Over the past decade, Cambodia has focused on improving its higher education. It is one of the top priorities of the Cambodian government to revitalize the education system and human resources to keep up with countries in Southeast Asia and the world. Most of the best universities are situated in the heart of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s largest capital city. How many universities are there in the Kingdom of Cambodia? There are about 100 universities (both public and private) in Cambodia.
It’s difficult to say which universities are the “best” in Cambodia as it depends on what factors you consider important. However, some of the most well-respected universities in Cambodia include:
- Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP): Established in 1960, RUPP is the oldest and largest university in Cambodia and offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs.
- Cambodian University for Specialties (CUS): CUS is one of the newer universities in Cambodia and has a focus on providing education in specialized fields such as medicine, engineering and technology, and business.
- Cambodian-Russian Institute of Technology: Founded in 1985, this university is well-respected for its engineering and technology programs.
- Pannasastra University of Cambodia: This university is known for its high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as business, law, and international studies.
- The University of Cambodia (UC): The University of Cambodia is a private, non-profit institution and a recognized leader in higher education in Cambodia.
- Cambodian Mekong University: Known for its various programs in business, engineering and computer science.
It’s worth noting that these are only a few of the top universities in Cambodia and there are many other reputable institutions in the country as well, my knowledge cut off is 2021, new universities or developments may have appeared. It’s best to do your research and talk to students or graduates to get a better sense of which university will best suit your needs and preferences.
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The most prestigious university in Cambodia
Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)
The Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) is a public university located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Established in 1960, it is the oldest and largest university in the country. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields, including medicine, engineering, law, and education. RUPP is known for its strong programs in the sciences and humanities, and it has a reputation as one of the leading universities in Cambodia. The university is funded by the government and is open to students from all over the country.
Probably the oldest university in the heart of Phnom Penh, the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) is simply one of Cambodia’s Ivy League schools. Established in 1960, it’s also the nation’s largest university. Its Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) is also well-known among Cambodian high school students for offering high-class foreign language education. The IFL focuses on French and English language education. In addition to this, next to the IFL is the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre, which offers Japanese and Korean language courses.
As part of its regional recognition, RUPP is a member of the ASEAN University Network (AUN). Between 1960-1970, it was formerly known as the Royal Khmer University. With the Royal University of Phnom Penh, located on the Russian Boulevard, there are currently 7 faculties:
It is essential to mention that education systems, colleges and Universities are continuously evolving and new developments may have happened already . The information provided by me might have some inaccuracies and is limited to my knowledge cutoff.
- Faculty of Science
- Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
- Faculty of Engineering
- Faculty of Development Studies
- Faculty of Education
- Institute of Foreign Languages
- Silk Research Centre
If you’re a foreign student (non-Cambodian national) interested in studying abroad, in a country like Cambodia, then your easy choice is at the RUPP. The university has both fee-paying (private) and non-fee paying (scholarship) students.
Why RUPP is top of the list: According to Edurank, “The Royal University of Phnom Penh ranked 1st in Cambodia and 5299th in the World 2021 overall rankings with an acceptance rate of 5% enrollment.”
Most of RUPP students continue to study abroad through awarded scholarship.
[Experience in Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Samath]
Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC)
RUPP’s neighbor is Institute of Technology of Cambodia (known locally as Sala Techno). ITC is great for those who want to embrace high quality education in the fields of engineering sciences and technologies. Is it another Cambodia’s Ivy League? Yes. Notably, at least there are two alumini who have become Cambodia’s ministers, Phoeurng Sackona (Minister of Culture and Fine Arts), Veng Sakhon (Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), Hang Chuon Naron (Minister of Education).
In 1964, with the support of the soviet cooperation, it’s formerly known as The Institut Technique Supérieur de l’Amitié Khméro Sovietique (ITSAKS). That’s why you can see its campuses and buildings, located on the intersection of Russian Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard, were designed by Russian architects and built with Soviet funds.
ITC is best known for high quality education in the fields of engineering sciences and technologies. It’s Cambodia’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Cambodian university has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic records. Entrance is through tuition and scholarships.
The university continues to improve is quality offerings thanks to generous efforts made by staffs and students and alumni from one generation to another.
- Higher education, Continuing education, Research and Development
- Mechanical engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Civil engineering
- Chemical engineering and food technology
- Information and Communication Technology
- Georessources and Geotechnical engineering
- Water and Environmental engineering
Paññasastra University of Cambodia (PUC)
Coming up new: Paññasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) is a more private, American standard university founded by the former Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Dr. Kol Pheng. Established in the new millennium, it’s the youngest among the three. So it’s the reason why PUC provides only an English-based education in all subjects. The school motto is interesting: Morality, Concentration, Wisdom.
The PUC Faculties:
- Architecture & Design
- Arts, Letters, and Humanities
- Business and Economics
- Law & Public Affairs
- Mathematics, Sciences and Engineering
- Communication & Media Arts
- Social Sciences & International Relations
- Graduate School of Management & Economics
University of Economics and Finance
Also, among some of the best universities in Cambodia is University of Economics and Finance.
How about other universities in Phnom Penh, Cambodia? Well, there are some more higher education institutions growing their prominence, especially those established in partnership with Western and the United States. In 2013, The American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP) open a campus in Cambodia. AUPP offers four-year American dual degree programs as well as stand-alone Bachelor’s and MBA programs.
Good to know: How much does it cost to study in Cambodia? About $3000 USD for a bachelor’s degree.
According to Cambodia’s ministry of education, “A number of key policy actions have been taken including the approval of the Research Policy Master Plan, a Royal Decree on Professor ranking and the preparation of the Higher Education Vision 2030.”
Which Cambodian sectors are hiring university graduates?
The following sectors in Cambodia are currently hiring university graduates:
- Information Technology
- Banking and finance
- Retail and trade
Note: Hiring trends and the demand for university graduates may vary depending on the current market conditions.
Also: Phnom Penh’s top international English schools
A list of public universities in Cambodia