Higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines are regulated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), a Philippine government agency. A HEI is classified as a college or university, and is either public or private and either secular or religious. Colleges offer undergraduate degrees while universities offer graduate-level courses in addition to other degree programmes. Public universities and colleges are all non-sectarian and are classified as either Local or State. Private universities are either secular or religious and either not-for-profit or for-profit. Most private sectarian HEIs in the Philippines are not-for-profit Catholic schools. For-profit private HEIs are non-sectarian and licensed as corporations by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Data from CHED shows that for the school year 2018-2019, there were 1,963 HEIs in the Philippines. Of these, 242 were public and 1,721 were private (353 sectarian and 1,368 non-sectarian). The number of international students in the Philippines was around 8,200 for the academic year 2015-2016. Most foreign students come from other nearby Asian countries such as South Korea and China. There are an increasing of students coming from India and Iran as well. For more information, please refer to the official CHED website, https://ched.gov.ph/.
Admission to HEIs in the Philippines usually will require graduation from high school and will depend on grades achieved in secondary school. More competitive colleges and universities will have their own institution-specific entrance examinations. Most Bachelor’s degree programmes are four years long and follow a two-semester system. Some schools also offer three-year degree courses, while programmes in professional disciplines such as engineering and architecture tend to last five years. Master’s degree programmes usually run for two years and require a Bachelor’s degree for admission. Programmes may or may not require a thesis, depending on the discipline. Doctoral degree programmes are typically at least three years long, require a Master’s degree for admission, and usually involve research and a dissertation. Professional degree programmes in law and medicine are post-graduate courses that require a bachelor’s degree for admission. The Juris Doctor is the professional law degree in the Philippines and takes four years to complete. Similarly, four years of study in a medical programme are needed to obtain the Doctor of Medicine degree and to qualify to take the licensure exam for doctors. A further four to six years of residency training in hospitals and clinics are needed to specialise in a particular field. English is the main language of instruction used in most higher education programmes in the Philippines.
Public HEIs are subsidised and have free or low tuition fees. Private schools’ tuition fees can range from 6500 – 400000 Philippine peso (equivalent to £100 to £6000) per academic year.