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International Students

Applying to Study in Malaysia

by on May 15, 2023 | Applying & Entering Malaysia to Study


There are many types of educational institutions in Malaysia and it is easy to find one that suits your education needs. They are :

Tertiary Education :

  • Public universities
  • Private universities
  • Foreign university branch campuses
  • Private colleges

Primary and Secondary Education :

  • International schools
  • Expatriate schools
  • Private schools

(Note : Please refer here for more information on the Malaysian education system.)

Below are some simple steps to follow when applying to study in Malaysia :

Get to know the Malaysian education system
Get to know the Malaysian education system
Identify the right institution and qualifications for admission
Submit the application forms, relevant documents and application fee to selected institutions
Application either accepted or rejected
Acceptance letter received by accepted successful candidates
Educational institutions to apply for a student pass/visa for you
Prepare to come to Malaysia
Enrol at the institution

[Note : There is no centralised system for international student application. Therefore, prospective students need to apply directly to the institutions under his/her consideration for enrolment]

Steps in Applying to Study in Malaysia

As an international student, you can apply DIRECTLY to the educational institution of your choice. You are advised to apply only to institutions that have been given the approval by the relevant authorities to accept international students. You may use the following steps as a guide :

Know What You Want to Study and Where

Firstly, you must decide what full-time course you want to pursue in Malaysia. Consider your academic needs, career goals and your budget. Besides the field of study, you need to decide on the level and type of qualification you aspire to have as well as the course duration.

In your search for an institution, you need to determine if you have the relevant academic qualifications and English proficiency to pursue the course of your choice. You may also want to consult the official representative of your selected institution in your country or the Malaysian Education Promotion Centre overseas.

(Note : For self-funded students from the P.R. of China, a list of Chinese government approved institutions can be found on the website

Applying to Study at a Malaysian Institution

Applying to study at the Malaysian institution of your choice is simple. Just complete the relevant International Student Application Forms for your chosen course and return it to the institution of your choice with the following documents and fees :

  • Certified copies of all relevant examination results and academic certificates (preferably with copies translated in English if documents are in another language)
  • A completed accommodation form (if accommodation is required)
  • Photocopy of valid international passport - all pages
  • Photocopy of identity card
  • Most recent passport sized colour photograph (4 to 6 copies)
  • Personal medical health report
  • Application fees (ranging from US160 to US250, usually non-refundable)

You may obtain the application form online from the institution's website or from the institution's overseas representative in your country. You will be asked for evidence of your academic achievement and proficiency in English. Ideally, you should apply about two months before the intake date.

Getting an Offer from the Institution

Upon receiving your application, the institution will usually take 5 to 7 days to process your application. If you are accepted, the institution will issue an 'Offer of Place' letter and deliver/send this offer letter to you. This letter will confirm the full-time course details, commencement dates, and an invoice for the tuition fee, miscellaneous fees and accommodation fees. You then need to make arrangements for the payment of fees and you should request the institution to issue a receipt to you upon confirmation of payment.

(Note : Do not bring large amount of cash for fee payment. You are advised to make your payment via bank transfer, credit card, or by opening a local banking account which allows your family to transfer money for payment when you are in Malaysia.)

Application of Student Pass

The next step will be the application of a Student Pass. The institution will apply for an approval for a student pass from the Malaysian Immigration Department in Malaysia on your behalf. This will take from 7 to 14 days, provided all documents are in order. The institution will then proceed to notify the student regarding the status (approved or rejected) of the application for the student pass. With the receipt of the Immigration's approval letter through the Institution, you can prepare for your journey to Malaysia. You do not need to apply for a separate visa to enter Malaysia.

Note: Please refer to Chapter 8 on Guide to International Students for more information on Living in Malaysia and other immigration information. If you are a student from China, you should proceed to the nearest Malaysian Embassy/Consulate in your home country in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Kunming to apply for a Single Entry Visa. Students are advised to inform their education institutions of the location of the particular Malaysian embassy at which they have applied for the visa. The visa application fee is RMB80.00 (subject to change). You may seek help from the Malaysia Education Promotion Centre in Beijing, if you face any difficulty.)

