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Quickly rising the charts of best-destinations to study abroad, Malaysia has recently made its entry in the top 10 most-favored countries for international students. It had an international student population of nearly 130,110 at the end of 2019 which is expected to rise to 250,000 by 2025. With an unparalleled education system governed by the Malaysian Ministry of Education, the country offers hundreds of diverse programs across its 150+ top universities renowned in the list of 200 regarded institutes across the globe.
Standing proudly as a strong competitor to USA, Germany and UK, Malaysia is currently home to students from over 135 countries primarily from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Other than its official languages, English is also considered as an official language that adds credit to the nation’s favor. It is one of the most affordable destinations in terms of tuition and living expenses when compared to other prestigious countries which is reflected in the graph below.
Employment sector in Malaysia has seen tremendous growth over the past few years with a constant unemployment rate of merely 3 to 4%. With an acceptance rate of 90% for most of its institutes and a flexible immigration process, the country is quickly gaining fascination among international aspirants seeking to study in Malaysia. To gather a further clear picture of the market trends in the country, the unemployment trends in Malaysia over the years are as picturized below.
Malaysia as a country is home to several prestigious private and public institutes that are reputed for their exceptional and remarkable education system. If you have decided to choose a Malaysian organization for studying abroad, a list of top universities in Malaysia are compiled in the table below.
|Name of the institute||THE World Rankings 2020||THE Malaysia Rankings 2020||City/Area|
|University of Malaya||301–350||1||Kuala Lumpur|
|Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)||501–600||2||Petaling Jaya|
|Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia||601–800||=3||Selangor|
|Universiti Malaysia Perlis||601–800||=3||Arau|
|Universiti Putra Malaysia||601–800||=3||Selangor|
|Universiti Sains Malaysia||601–800||=3||Pulau Pinang|
|Universiti Teknologi Malaysia||601–800||=3||Johor|
|Universiti Teknologi Petronas||601–800||=3||Seri Iskandar|
|Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN)||801–1000||=9||Selangor|
|Universiti Utara Malaysia||801–1000||=9||Kedah Darul Aman|
Some of the top universities and the international student population across them is picturized below.
Malaysia is among the top 10 most preferred global countries for studying overseas with an international population of some 150 countries. With a simple immigration process, a lower cost of living, diverse cultures and ethnicities and a globally renowned education system, some other reasons to study in Malaysia are as compiled below.
The country offers hundreds of programs including more than 2,300 undergraduate degree-level courses. An average course in the country usually lasts for 3 to 4 years with short courses being 6 months to 2 years in duration. Since the job opportunities in the country are directly proportional to the stream you choose, it is greatly recommended to go through all the aspects when selecting a program you are interested in.
For any program in the country, a candidate will require A-levels or equivalent along with the specific-entry requirements for each course and university. While STEM courses, data science, IT and Business Administration are the popular choices for masters degrees among international candidates, other programs like hospitality, communications, petroleum engineering and healthcare are equally best alternatives to opt for.
To make the process more feasible, a list of some of the popular programs, the best institute for the corresponding program and their top recruiters are as mentioned below.
|Popular Program||Best Malaysian University for the course||Top recruiters post degree|
|Business Administration||AIMST University/International Islamic University||Google, IBM, Hong Leong|
|Architecture||Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur||SAA, Hoda design, Greenland Fortune Global|
|Computer Science||Universiti Teknologi Petronas/ Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia||Google, Grab, Facebook|
|Mechanical Engineering||Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur/Universiti Teknologi Petronas||Apple, Boeing, Erics|
|Psychology||Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Raffles University||Columbia Asia Hospitals, Rekindle|
|Law||/International Islamic University Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia||Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper, Latham & Watkins|
For the applicants who have made a decision to apply to study in Malaysia, it is highly recommended to waste no more time and start planning your application at the earliest possible opportunity. In order to make the process simpler, we have compiled a step-by-step guide for all the prospective aspirants.
Some basic information regarding the admission process and basic requirements is as tabulated below.
|Where to apply||Unit Pengambilan Universiti (UPU) portal or through respective portals of universities|
|Application Fee||Varies for the different universities|
|Basic Requirements||Transcripts, Standardised tests like GMAT or GRE|
|Additional Requirements||Letters of Recommendation, Accommodation Form, Health Insurance|
|English Language Requirements||IELTS: 6; TOEFL: 500 or above|
The intake periods at Malaysian Universities is when a student completes his/her enrollment, before the commencement of classes. While the application deadlines to study in the country differs, the major intake seasons are similar which are as mentioned as follows:
February Intake Timeline:
July Intake Timeline:
October Intake Timeline:
Malaysia is one of the preferred locations for international students, especially when seen from the perspective of the low cost of living and education. While the amount may vary tremendously depending on the choice of program, university and lifestyle of an individual, as discussed above, the amount is still low in comparison to other study-abroad destinations.
