Exploring Foreign Universities and Higher Education in Vietnam

In the wake of regulatory shifts in foreign investment within Vietnam’s education sector and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a remarkable surge has been witnessed in the number of Vietnamese students opting to study at foreign universities in Vietnam or enroll in joint training programs. Here’s a closer look at why this trend is on the rise.

In August 2018, Decree No. 86/2018/ND-CP was introduced, significantly relaxing regulations for foreign investment in Vietnam’s education sector. This eased the path for foreign-funded schools, making it more accessible for students to enroll in these institutions.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic played a pivotal role in this growth. Many students and parents chose the convenience of studying in Vietnam through international universities with in-country campuses rather than pursuing education abroad.

As a result, the demand for international universities and the associated global training programs has surged significantly. According to the Ministry of Education and Training, as of November 2022, approximately 25,000 Vietnamese students were engaged in study programs affiliated with foreign universities.

This burgeoning trend has created numerous opportunities for foreign higher education institutions (HEIs) to establish a presence in the Vietnamese market.

Why the Demand for In-Country Foreign Education is Rising

Several factors contribute to the heightened demand for education provided by international universities in Vietnam or joint training programs between foreign universities and local institutions:


Students can access a comparable standard of foreign education within Vietnam, eliminating the need to relocate abroad. This convenience provides peace of mind for parents, who need not worry about their children living far from home, thereby reducing potential mental health concerns.


Studying in Vietnam is cost-effective compared to many European and developed Asian countries. Tuition fees at foreign universities or joint training programs, while higher than those at Vietnamese institutions, remain lower than fees for studying at the universities’ home campuses abroad.

International Environment and Qualifications:

Students benefit from an international learning environment featuring high-quality teaching. They earn international diplomas, with most of the curriculum taught by foreign lecturers using techniques applied in their home countries. English as the medium of instruction further helps students develop their professional English skills.

Foreign Higher Education in Numbers

Vietnam has established partnerships with overseas universities in two forms: international branch campuses and joint training programs. As of December 31, 2021, the country had 408 joint training programs with foreign HEIs. Among these, 186 programs involved private higher education institutions collaborating with international partners, while the remaining 222 programs were operated by HEIs licensed by the Ministry of Education and Training.

It’s worth noting that this figure does not encompass 103 transactional education (TNE) programs between Vietnam and countries such as Australia, France, Germany, and Japan. TNEs enable students to study in Vietnam while receiving degrees from the partner university in their home country.

However, it’s essential to note that the Ministry of Education and Training has pointed out that up to 62 percent of foreign partners in these programs do not rank highly or do not feature in the top 1000 universities globally. This raises concerns about the teaching quality of these programs and the caliber of young human resources they produce.

Key International Universities in Vietnam

1. RMIT:

Offers courses in business, media, technology, language.

Ranking in 2023: 301 – 350

Linking university in Vietnam: RMIT

Institution fee, study time: US$12,600/year (3 years)

2. Swinburne:

Offers courses in business, media, technology.

Ranking in 2023: 301 – 350

Linking university in Vietnam: FPT

Institution fee, study time: US$6,300/year (3 years)

3. Staffordshire:

Offers courses in business, technology.

Ranking in 2023: 1201 – 1500

Linking university in Vietnam: BUV

Institution fee, study time: US$10,000/year (3 years)

4. Sunderland:

Offers courses in business, technology.

Linking universities in Vietnam: National Economics University, Banking Academy

Institution fee, study time: US$4,000/year (3 years)

5. Troy:

Offers courses in business, technology.

Ranking in 2023: 1201 – 1500

Linking universities in Vietnam: Vietnam National University, University of Science and Technology, Saigon University of Technology

Institution fee: US$3,300/year

Source: International University Programs in Vietnam

Read more about Top International School in Vietnam here.