Everything You Need to Know About Applying and Studying at University of the Philippines Diliman

Want to be an Iskolar ng Bayan?
by Hannah Lazatin   |  Jan 30, 2022
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Excellence is often attached to the name University of the Philippines, for its reputation of not only being one of the top institutes of higher learning in Asia and the Philippines, but for also producing many of the country’s brightest thinkers. If you’re looking to apply to become an Iskolar ng Bayan and join the ranks of many great leaders, here’s what you need to know: 

History of University of the Philippines

The University of the Philippines (UP) dates back to 1908, when the Secretary of Public Instruction, William Morgan Shuster, had recommended that the Philippine Assembly found a new institution to meet the needs for higher levels of learning in the fields of medicine, law, engineering, and applied sciences. It first opened in downtown Manila, on a now renamed street called Calle Isaac Peral in 1909, offering courses under the College of Medicine, the School of Fine Arts, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Agriculture in Los Baños, Laguna. The College of Engineering, the College of Law, and the College of Veterinary Medicine followed a year later. Under the leadership of lawyer Ignacio Villamor, UP would experience even more growth and would add to its growing list of offerings: the Conservatory of Music, the University High School, the College of Education and the Junior College in Cebu.


After the chaos of World War II left the campuses in Manila, Los Baños, Cebu, and Iloilo devastated, the Philippine General Hospital was ordered to be part of UP, and the college made its move from Manila to Diliman, Quezon City. Since, UP has expanded and come to have many branches and extensions of its educational programs around the Philippines, with eight constituent universities in 17 campuses. Today, it prides itself on not just its growth, but the new facilities to foster learning, its community of scientists, researchers, artists, and experts, and playing a role in shaping the national identity. 

Top Courses the University of the Philippines Is Known For

UP has long been at the top of the list of the country’s best universities, having recently climbed 30 levels up in the THE Asia University Rankings. UP now sits at 65th out of 489 universities, is the 5th best university in Southeast Asia, and it holds the top place among universities in the Philippines. Of the campuses, UP Diliman is the largest and houses over half the population of all the UP system, offering 94 graduate and undergraduate courses and various research centers.

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When taking a closer look at its individual programs of study, UP also is renowned and recognized for its subject rankings, particularly in Development Studies, English Language and Literature, Geography, and Politics and International Studies. It was also recognized by the Times Higher Education World Rankings and took top spots in clinical, pre-clinical, and health subjects, Life Sciences and Social Sciences, and Engineering. 


How to Apply to the University of the Philippines

If you want to get into UP, you’ll have to best many others in what’s a rigorous application and selection process. There are around 70,000 applicants who take the famed University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT) each year, and only around 11,000 or 18% of them pass. Afterward, these names are filtered down through UPCAT results, University Predicted Grade, and a minimum grade requirement set by the college one is applying under. Here are the updated application steps:

  1. After applicants are prompted to choose their campuses of choice and their degree programs, they are asked to prepare and submit the following:
  • Form 1 Personal Data Sheet (filled out by applicant)
  • Form 2A (filled out by high school)
  • Form 2B High School Record (filled out by applicant)
  • A certified true copy of the Permanent Secondary School Record (F137/SF10) signed in wet signature of the authorized school personnel should be submitted to the UP Office of Admissions
  • A high school diploma (if graduated)
  • A DepEd Certificate of Recognition or Permit to Operate (if graduating)
  1. Fill out the online application form in the designated admissions portal here
  2. Double-check whether your school has submitted its required forms and that all your forms are filled out and uploaded.
  3. Submit all the requirements and pay a non-refundable fee of P450 (for non-Filipino applicants only).
  4. Finally, await your application results on the admissions portal.

How Much is Tuition Fee at University of the Philippines?

Since UP is a state university, Filipino students are exempt from tuition thanks to the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017, except if they fall under this criteria:

  1. They already have attained a bachelor’s degree from any higher education institute
  2. They have not complied to the admission and retention policies of UP
  3. They have failed to complete their bachelor’s degree within a year after the period prescribed by the program
  4. They opt out and want to pay the tuition and other school fees.

Students who are not exempt from the tuition have to pay a fee of an estimated P31,500 per semester for 21 units. One may see a sample tuition and other fees breakdown here

Famous Alumni at University of the Philippines

Many greats have walked the halls of the country’s national university, so much so that it has produced 39 National Scientists, 40 National Artists, two National Social Scientists, seven Presidents, and 15 Chief Justices, among other great industry and state leaders. Who, in particular, were proud Iskolar ng Bayans


Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa was both a student and faculty member at UP Diliman. In the field of science, UP played alma mater to scientists such as Paulo Campos, the father of nuclear medicine in the Philippines, Edwin Copeland, the founder and first dean of what’s now known as UP Los Baños, and Fe Del Mundo, another National Scientist who founded the first pediatric hospital in the country. In the arts, famous UP alumni include artist Kidlat Tahimik, fashion designer Pitoy Moreno, composer Ryan Cayabyab, broadcast journalist Karen Davila, among others.



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Hannah Lazatin