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Why Study in Malaysia: Exploring the Benefits

Malaysia a world of academic distinction, where you can explore, internationally acclaimed universities, cutting-edge infrastructure, and a rich cultural tapestry creating an ideal academic environment. Students benefiting from a holistic education, global exposure, and a cost-effective lifestyle, positioning Malaysia as a compelling choice for aspiring scholars.

Visa Approval Rate
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Total Institutions and Universities
Total Institutions
Best Intake in Malaysia
Best Intake
Average Study Cost
11400$ to 150000$
Average Study Cost
Living Cost
1000$ to 1200$
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Travel Cost
800$ to 4000$
Travel Cost
Min TOFEL Score
80 (iBT)
Min TOFEL Score
Min IELTS Score
Min IELTS Score
Min PTE Score
Min PTE Score

Choose Your Favourite Programme in Malaysia

Team Education Malaysia
Team Education Malaysia Updated on - Nov 20, 2023

Study in Malaysia: Discover Universities, Expenses, Programs, Visa, Admission Criteria, Scholarships

Estimates suggest that the total count of international students in Malaysia for the year 2022 lies between 130,000 and 170,000. As part of its strategic vision, Malaysia aims to significantly increase this enrollment base to 250,000 students by the year 2025. This ambitious long-term objective reflects Malaysia's commitment to expanding its international student community and enhancing its global presence as an education destination.

In pursuit of a more immediate goal of attracting 50,000 international student applications in 2022, EMGS has reported a significant achievement. By the end of December, they received 51,270 applications from individuals seeking to study in Malaysian public and private educational institutions. This marks a substantial 27.5% increase in application volume compared to the figures recorded in 2021.

Study in Malaysia

This surge in interest underscores Malaysia's growing appeal as a preferred destination for international students and aligns with the nation's aspirations for continued growth in its higher education sector.

In the year 2022, Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) received a total of 9,530 applications, as per official statistics available on their website. These applications were regionally distributed, with 4,444 originating from East Asia, 1,862 from South Asia, 1,228 from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 722 from Southeast Asia, 724 from Africa, 83 from Central Asia, and 467 from other regions.
Fast forward to 2023, and there has been a notable increase in applications, reaching a total of 12,665 as of June 30th. The geographical distribution of these applications has also evolved, with East Asia contributing 5,397 applications, South Asia 2,793, MENA 1,546, Southeast Asia 1,198, Africa 869, Central Asia 248, and 614 from other regions.
This upward trend in applications signifies a growing interest in pursuing education in Malaysia across various regions. The diverse geographical representation highlights Malaysia's increasing appeal as a preferred destination for international students, reflecting positively on the nation's education system and global standing. Keep abreast of these statistics to stay informed about the dynamic landscape of international student enrollment in Malaysia.

Universities of Malaysia: Global Rankings

Malaysia holds a unique distinction as one of only three countries globally designated by UNESCO as World Education Cities. This prestigious recognition not only ensures that your studies in Malaysia are acknowledged within the country but also guarantees international recognition. Opting to pursue your education here offers the assurance that your academic achievements hold significance not only domestically but on a global scale, enhancing the value and credibility of your educational experience.

The Malaysian higher education sector has experienced substantial growth over recent decades, evolving into a dynamic landscape. Presently, the country boasts a total of 20 public universities, contributing significantly to the academic and research realms. Alongside these, there are 467 private higher learning institutions (HLIs) that further enrich the educational environment. This diverse array of institutions operates within Malaysia's multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society, catering to a population of approximately 32.5 million. The coexistence of public and private entities reflects the nation's commitment to providing a comprehensive and inclusive educational experience for its citizens.

University QS World Ranking (Approximate) Malaysia Ranking (Approximate)
Universiti Malaya (UM) 65 1
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 159 3
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) 137 3
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 158 3
University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) 801-1000 3
Universiti Teknologi Petronas 307 Varied, private institution
Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) 751- 800 Varied, private institution
International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) 711 - 720 Well-regarded in Malaysia
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) 601 - 800 Strong reputation locally
Multimedia University (MMU) 801-1000 Varied, private institution

Malaysian Universities Ranking - SETARA, established within the framework of the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2015-2025 for Higher Education, serves as a robust evaluation mechanism for local educational institutions. This rating system employs a rigorous assessment methodology, focusing on three key performance metrics: teaching, research, and services.

The inclusion of institutions' status ensures a comprehensive and equitable representation within the evaluation process. SETARA plays a pivotal role in objectively gauging the effectiveness and standards of Malaysian higher education institutions.
The SETARA rating system focuses on three key performance metrics: teaching and learning, research, and services. The weightage assigned to each metric varies based on the category of the institution, whether it is a Mature University, Emerging University, or University College. The weightage helps ensure that the evaluation is tailored to the specific characteristics and objectives of each type of institution.

