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Study in Malaysia

Country flag: Malaysia

Located in the heart of tropical South East Asia, Malaysia has a growing higher education sector, which could make it an ideal destination for postgrads hoping to study abroad

The Malaysian education system

Higher education institutions in Malaysia can be divided into:

  • Government universities - These public establishments - often referred to as IPTAs - make up around 60% of higher education institutions. There are 20 government universities, including the University of Malaya, University of Science Malaysia and Putra University Malaysia.
  • Private Higher Educational Institutions (PHEIs) - Often referred to as IPTS institutions, these universities and university colleges are established by private sector companies that apply through the Ministry of Education's Department of Private Education.
  • Foreign university branches - There are currently eight university branches that have been set up by institutions based in other countries. They include the University of Nottingham, Newcastle University and Dublin Business School.

A number of universities are ranked in the QS World University Rankings , including the University of Malaya (156) and the National University of Malaysia (261).

Entry requirements

These will depend on the postgraduate course you want to study, and the university you'd like to attend. So make sure you do your research and get in touch with your chosen university to ensure you're fully aware of the entry requirements for your course.

However, to get onto the majority of postgraduate courses, you will usually require an undergraduate degree. Depending on the programme, this first degree might be in any subject or a related discipline.

In the case of Master of Business Administration (MBA) courses, a recognised Bachelors degree with at least a 2:2 in any field, plus two to three years of relevant working experience, is usually required.

For a list of Malaysian institutions and details of some of the courses they offer, visit - Where to Study .

Course fees

The cost of higher education at Malaysian universities differs depending on the type of course you take and where you study. However, the cost of study is competitive on average compared to other countries around the world.

A Masters degree at a public university will cost an estimated 1,800 Malaysian ringgit (MYR) (£387) - MYR 6,000 (£1,290) per academic year, according to  and the Study in Malaysia Handbook,

An MBA at a public university will cost approximately MYR 13,000 (£2,800) - MYR 25,000 (£5,380), while at a private university you could expect it to cost between MYR 21,000 (£4,500) - MYR 30,000 (£6,450).

Living costs

The cost of living in Malaysia is also relatively cheap. The average total cost of living per month - taking into account rent, food, travel and other essentials - is between MYR 700 (£150) and MYR 900 (£195), according to Education Malaysia

Funding to study in Malaysia

Universities award funding to prospective postgraduate students depending on a number of factors, such as the university's budget, the funding options available, and the student's individual circumstances, chosen course and academic background.

To find out what funding might be available for you, make sure you get in touch with your chosen university.

The Malaysian government also offers some scholarships for international students. For example, the Malaysian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) are awarded to nominated students who are from Commonwealth countries and have a minimum of a 2:1 at undergraduate level, or excellent results at Masters level.

The Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies and Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS) are also available.

For more information about the funding opportunities and their criteria, visit Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education - Scholarships for International Students .

Malaysian exchanges and placements

Postgraduates studying at a UK university with a branch in Malaysia or an association with a Malaysian institution may be offered the option of studying at the foreign campus for a semester, or even a full academic year. This will come at a cost, which will be decided by your specific university, as too will the programme's entry requirements and application process.

Furthermore, the University of Malaya Student Exchange Programme (UMSEP) gives international students the chance to study taught or research courses at the campus for a single semester. Further information on the scheme can be found at University of Malaya - Exchange Programme .

Student visas

According to the Ministry of Higher Education, to qualify as a student suitable for study in the country, you must:

  • have been accepted onto a full-time course at a Malaysian university;
  • have the financial capacity to pay course fees and living costs;
  • enter the country for study purposes only;
  • be in good health.

It is also important to consider that international students are only permitted to study at private institutions approved by both the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In addition, all international students, whether on a full-time course or an exchange programme, are required to have a valid Student Pass and visa.

To find out more about the process of applying for a visa and Student Pass, visit - Entering Malaysia to Study .

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
April 2013

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