The cost of studying in Malaysia for international students is usually lower when seen in contrast to other renowned destinations across the world. A bachelor's degree in Malaysia usually costs around 43,000 to 100,000 MYR while the master’s program would cost nearly 1,800 to 30,000 MYR. The price will highly vary on your university type which is either public or private.
For instance, a bachelor's degree in IT from a public institute will cost around 8,900 to 9,910 MYR but a similar course from a local private university or an international private institute will round off to nearly 33,000 to 43,000 MYR and 52,800 to 84,000 MYR, respectively. The cost of attendance for Malaysia has been compiled in detail as follows:
|Level of Education||Tuition Fee (in MYR, per year)|
|Undergraduate Programs||25,000 to 60,000|
|Graduate Programs||30, 000 to 45,000|
|Diploma Programs||20,000 to 30,000|
A comparison of tuition fee for some of the regarded public and private institutes in Malaysia has been depicted in the graph below.
While the basic fee in the country would vary on the individual’s personal preferences for accommodation, food, city of choice etc., an estimated amount required to survive a month in Malaysia is as follows:
|Type of Expenditure||Cost (in MYR, per month)|
|Accommodation and utilities||2,475|
|Food and supplies||400 to 500|
|Health insurance||400 to 600 (per year)|
|Phone and internet||125|
|Personal Expenses||125 to 450|
|Travel costs||100 to 300|
|Books and Supplies||200|
Since attracting international students to Malaysia is currently a priority for the government of the city, it ensures sufficient funding for the deserving candidates seeking to study there. The financial aid is provided in the form of Government grants and loans, private and public scholarships, studentships, university and course-specific awards, among others.
While most studentships and awards in the country are primarily for the domestic students, some of the top scholarships for international students in Malaysia are as tabulated below.
|Name of the scholarship||Eligibility||Benefits||Application Portal|
|Malaysian International Scholarship (MIS)||International students looking to study an undergraduate/graduate program in Malaysia||Air tickets, installation and Termination grant, thesis allowance, books and travel expenses||Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education portal|
|Malaysian Commonwealth Scholarship||Malaysian Commonwealth Scholarship||Air tickets, approved tuition fees, annual grant for books, travel expenses, monthly maintenance and allowance||Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education portal|
|Heriot-Watt-Velesto Petroleum Engineering Scholarship||International students wanting to pursue their undergraduate studies in petroleum engineering||100% or 50% tuition fee waiver at Malaysia campus||Heriot-Watt University website|
|Malaysian Technical Cooperation Program Scholarships (MTCP)||Local and international students with PhD duration of 36 months and master’s duration of 12-24 months||Air tickets, approved tuition fees, annual grant for books, travel expenses, monthly maintenance and allowance||MTCP online portal|
|The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation-Sunway Group Scholarship||Students studying engineering, health sciences and business/management courses below 21 years of age. Both, local and overseas students||Air tickets, approved tuition fees, annual grant for books, travel expenses, monthly maintenance and allowance||Jeffery Cheah Foundation website|
With the world entering into a digital era, the job market has seen drastic changes over the past few years and the Malaysian market has been no exception. Thus, it becomes highly essential that students choose their courses with utmost care taking into account the employment and job prospects in the field.
According to the “Future of Jobs Report'' by the World Economic Forum, about 75 million jobs are expected to disappear by 2022 but there will also be the emergence of nearly 133 million new roles. The youth unemployment rate of about 10.9% in Malaysia is reflective of the fact that while there are endless new job opportunities being created in the country every year, the mismatch between student’s qualifications and requirements of a job profile fails to meet.
Some of the courses expected to see a huge demand and increase salaries in the upcoming years include IT and Computer Science, Engineering, Data Science, Architecture, Hospitality, Accounting, Business Administration, among others. It was interesting to note that while Engineering graduates enjoyed a salary hike of over 12% in comparison to other graduates in Malaysia, data science graduates were in fact some of the highly paid employees in the country with a starting salary of 4,000 to 8,000 MYR per month.
As per the survey results of Kelley Services, a recruitment agency in Malaysia, the number of jobs expected to rise in various sectors by the end of 2020 are expected to be as follows:
|Name of Sector||Jobs by end of 2020|
|Banking and Services||274,000|
|Oil and Gas||52,300|
Salary trends for graduates of different streams soon after completing their degrees from Malaysia have been depicted in the graph below.
In a nutshell, we can conclude by saying that Malaysia is quickly becoming the new go-to destination for studying abroad among international students. From being an affordable alternative with a globally recognized curriculum and campuses of some of the greatest institutes of countries like the UK, USA, Canada to exposure of diverse cultures and languages, Malaysia offers it all to its aspirants.
Apart from being a paradise for food-lovers, safe environment, endless opportunities for adventure and growing job profiles, the country is also very welcoming and friendly towards the students which is reflected in its easy immigration process and support for students in every step of the way during the application process. Thus, if you are a prospective candidate seeking to study overseas, it is high time you include Malaysia to your list.