International students who pursue their education in the Philippines enjoy several advantages compared to those in other countries. These perks include a considerably lower cost of living, an adaptable climate, several scholarship and grant opportunities, and a rich culture. It also helps that most universities in the Philippines offer English-taught programs and are recognized or accredited by the USA.

Thankfully, universities in the Phillippines are very welcoming to international students from all over the world. If you want to be one of them, this article will provide information on how to apply to Philippine universities. Read through the article for all the helpful information to help you begin your academic journey in this Southeast Asian country.

University Application Process at Philippine Universities

For international students, the process of applying to a university in the Philippines can be confusing. To help you out, these steps can be your guide on how to apply to Philippine universities.

Step 1. Research Universities and Their Programs

There are several universities in the Philippines, and identifying the one that best suits your academic goal is important. Therefore, before applying to any university in the country, you should do your research.

Consider factors like the school’s reputation, its instruction medium, available resources, and faculty. You should also check if the university offers admission to your preferred program or visit the university website for a list of their graduate and graduate programs to help you make a choice. For instance, you can visit the Academic Programs list of the University of Santo Tomas to see if their courses are a fit for you.

Step 2. Check and Prepare University Admission Requirements

Once you have identified the program you would like to apply for, your next step should be to check the university admission requirements. There is usually a page dedicated to detailing how to apply to that specific Philippine university, such as this page on the University of San Carlos website.

The school will use these admission requirements to determine if you qualify for the program you are applying for. While the full list of requirements varies, some common inclusions are an academic transcript, proof of language proficiency, and standardized test scores.

Step 3. Complete Application Form

As part of the admission process, applicants will be required to fill out an application form, which is unique to the university as the Philippines has no centralized admission application platform. Thus, applicants must take note of and submit before the deadlines, which vary per institution.

The application form typically requests applicants’ personal information, academic background, desired program and course, extracurricular activities, language proficiency, letters of recommendation, personal statement, financial information, and other additional information.

Step 4. Pay Application Fee

Certain universities may require international applicants to pay an application fee. For instance, Silliman University requires that international students pay $100 as an application fee. The fees are usually nonrefundable and compulsory.

Step 5. Accept Admission Offer

If you are done applying to a university in the Philippines and are subsequently accepted, you will receive an official admission offer. The offer will provide important information about the program, such as tuition fees and other conditions you need to meet. You must accept the offer’s terms and follow its instructions to proceed with enrollment and studies.

Step 7. Prepare for Arrival

Once you have received and accepted the admission offer, you will need to prepare to leave your country. But before you do that, you must apply for a student visa.

Applying for a student visa may entail additional requirements and can be a lengthy process. Thus, allot a significant amount of time for it. Also, make accommodation arrangements and get other essentials to make your time in a new country comfortable.

General Admission Documents

1. Admission Form

Universities in the Philippines require applicants to fill out an application form to be considered for admission. The form’s interface and the information it asks for varies per university, but applicants are expected to fill it out with up-to-date and accurate information. It will also usually require the applicant’s personal information and other relevant information.

2. Academic Transcripts

Academic transcripts are often requested from their applicants, whether international or domestic, to be able to apply to universities in the Philippines. These transcripts are basically the academic records of applicants from their previous educational institutions and are used to determine if the applicant meets the academic expectations for the program they are applying for.

Usually, undergraduate applicants will provide academic transcripts from the high school they attended. Meanwhile, graduate applicants will provide academic transcripts from their previous college or undergraduate institution. Some universities might also demand more than one copy of the transcript. They may also require the documents to be certified by the originating institution.

3. High School Certificate/Bachelor’s Degree/Master’s Degree

Undergraduate applicants must prove that they graduated from a high school or secondary school by submitting a high school diploma or certificate of graduation from high school. Meanwhile, graduate applicants will provide proof of a bachelor’s degree from their previous university, if they are applying for a master’s program, or proof of a master’s degree from the last university, if they are applying for a Ph.D.

4. Police Clearance Certificate

International students often have to submit a Police Clearance Certificate from their country of origin or legal residence to be able to apply to several Philippine universities. The clearance will prove that the student does not have a criminal record in their home country, which may be necessary for certain professional licensing. International students might also be required to submit a police clearance certificate during visa and immigration processing.

5. Standardized Test Scores

Philippine universities often require international students to submit standardized test scores as part of the admission process. The specific standardized test and minimum score requirements depend on the specific university and choice of study.

However, some of the most common tests required include the following: Scholastic Assessment Test, General Certificate of Education, International English Language Testing System, or Test of English as a Foreign Language. The latter two, though, are for testing language proficiency rather than intellectual aptitude.

