Admission Requirements for Masters Degree Courses in Malaysia

Postgraduate or master’s degree courses are readily available in Malaysia. Full as well as part time programmes are available in the nation’s public and private higher educational institutions. Entry requirements for the courses are clearly delineated as well.

Overview:Duration and Language of Master’s Courses in Malaysia

Admission Requirements Postgraduate Studies Malaysia
Overview: Postgraduate courses in Malaysia are either full or part time and mostly English medium. Certain universities need students to complete residential requirements. For instance, it takes one semester for the Master of Philosophy course and two semesters for the Doctor of Philosophy course. Application for transfer of credit hours can also be made by students if they have taken related courses. Most universities give students relevant exemptions. Universities may impose certain conditions for the transfer of credit hours. For instance, the condition in ensuring that the credit hours must not exceed set percentage of credit hours allocated for the course is also common.

Duration: The duration of the completion of the course is based on 2 factors namely:
  • Progress of individual student
  • Nature of course chosen
Periods of Study: The minimum period for completion of master’s course for part time students is 2 to 6 semesters. Maximum period is from 4 to 10 semesters. The minimum period is generally for full time students while the maximum period is for part time students. PhD courses last for a minimum period of 4 to 12 semesters and maximum of 8 to 16 semesters.   

Entrance/Admission Requirements in Malaysia

Students who wish to apply for postgraduate courses should have the following depending upon the courses they are applying for.

  • For postgraduate diploma and certificates, students must possess a recognised Bachelor’s degree in any field.
  • For MA, MSc, MIT courses, students must hold bachelor’s degree in the revenant field or other recognised qualifications equal to the bachelor’s degree with relevant, critical experience
  • For MPhil courses, students must possess a recognised Bachelor’s degree in the any field.
  • For MBA courses, students who want admission in Malaysia should possess a recognised Bachelor’s degree with lower second or upper honours in any field plus 2 to 3 years relevant working experience
  • For Doctorate or PhD programmes students myst have bachelor’s and master’s degree relevant to area of research or recognised qualifications equivalent to Master’s degree with required experience
  • DBA or Doctor of Business Administration has a minimum requirement of MBA or its equivalent plus considerable management experience or a recognised Master’s degree with expert knowledge in the field of business and management
  • Professional Doctorate (Doctorate of Medical Science, Doctor of Engineering, Doctor of Manufacturing etc) is another course which needs bachelor’s as well as master’s degree in relevant field

Courses Offered in Malaysia for Postgraduate Students

Modes: There are numerous subjects on offer in various disciplines in postgraduate institutions. From arts and humanities to science and biotechnology, postgraduate students have a lot of choices in Malaysia. Three modes of acquiring postgraduate qualification exist and each is associated with the needs and requirements of the students and the providers:

First Mode: The first mode is a coursework or taught course mode. This is available for MA, MS and MSc students in Malaysia. No thesis is needed and students must complete minimum hours of study in the coursework. Taught subjects are the widest range of subjects at the postgraduate level. Students can work in small groups and use various study modes such as essays, project work, industrial/business placements, problem solving classes, tutorials, lectures, discussion groups, assessments and examinations. 

Second Mode: For other MA, MSc or MS students, the mode through which a postgraduate qualification can be applied is through coursework and dissertation/research report. Students taking this path complete coursework credits and submit dissertation on research projects which mostly takes a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework plus 6 hours of research. Individual as well as group projects or research dissertation are constituents of this mode for master’s courses. 

Third Mode: Research and submission of thesis is the third path for higher studies taken for MPhil and PhD courses. Students opting for research master’s degree which is transitional to acquisition of a doctorate will use this route for conducting research, submitting a thesis and making an in viva presentation. 

Malaysia has embarked on an aggressive pursuit of telemedicine, online information services, electronic commerce, digital broadcasting and many other booming industries. The Malaysian government has also launched biotechnology initiatives on a big scale in terms of research and development.

Admission Calendar and Application Procedure in Malaysia

Currently, no centralised postgraduate application agency exists in Malaysia. Direct applications need to be made to individual universities and/or colleges via an application form or websites if available online. Students that need to enter more than 1 university can apply for this as well. While doctorate and MPhil programmes do not have fixed entry dates generally, application constituents vary from one institution to another. Certain institutions require a letter whereas others require full academic history as well research plan. Each institution has its own application forms which have to be filled to highlight the academic record and mention proposed research interests. 

Regarding Work Experience: Work experience is needed when applying for postgraduate courses so complete employment details are needed. Details are also needed regarding skills and training. Work experience is needed when applying for postgraduate courses so complete employment details and list of skills are needed. 

Personal Statement: Personal statement is one of the most important parts of the application form.Students should mention their motivations for the course as well as experiences and interests in a specific and distinct manner. Certain institutions may also consider interviews with potential students before attaining a place. For taught postgraduate courses, certain institutions may need upper second class degree mandatory while others are happy with upper or lower class second degree or the international equivalent. TOEFL and IELTS scores are also needed for English medium courses. TOEFL score required may be anywhere between 550 to 700 and IELTS is between 5 and 7.  

Opportunities for International Students in Malaysia

Opportunities: Malaysia is the best place for completing postgraduate courses. International students prefer Malaysia for its unique diversity and abundance of research oriented courses. Postgraduate courses in English are available in many fields in the following institutions:

  • Public universities offer research based qualification
  • Private universities offer foreign postgraduate qualifications in partnership with overseas educational institutions from the US, the UK and Australia.
  • Private universities offering home-grown postgraduate courses
  • Foreign university branch campuses offer globally rated qualifications

Competitive Cost: Competitive cost of education is a big opportunity for international students in Malaysia. Tuition fees for postgraduate courses are offered by higher educational institutions throughout Malaysia that are extremely reasonable. For example, cost of pursuing a Master of Art degree are lower in Malaysia (RM 3,000/USD 858) as compared to universities in the UK, the US and Australia among other educational institutions. 

Students Benefits: Another benefit of postgraduate courses in Malaysia is that students can bring along their family members. Immigration procedures in Malaysia allow student’s immediate families to stay in the nation for the entire duration of the studies.  

Exciting Research Avenues: Malaysian government also conducts postgraduate studies in areas of research and development which lead to commercialisation. Numerous programmes and research projects offered by private as well as public higher educational projects offer exciting postgraduate research opportunities. 4 public universities are currently designated in Malaysia as research universities. 


Malaysia has abundant natural resources as well as biodiversity and conducive study environment and it offers numerous opportunities for research as well as postgraduates studies. Upgrading of public universities as research universities is an indication of the focus of the Malaysian government to expand this field of studies. The launch of the Strategic Plan for Higher Education: Laying the Foundation Beyond 2020 has outlined strategies for transforming Malaysia into a centre of excellence.  This nation already offers world class education and it is going strong for students across a wide range of fields.
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