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Payap University

Payap University
Motto Truth and Service
Established March 21, 1974
Type Private
Affiliation Church of Christ of Thailand
President Rev. Dr. Pradit Takerngrangsarit
Location Chiang Mai, Thailand
Colors Blue
Affiliations APHEIT

Payap University (Thai: มหาวิทยาลัยพายัพ; rtgsPhayap) established in 1974, is a private institution founded by the Church of Christ in Thailand. Payap is a founding member of the Association of Private Higher Education Institutions in Thailand, and an active member of the Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia, as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning.


  • History 1
  • Academics 2
    • Undergraduate 2.1
      • International programs (English language) 2.1.1
      • Previously offered international programs (English language) 2.1.2
    • Graduate 2.2
      • International programs (English language) 2.2.1
  • International University 3
  • Location 4
    • Mae Khao campus 4.1
    • Kaew Nawarat campus 4.2
  • Payap University Archives 5
  • American Veterans 6
    • Foreign training for US veterans at Payap University 6.1
  • Notes 7
  • External links 8


Payap University history begins with the founding of the Thailand Theological Seminary. That seminary has now been integrated into Payap University as the McGilvary College of Divinity, one of eleven academic divisions of the university. Initially, seminary students were accepted after completing elementary school. High school graduation gradually became the pre-requisite for a seven-year bachelor of divinity (BD) course that was formally initiated in 1960. The second predecessor of Payap University was the McCormick Hospital School of Nursing, established in 1923. After first accepting students with minimal educational qualifications, in 1961 the school of nursing made high school graduation a pre-requisite for entrance. Degrees awarded by these institutions, however, were not recognized as college degrees by the Royal Thai Government.

The Royal Proclamation of the Private Colleges Act of 1969 made private higher education a legal reality in Thailand. The Thailand Theological Seminary and the McCormick Hospital School of Nursing initiated discussions to set up a private college. Together with representatives of the Church of Christ in Thailand, the American Presbyterian Mission, and the Disciples Division of Overseas Ministries, they formulated articles of incorporation which were submitted to the Royal Thai Government. Payap College received accreditation on 21 March 1974, and became the first private college in Thailand outside of greater Bangkok. The first class of 204 students was accepted in 1974 and 154 students were graduated at the end of the 1977-78 academic year. Since that time thirty-two more classes have completed their course of studies. There are more than 31,000 university alumni.

In its early years, Payap College operated in borrowed facilities. Originally there were two campuses, one adjacent to McCormick Hospital and the other eight kilometres distant, a four-acre site on the west side of Chiang Mai, on which stood three residential buildings. Although initial plans called for the development of these two campus sites, it soon became evident that expansion of the four-acre western site near Chiang Mai University was impractical; skyrocketing real estate costs precluded additional land acquisition at that site. The eastern campus, opposite McCormick Hospital, strained to accommodate adequate facilities for both student and graduate nurses of the hospital and the students of the Thailand Theological Seminary. Although additional buildings on this 16-acre site would have been possible, facilities for the anticipated student body of several thousand students could not have been accommodated. The board of directors, therefore, voted early in 1974 to proceed with acquisition of land in a more favorable location, three kilometres to the east of the McCormick campus (now called the Kaew Nawarat campus). About 120 acres of low-lying land were then acquired; this site now comprises the Mae Khao campus, which serves as the main university campus. Subsequent land acquisitions have increased the size of this campus to approximately 275 acres.

In 1975, Payap engaged Metropolitan Engineering Consultants Co., Ltd., of Bangkok, a leading architectural and engineering firm, to prepare a ten-year master plan for campus development. The implementation of this plan began with the dedication of the first five buildings on the Mae Khao campus in 1982. Since then, 16 major buildings have been constructed at the Mae Khao campus. Payap also continues to offer classes on the Kaew Nawarat site where the College of Divinity, the faculty of nursing, the music department, the Christian Communications Institute, and the university archives are located.

