition fees are rather affordable at Chulalongkorn University. To check which majors are included in each group, click here.
3. Prince of Songkla University (PSU)
The next cheap university in Thailand that we’ll be looking at is Prince of Songkla University. The university was created in 1967 in the southern area of Thailand to tackle the needs of the region, contribute to the development of the area, and actively participate in the community.
In order to have a significant presence in the region, PSU has five campuses. These have 39 faculties, institutes, and colleges. There are also four hospitals for the healthcare faculty that benefit the community.
More than 37,000 students chose one of the 300 degree programs offered here. Around 700 of these students are international. PSU also has over 40 research centers.
The university has student residences for international students. International dormitories have 64 places available. You must register online to book a room.
Regarding tuition fees, international students pay two times what domestic students have to pay. They go from 54,000 THB (1,750 USD) to 154,000 THB (5,000 USD).
There are international programs that have their own fees. These go from 35,000 THB (1,150 USD) to 90,000 THB (3,000 USD). To learn how to apply and be admitted, visit the admissions section and contact the university.
4. Burapha University (BUU)
Burapha University was founded in 1955 in the coastal area of Thailand. Almost 48,000 students receive education in one of the three campuses of the university. 5,000 students are admitted each year.
This cheap university in Thailand has 24 faculties distributed throughout the three campuses. It also has two colleges and three graduate schools.
To assure students’ wellbeing, there are many activities and events available. There are over 100 student club and organizations, recreation and sports facilities, and art-related events. The university also has an on-campus bus service.
The detailed application process along with the requirements and tuition fees are available on their admissions website. The process does not involve tests or interviews. In case you need financial aid, you’ll have to contact the International Relations Office to apply for a scholarship.
5. Sripatum University
Sripatum University was originally founded in 1970 as a college. 17 years later, it became a university. It has ten schools and six colleges. At this university, students also wear uniforms.
One of these colleges is the Sripatum International College (SIC), which offers 8 international programs that are completely taught in English. These are Airline Business, International Business Management, International Logistic and Supply Chain Management, Accountancy, Media & Marketing Communication, and Thai Studies.
The other two programs were created in cooperation with institutions abroad. The first one is of International Hospitality Management with the Swiss College of Hospitality Management Lenk (SHML). The other one is Business Chinese in cooperation with the Beijing Language & Culture University.
All undergraduate degree programs last for four years. Annual tuition fees go from 123,900 THB (4,000 USD) to 139,000 THB (4,500 USD). This is quite an affordable tuition fee for Thai university. To learn how to apply, visit their admissions section.
6. Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)
The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), a cheap university in Thailand, was created in 1969 with the objective of fostering improvement in the field of technology and the search for sustainable development in the region. Its areas of expertise include engineering, management, technology, and of course, sustainable development.
AIT is a leader in terms of internationalization because of the comprehensive number of affiliate programs with universities around the world and for how well prepared they are to receive international students. Actually, the university educates around 2,000 students and 70% of them are international, coming from over 50 countries.
The university has three schools of Management (SOM), Engineering and Technology (SET), and Environment, Resources, and Development (SERD). There are also other departments called AIT Solutions and AIT Extension, which offer short courses, professional certificates, and services of consultancy.
Along with the campus in Thailand, AIT also created AIVC, which is a campus in Vietnam.
They offer master and doctorate programs, dual degree and joint degree programs, exchange and Erasmus programs, and a special Unified International Bachelor-Master (UIBM) that lasts for five years and is offered in cooperation with Partner University (PU). There are also over 450 research projects that are currently sponsored.
On their admissions section, they explain everything related to the admissions procedures, requirements, and eligibility. There are also details on the preparatory program called Bridging Program.
Tuition fees are calculated according to the price of the credit, which is 16,000 THB. This means that for all programs, each semester (12 credits) would cost 192,000 THB (6,200 USD). Check their FAQ section to learn more!
7. Bangkok University (BU)
Bangkok University (BU) is a private institution that was established in 1962. Along with the campus in the capital city, the university opened a second campus in the city of Rangsit. For most of the programs, students complete the first two years of their major at the Rangsit campus and then move to the campus in Bangkok.
Each year, this cheap university in Thailand receive around 30,000 students who choose one of their programs in English or Thai.
International programs in English include seven bachelor degree programs in marketing, entrepreneurship, hotel and restaurant management, international tourism and hospitality management, culinary arts and design, communication arts, and business. All of them last for four years.
There’s also a master program in electrical and computer engineering, and three doctorate programs in electrical and computer engineering, knowledge and innovation management, and philosophy in communication arts.
Tuition fees depend on the program. For example, Marketing and Business cost 84,000 THB (2,720 USD) per semester and Communication Arts is 90,000 THB (2,920 USD) per semester. In case you need financial aid, there’s a wide variety of scholarships available. Visit their international students’ section to learn more about admissions.
I hope that this article on cheap universities in Thailand was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Asia Scholarships Page!