Why Study in Thailand?
Thailand has a very diverse and open culture that encourages debate and discussion and the country promotes sustainable and holistic solutions to problems. Approximately 400 master’s degree programs in the country are aimed at international students and are taught in English. Many higher education institutions in Thailand are highly regarded, especially in the areas of environmental studies, agriculture, energy, law and Buddhist studies. In addition, many graduate programs exist in business and management and most of these are taught in English.
Universities in Thailand
Thailand has 80 public universities and 71 private higher education institutions. Of the 80 public universities, 63 are classified as limited admission universities, 2 as open admission universities and 15 as autonomous universities, which include 2 Buddhist universities. Most higher education institutions welcome international students, and about 20,000 foreign students study in Thailand each year. The most popular study areas for international students are Thai and English language, business administration, and international business and marketing.
Tuition and Program Duration
Tuition and fees vary across universities and programs. Tuition for master’s degree programs at public universities is usually about $1,000 (US) to $2,000 (US) per year. Tuition at private universities is about $75 (US) to $125 (US) per credit hour.
Master’s programs generally require two years and 36 credit hours to complete. Students normally earn 9-15 credit hours each semester.
The academic year at most schools is composed of two 16-week semesters and a summer session. The first semester runs from June through October, the second semester runs from November through March and the summer semester runs from April through May. Some universities use the Western semester calendar of September through December and January through May, and some universities use trimesters. By 2014, it is expected that all universities in Thailand will use the Western semester system to better align with the international community.
There are many opportunities to work in Thailand after graduation, especially for multi-national companies. Thailand has a very diverse economy; major industries include tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry, computers, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics and automobiles. Students who want to remain in Thailand to work must apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa at the Thai embassy or consulate in their home country.
Students who wish to pursue PhD studies in Thailand will also find many opportunities for further study and should work with the specific institution they are interested in attending.
International students require a visa to study in Thailand; however, in many cases the school that the student is planning to attend can help with the paperwork. Before arriving in Thailand, students must obtain an Education Visa (Non-Immigrant ED visa) from the Thai embassy or consulate in their home country. The Education Visa is only good for 90 days, so after arriving in Thailand student must apply for a one-year student visa, which can be extended for additional one-year periods as needed. The visa fee is THB 1,900 (about 60 USD). After receiving the visa, students must notify the Immigration Office every 90 days of their current address; missing this notification results in a fine of THB 2,000.
Students are also required to demonstrate that they have adequate finances for residing in Thailand during their studies. Single students must show they have THB 20,000 (about 650 USD) and students with families must have THB 40,000 (about 1300 USD).
Thailand has a very modern health care system that includes government health services, non-governmental organizations and private medical services. Thai citizens holding a Universal Coverage Health card generally receive free medical services. However, all others must pay for services, whether they are obtained at public or private facilities. Students should obtain health insurance in their home country before arriving in Thailand, as many private hospitals will not treat patients without proof of health insurance.
Travelers checks, Visa and MasterCard provide the best currency exchange rates. US dollars are also readily accepted; however, travelers may not enter the country with more than 20,000 USD in cash.
Tipping is not required; however, servers and taxi drivers appreciate it when people round up the bill so no change is required.