These days, they say that everyone eventually has to pursue a master’s degree. Whether this is true or not, education is a privilege that brings enormous value to anyone’s life. It can equip you with some valuable lessons about the “real world” and your capabilities—but it comes with a price.


Most master’s programs take an average of 24 units to complete, with most universities costing out the program’s fees with a per unit baseline, then adding recurring and miscellaneous fees. Here's how much you should expect to spend on units per semester/trimester, along with tips from Pinays pursuing further studies themselves:

*Costs and figures are averages and rounded numbers based on the differing rates per course at the university.

UP Diliman

Minimum Cost per Unit Estimate: P800

The University of the Philippines Diliman estimates about P7,200 per term for its master’s degree programs, assuming the lighter load of 9 units each. “UP is government-subsidized so the fees are highly affordable considering that you’re paying for good credentials,” says Patty, 23 an MA student at the College of Education.

The cost per unit varies per college at UP, though. While Patty paid about P7,000 per term taking one subject (2,000 pesos per unit), Cristina, 29, from the College of Arts and Letters, paid the same amount for three subjects (P800 per unit)! “Now I’m only paying P50 per semester because I don’t have to go to class,” she says, “I’m just finishing my thesis.”


Browse the UP graduate programs here

See the breakdown of fees here.

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Minimum Cost per Unit Estimate: P1,700

In De La Salle University, the costs per unit come at a minimum of P1,700, or about P15,300 for its classes per term. Don’t be misled, though! This amount doesn’t include thesis and dissertation fees, the use of the different department laboratories, and exams. 

For Dowee, 25, who holds a Master’s Degree for Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Major in Poetry), she completed her course with 75 percent of tuition on scholarship. “Usual tuition per term for a full load would be around P20,000-25,000,” she says, “I regularly paid between P4,000-7,000 per term. Obtaining the scholarship was pretty straightforward as DLSU had a lot of support programs for their students.”

Call DLSU Admissions at +632.523.4230
See the breakdown of fees here.

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Minimum Cost per Unit Estimate:  P2,000


The University of Sto. Tomas is renowned for its fine arts and medical undergraduate programs. It also offers master’s degree programs for these and other fields such as Applied Sciences, Business and Management, Social Sciences, and Education. The minimum cost per unit stands at P2,000 and amounts to an estimated P18,000 per term for 9 units. Applicants with weighted averages of no less 85 percent from their bachelor programs qualify for the master’s program, though bridging courses may be required if the undergraduate program is not aligned.

Annie, 25, is pursuing a degree in Cultural Heritage and shares that UST schedules its classes on Saturdays or after work hours on weekdays. “Some of my classmates would take 9 units or more, depending on their schedule. Given mine, I could only take 6 units a term.” For two subjects a term, Annie shares that it would cost about P25,500, but as an employee of the university, her tuition fee was subsidized.


Call the UST Graduate School at +632.732.5396
See the breakdown of fees here.

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Minimum Cost per Unit Estimate:  P3,000

The Ateneo de Manila University master’s degree program has units that cost an estimate of P3,000 each. The duration of these programs differ per department. The School of Humanities, School of Science and Engineering, School of Social Sciences, John Gokongwei School of Management, and Graduate School of Business each have different curricula that may have as little as two to as many as 12 prerequisite units, and various other fees depending on the campus and facilities.

Tanya, 32, MA in Communication, spent about P30,000 per semester when she was completing her coursework. “[I pay] about P16,000 per semester now that I’m just working on my thesis.”

Call the Office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at +632.426.5937
See the breakdown of fees here.

If you’re ready for these financials, figure out the cost in the context of its benefits to your career. A master’s degree can give you an advantage in the hiring pool or put you up for consideration to get a promotion (and a higher salary!). It also connects you with other professionals whose networks can open up doors of opportunity for you. Who knows? Your classmate can be the CEO of his own company and need someone just like you!


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