The breakdown of the SETARA performance metrics weightage is as follows:

Criteria Mature University Emerging University University College
Teaching and Learning 30% 40% 50%
Research 20% 15% 5%
Services 10% 5% 5%
General Criteria 40% 40% 40%

Employment Growth Statistics in Malaysia

In the previous year, the total employment in Malaysia reached 15.39 million individuals, reflecting a notable increase of 2.2% or 327,600 persons compared to the figures in 2021. Concurrently, the nation observed a strengthening of its labor force, marking a 1.4% rise equivalent to 224,900 persons. The total labor force for the year 2022 recorded 16.02 million individuals, an increase from the 15.8 million reported in the preceding year. This data signifies a positive trend in employment and labor force expansion, indicating a dynamic and evolving economic landscape in Malaysia.


According to the latest official data released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), Malaysia experienced a notable upswing in its labor market during the second quarter of 2023. The recorded figures indicate a total of 8.83 million jobs, marking a substantial 2.4% increase compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

The positive trajectory observed in Malaysia's labor market during this quarter was further emphasised in a statement issued by DOSM. The statement highlighted not only the increase in the overall number of jobs but also a concurrent rise in labor demand, signifying robust economic activity and employment opportunities. In alignment with these encouraging trends, a report from MIDF Research forecasts a sustained improvement in Malaysia's labor market throughout 2023 and 2024. This optimistic outlook is underpinned by the expectation of a robust domestic economy, which is anticipated to contribute significantly to the overall employment landscape.

Benefits of Pursuing Education in Malaysia: Advantages of Studying in Malaysia

Malaysia offers a range of compelling reasons for international students to consider pursuing their education in the country. The following highlights the advantages and benefits of choosing Malaysia as a study destination:


  • World’s Top Ranked Universities: Malaysian universities, including Universiti Malaya and others, have seen commendable placements in the QS World University Rankings, reflecting their commitment to academic excellence. These institutions consistently strive for global recognition, with various universities securing positions within specific ranking bands, contributing to Malaysia's presence on the international higher education map.
  • Cost-Effective Education: Malaysia provides a cost-effective education option with affordable tuition fees and a lower cost of living compared to many other study destinations.
  • Academic Excellence: Renowned for academic excellence, Malaysian universities uphold high educational standards and often collaborate with international institutions to enhance the quality of education.
  • Cultural Diversity: Embracing a rich multicultural environment, Malaysia offers students the opportunity to experience and appreciate diverse cultures, enhancing their global perspective.
  • English-Medium Instruction: English is widely used as the medium of instruction in Malaysian universities, facilitating a smooth learning experience for international students.
  • Global Recognition: Degrees from Malaysian institutions are globally recognized, and many universities have established partnerships with renowned international counterparts, bolstering the prestige of their qualifications.
  • Post-Study Work Opportunities: Malaysia provides post-study work opportunities, allowing international graduates to gain practical experience and contribute to the local workforce.
  • Safety and Quality of Life: Known for its safety and high quality of life, Malaysia offers a conducive and comfortable environment for students throughout their academic journey.
  • Modern Infrastructure: Universities in Malaysia boast modern and well-equipped campuses, ensuring students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources.
  • Scholarship Opportunities: Various scholarships are available for international students, recognizing academic achievements and providing financial support.
  • Stunning Environment: Malaysia's natural beauty, from vibrant urban centers to picturesque landscapes, creates an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for students pursuing their studies.
  • Best Employment Ratio: The employment landscape in various sectors reflects a predominant presence in services, constituting 65%, followed by manufacturing at 16.8%, agriculture at 10%, construction at 7.6%, and mining & quarrying at 0.5%. Examining the status of employment, employees account for the majority, comprising 78.3% of the employed population, with a notable year-on-year increase of 1.9%, totaling 12.05 million persons in the surveyed year, up from 11.82 million in 2021. Other employment categories include own-account workers at 1.5% (2.33 million), employers at 3.5% (532,900), and unpaid family workers at 3.2% (487,000). This detailed breakdown provides a comprehensive understanding of the distribution across sectors and employment statuses for the surveyed period.

What are the Best Courses to Study in Malaysia?

Malaysia's emphasis on technological advancement makes fields like engineering and technology highly sought-after, aligning with the nation's growth in industries such as IT and manufacturing.

Given Malaysia's economic significance and status as a regional financial hub, courses in business, management, finance, and accounting offer diverse career opportunities in corporate sectors and financial services. With a commitment to high standards in healthcare and a thriving tourism industry, fields like medicine, nursing, pharmacy, hospitality, and tourism management present promising career paths in Malaysia.

