Everything You Need to Know Before Applying to the University of Santo Tomas

Just this year, the university reached a 100% passing rate for the nursing board exam for the sixth year in a row.
by Hannah Lazatin   |  Dec 24, 2021
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There’s a certain prestige to entering and graduating from one of the country’s oldest and largest universities, which has produced many of the country’s greatest leaders. If you’re considering a medical course, architecture, or accountancy, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) has always been a top choice. Here’s what you need to know before signing up at UST:

History of University of Santo Tomas 

Along the gritty streets of España Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila, stands the campus of the oldest university in Asia and the largest Catholic university in the world, according to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. The University of Santo Tomas, or UST as it’s abbreviated, is over 400 years old, having been borne from the third Archbishop of Manila, Bishop Miguel de Benavides in 1605. With a mere P1,500 given to him to prepare a seminary-college to train men for the priesthood, the bishop began what would later be the University of Santo Tomas on April 28, 1611 in its first campus in Intramuros. 


Because of its fame and reputation for being among the premier universities in the country, it attracted a large number of student applicants that forced the administration to make a move to the current campus in Sampaloc, Manila in 1927. It was also around this time, in 1927 to be exact, that the university began accepting more female students; it first opened its doors to female students, however, in 1871 when it established the Escuela de Matronas or School for Midwives. The Intramuros campus would later be destroyed in World War II.

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Courses University of Santo Tomas Is Known For

Today, UST consists of nine colleges, three institutes, and eight faculties and offers 141 courses to choose from. In 2021, UST fell under the 1001-1200 bracket of the World University Rankings for 2022. Locally, its graduates dominate the board exams and their passing rates, consistently performing well in the exams of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Engineering, Architecture, Accountancy, and Education, according to the official QS website. Just this year, in fact, the university reached a 100 percent passing rate for the nursing board exam for the sixth year in a row.


How to Apply to the University of Santo Tomas

It’s much easier now that college applications to UST are done online. Those applying to college may choose two programs, a priority program and an alternative program, where they will be considered, should they not have passed their priority choice. Below is a breakdown for the application:

  1. Register for the program you are applying for online and fill out the pre-registration form. 
  2. Prepare any needed documents and upload these in PDF. This includes:
  • Signed Application and Conforme form
  • PSA/NSO Birth Certificate or Passport
  • Certified True Copy of Form 137 or Form 138 (with name and signature of the school representative)
  • Student Ranking Certification
  • Proof of Payment (or certification for Top 10 Students of the batch for applicants from the public schools)

If applicable:

  • Honors Class Certification/s 
  • Leadership Certification/s
  • Awards Certification/s
  • International Credential Certification (College applicants only)
  1. Pay the non-refundable application fee. Application fees for Filipinos studying abroad and in the Philippines is at P500, while the fee for foreign applicants is at P1,000.
  2. Applicants will then be graded through what’s called the USTAR, or University of Santo Tomas Admission Rating, where applicants’ credentials will be assessed and scored from 5000 to 13300. The USTAR score will be weighed according to the cut-off score set by the college for the program that they applied for.
  3. Applicants accepted may then confirm their enrollment online by downloading and filling out the Confirmation of Enrollment (COE) form and submitting additional requirements.

You may review the full procedure here.

How Much Tuition Costs at University of Santo Tomas

If you’re thinking of enrolling as an undergrad at UST, prepare to shoulder the tuition fee of P50,000 to P60,000 per semester, depending on your course of study and the number of units you’ll be taking. One can apply for a scholarship at the Office for Student Affairs once the results of the USTAR are released. Applicants and students can easily make their payments over the counter and for the application fee or online through BPI Online.

You can browse through the tuition fee for each college and course through this link.


Famous Alumni at University of Santo Tomas

Since it was among the first institutions of higher education in the country, UST housed and taught many of our nation’s heroes, such as Jose Rizal, Emilio Jacinto, Apolinario Mabini, and Marcelo H. del Pilar. Presidents such as Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, Jose P. Laurel, and Diosdado Macapagal also earned their degrees here, as well as some of the delegates who drafted the Malolos Constitution in 1899 and those who drafted the 1935 Constitution. 

In pop culture, some proud Thomasian alumni include Angel Locsin, who graduated from UST Pay High School, Sarah Geronimo, who spent a couple of her high school years as well, Piolo Pascual, and Iza Calzado, who earned a degree in Advertising Arts. A couple of other names in showbiz include Janin Tugonon, who was the university’s Miss Pharmacy before she went onto the bigger stage at Miss Universe 2012, and celebrity couple Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho, who actually met at a pageant to find the next Mr. and Ms. Medicine, where the two doctors were judges.



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Hannah Lazatin