Studying in Pakistan

Studying in Pakistan

There are over 170 recognised universities and degree-awarding institutes (DAIs) in Pakistan, split between the private and public sector. A list is available on the Higher Education Commission Pakistan (HEC) website.

The qualifications framework is similar to that in the UK, with postgraduate courses available at masters and doctoral level. English and Urdu are the official languages in Pakistan.

What courses can you study?

Although courses are available in a wide range of subjects, there is an especially strong provision in science, technical and engineering subjects, as well as in business and finance. Courses are often taught in English. The QS University Rankings: Asia highlights the top 300 universities in Asia.

How do you apply for postgraduate study?

Currently, there are two broad categories under which foreign students can apply to study in Pakistan:

  • the self-finance scheme – for entry on to medicine (MBBS), dentistry (BDS), pharmacy (Pharm-D) and BSc engineering courses.
  • the general scheme – for all subjects of study except those under the self-finance scheme.

For the self-finance scheme, you must submit your application form to the HEC. For the general scheme, apply directly to the university where you wish to study.

Admission dates vary between universities so check individual university websites for details. Some universities advertise their course recruitment in national newspapers at particular times of the year.

Applications are often via an online application form. You may need to include the following information with your application:

  • passport photos
  • copies and equivalences of your education/degree certificates
  • photocopy of your passport.

Some courses, for example in science, technology, economics and MBAs, require successful completion of an entry test. See individual university websites for specific entry requirements.

Fees and scholarships

Course and administration fees vary between institutions, depending on the type of course (eg masters, PhD or MBA) and whether the institution is public or private. Fees can be charged per month or per semester, depending on the institution. Costs are generally much lower than in the UK. Overseas students may need to pay their fees in US dollars.

Other fees may include a one-off admission/application processing fee, a registration fee, refundable security deposit, exam fees and accommodation costs.

Scholarships are rarely available for UK nationals. Financial assistance is generally targeted at domestic students from poorer backgrounds and from Asian and African countries.

Are there any exchange programmes?

Despite the strong ties between the UK and Pakistan, formal student exchange programmes are rare and, where they do exist, greater emphasis is placed on allowing students from Pakistan to study in the UK. Check the international office at your university to see if any links exist with institutions in Pakistan.

Will your qualifications be recognised in the UK?

Check with the university or higher education institution where you’re hoping to study to see if their qualification is recognised or has an equivalent in the UK.

Do you need a visa to study in Pakistan?

Visas are required by all UK and EU nationals entering Pakistan, as well as a valid passport. Within the UK, a visa can be obtained from the High Commission for Pakistan in the UK.

Study visas can take up to three months to process and an offer of a study place is required before the visa can be applied for. Visas are usually granted for work or study only, so those on a student visa will not usually be able to work at the same time.

All UK nationals visiting or resident in Pakistan are advised to register with the consular section of the British High Commission in Pakistan.

If you're not a UK national, contact the Pakistani embassy in the country where you're currently living to find out how to get a visa for study.

Written by AGCAS editors, September 2016