A new university that will cost $9,000 per annum in tuition fees is scheduled to open in Tuol Kok district on Monday and will offer Cambodian students the opportunity to finish undergraduate degrees at a U.S. university after completing a preparatory year in Phnom Penh.
The American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP), on Street 315, will be the first higher-education institution in the country to offer a transfer program between a Cambodian and U.S. university.
Students who do not want to transfer to the U.S. can opt to finish a three- or four-year bachelor’s degree in Phnom Penh in law, economics and business, and political science and diplomacy.
“We are creating the highest quality education for Cambodian students because we believe that is what Cambodian students deserve,” said Juanita Rice, the university’s president.
“We are employing only experienced American professors and will offer a rigorous, demanding American participatory style curriculum. We will be offering core curricula that reflect standard practices in American universities,” she said.
Ms. Rice said students who successfully complete the preparatory year, can then transfer to the Middlesex Community College (MCC) in Lowell, Massachusetts. After successful completion of another year at MCC, students can then transfer again into one of at least 15 universities within the Massachusetts Public Higher Education System to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
AUPP’s funders are two local investors and one U.S. national, said Puy Kea, an adviser to the school. He declined to name the investors, though one of the two local investors is believed to be a senior official at the Council of Ministers.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh confirmed that the embassy was involved in the project.
“The U.S. Embassy is discussing with the American University of Phnom Penh ideas to develop vocational training as a way to expand the skilled labor pool and contribute to Cambodia’s economic development,” he said.
Ms. Rice said students in their first year at AUPP would study humanities, world history, English composition, English literature, sociology, world geography, environmental science, mathematics, introduction to law and legal systems and psychology.
“The coursework allows them to develop and hone skills which they will require to succeed in an American university setting,” she said.
The building housing the university is a three-story white structure with a rounded-glass facade. Plans are also in store to start work on a much bigger campus in Russei Keo district in 2016.