Besides the problem of quality, there is also no guarantee that your Vietnamese degree will be valued in another country. There are some programmes in English, but foreign students are rather scarce and are mostly from East Asia and the Pacific area. When compared to Germany, a country with nearly the same population as Vietnam, in 2007, 3,000 international students in Vietnamese universities seems almost ridiculously low when compared Germany’s 181,000 foreign students.
Before entering university, there is an entrance examination. It is very difficult, and in 2004, more than three quarters of about one million applicants failed to pass the exam.
There are three major types of institutions for higher education:
- Universities are multidisciplinary and offer many different studies.
- Senior colleges are focused on one field of study and have a tighter curriculum. They offer college and lower-level programs.
- Research institutes have a curriculum which is focused on one area. There is a special interest in research. They offer doctorate, and sometimes, master programmes.
Altogether, there are more than 150 institutions of those named above in Vietnam. A shorter alternative with programmes with a duration of two years are junior colleges, professional secondary schools and vocational schools.
Degrees in Vietnam
- Undergraduate studies can either lead to a Certificate of Higher Education (Bang Tot Nghiep Cao Dang), which takes three years to complete; or a Diploma of Higher Education or Bachelor’s degree (Bang Tot Nghiep Dai Hoc), which takes four to six years to complete. The titles are awarded according to the field of study.
- Upon completion of undergraduate studies, students may continue on and receive a Master’s degree (Thac si), which can be achieved with an additional two years.
- A Doctorate (Tiên Sy) can be earned in two to three years after a Master’s degree, or in four years after undergraduate studies. In both cases, the student has to pass a test called Thi Tôi Thieu before he or she may defend his or her dissertation.