Student Info & Guide

What are Foundation Programmes?

by StudyMalaysia.com on January 21, 2016 | Top Stories

What are Foundation Programmes

If you’ve just completed secondary school and have just sat for an exam like SPM, IGCSE or O levels, then read on. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for information that can help you decide on what to study next.

If you are planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree, you would most likely need a pre-university qualification to gain admission to a university or college. Besides Form Six, students can now choose from a wide range of pre-university programmes offered by both public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) in Malaysia.

Many students are at a loss when it comes to choosing a suitable pre-university programme. Some may decide on a programme simply because the majority of their friends are enrolling in the same programme. Then there are those who end up with a particular programme simply because they never knew that other types of programmes existed.

Advantages of pursuing a foundation programme

  • You will study the subjects that are specific to the course you plan to take at degree level
  • It is quicker than other pre-university programmes like A-levels and IB diploma
  • Quicker also means cheaper – you’re likely to pay less for a foundation programme
  • The assessment style is usually a combination of coursework, continual assessment and a final exam, but the weighting of each assessment depends on the college
And unfortunately, here are some disadvantages…
  • It could be difficult to switch programmes if you decide to pursue a different field, particularly if you’re taking a specialised foundation course such as, Foundation in IT, Music, Business, Architecture, etc.
  • Other colleges may not recognise the foundation programme you have completed if you decide to continue your studies somewhere else

Types of pre-U programmes

Types of pre-U programmes

There are three categories of pre-university programmes offered in Malaysia:

  1. Malaysian post-secondary qualifications offered by the Malaysian Examination Board
  2. International pre-university qualifications offered by external examination boards
  3. Home-grown foundation programmes with qualifications awarded by various universities

Examples of pre-university programmes offered by HEIs

No. Pre-university qualification Who awards the qualification General entry requirement
A. External qualification – by the Malaysian Examination Board
1. Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) Malaysian Examination Board, Malaysia SPM
B. External qualification – by overseas examination boards
2. University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) for AS and A2 Levels CIE, UK SPM/IGCSE
3. Edexcel International Advanced Level Edexcel, UK SPM/IGCSE
4. South Australian Matriculation (SAM) SACE, Australia SPM/IGCSE
5. Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) Curriculum Council of Western Australia SPM/IGCSE
6. New South Wales High School Certificate Board of Studies, New South Wales, Australia SPM/IGCSE
7. Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) Ontario Secondary School Diploma,  Ministry of Education Ontario, Canada SPM/IGCSE
8. International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme IB Board of Governors, IBO SPM/IGCSE
C. Internal Qualifications
9. Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) Monash University SPM/IGCSE
10. University of New South Wales (UNSM) Foundation Year University of New South Wales SPM/IGCSE
11. Degree foundation courses (offered by public HEIs)  Internal qualification awarded by public HEIs in Malaysia SPM/IGCSE
12. Degree foundation courses (offered by private HEIs)  Internal qualification awarded by private HEIs in Malaysia SPM/IGCSE
13. Matriculation certificate Ministry of Education Malaysia SPM

(Source: Education Guide Malaysia 14th edition 2015/2016)

In this article, we will explore foundation courses offered by private higher education institutions (PHEIs). These PHEIs often also offer home-grown bachelor degrees, or twinning and 3+0 degree programmes. There are also PHEIs that conduct foundation programmes that prepare students for a bachelor’s degree abroad. These internal programmes are usually accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and recognised by the respective foreign partner universities, as well as many other overseas universities as an equivalent to the pre-university qualification in their respective home countries.

A pre-university programme usually takes 12 months, in which candidates need to complete 50 credit hours to be awarded a foundation qualification. The assessment method is usually 30% coursework & 70% examination.

Unlike external qualifications which focus on general science and art-based subjects, internal qualifications provide general science and arts programmes as well as specialisations in areas such as architecture, business, law, computer and IT, hospitality, engineering and more.

There are typically three intakes a year and the entry requirement accepted are SPM, UEC, GCE O-Level or its equivalent, where students need to have a minimum of five credits in relevant subjects.

Fun facts

According to Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, their most popular foundation programme is Foundation in Science, the pathway to its world-renowned engineering degrees.

Need more flexibility in your degree choice? The foundation programme at Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU/ APIIT) provides a pathway to over 100 degrees.

