Most popular degrees in Tajikistan

The results of this year’s university admission testing in Tajikistan (which, like in many other former Soviet countries, is now centralized) are now in. Over 100,000 higher education hopefuls took entrance exams in 2019, most for entrance to university. Around 10% were seeking admission to college i.e. the final two years of secondary education (usually ages 16-18).

This year’s top courses are in the social sciences, for which there were over 1.7 applications for each place available. This continues a trend seen in Tajikistan since the fall of the Soviet Union as students have increasingly turned to subjects such as management, banking and law.

Closely following demand for social sciences were courses in medicine, biology and sport. Across these subjects (which are grouped by the National Testing Centre into clusters), the overall number of applications to places available was 1.7.

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Medicine and related subjects are the most popular in Tajikistan based on number of applications in 2019

The most popular courses based on the highest number of applications received were:

  1. Medicine at Tajik State Medical University – over 14,000 applications for state-funded full-time places
  2. Pediatrics at Tajik State Medical University – over 11,000 applications for state-funded full-time places
  3. Pediatrics at Tajik State Medical University – over 7,500 applications for tuition paying full-time places

So, lots of young Tajikistanis want to be doctors – and many are prepared to pay if they don’t get a free ride from the state.

In terms of highest competition per place (places are capped by the state), the top three looks quite different:

  1. Judicial/Forensic Expertise (help me out here Russian speakers – the original is Судебная экспертиза) at Tajik National University – over 500 applications per place
  2. Structural Engineering at Tajik Technical University – nearly 450 applications per place
  3. Chemistry and Biology at Tajik State Pedagogical University – over 400 applications per place


2 thoughts on “Most popular degrees in Tajikistan

  1. Rose H

    Hello Emma! I used to work in higher education admissions in Central Asia and I am a big fan of your work! I was curious — do you know about the choices in field of study for Tajik students going abroad for higher education (to Russia, Kazakhstan, China, etc)?


    1. Hi Rose, thanks for getting in touch! Interesting to know about your professional background.

      Good question on field of study for Tajikistan’s international students. From my own research, I found that students tend to go for subjects with obvious professional relevance for Tajikistan, such as business, environment or development studies (a big industry in Tajikistan to this day). I didn’t find any students going abroad to do sciences. This is based on a small sample of students going to English medium instruction universities, which you can read more about at and subsequent posts.

      According to this article from February 2019, students funded by Russian government scholarships are more likely to study subjects that are in demand at home such as IT, medicine, economics, business and the humanities. See

      The UNESCO data I use a lot for tracking mobility patterns doesn’t go into level of study in looking at international students – But it’s great for other factors so take a look at the site anyway.


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