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Study in Malaysia

Graduate programs in Malaysia

The graduate education system in Malaysia is the same as many other countries, such as the UK but there is a higher number of private universities in Malaysia.

There is a wide choice of graduate programs including Masters degrees and research PHD studies at Malaysian universities, and foreign university branch campuses in the country.

Postgraduate study in Malaysia offers high quality teaching with a relatively affordable cost of education and easy immigration procedures compared to other countries.

Population: 27,565,821

Education overview

In Malaysia there are government-funded and private institutions. Those that are government-funded include all public colleges, polytechnics and universities. Private institutions include non-university institutions like colleges and university-status institutions like private universities and campuses of foreign universities in Malaysia.

Graduate programs in Malaysia fall into three main categories:
  • Taught Masters (MAs/MScs/MEng)
  • Research Masters (MRes/ MA by Research)
  • Doctorates and PhDs
Taught Masters are postgraduate courses that follow a similar pattern to undergraduate study, with lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will be expected to research topics yourself and take and independent approach to studying.

Research Masters are often seen as pre-cursor to a PhD. You will research a particular topic independently and focus on improving your research skills to produce a dissertation or final projects.

Masters programs in Malaysia generally last between 1-5 years, with PhDs taking up to four years to complete. 

Postgraduate courses at both public and private universities in Malaysia are usually taught in English.

Immigration and visas in Malaysia

The country has strict immigration laws and regulations so it is important that you are fully prepared before going to study in Malaysia.

All people entering the country must have valid passports and internationally recognised travel documents valid for at least six months after entry in to Malaysia.

To study in Malaysia you must obtain a student pass. To gain one of these you will need to have a firm offer from a university as well as the necessary entry visa. The institution where you will study will be able to help you with this process.

Gaining visas for study in Malaysia can be a long process. You can find out more information at the Malaysian immigration website

Life in Malaysia

Malaysia is an Islamic country and is governed by local Shari’a law. It is important to be respectful of this. Under this law homosexual acts are illegal and there are severe penalties for drug possession. If students are from western countries and considering studying in Malaysia it is worth noting these different values. However, Malaysia is a multi-cultural society and tolerant of other religions and races.

A tropical nation in the heart of the Southeast Asia, Malaysia is associated with the cultural and culinary vibrancy of the region. Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes are easily and cheaply available at most restaurants and hawker stalls, whilst fast-food restaurants and western food are easily found too. In addition, various other delectable cuisines are also available, such as Middle Eastern and Thai food. Malaysia is popularly known as Asia’s food paradise.                                                                                                                                                                                      Malaysia is considered to have very affordable living costs. Accommodation, food, transport costs, food and other essentials are all at a reasonable cost. The average yearly cost of living ranges from RM 12,000 to RM 17,000 (which is $3,430 - $4,850).

Working in Malaysia

While studying on a graduate program in Malaysia full time, students can work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week, subject to immigration requirements.

These 20 hours are restricted to jobs during long vacations. Under no circumstances should a student undertake illegal employment as this could result in their student visa being revoked.


The cost of accommodation in Malaysia varies depending on where you choose to study your postgraduate course. In general student accommodation in Malaysia is considered quite costly.

There are two main types of accommodation while studying:
  • University accommodation – such as halls of residence
  • Private accommodation – house and flat rentals

Climate in Malaysia

Malaysia has a tropical/ equatorial climate, meaning it can be extremely hot and humid all year round. Seasons are not defined as they are in other parts of the world. There is also likely to be a small amount of rainfall almost every day.


Malaysia has a good system of public transport, but costs vary depending on the city you are studying your postgraduate course in.


The currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (RM).

What to do next

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Universities and cities in Malaysia