Study Guide Thailand:
Living and studying in Thailand as an international student
Thai international higher education universities and colleges offer a total of 685 accredited international programs at undergraduate and graduate levels: 251 Bachelors degree, 314 Masters degree, 105 Doctorate degree and 11 Graduate Diploma degree programs (as of June 2011). Besides accredited academic degree programs, continuing education is an important field within international education in Bangkok and Thailand, here represented by 62 professional non-degree programs.
This privately owned and independent Web site introduces you to international accredited university degree programs conducted in other languages than Thai at Thai universities, such as Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English and German. You can choose a university in a city like metropolis Bangkok, but also in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, and many other locations in Thailand. This Web site is made by students and lecturers of international programs at Thai universities and their international colleges and graduate schools. In this friendly and warm Asian country and culture, you will have a great time. All university programs are accredited and globally recognized, from regional universities with a more Thai character to globally competitive programs. You are very welcome to study for a full degree, for just one exchange semester abroad, or even a Summer University
Cost of Living is very affordable on an international scale, and so is cost of study (tuition fee) at most Thai universities. Thailand is not really a 'cheap' country, however. As it is anywhere else, you get what you pay for. Prices vary widely, and so does quality, from 'Asian style' (rote textbook learning) to 'western style' (developing understanding and skills). This Web site aims to be your guide to making a qualified decision independent of whether you want to study a degree program, just spend one semester abroad as an exchange student, or take continuing education in the friendliest country in Asia. By the way, any foreign student is called an 'exchange student'. It does not need a formal exchange agreement with your university back home to study one semester abroad in Thailand: Study abroad in Asia!
Living in Thailand is something special, as you will learn. To provide you with the tools and background information you will need, we run separate Web sites on Learning Thai Language and Thai Geography, Culture, Customs, and 'Dos and Don'ts'.
Degree programs in English cover a wide range of academic fields, such as accounting, architecture, arts, biotechnology, business administration (marketing, finance & banking, general management, hotel & tourism, international business, and more majors at business schools and colleges), applied chemistry, economics, education, engineering (as well as nano, aerospace, automotive, manufacturing engineering), information technology, law, mass communications and journalism, medicine, music, nursing science, risk management, science and technology, and many more. Just use our Google Special, our search engine customized to show only pages relevant to international programs at Thai universities and colleges!
The degrees follow the US system with Bachelor (B.A., B.B.A., B.Ed., B.Eng., B.Sc. etc.) in undergraduate studies, and Graduate Diploma, Master (M.A., M.B.A., M.Ed., M.Eng., M.Sc., LL.M. etc.), and doctoral degrees (D.B.A., D.Eng., E.D., LL.D., Ph.D. etc.) on undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate level at graduate schools. The terms 'international college' and 'international graduate school' are not clearly defined in Thailand. Some international colleges only offer graduate studies. 'International program' and 'English program' are often used synonymously. That is misleading, since some universities offer international studies in a 'Chinese program', conducted in Chinese (Mandarin), or even in Arabic language or German language. 'Graduate school' and 'business school' are also term that are not clearly defined.
The most popular fields of study among foreign students are business administration, marketing, business English, Thai language, general management and international business management on undergraduate and graduate level.
Please note that you will often find Thai MBA students who graduated from a BBA program. Western HR departments would smile about such an education and, most likely, reject the job application. Such students may influence your experience in class since they are not much interested in learning anything new; they just want to obtain a graduate degree.
This is likely caused by one of two reasons. On the one hand, MBA programs are highly profitable for universities, and getting BBA graduates into them increases the quote of those who pass (and the MBA students don't need to fear failing very much - they basically study a very similar content again). On the other hand, you find plenty of civil servants in such programs. For a civil servant, any graduate degree leeds to a rise in salary. The content, field, capability, or skills are not considered in such an automatic process.
The MBA program (weekend programs are often called Executive MBA or EMBA) may serve you as an example for a general advice. Don't choose your degree program or your university for a student exchange only after brochures or university Web sites. If any possible, pay them a visit yourself and meet the students who study the program that you would like to join. That way, you will quickly experience whether a particular program is the right one for you, or you better should take a look at another program.
Every country knows the phenomenon of the 'best university'. In many countries that are universities within the top-200 global rankings. In Thailand, it is Chulalongkorn University. As a foreigner, you will pay at Chula, as it is called in short, generally about double that much as Thai students do. Whether Chula is academically the best one or not is a question we cannot answer. Chula is, however, the preferred way to become a civil servant, a status that comes with plenty of benefits for a Thai and thus highly desirable.
University rankings is another topic you may want to consider. On this Web site, you find a ranking compiled by a very serious research body in Spain. It doesn't consider too much the academic research quality (that would affect you only in your doctoral studies anyway). It focuses much more on the appearance of a particular university on the Internet: Information offered (including rich files which might be a hint about the modernity of the education at that institution), how well the best institutions globally link towards that university, and so on. University rankings are a complex thing, but well worth thinking about them before you make your decision after them. The same is certainly valid for MBA rankings, nationally or globally.
One of the most important factors in degree studies in Thailand is the immersion into everyday life in a different culture. That is what will affect you and your skills the most, and that is also what international employers value the most. Whether you study marketing or accounting, media or management, obtaining a degree in Thailand is a strong asset in your CV. Less so, but still very interesting, is an exchange semester (everybody does one these days) or, on a different level, a Summer School that runs usually only a few weeks while the semester runs 5 months in Thailand.
Don't worry that your English language skills might not be sufficient for studying in an international study abroad program in Thailand! Our experience shows that every student has a quite impressive passive knowledge and just lacks speaking English language. The more English becomes your everyday language, the faster you will master it. It's a matter of weeks, rather than months!
We are looking forward to welcoming you in Thailand, be it just for a semester abroad or for a full degree program!