6. Statement of Purpose

International students will be required to submit a statement of purpose to explain their goals, motivation, and qualifications for pursuing a particular academic program in the Philippines. This document should also reflect the applicant’s professional experience, research interests, personal attributes, and educational background.

7. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

A resume or curriculum vitae is a common requirement to be able to apply to a Philippine university. Many think that the terms’ resume’ and ‘CV’ are interchangeable. However, there are subtle differences. For instance, curriculum vitae focuses more on the academic background. Meanwhile, a resume centers on work experience.

Regardless, Philippine universities will use the document you submitted to see a detailed overview of the applicant’s career. Thus, your CV or resume should provide your contact information, academic qualifications, work experience, awards and honors, academic research-related skills, and research experience.

Optional Materials / Documents to Consider

1. Portfolio

A portfolio is a material collection showcasing an individual’s achievements, skills, and experience. Some programs require international students to submit a portfolio to be able to successfully apply to the respective Philippine universities.

For instance, graduate students applying for a fine arts program must submit a portfolio of artworks. That may include paintings, drawings, digital art, and other proof of art practice. Applicants should also note that the school might have a required format that the students must follow.

2. Certificate of Achievement

Including a certificate of achievement in your admission application documents can increase your chances of being accepted into a university. Most universities in the Philippines are looking for the most exceptional students, and a certificate of achievement in a course or program can help you stand out among other incredible applicants.

3. Professional Certificate

Professional certificates are another optional document that you can submit during the admission process for a university in the Philippines. These professional certificates typically indicate that an individual has received specialized training in an area relevant to their chosen field of study.

Certificates also prove that an applicant has practical knowledge and skills that align with the program curriculum. Hence, adding a professional certificate, especially as a graduate student, might strengthen your candidacy.

Key Facts for Applying to Universities in the Philippines

1. English Serves as a Primary Medium of Instruction

English is widely used as the medium of instruction in the Philippines for both graduate and undergraduate programs. Thus, international students can easily access many international academic resources and enjoy effective communication among staff, students, and faculty. The common language also makes it easier to apply to most Philippine universities.

But even though English is the primary medium of instruction and is widely spoken in the country, it must be noted that Filipino is the national language in the Philippines. Thus, some universities may use it to teach specific courses, such as those related to Philippine culture, language studies, and history.

2. Score High on Your Standardized Test

Standardized test scores are mandatory for international applicants to apply to many universities in the Philippines. Most of these universities also have a specific score you must attain before being considered for admission. Thus, you must know the preferred test and score required by the school of your choice and aim to score high to get a higher chance of being admitted.

3. Be Aware of the Application Deadlines

Universities in the Philippines will usually announce on their official website when international students can begin to send their applications for their preferred programs. They will also indicate when they will stop receiving applications. Therefore, sending in your application and paying the application fee before the deadline is important. You must meet the deadline to ensure your application is processed.

3. Check the Specific Visa Requirements and Application Process

A student visa is one of the most important documents for international students to be able to apply to universities in the Philippines. International students should know the requirements to apply for one, the process they will need to follow, and the fees they must pay. Some of the visa requirements for foreign students include notice of acceptance of the applicant, photocopy of passport, and photocopy of a valid government-issued ID.

4. Explore Scholarship Opportunities

Although the cost of living in the Philippines is relatively affordable compared to other countries, it is still a good idea to research scholarship programs and apply to them. Several universities in the country offer scholarships to international students to alleviate the financial burden of studying, especially for students who are meritorious or competitive. These scholarships also provide opportunities for academic and personal development.

However, some of these scholarship opportunities require you to meet specific requirements to be eligible. You might also be required to submit an essay, attend an interview, take an exam, or submit your portfolio. Thus, speak to your university’s financial aid office or visit the school’s financial website for more information on scholarship opportunities.

FAQs: University Applications in the Philippines

Can International Students Apply to a University in the Philippines?

Yes, international students can apply to a university in the Philippines. Several universities in the country actively encourage international students to apply and are interested in accepting international students at their universities. However, international students need to understand how to apply to Philippine universities, meet the admission requirements, and be able to cover the necessary financial expenses before they can be considered for admission.

International students have a great interest in studying in the Philippines not only because it offers quality education and diverse programs, but also because most of the universities offer English programs and use the English language as a medium of instruction.


Applying to a university in the Philippines can seem quite tedious and confusing, especially if you do not fully understand the process. Thankfully, this article will serve as the perfect guide to completing your application and provide all the necessary information you might miss during the process. Thus, all that’s left for you to do is to follow our tips and submit before the deadline!


We hope this article serves as a successful guide to you as you apply to Philippine universities as an international student. Now, if you want more similarly informative articles, we recommend checking our Philippines Page. However, if you still don’t have a program to pursue, scroll through these Open Courses!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

Share this article via

Leave A Comment