Why Study in Malaysia?

A major advantage for international students who choose to study in Malaysia is the relatively reasonable cost of living. While the cost of living largely depends on the location of your accommodation and your personal lifestyle, it is generally affordable for the cosmopolitan lifestyle that Malaysia offers.

QS Best Student Cities Survey ranked Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, as the No. 1 most affordable city for students for two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017. In 2018, Kuala Lumpur is ranked 2nd most affordable city for students and climbed four places to rank 37th in the overall Best Student Cities index.

Apart from the low cost of living, Malaysia is ranked by HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2016 as the 14th world’s friendliest country, and according to Unesco Rank 2014, it is the 12th most preferred education destination for students from all over the world.

There are many options to pursue higher education in Malaysia. There are 21 public universities, 41 private universities, 31 private university colleges and 9 foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia, making it as the centre of academic and higher education excellence in the region. There also hundreds of private colleges for you to choose from in all the 13 states and 3 Federal Territories.

According to The New Straits Times, as of Dec 31, 2016, there were 172,886 international students in Malaysian higher education institutions, private and international schools, and language centres. In higher education alone, there are 132,710 international students pursuing their tertiary education in Malaysia.

A melting pot of culture, Malaysia has a lot to offer its visitors and you will come across an interesting country with friendly people coming from a diverse background. It comes as no surprise that 90% of international students are happier in Malaysia as it is easier for them to adapt!

The Malaysian Education System

Generally, the Malaysian national education system is divided into pre-tertiary and tertiary education. There are two governing authorities for the education sector. Pre-tertiary education (i.e. from pre-school to secondary education and teacher education) is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education (MOE) while tertiary or higher education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE).

Under the national education system, a child begins his/her education with pre-school education at the age of four and will be admitted into the first year of the 6-year compulsory primary education when the child reaches the age of six on the first day of January of the current school year. The Government provides 11 years of free primary and secondary education.

Upon successful completion of 11 years of free education, further education is no longer automatic but is subject to the individual’s academic performance and financial capability. These upper school graduates (i.e. SPM leavers) can opt to continue their education in post-secondary schools to obtain a pre-university qualification (such as the Sixth Form or Matriculation programme, GCE’A’ levels) or further their education at tertiary or higher institutions.

Higher Education includes certificate, diploma, and undergraduate as well as postgraduate studies. Undergraduate studies consist of Bachelor’s degree levels and professional studies while postgraduate studies consist of Master’s degrees and PhD levels. Generally, higher education at the diploma level is for secondary school certificate (SPM) holders from the age of 17 onwards and the Bachelor’s degree is for students from the age of 19 onwards with post-secondary qualifications such as STPM (which is equivalent to the GCE ‘A’Level) or pre-university qualifications.

For more information on studying in Malaysia, you can visit the StudyMalaysia website. Or visit