Studying in Thailand
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Updated 7 months ago

There are many internationally accredited university degree programmes at Thai universities that are conducted in English. International degree programmes are offered in Bangkok, but there are also options available in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Hat Yai and several other locations in Thailand. These range from regional universities, which are more traditionally Thai in character, to globally competitive and recognised international programmes.

Choosing your study program in Thailand

You can choose to do a full Bachelor's degree, Masters, MBA, or just to do an exchange semester or summer programme.

As a result of the low cost of living, studying in Thailand can be a good way to get a degree without going into too much debt. However, some professions are limited to Thai nationals ' such as doctors, architects, and civil engineers ' so you won't find any international programmes at a Thai university in these fields.

If you are interested in teaching English as a second language, then it is worth doing a CELTA or TEFL course at one of the many training centres in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket in particular. Taking a teaching course in Thailand can be helpful, as your school may also be able to help you to find a job in the area once you have finished. CELTA courses are a bit more expensive than TEFL courses, but the CELTA certificate arguably has a better reputation.

Some schools offer intensive Thai language courses and, when you sign up for a year-long course, you are granted a much-coveted one-year visa. You can also go to Thailand to do Thai cooking, massage or meditation courses, which often facilitate access to a student visa and are more flexible in terms of schedules. These courses allow many foreigners to stay legally in Thailand for a whole year.

Enrolment conditions and procedures in Thailand

Since visa processes in Thailand are subject to sudden changes by the Immigration Bureau, it is advisable that you contact your chosen place of study and your nearest Thai embassy or General-Consulate about procedures. However, it is considered your responsibility to get your visa.

If possible, it is a good idea to apply for a Non-Immigrant ED visa (student visa) before you go to Thailand in case you need any additional documents that are easier to get from your country of residence.

You will need to supply the following documents when making your Non-Immigrant ED Visa application:

  • A passport or travel document with at least 6-months validity from the planned date of arrival in Thailand

  • A completed visa application form

  • Two passport-sized photos (4 x 6 cm) taken within the last six months

  • A completed TM 87 Thai Visa Application form.

The school or institute at which you will be studying needs to supply you (or supply directly to the embassy or consulate at which you are applying) with the following:

  • A letter of acceptance to the school or academic institute/organisation

  • Evidence of enrolment (receipts of tuition fee payments)

  • Course description

  • School registration documents.

The first step is to apply for the programme of your choice. The application procedures differ from one university to another ' some programs simply require an application form and copies of your transcripts, while others request complete documentation with certified copies and photographs. Your application is only considered to be fully submitted once the university has received the application fee.

Once your application has been accepted, you will receive an acceptance letter, which is commonly known as a Letter of Admission. This will be printed on the official letterhead of the university and signed by the managing official. As well as the specific date of commencement for your studies, it will also state the number of courses you will study in the semester. You will need to register for at least three courses per semester, but it is advisable to register for at least four courses to stand more chance of being granted a visa. The Letter of Admission is a legal prerequisite for obtaining a Non-Immigrant ED visa (student visa), and the Immigration Bureau needs definitive commencement dates.

How to get a student visa in Thailand

Once you have your Letter of Admission, you can apply for your Non-Immigrant ED visa (student visa) at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in your home or resident country.

As well as your completed application form, you will need to submit a photocopy of your passport (valid for at least six months), up to four recent passport photographs (signed with blue ink), and your Letter of Admission. Other documents may also be requested by the embassy.

Good to know :

The student visa is only valid for 90 days when you initially receive it. Within these 90 days, you will need to register and pay your tuition fee for the respective semester.

Once you have a confirmation letter for your registration, you can then apply for a visa extension that will allow you to study in Thailand for up to one year from the date you first entered the country.

No matter how long you stay in Thailand, you will need to notify any Immigration Bureau in Thailand every 90 days of your presence and let them know your current address. To do this, you will just need to complete a simple form, and there is no fee. A slip from this form will be tagged into your passport, which will specify the next date when you have to come back again.

Important :

With the Non-Immigrant ED visa, you are only entitled to study. It does not permit working in Thailand in any way, so be aware that it is illegal to work to finance your studies.

Useful links:

Immigration Bangkok
4ICU
Chulalongkorn University
Asian Institute of Technology
Mahidol University
Kasetsar University
Thammasat University

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.