A guide to studying abroad for students in Pakistan

By StudyLink

Studying abroad for students in Pakistan

In recent years, Pakistani students have begun to explore studying abroad at international universities in increasingly large numbers. Every year, more than 5,000 Pakistani students are granted international student visas. As of today, there are nearly 60,000 Pakistani students in world-class universities all over the globe.

In the post-covid pandemic era, the process of studying abroad as a Pakistani student can be more complex. This includes identifying the best countries for study abroad, gathering the required documents for student visas, applying for scholarships, and selecting the correct degree programme for your academic plans.

This article will provide you with any information that might be useful when you are trying to understand the process of studying abroad, and will help you to make any decisions about what steps you need to take next.

Top International Study Destinations for Pakistani Students

Pakistani students apply to a wide range of countries for studying abroad, from nearby destinations such as China and Singapore, to far-off centres of world-class education such as the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom.

These are the most popular international study destinations for Pakistani students:


China boasts as many as 38 universities in the latest QS World University Rankings, and has quickly become a popular study destination for international students. In fact, China is the number one study abroad destination for Pakistani students today, with nearly 30,000 Pakistani students enrolled in China’s world-class universities.

Living costs in China amount to between 750-1,250 US Dollars per month, while tuition fees for Pakistani students in China can vary between 3,000 to 9,000 US Dollars per year, with specialised degree programmes in fields like medicine and law costing more at about 20,000-50,000 US Dollars per year.

Peking University, Shanghai University and Zhejiang University are a few of the universities with large populations of Pakistani international students in China.


With Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra all featuring in the QS Best Student Cities List, Australia presents an excellent option for Pakistani international students interested in working and studying in world-class cities with a welcoming, immigrant-friendly and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

As a result, Australia is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for Pakistani students after China, and nearly 15,000 Pakistani students are currently enrolled in the country’s universities. In addition to world-class education and research facilities, Australia offers attractive post-graduation employment visas and a large number of job offers from the multiple world-leading businesses operating in the region.

Tuition fees range between 20,000 and 45,000 US Dollars per year for degree programmes. Living expenses cost between 950-1,350 US Dollars per month in major Australian cities such as Melbourne and Canberra.

Monash University, the University of New South Wales and the University of Melbourne are some of the best study abroad options for Pakistani students in Australia.

United States of America

With nearly 9,000 Pakistani international students, the USA is an immensely popular study abroad destination for degree programmes. America offers almost 350 universities listed in the QS World Rankings, as well as opportunities for high-paying post-graduation employment and world-class living environments, from the seaside cities to central American regions.

You should note that an education at an American university for an international student can be very expensive. For example, living costs in major cities such as Chicago and Miami can often reach 1,800-2,000 US Dollars per month, while in university towns and rural campuses you should budget at least between 1,000-1,200 US Dollars per month.

Tuition fees can range from 15,000 to up to 55,000 US Dollars per year, depending on whether your chosen university is a public or private institute. If you are considering studying in the USA, you can take a look around and see what scholarships are available to you, as this will help with the higher costs.

Boston University, UC Los Angeles, and Emory University are a few of the popular study destinations for Pakistani international students in the USA.

United Kingdom

Due to its centuries-old association with Pakistan, the United Kingdom has been home to millions of Pakistani immigrants for decades. Now, it is starting to emerge as a popular study abroad destination, with nearly 13,000 Pakistani international students enrolled in the UK’s universities as of 2022.

Similarly to America, a degree programme at a leading UK university can be expensive. Tuition fees at most UK universities range between 15,000-25,000 US Dollars per year, and can be even higher for specialised degrees in healthcare, business management and other fields. There are plenty of scholarships available to international students that you should take advantage of if you are thinking of studying in the UK.

Living costs in London, can be around 1,500-1,800 US Dollars per month. In most other British cities and towns, a budget of 900-1,200 US Dollars per month will be enough for Pakistani students.

In the UK, you will also have the support of a large-scale Pakistani immigrant community and immigrant-friendly environments in most parts of the country. Popular universities for Pakistani students in the UK include St. Mary’s University, University College London and the University of Bath.

Most Popular Courses Amongst Pakistani International Students

A large number of Pakistani international students are pursuing degree programmes in scientific and technological fields abroad. This is because degree programmes in science and tech-related fields allow you to apply for a larger number of post-graduation visas and receive more high-paying employment offers than degree programmes in social sciences and other fields.

Below are a few of the most popular degree programmes across undergraduate, Master’s and Phd levels for Pakistani international students:

How to Study Abroad from Pakistan

Although every university abroad will have a specific list of admission requirements for Pakistani students, there are plenty of general requirements which you should make sure to complete as a basic checklist for studying abroad. For example, your high school grades must translate to a minimum US GPA score of 3.0, which is necessary for successfully applying to most universities abroad.

Below are a few additional required documents for an applications checklist:

  • Language proficiency certificate: minimum TOEFL score of 80-85 and IELTS score of 6.0-6.5. Certain countries require a different language test such as France which requires Def/Dalf
  • International passport with validity until the end of your planned degree 
  • At least two recommendation letters: can be academic or professional
  • Birth certificate
  • A valid student visa for the country you will be studying in
  • Secondary school transcript or university transcript
  • Healthcare documents such as insurance, etc.
  • Bank statements

The Student Visa Process for Pakistani Students

The student visa process for Pakistani students varies according to the country you are applying to. We suggest that you begin the student visa application process once you have an enrollment offer from your preferred university, because in many countries student visa applications have been delayed.

Additionally, if you require financial assistance for studying abroad from Pakistan, we suggest that you research and apply for all relevant loans and funding programmes well in advance.

Fees and Funding Information for Pakistani Students Abroad

Finland, Norway and Germany are a few of the countries which offer tuition-free degrees at public universities for Pakistani international students, and you should consider these countries if you require scholarships or financial assistance, as they offer the best value-for-money education. 

In terms of scholarships for other countries, you could consider the Fulbright scholarship, which sends 150 Pakistani students every year to the USA. Below are a few more scholarships for Pakistani international students for universities around the world:

  • Government of Flanders Master Mind Scholarships for International Students – Master’s Degrees in Belgium
  • Türkiye Scholarships for International Students – Turkey
  • Macquarie Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships – Australia
  • UEA International Development Full Fees Scholarships – Master’s Degrees in the UK
  • Singapore International Graduate Award – Phd Degrees in Singapore

If you do not receive the scholarship you were looking for, you can always consider study loans as a way to meet your financial needs abroad. Study loan applications requirements depend on the bank or lender, with most banks requiring collateral or a co-signer who can guarantee that you will return the loan amount. In most cases, your parent or legal guardian can be the co-signer on your loan applications. Some banks may only give you a student loan for studying abroad in a specific country or set of countries. 

It is essential that you begin applications early and know when the deadlines for university applications and student visas are for international students in each country you are interested in studying abroad.

All the best for your applications!

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