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Going Abroad From Malaysia

by on June 24, 2017 | Going Abroad From Malaysia, Top Stories

Going Abroad From Malaysia

Many students dream about going abroad to study in countries like the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, China, Taiwan, and others. However, a large number of students are unable to do so because of financial constraints. What would you say if we told you that there’s a way around this obstacle? Students can have a chance to experience life as an undergraduate abroad by reducing the cost of their education – and this is possible through a credit transfer or advanced standing arrangement with foreign universities.

Malaysia has a well-developed transnational education or advanced standing structure for students studying here in Malaysia to continue their education overseas at a much reduced cost. This means that students spend their initial years studying in Malaysia compared to pursuing the entire programme overseas. This arrangement also allows international students who come to Malaysia to take advantage of this opportunity so that they can achieve their dream of experiencing student life abroad in not one, but two countries.

In a nutshell, if you want to:

  • study for a foreign degree but pay lower fees, or
  • want to enjoy lower fees but the course of our choice is not available in Malaysia,

then you can begin right here with Malaysia’s private higher educational institutions (HEIs).

The advanced standing pathway for an overseas degree qualification

‘Advanced standing’ is one of the ways you can pursue a course you are interested in that is offered by a university abroad without busting your education budget. Such an arrangement between Malaysian institutions and universities from the UK, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, and others have been developed by private colleges in Malaysia since the early 1980s. With an ‘advanced standing’ status, recognition (full or part) is given by a foreign university of a particular course pursued at a Malaysian private HEI (such as a diploma or Year 1 or Year 2 of a bachelor’s degree) that allows a student advanced entry into the foreign university’s degree programme.

The features of this programme are:

  • Local private HEIs cooperate with a consortium of overseas universities

  • The course curriculum of local private HEIs are recognised with either full or part exemption for a foreign degree programme

  • Students of local private HEIs have a choice of overseas universities (within the consortium) to complete their degree programmes

  • The degree qualification is awarded by the overseas university

The advantages of advanced standing programmes:

Going Abroad From Malaysia

Besides enabling students to obtain a foreign degree at a lower cost, advanced standing programmes also give students more flexibility in choosing where they want to study and for how long. With some programmes, students may have the opportunity to choose from a few foreign universities from various countries. Generally, if you choose a degree programme that is recognised with advanced standing status, you will:

  • have the flexibility to acquire a degree qualification that is awarded by a foreign university

  • enjoy substantial cost savings in acquiring a foreign degree qualification as you will spend the first one to two years studying at a Malaysian PHEI

  • have a wide option of universities and courses

  • have the advantage of experiencing learning and life as a student in two countries
  • have the option of completing the entire degree programme in Malaysia if you face financial constraints during your studies (please note that if a student completes the entire programme at a private university in Malaysia, the degree will be awarded by the Malaysian private university)

Diploma from private HEIs with advanced standing status Leading to a bachelor’s degree qualification Awarding foreign university Duration of study overseas and estimated fee Marketing and Advertising (awarded by IACT College) (2.5 yrs) Advanced standing to BA (Hons) Interior and Spatial Design RMIT University, Aust Duration: 1.5 years in the Austration Tuition fee: AUD 24,960 (per year) Business Administration (awarded by Erican College) (2 yrs) Advanced standing to B.A.(Hons) Accountancy and Business Birmingham City University, UK Duration: 2 years in the UK Tuition fee: £12,000 (per Year)
Diploma in Advertising & Graphic Design (Awarded by The One Academy of Communication Design) (3 yrs) Advanced standing to Bachelor of Fine Arts (Advertising Design) College for Creative Studies, USA Duration: 2 year (min.) in the USA Tuition fee: USD19,725 per semester

(Source: From respective institution)

Key differences between the advanced standing pathway and other twinning programmes

Advanced Standing Pathway

In this pathway, the private HEI’s internal degree programmes are given advanced standing status by one or more partner universities in terms of credit exemption or transfer. Students who have completed the required number of credits at a Malaysian private HEI can gain admission to the second or third year of a degree programme at a partner university overseas and will be awarded a degree by this partner university at the end of their studies.

There are two common pathways to advance entry into a foreign university’s degree programme:

  1. Foreign degree qualification via a diploma pathway (vertical credit transfer)

    An ‘advanced standing’ status for a diploma qualification means that the respective private college’s internal diploma programme is validated and moderated with ‘advanced standing’ entry status by one or more foreign universities. Students who have completed the diploma are accepted at the second or third year of the degree programme overseas, subject to the articulation agreements.

    Many internally-developed diploma level programmes offered by private HEIs are recognised and granted ‘advanced standing’ status by foreign universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, France, China, Taiwan and the US for their bachelor’s degree programmes.

