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Why choose Malaysia for your bachelor

by StudyMalaysia on January 14, 2017 | Top Stories

Why choose Malaysia for your bachelor’s degree qualification?

Malaysia is a pioneer in this region in the development and promotion of transnational bachelor degree programmes. Since the early 1980s, Malaysia has collaborated with reputable universities from countries like the UK, the US, New Zealand and Australia.

Unique bachelor degree programmes at private higher educational institutions (PHEIs) such as ‘2+1’ twinning degrees and ‘3+0’ degrees offer international students an extensive range of study options that meet their budget and academic needs.

The establishment of foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia (offering courses ranging from bachelor degrees to postgraduate levels) as early as 1998 is another effort by Malaysia to be a pioneer in higher education in this region. Together with home-grown private universities, a diverse range of bachelor degree programmes have been created by PHEIs for international students like you.

Besides PHEIs, public universities also offer home-grown bachelor’s degree programmes. However, limited seats are available at public universities at this level.

Malaysia – Many Affordable Options of Quality Bachelor’s Degree Programmes

PHEIs provide a wide spectrum of quality study options for students who intend to pursue bachelor’s degree programmes in Malaysia at a competitive cost. These options include:

Acquiring a foreign degree qualification via:
  1. Courses offered by foreign university branch campuses located in Malaysia, that lead to the award of the foreign universities degree qualifications

  2. Courses conducted by Malaysian PHEIs that lead to foreign degree qualifications:

  • Private colleges or universities that offer twinning degree programmes (such as 2+1 and 3+0 arrangements) that lead to foreign degree qualifications awarded by universities from various countries

  • Private colleges or private universities that offer credit transfer programmes (such as the American degree programme, or UK and Australia credit transfer programmes) that lead to foreign degree qualifications awarded by universities from various countries

  • Private colleges or private universities that offer diplomas with ‘advanced standing’ status that is recognised by foreign universities for their bachelor’s degree programmes

  • Private colleges that offer external degree programmes that lead to the award of a bachelor’s degree from foreign universities

Acquiring a Malaysian home-grown degree qualification via:
  1. Malaysian home-grown private universities and university colleges that offer home-grown degree qualifications

Acquiring a dual-award undergraduate degree qualification:
  1. Some Malaysian universities collaborate with partner foreign universities to award dual-award undergraduate degree certification its graduates. This means that students graduate with two degrees, one from each university.

Collectively, PHEIs in Malaysia offer you many choices that suit your interest, budget, academic needs and career aspiration.

Many Choices of Higher Education Institutions in Malaysia

There are two categories of higher education institutions (HEIs) under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) Malaysia:

  • Government-funded public universities, polytechnics, community colleges and public colleges

  • Private higher educational institutions (i.e. institutions not funded by the government) which include:

    • non-university status institutions such as private colleges

    • university status institutions such as private universities and university colleges

    • foreign university branch campuses e.g. Monash University Malaysia and The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

There is a large pool of institutions to select from in your pursuit of higher education. Presently, the student population in Malaysia is more than half a million.

Public higher education institutions
Public university 20
Polytechnic 34
Community college 94
Private higher education institutions
Private university 43
Private university-college 31
Foreign university branch campus 9
Private college 399

Number of higher education institutions in Malaysia as at June 2016

Higher educational institutions explained

Public Universities

Public Universities

Public universities are fully funded by the government and are governed as self-managed institutions. They offer mainly bachelor degrees and postgraduate programmes, with some offering programmes at diploma level and foundation levels. There are 20 public universities in Malaysia, with at least one in every state. Public universities generally have a larger campus and student enrolment; and offer a wide variety of different fields of study.

These universities can be divided into five research, 11 comprehensive universities and four specialised technical universities (MTUN). The five public universities that have been designated as research universities are Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). USM has also been awarded Apex university status. The four universities under Malayisan Technical University Network (MTUN) are UTHM, UTeM, UMP and UniMAP.

The first public university was established in 1962.

Pure science courses (e.g. physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and statistics) are offered at all public universities but are not commonly offered at private universities. Other specialised courses such as agricultural sciences, forestry, fishery, veterinary, agro-based, earth science, marine science, town planning, nanotechnology, aerospace engineering, humanities are available mainly at public universities.

Private Universities

Private Universities

Like public universities, private universities are independent institutions or self-funded institutions that award their own undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and conduct a certain amount of research. Some universities also offer diploma and foundation level programmes.

The first private university was established in year 1997.

Popular social science courses offered are psychology, communication and journalism. Engineering, medical degree and ICT degrees of various specialties are also popular programmes sought-after by students. In the field of business, accountancy and finance, degrees are offered with specialisations of various combinations – management, economics, banking or commerce. Private universities also offer many courses in the field of allied health sciences.

As private universities are self-funded and many run by commercial enterprises, the tuition fees are higher than that of public universities.

Private University Colleges

Private University Colleges

Similar to private universities, private university colleges in Malaysia have the power to award their own undergraduate degrees and postgraduate qualifications. They are smaller in terms of physical size and student enrolment. Generally, university colleges also have limited faculties and specialise in a given field or fields. University colleges do not focus much on research-based postgraduate programmes but they offer bachelor degree, diploma and foundation level qualifications.

Most of the private university colleges have been upgraded from college status.

The tuition fees are similar to that of private universities.

Foreign University Branch Campuses

Foreign University Branch Campuses

These universities are invited by the Malaysia government to establish their off-shore campus in Malaysia. There are currently nine foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia,. These universities originate from Australia, China and the UK. They award their own degree (undergraduate and postgraduate), diploma and foundation studies qualifications. The qualifications are identical to that of the host universities.

The first private university was established in 1998.

Tuition fees are higher than private universities but are lower than at the host universities abroad.

Private Colleges

Private Colleges

Colleges in Malaysia are independent institutions that award their own qualifications at diploma and certificate levels, foundation studies, as well 3+0 foreign university degrees and split degrees Colleges also provide tutorial support for professional and semi-professional body qualifications such as ACCA, ICAEW, CLP, LCCI, CAT, GCE A-Levels, etc. College campuses and their enrolment may be smaller than universities. These institutions have no power to award their own bachelor’s degree qualification. Some of these institutions have existed as early as the 1960s.

Tuition fees are generally lower than that of private universities.

Sources for this article include:

  • Study in Malaysia Handbook, 9th edition
  • Study in Malaysia Handbook, 10th edition

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