Studying for a bachelor’s degree through the distance learning mode
Advantages of distance learning
- set your own pace to study
- study at a time/day convenient for you
- fit work and study at the same time
- fit your home life (or family responsibilities) and study at the same time
- study from anywhere you live
- apply through APEL if you don’t have the conventional academic entry requirements
- a distance learning course often costs less than a full-time degree
Have you ever wished you could study for a bachelor's degree while you work? Or do you wish you could be a university student without having to leave your hometown?
Earning a bachelor's degree through distance learning is possible in Malaysia through distance learning universities, open universities or e-mode universities. Malaysia's home-grown higher educational institutions such as Open University of Malaysia, Wawasan Open University and Asia e-University conduct distance learning programmes with the approval and quality assurance from the national quality assurance agency, MQA.
Students learn at their own pace through online tutorials and course materials from the institution. However, students may be required to attend a number of face-to-face tutorials at the institution's premises.
The advantage of a distance learning programme is that it provides the flexibility of acquiring a degree at your own pace and at a reduced cost.
Table: Examples of bachelor's degree offered via distance learning mode
|Institution||Bachelor’s degree programme|
|Open University Malaysia (OUM)||OUM BUSINESS SCHOOL (OUMBS)
|Wawasan Open University (WOU)||SCHOOL OF BUSINESS & ADMINISTRATION
|Asia e-University (AeU)||SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
General entry requirements for Year 1 bachelor’s degree
a. English competency requirement
Proficiency in the English language is an important requirement by PHEIs. Students are expected to have adequate knowledge and understanding of English, as this is the language of instruction at private colleges and universities. Various international examinations such as IELTS, TOEFL, the GCE 1119 and MUET (Malaysia University English Test) are recognised as English proficiency standards and form part of the entry requirements for bachelor’s degree programmes.
The table below provides a guide to the accepted English proficiency standard at most PHEIs.
Table: Accepted scores of English proficiency tests
|English Proficiency Test||Required Scores for First Degree Programmes|
|TOEFL||173 to 250 on a new computer administered test (equivalent to a score of 500 to 600 on the old paper-based test format)|
|IELTS||5.5 to 7.0|
|MUET||Band 3 to 6|
(Source: StudyMalaysia Research Data and Study in Malaysia Handbook 10th International Edition)
b. Academic qualifications to enter Year 1 of a bachelor’s degree programme
Post-secondary qualifications such as STPM (Malaysia), GCE A-levels, university foundation or its equivalent are the basic entry requirements accepted for year one of bachelor’s degree programmes. The entry requirements for different programmes vary, so do check at the respective university’s website.
For a list of foreign post-secondary academic qualifications (which are equivalent to Malaysia’s STPM (High School Certificate) or A levels) that are accepted for consideration to enter year 1 of a bachelor’s degree in Malaysia, click here. The list can also be viewed at the website of the national quality assurance agency, MQA at www.mqa.gov.my.
If you wish to study for a bachelor’s degree but do not possess the minimum academic qualification, you can consider APEL as an alternative entry requirement. Through APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning), individuals can capitalise on their work experience and prior experiential learning to gain admission into universities like OUM, WOU and AeU; and other approved universities in Malaysia that accept APEL for entry to their bachelor's degree courses (both full- and part-time).
Generally, to be eligible for admission through APEL for bachelor’s degree programmes, applicants must fulfill the following criteria:
- Be more than 21 years of age on 1 January in the year of application;
- Possess relevant work experience / prior experiential learning; AND
- Pass the APEL assessment for bachelor’s degree conducted by MQA or MQA-authorised centres.
Sources for this article include:
- Study in Malaysia Handbook (10th International Edition), published by Challenger Concept)
- Education Guide Malaysia (14th Edition), published by Challenger Concept)
- Information from various PHEIs