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The Vietnam Higher Education System

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) administers and regulates the Vietnamese education system, including the management of new higher education institutions, determining admittance criteria; framing curricula, and issuing of certificates and diplomas.  However some of the higher education institutions in Vietnam are under the purview of other ministries. 

Main Laws Regulating Higher Education in Vietnam

Law: Education Law of 1998
Deals with: University autonomy

Law: Government Decree No 90/CP, 1993

Higher Education Stats

  • Number of Universities in Vietnam: 234
  • Number of Junior Colleges in Vietnam: 185

Categories of Higher Education Institutions

In Vietnam, the higher education institutions are segregated as follows:

Public: These are managed by the state.

Non-Public: The non-public institutions are sub-divided into the following:
  • Semi-public: These are owned by the state and regulated by a public authority. Costs covered by student fees.
  • People-founded: These institutions are owned and administered by non-government organizations or private associations. 
  • Private: These institutions are owned, administered and regulated by private individuals.

Higher Education Institutions: Snapshot

Following are the higher education institutions in Vietnam:
  • Universities: Universities in Vietnam are multidisciplinary and offer a wide range of courses to study. 
  • Senior colleges: These institutions emphasize on one discipline only. 
  • Institutes: This higher education institution emphasize on a specialized research activity. They provide doctorate degrees, and sometimes master’s degree. 
  • Junior colleges (trường cao đẳng): The junior colleges in Vietnam provide vocational education that emphasize on academics and issues vocation education graduation diploma and associate degrees. 
  • Vocational training centers: Provides vocational certificate of short duration leading to employment. 

Higher Education Qualifications: At a Glance

Undergraduate Degree

The undergraduate studies in Vietnam can either lead to a Certificate of Higher Education (Bang Tot Nghiep Cao Dang), lasting for 3 years; or a Diploma of Higher Education or Bachelor’s degree (Bang Tot Nghiep Dai Hoc), lasting for 4 to 6 years depending on the discipline. The titles are given as per the area of study.

Graduate Degree

The graduate covers masters and doctorate degree. 

Master’s degree: This degree required 2-year of full-time study. It involves coursework and thesis. Students must hold a bachelor’s degree and pass a competitive exam in order to gain admission into the master’s degree programme. 

Doctoral degree: This degree requires 2-3 years of study for students who hold a Master’s degree, or 4 years for undergraduate degree holders. Students are required to pass an examination known as Thi Toi Thieu or “minimum knowledge” and after passing the exam, they must defend their dissertation. After successful completion of the degree programme, doctoral degree (Bang Tien Sy.) is awarded. 

To know more about the higher education degrees offered by higher education institutions in Vietnam, click here.

Higher Education Credit System

According to the Ministry of education and training, in the Vietnamese higher education system, one credit is equivalent to 15 hours of classroom studies, 30-45 hours of practical training, or 45-60 hours of research and thesis writing.  Though, some of the higher education institutions have their own credit system.

Classification of Higher Education Students

The students are classified on the basis of the mode of education-

Full-time: Students who wish to go for full-time studies in Vietnam are accepted through entrance examination and get the degree “chinh quy.”

Open: These pupils pay full as the full-time pupils regardless of academic credentials. The degree obtained specified “mo rong”.

Part-time: In order to gain admittance into the part-time study programme, pupils must hold a baccalaureate and 1 year of work experience. It comprises of: 
  • In service: Pupils who have taken an abbreviated or short-term course while being employed. A degree called “tai chuc” is being given.
  • Specialized or retraining: Pupils come back to university to enhance and advance their skills and remain up-to-date in the field studied earlier.
  • Short-term training: For pupils who want to advance their knowledge.

Admission to Higher Education

General Requirements-
Students must hold a certificate of secondary school graduation for entry into higher education first level studies. 
Also, they must pass a national university entrance examination. 

National University Entrance Examination

After the completion of grade 12, students must appear for a national university entrance examination in order to gain admittance into the higher education institutions in Vietnam. This exam comprises of a group of 4 examinations, which together form the testing for the upper secondary school leaving certificate.

Junior College Admission

Students who want to enter junior college in Veitnam must hold a diploma of secondary vocational education (In Vietnamese: bằng tốt nghiệp cao đẳng). Some of the colleges may have their own entrance examination.

Continuing Education

Continuing education aims to increase literacy and adult education. Through continuing education, individuals can work and study simultaneously and can increase their knowledge based and attain lifelong learning. It leads to personal development as well. Continuing education is imparted through the provincial and district continuing education centers and community learning centers. Additionally, general schools, and vocational and higher education institutions provide continuing educational programmes.
Continuing education consists of:
  • Anti- illiteracy and post- literacy programs;
  • Educational degree awarding programmes in the Vietnamese national education system
  • Programmes for in-service training, retraining and upgrading professional qualifications
  • Tailor-made programmes for improving and enhancing knowledge and skills, and technology transfer

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee to be paid by the students is decided by a committee of the higher education institution administrators. The tuition fee varies depending on the level of education and institution.
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