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MQA Amends Credit Transfer Policy To Allow Malaysian Students Overseas To Study Degree Programmes Locally

by on October 6, 2015 | Top Stories

If you’re studying abroad and feeling worried about how the weakening ringgit could increase the cost of your education and living expenses, you could consider completing your degree at a higher educational institution of your choice in Malaysia through the horizontal credit transfer arrangement. Read on to find out if you qualify…

The depreciating trend of the Malaysian currency lately means that most students abroad have to pay more for their tuition fees and day-today expenses. This has prompted the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) to encourage students who may be facing financial problems abroad to continue their studies at higher education institutions (HEIs) in Malaysia through a horizontal credit transfer arrangement. This move is also supported by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), who is keen to help parents and students to reduce their financial burden.

MQA has also agreed to the decision of MOHE to allow qualified students to apply directly to local HEIs of their choice for admission to pursue their studies. Previously, these students would need to obtain written permission from MQA beforehand. This decision is in line with the belief that HEIs in Malaysia has an effective system of governance and strong student recruitment policies.

The credit transfer policy was first developed and implemented by MQA in 2011. It recognises the equivalence of learning outcomes, levels and depth of knowledge and skill or competence in a given field, credit rating, and passing grade of previous studies. The policy allows Malaysian students studying abroad to continue their studies at Malaysian HEIs through the horizontal credit transfer arrangement.

The horizontal credit transfer is a method of transferring credit from a programme of a particular qualification at bachelor’s degree level to a similar programme at bachelor’s degree level. In order to have the transfer of credit approved, the local HEI which a student is applying to will carry out a process called subject mapping that is guided by these conditions:

  • Passing grade – minimum grade C for all previous studies undertaken at the university abroad
  • Value of credit – must be similar to the course credit at the receiving HEI
  • Course curriculum – at least 80% of the course must be equivalent to the course applied for
  • Only courses that have been accredited or have received recognition qualify for the horizontal credit transfer arrangement

There is no limit on the number of credits that can be transferred through the horizontal credit transfer arrangement. However, students must spend at least one residential year at the Malaysian HEI to qualify for the award of a scroll.


  • Students who have completed one year of study abroad may be considered for Year 2 at a local HEI
  • Students who have completed their second year of study abroad may be considered for Year 3 at a local HEI
  • Students who have completed the third year of study abroad may be considered for Year 4 at a local HEI
  • Students who are in the final year or semester in their studies abroad must continue their studies for at least one year at a local HEI
    (To facilitate the transfer of credits, students must obtain written permission to terminate their studies at the university in question.)

Besides students currently studying abroad, the weak ringgit will also affect students in Malaysia who are currently enrolled in programmes that prepare them for studies abroad, for example, the American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP) and UK / Australian Degree Transfer Program (UK / Australian DTP) and other similar programmes. As such, MQA has agreed with the recommendation of MOHE to amend the current policy so that students enrolled in such programmes can continue their studies in Malaysia under these guidelines:

Students pursuing the American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP) with SPM as their entry qualification:

  • Must complete ADTP and acquire the credits needed to graduate with a minimum CGPA of 2.0
  • Can gain admission at a local HEI at Year 3 of selected '4+0' collaborative courses through horizontal credit transfer.

Qualify for horizontal credit transfer at a local HEI for Year 2 of relevant bachelor degree programmes (level 6, MQF) that do not have collaboration with any university in the US.

Example: College A conducts the ADTP programme but does not offer any ‘4+0’ degree in collaboration with a university in the US. Consequently, students need to apply for the approval of the University/College Senate for credit transfer to Year 2 at College A or any other college of a similar category. (The current policy does not allow the transfer of credits for Year 3).

Accordingly, the Senate concerned would need to ensure the subject mapping of the course is carried out subject to their general policy of credit transfer.

Students pursuing the UK / Australian Degree Transfer Program (UK / Australian DTP) with STPM as their entry qualification:

  • must complete the UK / Australian DTP and acquire the credits needed to graduate with a minimum CGPA of 2.0
  • can continue their studies at a local HEI and gain admission at Year 3 of a bachelor degree programme (level 6, MQF) via horizontal credit transfer for corresponding courses

The amended horizontal credit transfer policy will take effect immediately. It is hoped that this will assist students and parents in a smoother transition should they choose to enrol at a local HEI due to the rising costs of studying abroad.


MQA’s Press Release dated 23 September 2015

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