University of Puthisastra: Providing Affordable High Quality Medical Education
University of Puthisastra | the education magazine

“We challenge our students to become future Leaders in Cambodia and the global community for the benefit of all” 

Established in 2007 University of Puthisastra (UP) has established excellence in the field of health science and technology education. The university is located in the city center of Phnom Penh, Cambodia and focuses on the health sciences and technology and inspires and train doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, lab techs, computer scientists and technology entrepreneurs. The university has seven faculties (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Midwifery, Health Science, and ICT) and a Center for Health Counselling, where they offer the only Western-level counselling course in Cambodia.

Being a private university of about 2200 students the university is big enough to make a difference but small enough to nurture and care about each individual student.

UP is an ambitious university and aspires on becoming a leading university in the region by focussing only on the three main drivers of economic development: health, technology and education. The university has 3 core values, which are Honor Self, Respect Others, and Develop Society. Their goal is to embed these positive values in their students and to “Equip graduates and the country for the 21st Century”. UP understands that no matter how fast the world changes, their core values remain at the core of success and humanity and that will never change.

UP believes that the biggest impact you can make in a country is to improve its health care and the best way to do that is to improve the quality of its Health professionals and that’s exactly what UP does.

UP graduates tend to work in government hospitals or clinics. Many of the pharmacy and dental students open their own pharmacies and clinics.

About the President

Professor Ian Findlay is the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, who commenced in August 2018. Ian has had a very successful career in health education, research, learning and teaching and maximizing commercial opportunities. In health education he has been Executive Dean, Health for a number of major education providers. Most recently he was Executive Director in Melbourne, at one of Australia’s largest education providers where he managed 30,000 students, a budget of $81 million dollars and a $23 million dollar Centre of Excellence in Health. He drove a 48% increase in enrolments, a 46% increase in revenue and a 79% increase in profit as well as a substantial increase in learning outcomes. In research, he has obtained prestigious ARC, NHMRC and MRC grants, and has more than 50 publications in prestigious journals such as Nature, MJA, BMJ, Clinical Genetics etc. In 1998, he was awarded “Scientist of the Year” by the European Society of Human Genetics and the Bancroft Medal in 2005 by the Australian Medical Association (QLD). 

Distinct Academic Program & Extra Activities

The university has a wide range of co- and extra-curricular events for students. They believe in a healthy body and a healthy mind. They have a Student Senate (student representative body) which develops, launches and maintaining student clubs – ably supported by an active Student Affairs Department. Not only for fun, clubs are designed for career and leadership development, physical activity and wellness, advancing practical skills as a key aspect of an exciting, learning-focused UP student experience.

The university has collaboration with Project Lokun which is a bi-annual humanitarian project to Pursat, Cambodia, started by students from NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in 2006. The project aims to reconnect villagers to the nation’s healthcare system, as well as improve their living and health condition. “Lokun” means “doctor” in the Hokkien dialect their project volunteers are affectionately known as “lokuners”. Another Project is Sa’Bai which is an overseas community involvement project (OCIP) based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and led by students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, that has been serving the underprivileged community in Cambodia for the past 11 years. Project Helping Hands sends teams of volunteers to provide medical care and health education for people in developing nations.

The university has also Arts & cultural clubs like: Bokator (martial arts) Club; Music Club (Guitar); E-Sports Club; English Language Clubs; English Corner; Debate Club; Wellness Clubs; Running Club; Soccer/Football Club; as well as specific Faculty Clubs. Medical – American Medical Student Association (AMSA) – Cambodia – UP International Chapter; AMSA-UP International Chapter; Junior Suture Training Club (JSTC); Junior Anatomy and Physiology Club (JAPC); Inter-Medical School Physiology Quiz (IMSPQ); Medical Surgical Examination Interest Group (MSEIG); UP Medical Club. The Faculty of Pharmacy; Senior Club; Pharma-Career Club; Clinical Pharmacy Club.   

The Rainbow of Offerings

University of Puthisastra is the only university which is embedding the following 21st Century skills into the curricula to ensure that their graduates have the best opportunities in life both Nationally and Internationally as well as much needed uplift Health care in Cambodia.

  • English fluency – The University is noted for being a quality university where English is fully embedded into the curricula. They run an intensive English program in Foundation Year (8hrs per week) to get students ready for their careers. They believe that English is the international language of success and students need to know English to succeed in so many fields – particularly in health. Other Cambodian universities either teach in French, charge extra fees for English or the students simply study English elsewhere.
  • Critical thinking – professional skills to gather and evaluate information – to be able to evolve as our technological world evolves
  • Employability skills – advantages in gaining and maintaining successful careers
  • Professional Communication skills – ensuring that health professionals communicate effectively to maximize patient outcomes.
  • Professional and ethical practices – to enhance reputation and be the best.

In addition, in 2019 Up has also established

  • Academic Board, to provide strong Academic Governance, improve curricula and offer new courses
  • Dedicated Learning and Teaching Dept. dedicated to improving academic quality, quality teaching, modern teaching methods and learning outcomes
  • Dedicated Research Dept. to lift research profile & maximize research efforts especially in Public Health to improve Cambodia’s often poor healthcare.
  • Major investment in infrastructure and equipment – to lead Cambodia in world teaching standards

Under the Cambodian system, the university teaches the Cambodian National Curriculum as a minimum. However, UP supplement the curricula by providing the required skills for future success. These subjects include PC Skills, English, Critical Thinking, Communication and Employability (soft-skills) and research skills. They also provide a number of 50% and 75% scholarships to their students based on merit, potential and the student’s ability to pay.

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