The Philippines is an archipelago located in Southeast Asia. International students may find the country an excellent choice to further their master’s degree program as almost all universities conduct their programs in English. It would also not be difficult for international students to adapt to the environment because there are a lot of foreign nationals living and studying in the country, and English is widely spoken for both locals and foreigners.

Reputable universities in the country offer a handful of master’s programs. These institutions usually require international students to submit proof of English proficiency, and a few universities also require proof of Filipino proficiency. With good quality of higher education, cheap tuition fees, and low cost of living, this country in Southeast Asia indeed is an excellent option for students pursuing their graduate studies. Let us take a look at the requirements and processes for applying for a master’s degree in the Philippines!

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Application Requirements for Applying for Master’s in the Philippines

International students who wish to study for a master’s in the Philippines must obtain a Bachelor’s degree from a reputable school. Some internationally recognized universities in the country only accept students who have attained a high grade during undergraduate studies. Student aspirants must check with their preferred institution about this information.

Another requirement to possess are proof of language proficiencies of English and Filipino. While most schools only require students to have a good command of the English language, few study programs from certain universities require proof of Filipino proficiency.

There are many universities requiring students to submit a Recommendation Letter/s. The number of referrals will vary for every institution, but typically they require 2-3 letters coming from employers or former professors.

Also, several schools require students to submit medical certificates, as well as employment certificates, and good moral character certificate from the previous school. Students should check with the university the list of requirements set for the master’s degree program they are applying for.

Master’s Degree Language Requirements for the Philippines

Master’s degree programs offered in the Philippines are held in English-taught programs and combined English and Filipino taught programs. Bear in mind that there are no master’s programs conducted entirely in the Filipino language, only specific courses included in the study program. Several universities offer Intensive English programs for students who do not meet the minimum score in the language proficiency test. They are either taken up before enrolling in the master’s program, or the institution may allow students to take the course during their first semester

The University of the Philippines offers English-taught and/or Filipino-taught graduate programs to international students. The university accepts tests from TOEFL, IELTS, or a certification from an accredited unit of the university for English language proficiency. For TOEFL, a student must attain a minimum score of 500 (paper-based), 173 (computer-based), or 61 (internet-based) IBT forms. For IELTS, a minimum score of 5.5 must be attained. Filipino proficiency certificate is accepted from an authorized unit of the university.

The Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas admits internationals students in their graduate programs. The university only requires students to submit either TOEFL or IELTS certificate for their English language proficiency. There is no need to take a language proficiency test in Filipino as it is not required.

How to Apply for Master’s Programs in the Philippines

1. Research on the desired graduate study program and school

A handful of universities offer master’s degree programs in the Philippines for international students. Reputable universities are mainly located in the capital city of Manila. However, there are some outstanding schools located outside the capital region. Prospective students must consider the location of their chosen university since the country is an archipelago. The school of preference may be located in other regions in the Philippines.

2. Application Process

International students who have decided to pursue their graduate programs in the Philippines may confirm with the Office of the Registrar of their preferred university about the information of the study program. Usually, the office will assist students and provide the basic requirements to be submitted.

3. Admission Test and Interview

The Admissions Committee will assess all entry requirements submitted by the student. Qualified students will either take an admission test or interview, although some departments would require both depending on the study program. Successful students will receive an admission letter from the university.

4. Applying for Student Visa

Students admitted to the study programs will receive an admission letter from the university. The Office of the Registrar will provide students with the complete list of requirements in applying for a student visa in the Philippines. All documents must be submitted to the Philippine embassy of the student’s home country for evaluation. Once the visa is approved, the student must submit the additional requirements to the Philippine Embassy: Visa application (FA Form No. 2), Medical Certificate, and Police Clearance. Upon arrival in the country, students must report to the designated committee to secure a study permit. An authorized representative of the school will assist the student with medical clearance and the issuance of an alien certificate/card.

Polytechnic University has proposed early applications for international students to give ample time to process student permits before the academic year starts. Students seeking graduate programs at the university must meet the qualifications set of the chosen department. Qualified students need to submit complete requirements before enrollment. Students whose English proficiency is below the minimum score would have to take an Intensive English course before enrollment and must take an English placement test.

The first step in applying for a graduate study at De La Salle University is to take an Admission test. International students from non-native English countries would also need to show proof of English proficiency. Next, students must prepare all requirements set for international students. All uploaded documents and forms are directly forwarded to the student’s chosen department. The Department Committee will assess the requirements and schedule qualified applicants for interview. Admission notice will be sent via email, and it is important to follow the confirmation procedures of the school before proceeding to the pre-enrollment process. The pre-enrollment stage will require students to create an account at the university portal to gain access to registration and enrollment procedures.


I hope that this article on Study Master’s in the Philippines was helpful. To know more information on how you can study in Asia, visit the Asia Scholarships Page.