Payap's achievements were recognized by the Royal Thai Government in 1984 when it became the first fully accredited private university in Thailand. Since then the university has continued to progress, expanding facilities to accommodate the steady growth in the student body, investing in the continuing education and training of the faculty through university support of graduate education in the US and in other countries, and adding a range of international programs to attract students from across Southeast Asia and from other areas of the world.


Payap is a Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional School offering 22 Thai language degrees in 12 departments[1]


  • Accountancy, finance, and banking
  • Art
  • Business administration
  • Communication arts
  • Duriyasilp College of Music
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Science
  • Social science and humanities
  • Theology

International programs (English language)

  • Information technology
  • International business management
  • International hospitality management
  • English communication

Previously offered international programs (English language)

  • Computer information systems [2]


  • Master of accountancy
  • Master of business administration (MBA)
  • Master of divinity (MDIV)
  • Master of arts in music
  • Master of law (ML)

International programs (English language)

  • Master of arts in linguistics
  • Master of arts in teaching English as a foreign language (MA TEFL)
  • Master of business administration in international business (MBA)
  • Master of divinity
  • Doctor of philosophy program in peacebuilding

International University

Payap has an international student body with nearly 30 countries represented including the United States, China, Myanmar, France, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Pakistan, India and Thailand. Students share in common a strong English proficiency in order to perform in the English-speaking bachelor's and master's degree programs. Non-native English speaking students find that their English skills improve immensely during their studies at Payap due to the constant exposure to spoken and written English.

Payap University has obtained official recognition from the United States government, through its Department of Education (DOE), as an eligible-only institution.
The following is from the US DOE: "The Foreign Schools Participation Team is pleased to inform you that, based upon the information included in your Application for Approval to Participate in Federal Student Financial Aid Programs, the Secretary of Education (Secretary) has determined that Payap University (Institution) satisfies the definition of an eligible institution under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). Payap University will be listed in the next edition of the Directory of Postsecondary Institutions published by the U.S. Department of Education (Department)."[3]


The university is located in Chiang Mai, the unofficial capital of northern Thailand.

Mae Khao campus

Just east of the city, on the "middle" ring road, Mae Khao is the larger campus with 120 acres housing classrooms, administrative offices, and laboratories. The Luce Chapel, Center for Arts and Culture, the Research and Development Institute, and the University Central Library are here, as well as the faculties of humanities, social science, business administration, science, law, accountancy, finance and banking, pharmacy, and the graduate school. Also here are the university archives, the Christian Communication Institute (CCI), the Linguistics Institute, and the Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture and Peace.

Kaew Nawarat campus

A small campus in town, across from Payap-affiliated McCormick Hospital. The McGilvary Faculty of Theology, the McCormick Faculty of Nursing, and the faculty of music are here.

Payap University Archives

The Payap University Archives hold documents related to the history of Protestant missions in northern Thailand. They house the personal papers of many missionaries from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the institutional archives of several missionary organizations.[4]

American Veterans

Foreign training for US veterans at Payap University

Payap University has been approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer degree programs to eligible American veterans. Currently there are ten degree programs approved for VA funding. The programs are:

  • Computer information systems (BS)
  • Business administration (BS)
  • English communication (BA)
  • International hospitality management (BS)
  • Master of divinity (MDIV)
  • Master's in linguistics (MA)
  • Teaching English to speakers of other languages (MA)
  • International Masters of business administration (MBA)
  • Humanities (BA)
  • Accountancy, finance, and banking (BS)

The latter two are programs within the Thai portion of the university and taught entirely in Thai. All other programs are part of the International College and taught entirely in English. VA funding is only authorized for students attending the university on a full-time basis and enrolled in one of the approved degree programs. Certificate programs (such as the Intensive Thai Program) are not eligible.[5]


  1. ^ [Payap University Home Page - Introduction]
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links

  • Payap University official website
  • Payap University International College official website
  • Payap Blog, a student blog of Payap University
  • Payap Flyover Video

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