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Higher Education Institutions and Qualifications in Vietnam

Higher Education Institutions

The Ministry of Education and Training oversees the education system, though some of the higher education institutions are under the responsibility of other ministries. Vietnam comprises of both public and private universities. Public universities work at the national level or at the regional level. 

The higher education institutions in Vietnam are as follows: 

Universities: Universities in Vietnam are administered by the Ministry of Education and Training. The MOET official sanctions and signs awarded degrees. Universities in Vietnam are either specialized or multidisciplinary. The two biggest multidisciplinary universities in Vietnam are:
  • Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City 
  • Vietnam National University Hanoi
There are many regional universities as well. The largest regional universities are Da Nang University, Hue University and Thai Nguyen University. 

Universities in Vietnam provide bachelor, professional, master and doctoral degrees. 

Junior College: Junior colleges include community colleges, specialized colleges, or teacher training colleges.
This type of higher education institution focuses on its study areas and lasts for 2-3 years for students holding upper secondary diploma; and for 1-2 years for students holding professional secondary education diploma in the same field.

Senior Colleges: These institutions emphasize on a particular area of study. These institutions provide undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

Institutes: The institutes in Vietnam emphasize on a specialized research activity and offer doctorate degrees, and master’s degree in a wide range of fields. Undergraduate degree programmes are also offered at some of the institutes. 

Higher Education Qualifications

The Ministry of Education and Training determines the curriculum standards for all study programmes, while the ministry pertinent to the area of training administers individual colleges.

The higher education degrees awarded by higher education institutions are as follows:

Diploma: The diploma requires 1-2 years of full-time study after the completion of upper secondary education; or requires 3-4 years of full-time study after the completion of lower secondary education. The diploma is generally issued with the title cử nhan followed by the field of specialization, such as science, foreign languages, or economics. Other titles include dentist (nha sĩ ), engineer (ky sự), medicine (bac sĩ ), pharmacist (dược sĩ ), or lawyer (luật sư).

Associates degrees: This degree requires 2-3 years of full-time study and completion of 100 to 180 credits. This degree is offered by junior colleges in Vietnam. To gain entry into the associate degree programme, pupils must complete secondary school and pass an admissions exam. The associate degree programmes are split up into general core curriculum and a specialized training. These programmes provided theoretical knowledge as well as practical training. 

Undergraduate Degree Programmes

Following are the undergraduate courses offered in Vietnam

Short Cycle (Cao dang): This programme lasts for 3 years and offered by junior or community colleges. The short-cycle courses are practical oriented and leads to the Certificate of higher education, associate degree or junior college diploma.

Long Cycle (Dai hoc)-Bachelor’s: This programme requires 4-6 years of study at the university. For most of the courses, it requires 4 years of full-time studies, while in the case of veterinary, pharmacy, and architecture it lasts for 5 years, and in case of medicine and dentistry it lasts for 6 years. After successful completion of the programme, students are awarded a diploma of higher education or university graduate diploma or bachelor. Graduates obtain degree with a title corresponding to their area of study such as bachelor (cử nhan), lawyer (luật sư), engineer (kỹ sư), or medical doctor (bac sĩ), etc. This cycle requires 180 to 320 credits depending on the major. The long cycle studies are sub-divided into stages of education system:
  • Stage 1- General Education (Dai cuong):  This stage covers first 3-4 semester that has a core curriculum.  Students after successful completion of the stage 1 get a certificate of university studies and are eligible for selection exams to stage 2.This stage requires 60-90 credits.
  • Stage 2-Specialized Education (Chuyen nganh): This involves the final year of the study programme wherein students’ field of specialty is being focussed on. 

Graduate Studies

The graduate studies involves master’s and doctoral degree programmes. 

Master’s degree: This degree requires 1-2 years of full-time study and completion of 40 credits along with coursework, research and master’s thesis. Admittance to the master’s degree programme requires completion of first university degree, either full-time or in-service mode. Also, students must pass a competitive examination for admission. 

Doctoral degree: This degree requires 2-3 years of study in a related field after completion of the master’s degree programme and 4 years after the completion of the bachelor’s degree programme. It involves completion of coursework and dissertation or research project. 

Higher Education Credentials

Following are the higher education credentials awarded at different levels of higher education in Vietnam:
  • Two-year College Certificate (Bằng Tốt Nghiệp Trung cấp)
  • Two-year Teaching College Certificate (Bằng Tốt Nghiệp Trung Cấp Sư Phạm)
  • Certificate of General Higher Education
  • Junior College Diploma (Bằng Tốt Nghiệp Cao Dẳng)
  • Junior Teaching College Diploma (Bằng Tốt Nghiệp Cao Dẳng Sư Phạm)
  • Bachelor degree (Bằng Tốt Nghiệp Đại Học)
  • Bachelor of Medicine degree (Bằng Tốt Nghiệp Đại Học)
  • Master Degree (Bằng Thạc Sĩ)
  • Doctorate Degree (Bằng Tến Sĩ)
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