This is an updated version of the original article written by Kalvin Lam in 2017.
Vietnam’s higher education scene is like a collection of vibrant threads, each university offering distinct strengths and valuable contributions to the nation’s academic fabric. Here, we take a closer look at some standout institutions that have left an indelible mark on Vietnam’s educational journey. These universities have not only shaped the minds of countless students but have also played pivotal roles in advancing scientific research, fostering international collaborations, and nurturing the next generation of leaders.
From the prestigious Hanoi University of Science and Technology, often likened to the “MIT of Vietnam,” to the globally recognized Vietnamese National University, Hanoi, and other esteemed institutions in between, here we explore the essence of academic excellence in Vietnam. We’ll delve into their histories, strengths, and contributions to the nation’s educational landscape, shedding light on the remarkable achievements and aspirations that define these institutions. Whether you’re a prospective student, an academic enthusiast, or simply curious about Vietnam’s educational prowess, this guide offers valuable insights into the country’s top-tier universities.
Hanoi University of Science and Technology
Hanoi University of Science and Technology, or Đại học Bách khoa Hà Nội, or colloquially, HUST, is known by many here as the “MIT of Vietnam.” Founded in 1956, this technical powerhouse is known for its selectivity and successful alumni. In the 2005 national university entrant exam, more than half of the perfect scorers enrolled at HUST, a testament to its prestige and reputation as a premiere institution.
With nearly 40000 students, it is the largest technical university in Vietnam, boasting eight national laboratories and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Academics at HUST are some serious stuff: it has set up cooperation in research and training with the best universities, research institutes, and companies from around the world (more than thirty nations).
In the global university rankings from Quacquarelli Symonds for 2022, Hanoi University of Science and Technology made impressive strides. They're not only the frontrunners in Vietnam but also hold positions ranging from 300th to 450th internationally.
Ho Chi Minh University of Science
Established in 1942, Ho Chi Minh University of Science is a member university of Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City. With programs in scientific research, undergraduate studies, and postgraduate studies, it is a bastion of Vietnamese scientific advancement and knowledge. In 2023, Ho Chi Minh University of Science is diversifying its admissions strategy, targeting an intake of more than 3,500 students. The primary method of selection will utilize scores from the 2023 capability assessment test, which is projected to account for 40-60% of admissions. A substantial number, representing 15-40% of admissions, will also be based on the high school graduation exam scores.
Foreign Trade University
Known for its legendary economics program, Foreign Trade University comes in at number 8 on the uniRank list in 2023. It was established in 1960, and it currently has campuses in both Ho Chi Minh City and Quang Ninh. Being truly a global university, courses at Foreign Trade University are taught in Vietnamese, English, Japanese, and French. This university offers specializations in economics, business, business administration, finance, banking, and foreign languages, with the goal being to prepare the student body for success in the global business community and economy.
At FTU, they value civic engagement — there are many community development programs and outreach programs designed to foster cultural and educational exchange among countries all over the world. FTU is a top-tier uni, no doubt about that.
Vietnamese National University, Hanoi
One of two national universities, Vietnamese National University, Hanoi (or, for short, VNU Hanoi), is an accredited public university in north Vietnam. It was created by merging the University of Hanoi, Hanoi University of Education, and the College of Foreign Languages. VNU Hanoi is known for its science and education department, among many others. Based on the 2023 uniRank standings, VNU Hanoi holds the premier position, ranking number one.
A couple of famous alumni from VNU Hanoi are Vietnam People’s Army general Võ Nguyên Giáp and mathematician and winner of the Fields Medal in 2010 Ngô Bảo Châu. For the year 2023, VNU Hanoi has set an intake target of 14,945 students, spanning 143 distinct courses and programs, with classes primarily held at their Hoa Lac campus.
Can Tho University
Located in the urban setting of the metropolis Can Tho in the Mekong Delta, Can Tho University comes in at number one on uniRank. Established in 1966 and accredited by the Ministry of Education and Training, Can Tho University not only supports a cosmopolitan group of students, but it also has phenomenal facilities — nine colleges, two research institutes, and a leading agricultural research center, just to name some of the perks of attending this top-tier uni.
Partly because of its active work in a wide gamut of scientific research projects, many locals consider Can Tho University the cultural, scientific, and technical center of the Delta. In 2023, Can Tho University has set its admissions target at 7,644 students, offering 103 standard bachelor's programs.