Currently there are 20 public and 32 private universities, the latter including four foreign branch university campuses. These are “overseas branches” of foreign universities which offer the same courses and the same awards as the main university.
Recently “twinning programmes” have become popular, whereupon a local university enters an arrangement with a foreign university. The student takes the first part of his course in the home university and the second part in the university overseas.
Universities in Malaysia offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The admission requirement for universities are the STPM (Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia) exams or a comparable foreign degree, like the A-levels.
Private universities in Malaysia
The public university system is becoming increasingly dependant on a raising number of private universities. The demand for higher education is rising and so is the demand for decent study conditions.
Public universities are not necessarily worse than private ones. Just until recently it was rather the public sector which was the students first choice for higher education. Yet the public sector does sometimes not manage to provide the students a broad and flexible course system which is then ensured by the private institutions.
Enrolment conditions for foreign students
Students apply directly at the Malaysian private or public university of their choice, under the condition that the institution had been approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education. Also, the intended course of study has to be endorsed by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).
All public universities are allowed to take in international students, but public institutionas have to be licensed by the Immigration Department of the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs.
Once you have assured that your university of choice is licensed and approved, apply at the respective university for a student pass. For further information see the “Visas & Permits: Visas for Malaysia” chapter in this guide.