Types of Degree Programmes in Malaysia

Bachelor’s as well as postgraduate and doctoral programmes are offered at higher educational institutions in Malaysia. Private as well as public higher educational institutions offer courses in varying disciplines. A unique distinction of the Malaysian higher education courses are the tie-ups with foreign universities from countries such as the UK. the US,  New Zealand and Australia.

Bachelor’s Degree Programmes in Malaysia

Apart from regular undergraduate degrees offered at higher educational institutions, Malaysian institutions also offer transnational bachelor’s degree programmes in partnership with well known foreign universities. The unique bachelor’s degree programmes include:
  • Advance standing arrangement
  • American degree credit transfer programme
  • 2 1 twinning degrees
  • 3 0 franchised degree programme
Following the establishment of the branch campus, degree programmes can also impart degree programmes.  The first foreign university to establish a bachelor’s degree programme through a branch campus was Monash University. Numerous other foreign university branch campuses were also established such as the University of Nottingham. Private university colleges as well as universities are there in plenty. Students can also opt for public higher educational institutions in Malaysia.

Twinning Degree Courses (2 1): Malaysian undergraduate twinning degrees (2 1 or 1 2) courses wherein students pursue first or second year degree programmes in the nation and the final part in international setting. Such degree courses commenced in Malaysia around 20 years ago.

Options for the twinning programme: These include either 1/1.5/2/2.5 years in Malaysia within a 3 year degree course before commencing to partner university  abroad for completing the degree. For such courses, students register with the local university as well as the foreign one. Apart from dual registration, they are guaranteed admission to another level through an overseas twinning university programme. Though taught locally, the materials for the course are provided by foreign universities.

Examples of twinning programmes: Inti College has tied up with Coventry University for its business degree course, while KDU college partners University of Manchester for its economics degree programme. A partnership has also been formed by KBU International College with the University of Australia for its selected Engineering Degree programmes.     

3 0’ Degree Courses: The “3 0 degree course is an extension of the 2 1 twinning programme for allowing students to finish all three years of the partner university degree course in Malaysian institutions. Apart from this, students get dual registration and they graduate with degrees form foreign universities without leaving Malaysia. Within the 3 0 degree courses, the same syllabus can be followed along with the qualifications as those students pursuing these degrees abroad. Such courses are more economical than pursuing the degrees abroad.

Regular Bachelor Courses: Such courses are offered by public educational institutions at undergraduate level for holders of following post secondary qualifications: 
  • STPM/Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia
  • STAM/Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia
  • Recognised Diploma
  • Ministry of Education Matriculation Certificate
Vocational Courses: Polytechnics as well as community colleges offer technical and vocational courses to those who left school at upper secondary levels. Students can obtain diploma as well as certificate qualifications through these measures. 

Postgraduate Courses in Malaysia

Numerous postgraduate degree courses are available to education providers including the following:
  • Internal postgraduate qualification courses from public universities
  • Internal postgraduate qualification courses from private universities
  • Post graduate courses from foreign university branch campuses
  • Collaboration between private colleges and postgraduate courses
3 Methods for Acquiring Postgraduate Degree: There are three modes of acquiring a postgraduate qualification depending upon the needs of the students and the providers. 

Coursework/Imparted Courses for MA, MSc/MS: Students can complete minimum hours of study through coursework and there is no thesis requirement for these courses. The widest choice of subjects is available at postgraduate level and students can opt for numerous taught courses.  Method of imparting courses include:
  • essays, 
  • project work, 
  • industrial or business placements, 
  • problem-solving classes, 
  • lectures, tutorials and discussion groups 
  • assessments / examinations.
Coursework & Dissertation/Research Report for MA, MSc/MS: This involves completion of coursework credits and submission of dissertations on research projects. This includes individual as well as group projects plus research dissertation.

Submission of Thesis for MPhil, PhD Students: Students choosing this path will have to undertake scholarly research, submit the thesis and make the viva presentation. Research master’s degree is a transition degree en-route to a PhD.  

Postgraduate students can also choose full or part time course. Certain universities also require fulfilment of residential requirement for instance a two semester residential stay for the Doctor of Philosophy programme.

Students can opt for transfer of credit hours if relevant courses are taken. Some universities impose conditions for transfer of credit hours.   
  • Overall, the duration of completing the programme depends on the progress of the individual student and the type of course chosen. Basically, the minimum and maximum periods are as follows:
  • For Master’s degree programmes, full time students generally take 2 to 6 semesters while part time students take 4 to 10 semesters.
  • Similarly for the PhD courses, full time students can take up to 4 to 12 semesters while part time students can take from 8 to 16 semesters. 

PhD Degree Courses in Malaysia

Numerous choices are there for PhD aspirants in the field of numerous fields, if one opts for Malaysian higher educational institutions. Many universities focus on science and technology along with high quality research programmes. These courses are also extremely reasonably priced. Doctoral programmes encompassing R&D are widely available at private as well as public higher educational institutions. 4 public universities have also been designated as research universities in Malaysia and they focus on the following topics:
  • ICT-information communication technology
  • Microelectronics
  • Advanced Materials Technology
  • Biotechnology
  • Life Sciences
  • Energy and Environment related Technology
  • Aerospace
Clearly, there is plenty of scope for doctoral students in Malaysia. 

Higher studies in Malaysia are the preferred choice of those who want access to quality education. Affordable fees and good living conditions make Malaysia the leading choice for students who want an enriching educational experience. Degrees offered by public as well as private educational institutions aim for all round development of the students.

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