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What subjects do you need for the degree you want to study?

by on January 20, 2020 | Top Stories

What subjects do you need for the degree you want to study? -

Going to college or university might seem like a long way off if you’re still in lower secondary school but now that Form 4 and future Form 5 students are no longer divided into science or art streams, what does it mean for future students when choosing their subject combination in order to prepare for their further studies?

Entry into degree programmes usually takes into consideration the results of both a secondary school qualification such as SPM or IGCSE as well as a pre-university qualification like STPM, A-Levels, etc. Higher education institutions will usually specify the subjects required for a particular degree programme, along with the minimum grade required.

Here’s a guide to the common requirements for various degree programmes:


1. English, math and science subjects from SPM

For degree courses in Malaysia, English at SPM is often required. For many degree courses, mathematics and science subjects at SPM level are often required for science degree programmes and some arts stream courses. However, some courses may require a strong mathematics grade, for example, a minimum grade B. Some courses (particularly arts stream courses) do not list mathematics as a compulsory entry requirement.


2. Specific subject requirements at SPM level for a degree qualification

  • To pursue a degree in the fields of medicine and health, engineering, agriculture, science and mathematics, and social sciences a good grade in science, mathematics and English is usually required
  • For business, accounting, architecture, computing, and law degrees, a good grade in mathematics is important
  • For degrees in humanities, history, communication, and languages, mathematics may not be critical but language is important
  • In the design and performing arts fields of study, mathematics is less important but skills (e.g. drawing, dancing, etc.) in related subjects are important


3. Specific subject requirements at pre-university level for a degree qualification

These areas of study don’t normally have specific subject requirements at pre-university level, but mathematics is a preferred subject These areas of study generally require science and mathematics at pre-university level These courses require specific related subjects or skills as its entry requirement
  • Accounting
  • Business administration
  • Arts and design
  • Law
  • ICT
  • Banking and finance
  • Management
  • Environmental studies
  • Marketing and sales
  • Humanities
  • Social sciences
  • Geography
  • History
  • Sports science
  • Education
  • Communication studies
  • Psychology
  • Language and literature
  • Politics
  • Hospitality
  • Applied sciences
  • Life/Biological sciences
  • Physical sciences
  • Physics/Chemistry
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Pharmacy
  • Engineering
  • Health science
  • Languages
  • Religious studies
  • Actuarial science
  • Architecture
  • Education
  • Arts
  • Economics
  • Music
Facilitating subjects* —These subjects give you the most options or versatility when applying for a degree programme at university as they are the subjects most commonly required or preferred
  • Mathematics and Further mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • English
  • Geography
  • History

*Defined by The Russell Group, which represents 24 leading UK universities

Note: Before you decide, you are advised to check the application guidelines of the course providers. Every course has different requirements – usually a combination of requirements: qualifications (SPM/Pre-U or its equivalent), subject or exam grades. Finding out more from the respective universities’ admission department will enable you to work towards achieving the required subject grades.


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Source: Education Guide Malaysia (14th edition), published by Challenger Concept
Copyright © StudyMalaysia Sdn Bhd/, January 2020

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