  2. Foreign degree qualification via a degree pathway (horizontal credit transfer)

    Many Malaysian private university degree programmes (Year 1 and Year 2 curriculum) are recognised by partner universities overseas with ‘advanced standing’ entry status. Therefore students who want to pursue a foreign university degree at a much lower cost can begin right here in Malaysia by pursuing homeNgrown Year 1 and/or Year 2 bachelor degree courses at selected private HEIs. These private HEIs in Malaysia have a special arrangement called ‘advanced standing’ with foreign universities in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, and other countries. This unique collaboration enables students who have completed Year 1 and/or Year 2 of a private HEI's homeNgrown bachelor degree to be accepted as the second or final year student of a degree programme at the respective universities overseas.

    To sum up, this unique arrangement allows undergraduate students to have the option of either graduating with a Malaysian homeNgrown degree, or a foreign degree qualification from a university overseas.

Going Abroad From Malaysia

‘2+1’ or ‘1+2’ Twinning Degree Programmes

Students who enrol for a twinning degree programme usually spend either 1 year; 1.5 years; 2 years; or 2.5 years out of a 3Nyear degree programme at a Malaysian private HEI before going to the twinning partner university overseas to complete the degree. Students who complete the programme graduate with a degree awarded by the partner university. In contrast to a twinning degree programme, students who opt for the advanced standing pathway have more choices of universities. They also have a choice of spending one or two years in Malaysia before going abroad whereas in twinning programmes, the study duration in Malaysia is usually fixed. Further, should finances become a constraint, students with the advanced standing option can choose to study in a country with a lower cost of living or even remain in Malaysia to complete their degree

‘3+0’ Bachelor’s Degree Programme

The ‘3+0’ programme is unique in that the entire degree programme is conducted at a Malaysian private HEI but the degree qualification is awarded by the foreign partner university. Compared to the advanced standing pathway, students enjoy more savings if they choose a ‘3+0’ programme, however, the advanced standing pathway gives students more choices of universities and the experience of studying abroad.

An example of local degree programmes that have advanced standing arrangement with overseas universities that leads to the award of a foreign degree :

Degree from private HEIs with advanced standing status
Total duration (years) At Malaysian university At partner university Grand Total (RM)
Year / Total semesters Tuition fee (for international students) Estimated tuition fee at overseas partner university
Per semester (RM) Total (RM) Year / Total semesters Tuition Fee per year* Total ($)*

Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons)
(offered by International Medical University)
Horizontal credit transfer to University of Otago, NZ for Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)

4 yrs

2 yrs (Year 1 & 2)



2 yrs 2 mths (Year 3 & 4)

NZ$ 34,650

NZ$ 75,191


Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons)
(offered by International Medical University)
Horizontal credit transfer to University of Tasmania , Australia for Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)

4 yrs

2 yrs (Year 1 & 2)



2 yrs 2 mths (Year 3 & 4)




*All overseas fees listed are estimates. This is subject to annual increase by the partner universities and uctuations in the currency exchange rate.
(Estimated currency exchange rate: US$1=RM4.00; NZ$1=RM2.8; A$1=RM3.1)
(Note: All gures are estimates and serve only as a guideline)

In Summary

  1. There are many ways to acquire a foreign university bachelor’s degree through Malaysia’s higher education system. Depending of the education arrangement you decide on, you can choose to:

    • go overseas to the host university to complete the remainder of your degree course for a duration of 1-2 years
    • do the entire foreign university degree in Malaysia
    • spend a short period of study e.g. 1 – 2 semesters at the host university
      (note: students need to fulll criteria set out by the university in Malaysia and its partner)
  2. Besides the advanced standing arrangement listed above, you can explore many other pathways which have been detailed in What can I study in Malaysia?, such as:

    • ‘2+1’ twinning degree programmes that lead to a foreign university degree
    • ‘3+0’ degree programmes that lead to a foreign university degree
    • Foreign university degree quali cations from foreign universities located in Malaysia
    • Dual-award degree programme from Malaysian home-grown universities
    • American Degree Transfer Programs in Malaysia that lead to the award of a foreign university degree (2+2 mode or 4+0 mode)
    • Australian and UK Transnational Education (TNE) – Australian and UK degree transfer programmes that lead to a foreign university degree qualification
    • Foreign universities’ external degree programmes that lead to a foreign degree qualification

Make your study abroad investment worthwhile! Get a dual-country (Malaysia and another country) experience at a competitive cost - make Malaysia your choice.

Go abroad from Malaysia!

Study in Malaysia Handbook 10th Ed.Source: Study in Malaysia Handbook 10th Ed.

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