Getting into UP Open University without passing UPCAT | Edukasyon.ph

Getting into UP Open University without passing UPCAT

Every year, thousands of senior high school students try their luck in getting into their dream school. University of the Philippines’ admission test, UPCAT,  is no stranger to them. The competition for a spot at the country’s top university is tough, and not everyone gets the results they always want.

If the odds were against your favor with the UPCAT, there is no need for tears. The UPCAT is not the only route towards a UP education. But wait, there are more ways to getting into UP. You can through a talent determination test or by being a varsity player at one of the university’s sports programs. 

So you're telling me there's a chance

For UP Open University—UP’s distance learning education arm— the first step towards a bachelor’s degree without passing the UPCAT is the Associate in Arts (AA) program.

The Associate in Arts program

Let’s break down the AA program first. Here, you’ll learn mostly everything a UP student learns in his/her first two years in college. UP’s curriculum focuses on General Education classes, which is centered on developing your knowledge of arts and the humanities. GE classes are the heart and soul of UP education, as you’ll learn to appreciate ideas that shaped and continue to shape society as we know it, and hopefully find your own voice too!

There are three types of applicants: 

  1. High school or senior high school graduates;
  2. Passers of the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System Accreditation and Equivalency Test for secondary level; and
  3. Transferees with college units. 

If you are one of the first two, you should take the Undergraduate Assessment Test or UgAT. This test administered solely by the UP Open University to determine your scholastic aptitude and ability to learn independently. Subtests Language Proficiency, Reading Comprehension in English, and Filipino is also present in UgAT.

If you want to get the gold, UgAT can be taken at the beginning of every trimester. You can check out the schedules for the UgAT for Academic Year 2020 to 2021 here

Once you have passed the UgAT, you will also have to complete the UP Open University Distance Education Readiness Module. After that, you can call yourself a UPian!


After finishing the AA, you can then automatically move on to either one of the degree programs UP Open University is currently offering, which is a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies or a Bachelor of Education Studies.

As a transferee

You can also get into the UP Open University as a transferee. Here are some criteria for transferee students: 

  1. A current or former student of another UP unit or school/ university
  2. A graduate of a two-year diploma, certificate, associate, or technical and vocational program
  3. Or a former college, diploma, certificate, associate, or TECHVOC student who stopped schooling

If you are coming from another UP unit, you should have at least 33 units of the college and a general weighted average of 2.5 or better.

If you are coming from a non-UP unit, that means you need a slightly higher GWA—2.0 or better. Getting good grades is the best way to make sure you will be able to transfer, so make sure you do not slack off!

Studying GIF

Getting into any university through alternative routes if you did not pass their admissions exams will always be tedious, so make sure to not lose focus and always keep your eyes on the prize!

On the other hand, you can always take undergraduate degrees from other distance learning universities then take up post-graduate studies later on. UP Open University offers several programs for degree holders who wish to further their studies for whatever purpose they may serve. Check them out below:

1. Graduate Certificate Program

The graduate certificate program is for bachelor’s degree holders who want to pursue a master’s degree different from their field of study. This will help you prepare if you plan on changing careers or if you just want to explore other interests. 

2. Professional Teaching Certification Program

This is a non-degree program—meaning you do not really follow a specific track—for people who already have a bachelor’s degree in any field and would want to teach at the secondary education level. 

3. Master’s Program

If you are serious about a post-graduate degree, UP Open University offers a variety of choices from ASEAN Studies, to International Health, to Nursing. Since it employs distance learning, you will have the flexibility to get that MA or MS in your own time without sacrificing time at work. 

4. Doctoral Program

As of now, UP Open University only offers two doctorate programs: Doctor of Communication and Doctor of Philosophy in Education.

Make sure you keep up with their announcements here

5. Massive Open Online Courses

At the end of it all, if your goal is simply to learn new things, UP Open University has a wide network of massive open online courses you can enroll in. These courses are short and sweet, packing information you need to know about certain topics in a span of a few weeks. Registration is easy—all you need is an email address and you are good to go!

Pursuing formal education through distance learning is still something relatively new for Filipino students.

If you want to know more about online education, visit Edukasyon.Ph to learn more.