Here's a list of foundation programmes you can consider if you already know what bachelor's degree you'd like to pursue.

Name of institution Duration Name of Qualification Awarded
AIMST University 1 Yr Foundation in Business
Foundation in Science
Asia Metropolitan University (AMU), Johor Bharu Campus 1 Yr Foundation in Health Sciences
Asia Metropolitan University (AMU) 1 Yr Foundation in Business Studies
Foundation in Health Sciences
Asia Pacific University (APU) 1 yr (3 sem) Degree Foundation Programme (Business & Finance/ Technology and Business & Finance/ Engineering & Technology)
BERJAYA University College of Hospitality 1 yr (3 sem) Foundation in Commerce
Foundation in Hospitality
City University College of Science & Technology (CUCST) 1 yr (3 sem) Foundation in Arts
Foundation in Business
Foundation in Information Technology
Foundation Studies in Science
Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS) 1 yr (3 sem) Foundation in Allied Science
Foundation in Science (Medicine/Pharmacy)
Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia 1 yr Foundation Studies (Commerce & Arts)
Foundation Engineering & Science
Erican College 1 yr Foundation in Arts
Han Chiang College 1 yr Foundation in Communication
HELP University 1 yr Foundation in Arts
Foundation in Science
HELP College of Arts and Technology 1 yr
2 yrs 4 mths
Foundation in Arts
Foundation in Science
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia 1 yr Foundation In Business & Design
Foundation in Science
IACT College 13 mths Foundation in Media Studies
International Medical University (IMU) 1 yr Foundation in Science
International Open College (IOC) 1 yr Foundation in Arts
Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL) 1 yr (3 sem) Foundation in Arts
Foundation in Science
International University Of Malaya Wales (IUMW) 1 yr Foundation in Arts
Foundation in Science
KDU University College 1 yr Foundation Studies
Foundation in Engineering
LIMKOKWING University of Creative Technology 1 yr Foundation in Built Environment
Foundation in Business
Foundation in Communication
Foundation in Design
Foundation in Information Technology
Foundation in Sound and Music
MAHSA University 1 yr Foundation in Business
Foundation in Science
Kolej Masterskill (Kampus Metro Kuching) 1 yr Foundation in Health Sciences
Manipal International University (MIU), Malaysia 1 yr Foundation in Engineering
Foundation in Science
Foundation in Business Studies
Management & Science University (MSU) 1 yr Foundation (Science Biology/Health Science)
Foundation in Business
Foundation in Engineering and Technology
Foundation in Information Technology
Foundation in Law
Foundation in TESL
Foundation in Visual Art
Nilai University 1 yr Foundation in Business
Foundation in Science
Perdana University 1 Yr Foundation in Science
The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) 2-3 sem Foundation in Arts and Education
Foundation in Business and Management
Foundation in Engineering
Foundation in Sciences
Quest International University Perak (QIUP) 1 yr (3 sem) Foundation in Business
Foundation in Science
Raffles University Iskandar Malaysia 1 yr Foundation in Business
Foundation in Liberal Arts
SEGi College, Kuala Lumpur 1 yr Foundation in Commerce
Foundation in IT (Pre-U)
SEGi College Penang 1 yr Foundation in Commerce
Foundation in Science
SEGi College, Subang Jaya 1 yr Foundation in Arts (Pre-U)
Foundation in Commerce
Foundation in Science
SEGi College, Sarawak 1 yr Foundation in Commerce
Foundation in Science
SEGi University 1 yr Foundation in Arts (Pre-U)
Foundation in Commerce
Foundation in Science
Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC) 1 yr 6 mths (KL) Cambridge GCE A Levels (Arts)
Cambridge GCE A Levels (Science)
Foundation in Arts
Foundation in Science
Taylor's University 1 yr Foundation in Natural and Built Environments (FNBE)
Foundation in Science (for entry into Bioscience/Culinary Science/Medicine/Pharmacy/etc.)
Foundation in Computing (FIC)
Foundation in Engineering
Foundation in Science (FIS)
Taylor's Business Foundation (TBF)
Foundation in Communication (FICM)
Foundation in Design (FID)

Need more information about Foundation Programmes? Read our Related Articles:

Sources used in this article:
Education Guide Malaysia (14th Edition), published by Challenger Concept

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