Aga Khan University (AKU)

Table of Contents

Overview

The Aga Khan University is part of the Aga Khan Development Network. The Aga Khan Development Network is dedicated to improving living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their faith, origin or gender.The university was founded in 1983 as Pakistan’s first private university

 

AKU began life as a health-sciences university.More recently, the university has initiated some other programmes too(at graduate and doctoral levels) . It is among the largest private health-care providers in Pakistan and East Africa. Starting in 2000, the university expanded to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom and Afghanistan.

Locations & Programs offered at AKU Campuses (UG):

Admission Dates:

Admission Cycle 2022 

 

Pakistan

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Post-RN BScN)

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN)

Post-RM Bachelor of Science in Midwifery (BScM)

Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene (ASDH)

Application Acceptance

March 13 – April 28

AKU Admission Test

BScN, Post-RN BScN, ASDH and BScM

Saturday, July 23

MBBS

Sunday, July 24

East Africa

Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) – Kenya

Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) – Uganda

Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Midwifery (BScM) – Kenya

Post-RM Bachelor of Science in Midwifery (BScM) – Uganda

Application Deadline

March 31

Admission Test and Interviews

April 26 – 29

Admission Test Centres

Nairobi, Dar es Salaam 

Class Commencement

February 2023

 

Admissions are open for 2022-2023 cycle. 

Candidates are required to apply online. For assistance in completing the online  application, please go through the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or Understand the Online Process.

Eligibility Criteria:

UThe Medical College has no preference for any particular type of preparation and qualification. Candidates prepared in Urdu or English-medium institutions, in Pakistan or overseas, who have successfully completed or are completing their HSSC/graduate/postgraduate education in Summer 2022 and meet the eligibility criteria may apply.For details, please refer to the Admission Information document.

Admission Process:

  • Stage 1

Around 5000-7000 people apply for the Aga Khan admissions test each year. There will be around 300-340 people shortlisted each year from those that gave the test. The threshold for passing changes every year depending on how well the applicants did & the difficulty of the test itself. In my experience (and this may differ for other people), the test scores do not matter further as long as you’ve reached the passing threshold. To satisfy the PMC requirements you’ll also have to pass the MDCAT. The passing criteria set by PMC is 65 percent each year.

 

  • Stage 2

Upon being shortlisted, you will be emailed a Stage 2 form. The Stage 2 form will have you list your extra curricular activities,  the grades you’ve achieved in O /A levels or the marks you’ve achieved in SSC/HSSC. You will also have to submit 2 recommendation letters from your high school teachers. You will print the Stage 2 form, fill in the details, courier the form alongside the proofs for your extra curriculars and then appear in an interview on an allotted date. Out of the 300-340 shortlisted candidates, 100 will make the cut. The interviewers will not be the ones deciding who is in the top 100. They make notes and write down facts about you & your answers. 

 

  • Need-blind Evaluation Process

This entails that your financial situation will play absolutely no role in you being selected by Aga Khan University. Once you have been selected, you will then apply for financial aid if your financial situation does not allow you to attend (something that will be discussed later).

 

  • Holistic Evaluation Process

A holistic evaluation process entails that it is not your grades that will solely determine your eligibility. Your extra-curricular profile, grades, recommendation letters, the facts your interviewer wrote will be evaluated by an admission committee, making up a profile of you as a person. Now Aga Khan does list minimum grade requirements on its website. These are an average of 70% across your SSC & HSSC. However it should be noted that these grades are the bare minimum.

 

  • What does “bare minimum” mean?

Bare minimum means the criteria set where they won’t just automatically discard your application. Your O & A level grades should generally be way above this. Same principles should apply for SSC/HSSC.

 

  • Final Thoughts on Process

 

The Aga Khan process is highly selective. This allows me to bring a related point. The batch in Aga Khan is very diverse & has people all the way from Chitral to Swabi to Burewala. Since we do not know the exact definition of a highly qualified candidate, it is very hard to gauge if you’re going to be selected even if you clear the test, have excellent ECAs, and amazing grades. I have seen people who have great profiles and distinctions within their O/A levels being rejected. So this is something you must internalize as an applicant. Because the process is holistic, there is absolutely no guarantee of being admitted. So even with an amazing profile, you should always have backups.

 

Admission Test Details:

The time allotted for the AKU admission test is 2 hours and it contains 100 mcqs. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Biology 20 mcqs

  • Physics 20 mcqs

  • Chemistry 20 mcqs

  • Science Reasoning 20 mcqs

  • Mathematics Reasoning 20 mcqs

In the Physics, Biology and Chemistry parts, every wrong answer loses you 0.25 marks

Fee Information:

MBBS Fee for 2022 in Pakistan


Fee Type

Frequency

Pakistani Students

(PKR)

Foreign National & Non Resident Pakistani Students

(USD)

Admission Fee

One time

156,000

2,250

Security Deposit (Refundable)

