Payap University vs Ramkhamhaeng University

The following is correspondence with a reader from 2013. I thought it might be valuable for you too, if you are considering university in Thailand.


Hello Brad,

I hope this message finds you well. I originally ran across your Payap University blog last year during my research for a potential international college in Thailand.

I enjoyed every bit your insight from the blog about your college life. It seems that you have moved to Ramkhamhaeng University sometime in March of 2012 and I haven't see any updates afterward.

Pardon my series of questions, as I'm at a crossroads in deciding and pursuing advanced education in Thailand. I am hoping that you would be kind enough to share your dos or don'ts in pursuing your formal education in Thailand?

  1. I'm wondering if you found your switch of college progressing along? Would you be able to share the reason why you switched school (if possible)? Was it the quality of education, etc...? I just returned from my Central America backpacking trip and laying the stepping stones to liquidate my earthly possession to move to Thailand for college. The problem is I initially decided on Payap (due to cost) but now having second thought and truly wondering what made you drop out of Payap?
  2. I might consider Webster, although it is at-least 3 times more expensive when it comes to cost but I heard that the degree/credential issued will be both in the US & Thailand. It's an advantage for US residents like myself. I believed you're also from the US. Do you know if holding a foreign issued university degree would deter you from employment opportunity?
  3. Of course, I have a ton more questions but I do respect your time and effort. I thank you for your time and I look forward to hear back with your feedback on college life in Thailand.



Hi Natalie,

I moved from Payap to Ramkhamhaeng because I wanted to be in Bangkok. I wanted to attend the AUA language school here ( and I started dating a girl from Bangkok—it was getting expensive traveling back-and-forth. Switching schools had nothing to do with the quality of teachers or anything like that.

Payap versus Ramkhamhaeng can be looked at from three perspectives. Education, credentials, and network.

Education is largely left to the student (I find this to be the case even in America, so take that with a grain of salt). If you wanted to, you could go through four years of university here and learn almost nothing. The grading system at Ramkhamhaeng is a sliding scale. If an exam is given and everyone makes D's and F's, the administration will slide the scale so someone makes an A. This means, so long as you're not the only one who's done poorly, it's really hard to fail.

Payap doesn't have this sliding scale, so it's harder to get through the program without learning anything. Payap also has a better library so if you're like me and spend a lot of time reading, Payap is a better option for education.

Credentials is a topic that comes up a lot when people are thinking of university in Thailand. I haven't heard of anyone being turned away from a job or graduate program because of having an undergrad degree from Thailand. I've got an Australian friend who's in a masters program in Sidney and his undergrad degree is from Payap. I've spoken to people about taking US government jobs with a degree from Thailand and the degree from Payap is approved (not sure about Ramkhamhaeng).

Overall, it shouldn't be a big deal having an undergrad degree from Thailand. And if you're looking to work with a private company, it will probably be an advantage. When you're getting a job, you're trying to sell yourself. Since every sales pitch has a story, what's a better story for a US employer; I went to school in the US or I went to school in Thailand?

The social (networking) aspect of going to school here depends on what you're doing after graduation. If you intend to stay in Thailand, you'll have better contacts by going to school in Bangkok. Ramkhamhaeng is a more well known school and having it on your resume (versus Payap) will look better to employers. And since it's such a large school I find people all the time who also when to Ramkhamhaeng. It gives us something to talk about...

If you intend to leave Thailand when finished with school, Payap is probably the better network to have. Ramkhamhaeng's international program has more students, but Payap has more American students.

There's also the issue of time. At Ramkhamhaeng, you're in class from 9 AM till 4 PM. The only break is for lunch and I found it hard to build rapport without frequent breaks. Payap has a more traditional schedule. Each class is 90 minutes with time to chat with friends between classes. I found it much easier to make friends this way.

As far as money is concerned, Payap tuition is more expensive than Ramkhamhaeng tuition. About 50,000 Baht per semester vs 36,000 per semester. But living in Chiang Mai is a bit cheaper than living in Bangkok. If you want to get a degree as fast as possible and then leave, Ramkhamhaeng is probably better. With their "modular" schedule you can take a lot of classes and finish in 2.5 years. At Payap you might be able to finish in 3.5 years but it's rare. So even though Bangkok is more expensive, you'd be paying rent for fewer years.


If you like this article, share it with your friends: