- University of the Philippines Diliman
- Ateneo de Manila University
- De La Salle University
- University of Santo Tomas
- Mapúa University
- University of San Carlos
- Silliman University
- Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
- Xavier University – Cagayan De Oro
- Saint Louis University, Baguio City
- FAQs about Universities in the Philippines
- How We Chose
- 1. University of the Philippines Diliman
- 2. Ateneo de Manila University
- 3. De La Salle University
- 4. University of Santo Tomas
- 5. Mapúa University
- 6. University of San Carlos
- 7. Silliman University
- 8. Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
- 9. Xavier University – Cagayan De Oro
- 10. Saint Louis University, Baguio City
- FAQs about Universities in the Philippines
How We Chose
We looked at the broadness and variety of courses each university offers, catering to different disciplines.
We considered feedback on each university’s teaching methods, the reputation of their professors, and the overall learning environment.
We took note of the range of tuition fees each university charges, including whether or not they offer scholarships to prospective students.
Finally, we factored in how these universities are regarded in the eyes of the international community, as reflected in popular rankings like the QS and TIMES Higher Education.
1. University of the Philippines Diliman
Main Campus Address: University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101
Popular Programs: Journalism, Broadcast Communication, Anthropology, History Literature, Biology, Molecular Biology, Psychology, Social Work, Library and Information Science, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Chemical Engineering, Geodetic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Geology, Marine Science, European Languages
|QS World University Ranking||#412|
|QS Asian University Ranking 2023||#87|
|Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023||#801-1000|
UP Diliman is the premier campus of the University of the Philippines System.
Among all the universities in the country, UPD is home to 23 Commission on Higher Education Centers of Excellence. They offer over 75 undergraduate programs, and esteemed master’s and doctorate degrees as well.
The best thing about UP is its thrust for academic freedom, where you can freely choose your courses and where discourse is encouraged inside the classroom.
You can make the most out of the UP experience if you’re interested in the subject matter and are open to being challenged.
Since the passing of RA 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act into law, bachelor’s degree students from state universities can enjoy free tuition, and UP students have been enjoying this subsidy since 2018.
UP Diliman is also a center for research. Professors from this university range from national artists, national scientists, Palanca Awardees, and revered academics who honor its core values of honor and excellence.
The University of the Philippines is internationally recognized as a top university in the world, ranking 412 in the QS World University Rankings and #77 in the QS Asian University Rankings.
The other side of academic freedom is that the learning experience UP provides is highly dependent on the kind of professors you get. Some come to class late, give frequent free cuts, or make their own rules for how the class goes.
Professors can choose to not give exams or only grade based on recitations or practical output, ultimately setting their own criteria for how the students are graded.
UP Diliman has generally adequate facilities, but this will depend on what course you’re taking and the amount of funding the government puts into the U.P. system. Budget cuts on the education sector are felt by the university administrators and students.
2. Ateneo de Manila University
Main Campus Address: Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City 1108
Tuition Fees: 90,000 – 110,000 Php per semester
Popular Programs: Management Engineering, Legal Management, Communication, Biology, Health Sciences, Political Science, Computer Science, Psychology, Philosophy
|QS World University Ranking||#651-700|
|QS Asian University Ranking 2023||#134|
|Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023||#351-400|
Impossible to miss along Katipunan Avenue, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) is a private research institution established by the Society of Jesus in 1859.
Apart from being one of the Philippines’ oldest universities, it is without a doubt one of its best and most prestigious ones.
It made headlines when Ateneo overtook U.P. as the top university in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2023, making it to the 351-400 spot.
There are four Loyola Schools for undergraduate degrees: Humanities, Management, Science & Engineering, and Social Sciences.
ADMU provides a very holistic educational program, which is a good mix of liberal arts and social sciences with a humanistic approach to management and business courses.
It has a great university culture, and Ateneo offers a lot of growth through extra-curricular activities.
Their administration is apparently compassionate towards students, and works closely with the student body to address their concerns.
The class sizes are generally small, so there are more opportunities for interaction among teachers and students.
ADMU professors use a balance of expertise and formation in their pedagogy, and become mentors to their students even beyond school.
The 2022 QS Rankings were centered on Graduate Employability, and this is where ADMU dominated among Philippine universities. The institution was recognized for its ability to provide students with “skills and qualities required by modern employers.”
Ateneo ranked in the 151-160 bracket, while other PH universities were in the 250-500 bracket.
It must be said that while it is a great school, Ateneo has limited options for students who want to pursue professional courses such as engineering, architecture, and nursing.
The other major downside to an Ateneo education is that it comes with a hefty price tag, with an average tuition cost of 100K per semester.
However, there are scholarship opportunities for students and you can apply for one as soon as you send in your application for the Ateneo College Entrance Test or ACET.
3. De La Salle University
Main Campus Address: 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila 1004
Tuition Fees: 60,000 – 75,000 Php per trimester
Popular Programs: Business Management, Accountancy, Computer Science, Information Technology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
|QS World University Ranking||#801-1000|
|QS Asian University Ranking 2023||#171|
|Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023||#1201-1500|
De La Salle University (DLSU) is a distinguished, private research institution along Taft Avenue, Manila. Its graduates consist of many corporate bigwigs, public servants, and public figures.
It puts a premium on research, not just for its students but for the faculty. Full-time faculty members are required to submit and contribute research output.
This makes DLSU a very dynamic study environment, with its teachers always being at the forefront of new knowledge in their respective fields.
DLSU is known for the opportunities it gives its students to take up and graduate with a double major, or a minor of their choosing.
An academic program is your chosen degree program. Meanwhile, your academic plan is a specific area of study within your chosen program.
This can take the form of your major program of study, minor program of study, specialization, Certificate or Concentration.
In the international arena, the ASEAN University Network named DLSU as a top-ranking university for Business and Economics in 2021, and in 2022 it was the lone PH university that made it to the THE World Ranking for the same discipline.
The De La Salle Manila campus has state-of-the-art facilities, owing to its generous alumni high number of enrollees.
That said, DLSU is also the most expensive university on this list, with tuition fees ballooning up to 205,000 to 225,000 Php per year.
While they do offer scholarships, such as the Archer Achiever academic scholarship, the St. La Salle Financial Assistance Grant, and the Student Loan Program, that is still about 3,700 Php per unit for a trimester system.
DLSU provides more business-oriented, research and liberal arts-focused courses. If you’re looking into hospitality, architecture, and design courses you’ll have to look at its sister university, the College of St. Benilde.
While it has a medical school, DLSU doesn’t offer pre-medicine courses outside of biology and chemistry, such as nursing or medical technology. Like ADMU, it lacks “professional” courses outside of engineering.
4. University of Santo Tomas
Main Campus Address: España Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila 1008
Tuition Fees: 50,000 – 65,000 Php per semester
Popular Programs: Nursing, Pharmacy, Accountancy, Medical Technology, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Education, Communication, Architecture
|QS World University Ranking||#801-1000|
|QS Asian University Ranking||#175|
The University of Santo Tomas (UST) has a lot of names: the Pontifical, Royal, and Catholic University of the Philippines and Asia’s oldest existing university at over 400 years old.
The campus itself is a national historical landmark and home to four national cultural treasures: the Arch of the Centuries, the Central Seminary, the Main Building, and the Grandstand among its Open Spaces.
Thomasian life gives you so much to look forward to: many inter-college events like the GoodWill Games, a university-wide Christmas festival in Paskuhan, and traditions like the freshman Welcome Walk and exiting the Arch of the Centuries once you graduate.
The university has a massive student population. While it’s known for its prestigious medical school, UST offers 63 undergraduate programs with 105 undergraduate specializations.
UST offers a good academic life with skilled teachers who are passionate about and competent in their field. It is a home of topnotchers over multiple fields and high passing rates, be it in medicine, accountancy, or engineering.
As of this writing, UST boasts of a yearly 100% passing rate for its student nurses.
Its also boasts multiple CHED Centers of Excellence, among them Biology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Elementary Education, Hospitality Management, Medical Technology, Medicine, Music, Nursing and Pharmacy.
UST was given a Philippines Student Quill Award in 2021 for “School of the Year”, acknowledging the institution’s performance in the field of communication research and creative work.
Internationally, UST is recognized as one of the world’s top 1000 universities based on the QS rankings.
It was listed as the Top Philippine University in the 2020 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings,and has an institutional certification from the ASEAN University Network – Quality Assurance from 2019-2024.
It has a block section system, so it doesn’t give you opportunities to take classes or interact with students from different degree programs. It makes you feel like you’re in high school again taking up college-level courses.
One criticism that UST gets is that the institution is restrictive and imposes its conservative beliefs on their students, making freedom of expression limited.
UST is also a private institution that charges generally high tuition fees.
They do, however, offer academic scholarships, student assistance scholarships for those willing to render assistantship hours weekly, and scholarships for the gifted in various disciplines (arts, music, and sports).
UST also provides an equity scholarship for lesser privileged yet deserving students in need of financial assistance.
5. Mapúa University
Main Campus Address: 658 Muralla St., Intramuros, Manila 1002
Tuition Fees: 29,000 – 51,000 per quarter
Popular Programs: Engineering (Biological, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Electronics, Environmental and Sanitary, Industrial, Manufacturing, Materials Science, and Mechanical), Architecture, Computer Science, Information Technology
|QS Asian University Ranking for SEA||#88|
|QS Asian University Ranking 2023||#551-600|
|Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023||#1501+|
Located in the heart of Intramuros, Mapua is one of, if not the best and certainly the biggest engineering school in the country.
Mapúa became the first school in Southeast Asia to gain a U.S.-based ABET accreditation for its engineering programs.
This international accreditation solidifies Mapúa’s competence as an educational institution of engineering, where the students’ acquired knowledge meets the standards of their profession.
The Commission on Higher Education also granted Center of Excellence status to Mapúa for these same programs, which make these programs renowned both internationally and locally.
Mapúa stands at #88 in the QS Southeast Asian University Ranking, and was featured in the 2021 Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings by ranking in 6 of the 17 sustainable development goals categories, placing 801-1000.
Something nice about Mapua is that it offers flexible modes of learning: fully online, which can be synchronous or asynchronous; blended synchronous, face-to-face and online; and fully synchronous face-to-face.
Their fully online degree programs cost roughly 29K-35K quarterly for Engineering and 34K-36K for Information Technology.
In terms of pedagogy, the professors are experts in their field, and are generally accommodating towards the needs of their students. They do their best to make themselves available for students to consult with them.
While Mapúa offers various degree programs in different fields, its arts and social science programs pale in comparison to engineering, technology, and architecture, which the institution is known for.
Mapua tuition fees are steep, and frequent payments are part of the norm as the school follows a quarter system.
The major downside of Mapua’s quarter system is that it makes students feel more stressed out and burnt out, because before there’s time to make up for a bad exam, the rest of the tests and requirements come piling in and the term is almost over.
Time management is definitely going to be a challenge, with the 8-10 weeks per quarter making you feel like your learning is too fast-paced at best and crammed at worst. They also only give a brief, one-week break between each quarter.
6. University of San Carlos
Main Campus Address: University of San Carlos, P. del Rosario Street, Cebu City 6000
Tuition Fees: 70,000 – 90,000 per semester
Popular Programs: Business Administration and Accountancy, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Anthropology, Law, Secondary Education
|QS Asian University Ranking 2021||#451-500|
One of the biggest and most renowned schools in the Visayas region is the University of San Carlos or USC. It is a private, centuries-old Catholic institution that has multiple campuses all over Cebu City.
You won’t have any problem looking for a course you’d like, as the University of San Carlos offers over 45 undergraduate degree programs over various fields.
USC has a School of Arts and Sciences, School of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design, a School of Business and Economics, and School of Education, a School of Healthcare Profession, and School of Law and Governance.
USC has commendable and well-maintained facilities and laboratories, which make it a great choice for those who want to pursue technology and computer-related courses.
With it being located in the busy urban center of downtown Cebu, USC is a good university for building a network and connections in the region.
If you so look for it, there are many joint corporate events for university students that could land them internships and jobs.
The University of San Carlos has a generally big student population, but it has fostered its own culture of excellence, making it just as competitive as Manila schools.
Its faculty are known to be professionals and graduate degree holders who give difficult exams to maintain high standards for their students. Year after year USC produces topnotchers in accountancy, mechanical engineering, law, pharmacy, and chemistry.
The downside to USC is its location: while Cebu is certainly very urban, it’s also very congested.
Aside from this, USC charges a very high tuition fee. Prepare to shell out up to 70,000 to 90,000 Php a semester (more expensive than most Manila schools!), depending on what your degree program is.
Also, aside from making it to the 2021 QS Asian Rankings, USC does not get as much attention from the international community compared to the other universities we reviewed.
7. Silliman University
Main Campus Address: 1 Hibbard Avenue, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental 6200
Tuition Fees: 30,000 – 53,000 Php per semester
Popular Programs: Nursing, Education, Accountancy, Anthropology, Marine Biology, Information Technology
|QS Asian University Ranking||#551-600|
Located in Dumaguete City, Silliman University (SU) is one of the best private research universities in the Philippines. It prides itself in being a very values-oriented, Christian university.
Historically, it is the first American and Protestant-founded higher education institution in the Philippines and in all of Asia. It has many course offerings at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level.
Its colleges include Agriculture, Arts and Science, Business Administration, Computer Studies, Education, Engineering and Design, Mass Communication, Performing and Visual Arts, Nursing, and Divinity.
SU has a beautiful, sprawling campus in the heart of Dumaguete which serves as a wonderful environment for learning. It gives off a laid-back university feel, which is conducive for the students’ “work hard, play hard” mentality.
You can usually find students strolling along the boardwalk––something ideal for getting oneself in a better headspace till you hit the books again.
Silliman University is a terrific place to learn Marine Science, owing to its location in Dumaguete, which has become a university town in itself. The university itself has played a huge role in the protection of the local marine ecosystem.
While it has a smaller student population than the other universities listed, Silliman University boasts of high percentage passing rates for board examinees in Accountancy, Nursing, and Mechanical Engineering.
This is no surprise as their professors come from prestigious universities, and the majority are academics holding doctorate degrees.
It is a well-known university abroad, as Silliman has many international students on campus from the U.S. among other Western countries. In spite of that, for a school of its caliber, it does not get the international recognition it deserves.
SU also charges upper middle class tuition fees, but fortunately there are academic honor scholarships and privately-funded scholarships you can look into.
8. Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
Main Campus Address: Andres Bonifacio Avenue, Tibanga, Iligan City, 9200
Tuition Fees: 3,500 – 9,000 Php per semester
Popular Programs: Nursing, Information Technology, Hospitality Management, Accountancy, Electronic Engineering, Computer Applications, Civil Engineering, English Language Studies, Physical Education, Animal Biology
|QS Asian University Ranking for SEA||#93|
|QS Asian University Ranking||#601-650|
Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) is an absolutely amazing school if you’re based south of the archipelago and are inclined towards a career in technology, engineering, and the sciences.
Many believe MSU-IIT is reputed to be the second “national university” next to UP. It offers quality education at a low price, and develops its students in a competitive study environment.
MSU-IIT houses 7 colleges and 54 graduate programs to choose from. Colleges include Arts and Social Sciences, Engineering, Science and Mathematics, Education, Business Administration and Accountancy, and Computer Studies.
The school promotes growth through many inter-college competitions, and its professors and lecturers are academics and practitioners in their field of expertise, holding graduate degrees from top universities in Manila and abroad.
In 2022, MSU-IIT was named the top Philippine university in the global scientific index, besting University of the Philippines and De La Salle University.
While it is a state-owned provincial school, MSU-IIT actually ranked #276 in Asia and #1,171 in the world in the Alper-Doger Scientific Index.
This ranking is based on the academic institution’s scientific performance and the prolificness of their scientists’ research.
Adding color to the institution is the fact that it’s a melting pot campus in Mindanao. MSU-IIT is where students from various ethnic and religious backgrounds come together to learn and give back to their community.
In spite of their already very affordable tuition fees, they offer academic scholarships for top 20 students, dean’s listers, and HS valedictorians and salutatorians for their first semester in MSU-IIT.
You can also avail of many private and government scholarships like DOST for the duration of your studies in MSU.
The downside of MSU-IIT is that being a government-run school, it runs on a very limited budget. Its facilities aren’t the best, and need lots of improvement, especially the laboratories.
The campus itself isn’t very attractive as well, as it is located in a small city.
9. Xavier University – Cagayan De Oro
Main Campus Address: Corrales Avenue, Cagayan de Oro City, Northern Mindanao 9000
Tuition Fees: 35,000 – 52,000 Php per semester
Popular Programs: Agriculture, Secondary Education, Food Technology, Nursing, Accountancy, Business and Management
|QS Asian University Ranking for SEA||#103|
|QS Asian University Ranking||#651-700|
Home of the Crusaders, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (XU) was the first Jesuit university in the Philippines, and first-ever university established in Mindanao.
Many consider XU to be the best provincial campus of Ateneo, the closest to its main Manila branch.
Ateneo de Cagayan offers nothing less than quality education, housing Centers for Excellence in agriculture and education.
A hallmark of Jesuit education, the professors here are described as not only intelligent but also inspirational. XU students believe that their professors teach with a lot of passion, and want to equip them for the real world.
Internationally, QS Rankings are #103 in Southeast Asia, and #651-700 in the Asian University Rankings. Academics may be challenging in XU, but the key is to value how and why you are being challenged.
Xavier University is a top performer in nursing and accountancy board examinations, as well as the professional board exam for teachers or PBET.
It’s also a great option for medical school because they have good facilities, great faculty, and cheaper tuition compared to medical schools in Manila.
What’s not-so-great about XU is that it charges expensive tuition fees for a provincial university.
You can try for scholarship opportunities for bachelor’s degree students based on their performance in an online scholarship examination which is administered by the school.
The school buildings can also be more PWD-friendly, as the buildings are 6 floors high and are difficult to move around it going class-to-class.
10. Saint Louis University, Baguio City
Main Campus Address: A. Bonifacio Street, Baguio City, Philippines 2600
Tuition Fees: 25,000 – 40,000 Php per semester
Popular Programs: Information Technology, Nursing, Medical Laboratory Science, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Architecture
|QS Asia University Ranking for SEA||#103|
|QS Asia University Ranking||#651-700|
St. Louis University (SLU) is a private, Catholic research university located in the province of Benguet.
SLU is the top university north of the Philippines, and there its students can enjoy a wonderful climate and quality education (it must be noted that the cost of living is way cheaper here than in universities in Manila!).
The university is separated into 4 campuses scattered across Baguio City, namely the main campus in Bonifacio St., the Maryheights campus in Bakakeng, the Gonzaga campus, and the one at Claro M. Recto Navy Base.
The university has 4 undergraduate schools. There’s the School of Accountancy, Management, Computing, & Information Studies and the School of Teacher Education and Liberal Arts.
There’s also the School of Engineering & Architecture and the School of Nursing, Allied Health, and Biological Sciences.
Students associate their professors with having high standards, as SLU faculty are experienced professionals in their field. While they provide a demanding academic environment, they are also very kind and accommodating towards students’ needs.
SLU Baguio is recognized as one of the top-performing schools in different licensure examinations. They are known for producing topnotchers in board exams specifically for medical technology, nursing, and medicine.
Apart from this, St. Louis University is a CHED Center of Excellence for Information Technology, Nursing, and Education.
In terms of international prestige, SLU ranks #103 in the QS University Rankings for Southeast Asia, and in lies in the #651-700 bracket in all of Asia.
They also were given the Philippines’ first HEI Internationalization Award by CHED in 2021, and the Global Citizenship Award during the 2022 ASEAN ICONS.
They have exchange programs for international students from prestigious universities like KU Leuven in Belgium, and the school is moving towards internationalization. Many of its programs provide opportunities for international linkages.
The downside to SLU Baguio is that the appeal of the learning environment may vary depending on which campus you’re studying in.
Cool Baguio breeze aside, some school buildings are near busy roads, so it’s generally louder and might be more difficult to listen to a lecture there.
Lastly, the facilities in SLU aren’t topnotch. There could be a lot of improvements in upgrading the classroom tools and learning equipment, considering that the school does not run short on enrollees.