Refundable

11,000

205

Student Health Fees

Annual

17,200

145

Student Immunization fees* 

On Actual Basis

Graduation Fee 

One time

20,500

170

Student Activity Fee

Annual

3,400

25

Physical Examination

One time

14,100

115

Tuition Fee

Annual

1,143,300

28,600

University Fee 

Annual

1,256,700

6,200

Hostel Fee*

Monthly

25,000

327

*An additional amount of Rs. 6,600 / USD $40 will be charged for students living in the on campus hostel as air-conditioning charges. In addition, students will be billed for actual utilization of the air conditioning


Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene (ASDH)  Fee for Academic Year 2021-2022


Particulars

Frequency

Resident Students PKR  

Non-Resident Students

US $ 

Admission Fee 

One time

59,000

410  

Graduation Fee

One time

20,500 

170

Physical Examination Fee

One time

14,100

115

Security Deposit (refundable)

One time

2,500 

50

Student Activity Fee 

Annual 

3,400 

25

Student Health Fee

Annual 

17,200

145

Tuition Fee

Annual 

264,000 

2,200  

Student Immunization Fee

On Actual Basis

Hostel Fee* 

Monthly

25,000

327

*An additional amount of Rs. 6,600 / USD $40 will be charged for students living in the on campus hostel as air-conditioning charges. In addition, students will be billed for actual utilization of the air conditioning




Tuition and fees are reviewed annually to cover inflation and other cost increases. The University categorizes students as “residential” and “non-residential”. Here are the criteria for resident and non-resident tuition and fees.

  • Residential Status

Students who live in Afghanistan, Burundi, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are likely to be assessed as liable for “residential” fees.

  • Non-residential Status

Students categorized as “non-residential” are required to pay their dues in US dollars only. 

The University categorizes students as “non-residential‟ (whether holding Pakistani or dual citizenship), if they meet any one or more of the following criteria:

  • Residence of the principal wage-earning member of the family; source of income during the previous three years;

  • Whether the student was educated in an AKU residential or non-residential countries during the three years prior to the application for admission;

  • Whether the student is eligible for State-supported education overseas; 

  • Whether the candidate or principal earning member is reimbursed educational expenses by their employer. 

 

Students holding Pakistani nationality, CNIC and/or passport should note that this does not guarantee an AKU residential classification for the payment of tuition fee and any other charges. The University’s criteria, stated above, for the application of non-residential fee status will prevail. 

Students whose parents are Pakistani citizens deputed to a government mission overseas, will be charged the fee prescribed for residential students. Documentary evidence should be provided in such cases.

For further assistance regarding the fee criteria, you can visit the following link:https://www.aku.edu/admissions/fees-and-funding/Pages/home.aspx

Financial Aid:

Aga Khan is definitely the most expensive University currently operating within Pakistan.  That being said, cost should NOT be a factor when you’re looking to apply. Aga Khan offers a need-based financial aid system with a minimum level of aid (for 2021) centering around 23 percent up to 99 percent which will be a combination of loan & grant and cover your cost of attendance including boarding. This is given based on demonstrated need. 

Loan is a sum the university will be providing you in order for you to attend. There is a 5% interest (they choose to call it an administrative fee, since most of their graduates choose to go abroad after graduation, the purpose of this charge is so as to allow the money loaned to you to retain its original value as inflation rises. The details of loan repayment are listed on the Aga Khan website and I’d encourage you to give it a read. 

Grant is a sum provided to you by the university to help with cost of attendance. You will not have to return this sum. This is the portion of your fee waived off by the university. 

After your enrollment, AKU provides you with a financial aid form. You’ll be filling this in and providing details of assets, income & expenditures. The quantity of financial aid provided will then be decided by a committee keeping in view the evidence attached and your FA Form. Demonstrated need essentially means that you will be provided financial aid if the university believes that upon exhaustion of your assets and income you cannot bear the full cost of attendance. 

Entrance Scholarship:

AKU currently offers 5 entrance scholarships. These will be given to the top 5 students admitted out of the batch of 100. These scholarships cover the full cost of attendance and are entirely separate from financial aid. The process for this scholarship is even more secretive than the admission process and no one knows the criteria except the selection committee that awards the scholarships.

Writer's Conclusion:

I’d like to bring this up as I believe this is something that comes up frequently when we discuss Aga Khan. The cost of attendance will be around Rs. 1.5-1.7 crore including boarding & higher as an international applicant if you receive no financial aid. Even with financial aid you will be incurring a certain degree of debt. Does it have the best medical college within Pakistan? That can be debated. Aga Khan certainly outranks most Medical Colleges when it comes to research quality, teaching standards & abstract concepts such as prestige and degree value. It certainly has a brand name that can be thrown around from villages to urban areas. Your average Aga Khan graduate often chooses to do their residency abroad however, even if they later come back to Pakistan. But is it worth it? This can only be answered in relation to your financial circumstances & the way you view medical colleges. There are people here who left great public colleges like Allama Iqbal, Dow, Ziauddin, Khyber, Ayub etc. for AKU. To them the bargain was definitely worth it. Ultimately this will be something only you can decide and there’s no right and wrong answer to this. Hoping to see you at AKU if you plan to apply and get accepted!

Compiled by Abdullah Shabbir – AKU class of 2026 and Abdullah Tahir

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