Career Guide

Part 4: Choosing the Best Study Route

by on October 10, 2016

When you have decided on your choice of career, the next important step is to find out what education qualifications you need and how you plan to gain these qualifications.

To begin, here are some questions which will help you consider the education pathway that would be most suited for you and your needs.

Do you want to pursue an academic based programme or would you prefer a vocational based programme which requires more hands-on work? Your answer may lie somewhere in between the two choices but having an idea of what type of programme you prefer will help point you to courses that are more fitting to your nature. In addition, you should scrutinise the coursework and curriculum of a particular course as different institutions could offer very different course methodologies and curricula.

It is important that you understand your academic ability and the career you want to pursue.

Choosing a Course

Another guide is to consider your background and subjects you have studied so far. The list below provides a general guide to areas of study grouped according to your education background (art/science/technical stream). That being said, it is often possible for students from one stream to switch to an area of study of a different stream provided he/she meets the admission requirements of the institution.

Arts stream courses available to Arts Stream candidates

Science stream courses available to Science Stream candidates

Arts & Science Stream courses available to both the Arts and Science streams candidates

- Literature**
- Religioud Studies**
- Performing Arts
- Fine Arts
- Others

- Applied Sciences
- Life/Biological Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Medicine
- Dentistry
- Pharmacy
- Engineering
- Health Science
- Others

- Accounting
- Art & Design
- Architecture
- Business Administration
- Banking & Finance
- Communication Studies
- Education
- Environmental Studies
- Humanities
- History
- Geography
- Graphic Design & Multimedia Production
- Language & Literature
- Law
- Management
- Mathematics & Statistics
- Marketing & Sales
- Quantity Surveying
- Social Sciences
- Sports Science

** Might require proof of portfolio
Table 1: A list of disciplines at tertiary education level available to students from the arts or science streams, or both.
Source: Education Guide Malaysia (14th edition), published by Challenger Concept

Study Options after SPM

If you have just completed your secondary schooling with an SPM qualification, you may be thinking of furthering your education. Before you decide on which institution to apply to, first consider all the study options available to you in Malaysia:

Pre-university programmes

  • Form 6 STPM
  • Matriculation college under the Ministry of Education Malaysia
  • Matriculation programmes offered by public universities
  • UK 'A' Level, and Australian and Canadian pre-university programmes
  • Pre-university and university foundation programmes offered by private higher educational institutions

Tertiary level qualifications

Study Options after STPM/Matriculation/UEC

If you have completed your STPM or an equivalent pre-university programme, you can pursue:

  • A diploma level programme
  • A semi professional qualification programme
  • Year 1 of a bachelor degree programme
  • A professional qualification such as ACCA, CIMA, etc.

Besides considering your career interests, skills and personality, choosing the best education pathway for yourself also depends on whether you have the necessary entry requirements, your financial ability, and the availability of study opportunities for a particular course you would like to pursue.

Do you have questions about what you can study after SPM/STPM?
Worried that your grades might not be good enough?
Need more information on scholarships?
We have compiled a list of FAQs for students just like you.

Read it in : What do do after getting your SPMM or STPM results

To find out more about what and where to study in Malaysia, search our institution list and course list on this website.


  • Research Team
  • Education Guide Malaysia, 14th edition
Education Guide Malaysia 14th Ed.

Want more information on what and where to study? Would you like to read more about how to choose the right career and choosing a field of study that matches your interest? Get all this plus institution profiles, scholarship information, 27 fields of study and more in the all-new Education Guide Malaysia (14th edition).

Click here to download the order form.

Source: Studymalaysia Research Team

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