Coming to Malaysia and Living in Malaysia

To get to know more about life in Malaysia and for some useful advice, please refer to Study in Malaysia Handbook 8th Edition Chapter 8.

Checklist : Choosing the Education Right Course

Do a research in advance on Malaysian education via websites or obtain information from institutions' representatives in your home country. You will be amazed that there are many study options in Malaysia such as :

  • Types of institutions (ranging from Malaysian universities and higher education colleges, foreign university branch campuses, open university, etc.)
  • Types of qualifications (ranging from Malaysian qualification to UK, Australia and US qualifications)
  • Various modes of study (ranging from 2+1 twinning degree, 3+0 franchised degree, external degree, transfer credits, distance learning, etc.) and
  • Type of course disciplines (ranging from healthcare, IT, engineering, business and many more).

With so many choices you will be able to find the right one for yourself.

Search for overseas education in Malaysia here.

  • Write in for a prospectus from the institutions you are considering or download from the website if available. This is so you will have a better understanding of course objectives course modules, subjects taught, assessment methods, entry requirement, English proficiency requirement, etc.
  • You need to choose a course which is relevant to the career you want to pursue and the qualification required by employers in your own country.
  • Other than the above, you may want to consider factors such as course fee, availability of learning facilities and international student support services, size and location of institution, living expenses, international mix of students in the institutions,academic and research facilities, etc.
  • Legality and Quality – it is important to check whether the institution you are applying to is approved by the relevant government authority (such as the Ministry of Higher Education) and if the course you have chosen has obtained the accreditation status from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) (
  • If you financing your own studies, check out the education cost for the entire duration to see if it fits your budget

Checklist: Where to Enrol?

For admission into private schools, private higher educational institutions or public universities as an international student, you can apply DIRECTLY to the educational institution of your choice.

The following websites are useful for obtaining more information :

Enrolling at a 'Licensed' Private Educational Institution

It is advisable that international students ascertain whether the institution of their choice has been 'licensed' and 'approved' before they enrol. To safeguard the interest of international students, all private schools, international schools, private colleges, private universities and foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia must obtain approvals from the relevant regulatory bodies of the Malaysian government. These include approvals for :

  • Primary and Secondary Education
    Private schools and international schools which offer primary and secondary education - these institutions must be licensed by the Ministry of Education Malaysia and the Ministry of Home Affairs (Malaysian Immigration Department in order to accept international students.
  • Tertiary Education
    Private higher educational institutions which offer tertiary education - besides obtaining approval from the Ministry of Higher Education, these institutions need to ensure that the courses offered are endorsed by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency. As such, students are advised to check with the institution concerned or online at to determine if their intended course of study is endorsed or accredited by MQA.

In addition, these institutions need to be licensed by another authority i.e. the Ministry of Home Affairs (Malaysian Immigration Department) to accept international students. The Immigration Department will issue a 'Student Pass' to every international student enrolled at these institutions.

Enrolling at a Public University

Public universities offer postgraduate studies and limited places for bachelor's degree programmes to international students. Funded by the government, these public universities are allowed to recruit international students for full-time undergraduate and postgraduate studies Their courses are assured by MQA and the Immigration Department will issue a 'Student Pass' to every studen enrolleby these universities.

Relevant Government Authorities for Private

International students can also check with the following authorities to find out if a particular institution is registered and licensed.

