All You need to Know About Malaysian Higher Education System

4 years ago

Five hundred universities and institutions divided into six categories is the number of higher education providers in Malaysia. This seems a little bit confusing and needs to be simplified if you are interested in studying at Malaysia. In brief, we will discuss here all you need to know about the Malaysian Higher Education System.

In this article, we will discuss the higher education providers of Malaysia and the available academic degrees of these institutions and how you can benefit from the Malaysian Higher Education Systemic diversity as an international student.


Providers of higher education in Malaysia:


We can say the higher education system in Malaysia is divided between the public and private educational institutions. They both play a vital role in the development of the Malaysian higher education in the way that benefits the Malaysian and the international students.


Public higher educational institutions:

These are the institutions funded by the government. They include the community colleges, polytechnics, and the public universities. Currently, there are 33 polytechnics in Malaysia aim mainly to provide Malaysia with skilled workers by offering diplomas in fields such as engineering, commerce and hospitality.

Both polytechnics and community colleges provide only certificates and diplomas while the public universities have the authority to offer bachelor’s degrees and postgraduate programs.

Public Universities

Universiti Malaya (114 in the QS World University Rankings), Universiti Putra Malaysia, and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia are of the well-known public universities in Malaysia. These universities with other 17 public universities in Malaysia offer bachelor’s degrees as well as postgraduate programs (Masters and PhDs).

Private higher educational institutions:

These are privately funded institutions under the supervision of the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education. These institutions can be divided into three categories: colleges and university-colleges, universities, and, the most exciting type, foreign university branch campuses.

Private colleges and university colleges

They are non-university status institutions offer their certificates and diplomas.

These institutions may prepare the student to join the university by providing courses or qualifications leverage their opportunity to join the university.

Private universities

Similar to public universities, private universities offer their bachelors and postgraduate degrees in various fields.

Some of the famous private Malaysian universities are Malaysia University of Science & Technology, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, and Universiti Selangor

foreign university branch campuses

Universities like University of Nottingham, Monash, and other reputable foreign universities, especially from United States, UK, and Australia, have established campuses for them in Malaysia.
These universities offered the Malaysian as well as the international students in Malaysia to have a part of their degree study in Malaysia and complete the other part in the original country of the university.
This is known as twinning programs where the student can study two years of the undergraduate degree in Malaysia and either another year or 2 years abroad.

But what if you don’t want to travel out of Malaysia? You CAN acquire your Bachelor’s degree from the university while studying in its branch campus in Malaysia
This is known as “3+0” twinning program, this means you study three years in Malaysia and 0 out of it and still got your degree from the foreign university.

That was an overview of the institutions included in the Malaysia higher education system. You can see that you, as an international student, have various options to study in Malaysia. In the following sections, we will discuss some of these options to help you to choose the most suitable one for you.

University colleges diplomas

Diplomas are 4 to 6 semesters of study aim to prepare the students to either join the university or provide them with the required skills for the industry. You can get the diploma in literally any field of study, even in medicine and engineering.

The general entry requirements are SPM or a specific number of credits for the international students, and the English level which is determined by the university.


Bachelor’s Degree

The undergraduate student aims to acquire a bachelor’s degree will study between 3 – 5 years or 6 – 10 semesters as the academic year in Malaysia consists of two semesters.

You can acquire the bachelor’s degree from the public universities, private universities, or the foreign universities branches as well.

The entry requirements to apply for a bachelor’s degree include STPM (Malaysian Higher School Certificate) or its equivalent for the international students, and TOEFL score ranges from 500 to 600 (173 to 250 on a new computer-administered test) or IELTS score ranges from 5 to 6.

Postgraduate degrees:

If you have finished your bachelor’s degree, you have the opportunity to apply for a postgraduate degree in Malaysia.

Bachelor’s degree is the basic requirement for the students to apply to Master’s programs. Generally, the entry requirements for the postgraduate programs differ among the universities and institutions.

Masters and doctoral programs are taught in English and completed through lectures and research project, and/or by completing a thesis. The student will attend lectures, seminars, and workshops to complete the degree as in the undergraduate study.

The Master’s degree will take 1-5 years according to the program you apply for, and the field of study while the PhD will take up to 4 years to complete.

After this tour in the Malaysian higher educational system, all you need is to check the available academic programs to study in Malaysia on our website from here

Shady Mohamed
Shady Mohammed is a writer who has a passion for learning new things, volunteering and traveling. He has a bachelor's degree in science from Cairo University. He loves coding, reading... and eating!
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