Studying in MalaysiaStudying in Malaysia

High Quality Education

The quality of Malaysian universities is underlined by both the variety of institutions that make up the country’s higher education system and their overall performance in international rankings. In the 2012 QS World University Rankings, 14 Malaysian universities featured in the Top 300*. All educational institutions in Malaysia are closely monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) through quality control authority such as Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and SETARA rating system which is under MQA. The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) was set up to implement and enforce the Malaysian Qualifications Act 2007. Its main role is to implement the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF), which ensures that higher education institutions and their programs maintain the required standards of learning and delivery mechanisms.

Transnational Education

In recent years, a number of international universities, such as the University of Reading, have set up branch campuses in Malaysia offering the same high-quality education as their home country institutions but at a fraction of the cost. In fact, within the region, Malaysia is often seen as pioneer in the development of transnational educational (TNE) — foreign programs accredited by education providers outside the country, where unique collaborative degree programs such as twinning degrees (where students spend, for example, two years in Malaysia and one year at an overseas host university) and 3+0 international degrees (where the entire foreign university degree is taught in Malaysia) are becoming more readily available.

* QS World University Ranking, 2012

Good Career Prospects

Malaysia’s internationally recognised broad-based curriculum and high-quality education equips overseas students with relevant qualifications to succeed in a competitive global environment. As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, a key success factor is the universities’ ability to provide professional, career-focused education. As such, the institutions work closely with leading companies, industry professionals and foreign partner universities to ensure that the courses offered are up-to-date and market relevant so as to enhance the employability of their graduates.

Ease of obtaining a visa

The Malaysian Government policy, through the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and the support of the Immigration Department of Malaysia, is to encourage international students to study in institutions of higher learning in Malaysia. As such, it has introduced simplified and hassle-free entry procedures. International students from various countries do not need to apply for an entry visa from the Malaysia Embassy in your home country, exception for People’s Republic of China.

The visa will be issued to you upon your arrival in Malaysia at the immigration check point provided you have valid travel documents and a letter of approval for a student pass by the Malaysian Immigration Department. Students from China will need to apply for visa from the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, Guangzhou or Shanghai prior to entering Malaysia.

Scholarship opportunities

Malaysian Government scholarships are offered by the Malaysian Public Service Department, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), state governments and several government-linked corporations as well as the private sector. The Malaysian Government offers the following scholarships to international students:

  1. Malaysian Technical Cooperation Program (MTCP) Scholarships
  2. Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS) for Undergraduate Studies
  3. Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS) for Postgraduate Studies
  4. Commonwealth Scholarship
  5. Shari’ah scholarship award by ISRA*

1. International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (*ISRA) – For Muslim students only.
2. Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE)

Low cost of living and tuition fees

A major advantage for international students when choosing to study in Malaysia is the low cost of living and tuition fees. The cost of living in Kuala Lumpur ranked a respectable 102 in the 2012 Mercer Cost of Living Survey*, which ranks cities from most expensive to least expensive. Kuala Lumpur is significantly cheaper compared to Singapore ranked (6), Hong Kong ranked (9), Shanghai ranked (16), London ranked (25), Jakarta ranked (61) and Abu Dhabi ranked (76).

Cost of living :

Estimated cost of living for students ranged from RM15,000 to RM20,000 (USD4800 to USD6500) per year. This amount includes food, accommodation and transport. Students can choose between on-campus or off-campus accommodation, including college hostels, apartments, terrace houses and condominiums, see the section Living in Malaysia. Tuition fees ranges between MYR 25,000 to 35,000 (USD 8,000 to USD 11,000), see the section Types of qualifications.

Source: *2012 Mercer Cost of Living Survey

Multicultural Society

Malaysians embrace their diversity and co-exist in peace and harmony. Often described as a ‘melting pot’ of races, religions and culture, the population consists of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and scores of tribal communities. You will also hear an interesting variety of languages such as Malay dialects; Chinese dialects; Indian dialects such as Tamil, Hindi and Bengali; and other native tongues. English language has been widely spoken and commonly used in Malaysia for many years. This makes living and studying in Malaysia easy for English-speaking international students and provides an environment that is conducive for non-English speakers to learn or improve upon their language skills. Studying in Malaysia offers international students a great deal more than an academic education.


Islam is the official religion of the nation. The Constitution of Malaysia guarantees freedom of worship. As such, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism make up the other primary religions embraced by Malaysian society.

Friendly and welcoming

Malaysia is ranked as the 10th friendliest country in the world (ahead of Singapore in 14th place), according to *Forbes.  And, as of 2011, the country ranks ninth among the most visited countries in the world according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (**UNWTO).

A true reflection of the country’s hospitality is the concept of ‘open house’, an important Malaysia tradition during the various cultural and religious festivals where friends, families and even strangers are invited to visit and share in the celebrations — whatever their nationality, religion or ethnicity. This is definitely something to experience during your stay in Malaysia! So, be sure to make friends with the locals and they will be happy to show you around and make you feel more at home.

1. *Forbes, World’s Most Friendliest Countries Worldwide, 2012
2. **United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Tourism Highlights report, 2011


According to the 2012 *Global Peace Index, Malaysia is the safest country in Southeast Asia and 20th in the world.  It is an economically, politically and socially secure country. It is also free from racial and religious problems and boasts a low crime rate.

Malaysia’s tropical climate is warm and humid throughout the year without any drastic weather changes. It is also geographically safe from major natural disasters as it is located in a catastrophe-free zone. As such, Malaysia is a very appealing place for international students to live and study in safety.

Source: * Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), Global Peace Index, 2012