  • Private Pre-tertiary Education Authority (Private Schools & Foreign System Schools)
    Division of Private Education
    Education Operations Sector
    Ministry of Education Malaysia
    Level 3, Block E2, Complex E, Precinct 1
    Federal Government Administrative Centre,
    62505 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    Tel : 603-8884 9536
    Fax : 603-8888 6676
    Website :

  • Private Higher Education Authority
    Private Higher Education Management Sector
    Department of Higher Education
    Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia
    Level 5, Block 1, Menara PjH, Precinct 2
    Federal Government Administrative
    Centre, 62100 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    Tel : 603-8884 4600
    Fax : 603-8884 4799
    Website :

  • Student Pass / Visa Application
    Division of Visa, Pass and Permit
    Immigration Department of Malaysia
    Ministry of Home Affairs
    1st - 7th floor (Podium)
    Block 2G4, Precinct 2
    Federal Government Administrative
    Centre, 62550 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    Tel : 603-8880 1000
    Fax : 603-8880 1200
    Website :

  • National Quality Assurance Authority for Higher Education
    Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)
    14th Floor, Menara PKNS-PJ
    No.17, Jalan Yong Shook Lin
    46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
    Tel : 603-7968 7002
    Fax : 603-7956 9496
    Website :

Further Assistance

International students can also obtain more information and assistance from the following offices :

Ministry of Higher Education
Division of Education Marketing
Department of Higher Education
Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia
Level 2, Block E9, Complex E, Precinct 1
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62505 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Tel : 603-8883 5925
Fax : 603-8889 5687
Website : /

Malaysia Education Promotion Centres

The Ministry of Higher Education has established a number of Malaysia Education Promotion Centres (MEPCs) overseas to promote Malaysian education and provide accurate information to prospective international students. These offices serve as resource and counselling centres for students and parents and assist students in applying for a Student Pass / Visa, should the need arise. The offices are :

  • Malaysia Education Promotion Centre
    China Embassy of Malaysia, Education Section

    Unit 1503, Tower 1, Beijing
    Landmark Towers 8, North Dongsanhuan
    Chaoyang District Beijing 10004
    People's Republic of China
    Tel : +86-10-6590 0722/23
    Fax : +86-10-6590 0721

  • Malaysia Education Promotion Centre
    Dubai, UAE Consulate General of Malaysia

    83, Street 10D, Mankhool
    P.O.Box 114140 Dubai
    Tel : +9714-398 5843
    Fax : +9714-327 5151

  • Malaysia Education Promotion Centre
    Vietnam Consulate General of Malaysia

    207B, Hoang Van Thu Street
    Ward 8, Phu Nhuan District
    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Tel : +848 3997 6183
    Fax : +848 3997 6184

  • Malaysia Education Promotion Centre
    Indonesia Embassy of Malaysia, Education Promotion Sector

    Wisma Kodel, Lantai Dasar, JL. H.R.
    Rasuna Said, Kuningan
    Kav.B-4 Jakarta, 12920, Indonesia
    Tel : +62-21-522 2270
    Fax : +62-21-252 4548

Malaysian Embassies / Consulates Overseas

For a list of Malaysian Missions Overseas under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please refer to the Address Section or log onto

Malaysian Students Department in Oveseas

The Ministry of Higher Education has established a number of Malaysian Students Department inoverseas. You may also obtain information on Malaysian education from these centres. For a list of Malaysian Students Department overseas, please refer to the Address Section or log onto


International students can send us an enquiry through here.


The process of applying to enter Malaysia as a student is simple. The 80,000 international students from more than 100 countries studying in Malaysia is testimony that Malaysia is a friendly place for international students.

At present, there are over 400 private higher educational institutions in Malaysia but only about 200 of these institutions are given permission by the Ministry of Home Affairs to recruit international students. All public universities are allowed to recruit international students.

Students are advised to consult the student counsellors or relevant representatives of the institution on the type of programmes offered and its entry requirements. Also, find the budget that best fits your needs. Malaysian institutions offer many options that will meet most students' requirements. Assistance for the application for Student Passes and Visas to enter Malaysia is usually provided by the institutions that a student has enrolled at. The immigration procedure is fairly simple.

Students can also pay a visit to Malaysia to check out the institutions that they wish to enrol in.

Study in Malaysia Handbook 8th Ed.Source: Study in Malaysia Handbook 8th Ed. - Chapter 2

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