The Vietnamese Study Abroad Market

In this Market Report on Vietnam we will cover socio-economics, educational and mobility trends. Vietnam is the world’s 13th most populous country in the world (95 million people) In Asia it is the 8th most popolous nation. 17% of the population is between 17 and 25 years of age. In terms of student mobility, Vietnam is one of the best performing Asian countries. The most popular study destinations for Vietnamese students are: Japan, US, Australia, Korea and France.

The World Education News and Reviews ( reported back in 2012 that “Vietnam is one of the top four emerging countries from which to recruit international students”. Since that report was published, Vietnamese enrollment in U.S. HEIs has increased by 8%, and there is reason to believe that this growth trajectory will continue. At this point, Vietnamese students are the thrid largest student body in the US.

With 45% of the population under the age of 25, the country will remain one of the leading study abroad sending nations for years to come. Vietnam has the fastest growing middle class in Southeast Asia, projected to grow to anywhere between 33 and 44 million people by 2025, depending on the estimate. Tertiary enrollments, meanwhile, tripled between 2020 and 2020. All this and more in the Market Report on Vietnam.

Quick facts

  • Population: 97,34 million (2020)

  • Education: 9 years compulsory

  • Academic year: September – August

Secondary education

  • Starting age: 11

  • Duration: 7 years

  • Enrollment numbers: 5.1 million (lower secondary education); 2,4 million (upper secondary education)

Higher education

  • Duration: 3 – 6 years (Bachelor) – 2 years (Master), 4 years (PhD)

  • Enrollment numbers: 2,3 million (2019)

  • Tertiary enrollment rate: 29%

  • Universities/ Institutions: 386: 306 public, 80 private

Vietnamese Education System

Secondary education

Basic (i.e. junior) secondary education (trung hoc co so) lasts for 4 years and is intended for children aged 11 – 15. Pupils can move on to long – term vocational training courses of 1 to 3 years in length, at vocational training schools. The Bang Tot Nghiep Nge certificate allows students to enter the labour market as educated workers.

Admission to upper secondary education requires that pupils pass an entrance examination. General secondary education (trung hoc pho thong, also called ‘upper secondary education’) lasts for 3 years and is intended for children aged 15 – 18. Student s who complete this general education program are awarded the Bang Tot Nghiep Pho Thong Trung Hoc (Certificate of secondary school graduation). Until around 1997 this certificate was called the Bang Tu Tai or Baccalaureate. The certificate grants admission to higher education in Vietnam. (Source:

Higher Education in Vietnam

Higher education is provided by universities, colleges and academic research institutes. Vietnam has various types of universities: open universities, technical universities, agricultural universities, medical universities and universities of economics. In 2013, Vietnam had 376 higher education institutions: 150 universities (Truong dai hoc) and 226 junior colleges (Truong cao dang).

Currently bachelor’s programs usually have a nominal du ration of 4 years, and award the Bang Tot Nghiep dai hoc (University Graduation Certificate). After completing a bachelor’s program, students can take an entrance examination and continue on to a 2 – year master’s program. Only students who completed their Bachelor full – time are eligible. The certificate awarded is a master’s degree (Bang Thac si). (Source: Nuffic)

Visual depicting the Vietnamese Educational System

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Types of Higher Education Institutions

The types of HEIs in Vietnam include junior colleges (trường cao đẳng – community colleges, teacher training and other specialized colleges), mono-specialized universities (đại học đơn ngành), multi-disciplinary universities (đại học đa ngành), and postgraduate research institutes (học viện). According to Vietnam’s 2005 Higher Education Law, HEIs are public, private, or people-founded (tuition-funded institutions run by nongovernmental organizations like trade unions, cooperatives or youth organizations). There are also two public Open Universities (HCMC Open University and Hanoi Open University), which offer programs for students who scored too low in the high school exams to be admitted to regular universities. Open programs (mộ rồng) may also be offered at other universities.

The two biggest university systems in Vietnam are the Vietnam National University, HCMC and Vietnam National University, Hanoi – both public institutions with multiple mono-disciplinary member universities. VNU in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), the country’s largest city, has a total enrollment of approximately 61,500 full-time students and offers at least 120 bachelor’s programs, as well as a large variety of master’s and doctoral programs. VNU-Hanoi is smaller with about 34,000 students, according to the MOET. It reportedly has an acceptance rate of about 30 percent and charges tuition fees of USD $1,000 annually for bachelor’s programs. (source:

Upcoming Education Fairs in Vietnam

Latest Vietnamese Higher Education study abroad stats

Vietnam is ranked 9 in the world for outbound tertiary student mobility. Around 5% of Vietnam’s tertiary level students are enrolled on courses overseas, with over 90% of these outbound students self-funding their studies. At this point a total number of 132,559 students from Vietnam are studying for a tertiary degree (in higher education) abroad. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics these are the most popular study abroad destinations:

Vietnamese students studying abroad
UNESCO study abroad data

IB schools in Vietnam

If you are recruiting undergraduate students you may want to consider visiting IB schools in Vietnam. IB schools have an international curriculum taught in English. The quality of these schools is excellent. There is quite a large expat community in Vietnam’s major cities Ho Chi Minh, Saigon and Hanoi. School principles are often happy to receive you and let you present your school to the students. Here’s a list of IB schools in Vietnam.

  • American International School – Ho Chi Minh City –

  • Australian International School – Ho Chi Minh City –

  • British International School – Ho Chi Minh City –

  • Canadian International School – Ho Chi Minh City –

  • European International School – Ho Chi Minh City –

  • Hanoi International School – Hanoi –

  • Renaissance International School – Saigon –

Best performing Vietnamese Universities

Looking to partner with Universities from Vietnam? These are the best performing universities according to the latest Times Higher Education World Ranking.

Duy Tan  University

World Rank: 401 – 500

Ton Duc Thang 

World Rank: 401 – 500

Vietnam National
University, HCM

World Rank: 1001+

Online behaviour of Vietnamese students

Vietnam has 63 million internet users. Internet coverage is well over 60%. Internet use is expected to reach 75 million in 2023 (source:

Most visited social media websites

Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform in Vietnam with 50% marketshare. (source:


Online marketing in Vietnam

The Internet is the most important source of information for Vietname students looking for study options abroad. Especially the youngest generation (< 24 years). They are spending an avarage of 3 hours a day online. Moreover, young people in urban areas increasingly use their mobile phones to access Internet.

We found that:
• is probably your best bet for for online promotion.
• Facebook is the most popular social network in Vietnam. Facebook advertising and organic content are advised for branding purposes. Include alumni testimonials.
• Bannering on top news websites is quite affordable. So if you are making name in Vietnam, you may want to try this.
• Try getting into contact with prospective students thru Skype.

Scholarships for Vietnamese students

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