International Affairs

payap university

Payap University


Payap University Chiang Mai, Thailand 50000
 +(66)53 851 478
main website (in Thai) : www.payap.ac.th

Payap University is a non-profit private higher education institution that offers degree programs in the Thai language and English-based language International degree programs, and is located in the east side of the beautiful city of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Founded in 1974, Payap University received accreditation on 21 March 1974, and became the first private college in Thailand outside of greater Bangkok

PYU has institutional accreditation from the Thailand Ministry of Education and in January 2015 Payap University obtained official recognition from the United States government, through its Department of Education (DOE)

Payap University has been approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer degree programs to eligible American veterans

Payap University is an active member of the Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning and the Association of Private Higher Education Institutions of Thailand (APHEIT).

payap library

established in 1974

a private and non-profit institution

first fully accredited private university in Thailand

founded by the Foundation of the Church of Christ in Thailand

Payap is a founding member of the Association of Private Higher Education Institutions in Thailand


Institutional accreditation and recognition at Payap University International College for undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs are given by both the Thailand Ministry of Education and the United States government Department of Education (DOE). 


Payap’s Five Core Principles:

  • Transformation Toward Authentic Peace
  • Build Trust Through Truth
  • Service Through Vocation
  • Delight in Diversity and Global Awareness
  • Faithful Stewardship (Oversight)


Payap Logo

payap logo

Students of Payap University must learn self-development, acquire knowledge, exhibit wisdom, and think creatively.

They are expected to develop the capacity for excellence, along with a strong sense of social responsibility towards others and society in general.

payap university


Truth and Service

Payap University strives to adhere to its motto “Truth and Service” by instilling
academic and moral excellence in its students, to create understanding through the living truth and an attitude of service to all.



Boonnak (Ceylon Iron Wood) is among the most beautiful trees in the world.

payap flower

1. The color of Boonnak flowers is pure white, which represents virtue and purity.

2. Boonnak flowers have a pleasant, lingering fragrance, which represents refinement, dignity, and a service-minded reputation.

3. Boonnak flowers resemble a parasol, which protects from the elements and impurities.

4. Boonnak trunks can be used as medicine, which represents the capacity to provide aid and assistance to those who are in need

.5. Boonnak is very hard to cultivate, hence, it requires good care; this represents the challenge of educating society’s youth to reach their full potential.

Payap University Campus

Located east of the city, on the “middle” ring road

payap campus map

Mae Khao is the larger campus and includes the Luce Chapel, Center for Arts and Culture, the Research and Development Institute, and the University Central Library


nawarat campus

Includes the McGilvary College of Divinity, the McCormick Faculty of Nursing, and the College of Music.

Payap University History

Payap University has a long and rich history beginning in 1888 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 comprising 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 per-requisite for entrance.

Degrees awarded by these institutions, however, were not recognized as college degrees by the Royal Thai Government.

payap history

Private Higher Education in Thailand

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.

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 over 31,000 alumni of the university.

In its early years, Payap College operated in borrowed facilities. Originally there were two campuses, one adjacent to McCormick Hospital and the other five miles 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, two miles 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.

Payap University Campus

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 wide range of international programs to attract students from across Southeast Asia and from other areas of the world.

payap campus

In Chiang Mai the International College at Payap opened in 2003 when it started its Bachelor’s Degree program. It now boasts a full range of undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs.

These programs have been approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of the United States of America to offer degree programs to eligible American veterans. American veterans can use their Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to study abroad in Thailand.

"pioneer of teaching"

Throughout its history Payap University has pioneered the teaching of new fields at the university level in northern Thailand, such as music, business-related fields, law, and Peacebuilding (PhD).

payap students

Payap continues to build on the distinctive characteristics of its American educational heritage. In recent years the university has initiated an International MBA program (taught in English, drawing on established American business school models) and has established a new International College: the first English-language undergraduate program in Northern Thailand.

The university launched the new Faculty of Pharmacy in 2006, a highly popular program taught in Thai, but modeled after American Pharmaceutical education. Payap received financial assistance from the US government’s USAID/ASHA program to procure vital laboratory equipment for the Pharmacy program.

Further improvements to the infrastructure for teaching and learning have been made, including renovation of the campus to enhance accessibility to the disabled, and a major IT upgrade project. Both of these projects were partially funded by grants from USAID/ASHA. The university is also working to increase the number of Payap students who participate in exchange programs with US academic institutions.

Payap is a leader among Southeast Asian institutions of private higher education:

It has attracted one of the region’s most multi ethnic faculties, established progressive research and community development programs including the region’s only private archives, and has hosted numerous international conferences.

Payap has long-standing international partnerships, including close ties to the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, as well as with various other institutions and universities.

Payap has also initiated an extensive Quality Assurance program, is developing new standards for teaching and learning, and is focusing attention on service-learning, student-centered learning, and increasing the use of information technologies and electronic information resources in teaching and learning.

Admissions Center for all of your application and admissions needs.

Visa information for new and existing students at Payap Uinversity

Student Center for all of your application, studies and campus needs, including visa information, study abroad and other opportunities.

You may want to know the background of the University. Here we look at everything from the mission, beliefs, history to the current president.

Office of International Affairs