The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is one of the best study destinations in South Asia. International students do not just explore its ancient heritage, diverse cuisine, or the highest mountain ranges in the world, but also the prestigious universities in Pakistan that offer some of the best programs, especially in science and technology.

Top Universities in Pakistan for International Students

1. Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU)

Formerly known as the University of Islamabad, the Quaid-I-Azam University is the best university in Pakistan for international students. It is also the largest higher education institution in Islamabad, Pakistan. It was originally established as a postgraduate school only until it expanded to offer interdisciplinary undergraduate education and currently exceeds a total enrollment of 13,000 students. Comprising four faculties and nine research institutes, the QAU has ranked worldwide in Physics, Mathematics, and Agriculture. Furthermore, it has placed among the top 75 universities in Asia.

The Quaid-I-Azam University campus spans nearly seven square kilometers at the foot of the Himalayas. It has well-equipped study halls, laboratories, and libraries, as well as hostels, sports facilities, and a mosque. On top of that, international students will surely enjoy rock climbing, paragliding, and bird-watching near the hillside campus in between the university’s rigorous academic activity.

2. National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST)

The National University of Sciences and Technology is a public research-led university administered by the Pakistan Armed Forces. It was established in 1991 as the main provider of quality technical education during Pakistan’s rapid industrialization and has since then ranked consistently among the top emerging universities under 50 globally. Today, NUST proudly challenges conventional teaching methods in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field.

NUST is one of the best universities in Pakistan for international students since it adopted an American university model, with a special concentration in applied science and engineering. The university is also developing its own certified National Science and Technology Park. NUST is also an excellent choice for sporty international students, with its dedicated courts for cricket, basketball, soccer, hockey, and many others.

3. Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS)

Another university modeled to international standards is the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences. This public research university has a strong focus on medical sciences and nuclear sciences in the STEM field. In fact, the Higher Education Commission has ranked PIEAS the number one engineering university in the country. This top university in Pakistan has also ranked in the top 50 universities under 50 years, and among the top 400 universities worldwide.

The PIEAS is most notable for its postgraduate studies, especially since the institute has the highest number of faculty with PhDs. These programs actually comprise 55% of their student body. But besides receiving education from the experts, international students also enjoy cutting-edge laboratories, classrooms, academic and recreational facilities, and residential facilities within the campus.

4. Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM)

Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan is a public university named after the activist and Pashtun leader Abdul Wali Khan. It was originally a post-graduate college in Mardan but has expanded in 2015 to accommodate 31 disciplines. Today, it comprises six faculties which are Agriculture, Arts & Humanities, Business & Economics, Chemical & Life Sciences, Physical & Numerical Sciences, and Social Sciences. AWKUM also manages constituent institutes dealing with veterinary sciences, business studies, and the College for Women. Furthermore, these programs are open for international collaborations with universities from the USA, the UK, Germany, Russia, South Korea, and New Zealand, among others.

AWKUM’s top-rated programs are delivered in nine campuses, including the newly built Garden Campus equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, computer stations, a sports complex, hostels with 1500 student capacity, and the largest library in the region.

5. Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

Learning without Borders is the philosophy that drives the Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the top Pakistani universities for international students. As a private university, it became known as a transdisciplinary institution and one of the leading teaching and research schools in the country. LUMS is committed to working on solving regional and national issues, including energy, water, entrepreneurship, and policy, through educating the next great leaders of Pakistan. In turn, LUMS has produced outstanding alumni in the field of management and was even ranked among the top 40 Best Small Universities in the World.

The Lahore University of Management Sciences encourages multidisciplinary learning across its five schools including Law, Education, Science and Engineering, Humanities & Social Science, and of course, Business and Management. International students will learn how these disciplines work together in LUMS’ 100-acre campus in the historic city.

FAQs about Studying in Pakistan

Is Pakistan Good for International Students to Study In?

Students from all over the world will experience both modernity and tradition when they study in Pakistan. Home to over 150 degree-awarding institutes (DAIs) and universities, the country offers immense opportunities for higher learning, research, and skill-building that students of this generation will find relevant to bring to the global market.

After a reform in the Higher Education Commission in 2001, Pakistan has experienced rapid progress when it comes to policies on the education system. The nation has revised its programs to make Pakistani universities on par with global standards. International students will complete degree programs that are recognized all over the world.

Pakistan has several student cities where accommodation, transportation, and daily living needs are affordable and accessible to students. Cities like Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi, to name a few, are filled with cultural wonders and rewarding places to explore.

Can International Students Work in Pakistan While Studying?

Foreign nationals, including university students, will need work visas to legally work in Pakistan. A Pakistani student visa does not currently have allocations or guidelines on securing a full-time or part-time job for students. Thus, it is acknowledged by many that international students follow the same procedures for any employment activity as with regular foreign job seekers.

Can International Students Stay in Pakistan After Graduation?

Foreign students in Pakistan and holders of student visas are allowed a one-year visa extension with one re-entry. They can use this time to stay in the country for a variety of purposes, including securing a work visa to be able to stay longer in the country.


We hope that this article on the best universities in Pakistan for international students was informative. Make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

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.

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