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Public Universities: Study Opportunities For Upper & Post-Secondary School Leavers and The Role of Centralised Admission Agency

by on March 5, 2015 | Public Higher Education Routes


Public universities are being owned and operated by Government and the strategic objectives of the public universities will be in line with those of Ministry of Higher Education. One of the MOHE’s objectives is to enhance the overall capability of the universities to produce human capital with first class mentality and to become more dynamic, competitive, and able to face the challenges of a changing world.

Basically, the 20 full-fledged universities are further divided into three (3) groups i.e. four research, four comprehensive and 12 focused universities. Currently, as much as 90% of the public universities’ funding is from government sources and the balance of 10% is derived from student fees. In 2007, the government has the operating budget of more than RM6 billion to fund the universities and the amount may increase due to upgrading of the four institutions into research universities.

Table 9.1: List of Public Universities in Malaysia

20 Public Universities

  • Universiti Malaya (UM), established on 1-1-1962
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), established in 1969
  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), established on 18-5-1970
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), established on 4-10-1971
  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), established on 1-4-1975
  • Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), established on 26-8-1999
  • Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM), established on 10-5-1983
  • Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), established on 16-2-1984
  • Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), established on 24-12-1992
  • Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), established on 24-11-1994
  • Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), established on 24-2-1997
  • Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), established on 13-3-1998 (formerly known as Kolej Universiti Islam Malaysia - KUIM)
  • Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), established on 15-7-1999 (formerly known as Kolej Universiti Sains & Teknologi Malaysia - KUSTEM)
  • Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), established on 30-9-2000 (formerly known as Kolej Universiti Teknologi Tun Hussein Onn - KUiTHO)
  • Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), established on 1-12-2000 (formerly known as Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia - KUTKM)
  • Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), established on 16-2-2002 (fomerly known as Kolej Universiti Kejuruteraan & Teknologi Malaysia - KUKTEM)
  • Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), established on 2-5-2002 (formerly known as Kolej Universiti Kejuruteraan Utara Malaysia - KUKUM)
  • Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), established on 1-1-2006
  • Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), established on 14-6-2006
  • Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM), established on 10-11-2006 (upgraded from Malaysian Armed Forces Academy)

Levels of Courses Offered

Public universities offer the following levels of education:

No. Levels of Education For Who
1. University Degree Foundation Programmes For upper secondary schools leavers with SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) qualification
2. Diploma Programmes For upper secondary schools leavers with SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) qualification
3. Bachelor’s Degree Programmes
  • For post-secondary school leavers with STPM (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia) qualification
  • For post-secondary schools leavers with STAM (Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia) qualification
  • For post-secondary schools leavers with Matriculation Certificate of Ministry of Education or Public universities’ ‘Program Asasi’ qualifications
  • For holders of recognised Diploma qualification
4. Postgraduate Degree Programmes (Master’s Degree) For Bachelor’s degree holders or holders of other equivalent qualifications which are
recognised by the universities
5. Postgraduate Degree Programmes (Ph.D) Master’s degree holders or holders of other equivalent qualifications which are
recognised by the universities

Centralised Admission Agency to Public Universities - BPKP

All applications to study in public universities are centrally processed with the exception of postgtraduate studies. The centralised processing agency is known as the Bahagian Pengurusan Kemasukan Pelajar (BPKP) or The Division of Student Admission (formerly known as Unit Pusat Universiti, UPU). It processes applications from students with SPM, STPM, STAM, diploma or matriculation qualifications. The agency is under The Department of Higher Education (Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi) of the Ministry of Higher Education and is responsible for the management of the admission of students into the 20 public universities.

The main function of BPKP (or ‘UPU’) is to process and coordinate the intake of General Information on Malaysian Higher Educations into local public universities for the following programmes of study:

  • Programmes after SPM
  • Programmes for Government recognised Diploma Holders
  • Programmes after Matriculation programmes
  • Programmes after STAM
  • Programmes after STPM
  • Master’s degree programme in medicine

(Note : At postgraduate studies level, BPKP only processes the intake for Master’s degree programme in medicine and not for other postgraduate courses.)

The intake into the public universities through this centralised agency is once a year and usually in the month of July.

However BPKP is not involved in managing the intake of the following categories of students into public universities and as such these groups of students are required to contact the individual public universities directly. The students involved here are:

  • foreign students
  • students who undertake programmes conducted via the Distance Learning Education mode or programmes being offered at Certificate level
  • students of franchised programmes conducted at private higher educational institutions

General Entry Requirements

The general entry requirement for Diploma level is SPM qualification while that for undergraduate studies is STPM or equivalent qualifications such as Matriculation certificate of Ministry of Education, STAM and Diplomas which are recognised by the government.

Applicants, whether Malaysians or non-Malaysians, must fulfil the standard requirements as well as specific conditions like subject requirement, interview and others set by the respective public universities before they can be accepted by the public universities. These admission requirements are detailed in the ‘BPKP-UPU’ application form.

Application Procedures

The ‘BPKP IPT’ or ‘UPU’ application forms are made available to:
  • STPM / STAM qualification holders in January of intake year
  • SPM qualification holders in February of the intake year
  • Matriculation qualification holders in November prior to the intake year
  • Diploma qualification holders in November / December prior to the intake year

All post-secondary school leaver applications for Bachelor’s degree programmes must be made online while application for Diploma level programmes can either be made through printed application form or online via the website of the Ministry of Higher Education at The forms, however, must be submitted within 10 days from the date of the release of the examination result, usually in the month of March. Applicants will usually be notified of their applications’ status in the month of May. There is only one intake a year and is usually in the middle of the year. All enquiries can be addressed to:

Bahagian Pengurusan Kemasukan Pelajar
Sektor Pengurusan IPTA
Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi
Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi Malaysia
Aras 1, Blok E9, Parcel E
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan
62505 Putrajaya
Tel: 03-8883 5801 / 5802
Fax: 03-8889 4260 (for enquiries / correspondence only)

Education Guide Malaysia 11th Ed.Source: Education Guide Malaysia 11th Ed.

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