Field of Study Courses Recruitment Opportunities Salary Package (Approximate)
Engineering and Technology Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering High demand in technology-driven industries. Entry-level: MYR 3,000 - MYR 5,000 per month.
Business and Management Business Administration, Finance, Marketing, MBA Opportunities in diverse industries, especially finance. Entry-level: MYR 3,500 - MYR 6,000 per month.
Information Technology (IT) Information Technology, Computer Scienc Growing demand for IT professionals across sectors. Entry-level: MYR 3,500 - MYR 6,000 per month
Healthcare Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy Strong demand in the healthcare sector. Varied based on specialization and experience.
Finance and Accounting Finance, Accounting, Economics Opportunities in banking, financial services. Entry-level: MYR 3,500 - MYR 6,500 per month.
Biotechnology Biotechnology Opportunities in research and development. Entry-level: MYR 3,000 - MYR 5,000 per month.
Hospitality and Tourism Hospitality Management, Tourism Management Recruiting in the thriving hospitality and tourism industry. Entry-level: MYR 2,500 - MYR 4,500 per month.
Environmental Science Environmental Science, Sustainability Opportunities in environmental consulting. Entry-level: MYR 3,000 - MYR 5,000 per month.
Islamic Finance and Banking Islamic Finance, Banking Growing demand for professionals in Islamic finance. Entry-level: MYR 3,500 - MYR 6,500 per month.
Media and Communication Communication Studies, Media Production Opportunities in media, advertising, public relations. Entry-level: MYR 2,500 - MYR 5,000 per month.
Language and Literature English Language, Literature Opportunities in education, publishing. Entry-level: MYR 2,500 - MYR 4,500 per month.

Step-by-Step Admission Process in Malaysian Universities

The admission process for Malaysian universities can vary slightly depending on the institution and the level of study (undergraduate or postgraduate). However, we can provide you with a general overview of the typical steps involved in the application process for Malaysian universities:

Undergraduate Admissions:

  1. Choose a Program and University:
    • Identify the program and university that align with your academic and career goals.
  2. Check Admission Requirements:
    • Review the admission requirements for your chosen program. Requirements may include academic qualifications, language proficiency (English or Malay), and other specific criteria.
  3. Submit Application:
    • Complete the application form, which is usually available online on the university's official website.
  4. Prepare Supporting Documents:
    • Gather necessary documents such as academic transcripts, certificates, a copy of your passport, passport-sized photos, and any other documents specified by the university.
  5. English Proficiency:
    • If your chosen program is taught in English, you may need to demonstrate proficiency through standardized tests such as IELTS or TOEFL.
  6. Application Fee:
    • Pay the application fee, which is typically non-refundable.
  7. Submit Application:
    • Submit your application and all required documents by the specified deadline.
  8. Wait for Admission Decision:
    • Universities will review your application, and you'll receive an admission decision within a certain timeframe.
  9. Acceptance and Visa:
    • If accepted, follow the instructions to confirm your acceptance and apply for a student visa if you're an international student.

Postgraduate Admissions:

  1. Choose a Program and University:
    • Select the postgraduate program and university that suits your academic and research interests.
  2. Check Admission Requirements:
    • Review the specific requirements for postgraduate studies, including academic qualifications, research proposals (if required), and any other criteria.
  3. Submit Application:
    • Complete the online application form provided by the university.
  4. Prepare Supporting Documents:
    • Gather required documents such as academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a research proposal (if applicable).
  5. English Proficiency:
    • International applicants may need to provide proof of English proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.
  6. Application Fee:
    • Pay the application fee as required.
  7. Submit Application:
    • Submit your application along with all necessary documents within the specified deadline.
  8. Interviews and Entrance Exams:
    • Some programs may require interviews or entrance exams as part of the selection process.
  9. Wait for Admission Decision:
    • The university will review your application, and you will receive an admission decision within a certain timeframe.
  10. Acceptance and Visa:/li>
  • If admitted, follow the instructions to confirm your acceptance and proceed with the visa application process if needed.

Application Process for International Students in Malaysian Universities 

  • Exploring Your Options: With Malaysia hosting a wealth of over 150 globally acclaimed institutes, prospective students are presented with a diverse array of courses consistently ranked among the top 100 worldwide. The critical task lies in carefully selecting a university that not only aligns with your academic and career aspirations but also factors in essential elements such as cost, location, and the specific courses offered. Conduct thorough research to ensure that your chosen institution is the perfect fit for a successful and fulfilling academic journey.
  • Plan Your Finances: Malaysia has carved a niche as an affordable study-abroad destination, offering a range of tuition fees from 10,000 to 70,000 MYR. This cost-effectiveness extends to various aspects of student life, making Malaysia an attractive option for international students. As you embark on this academic adventure, meticulous financial planning is essential. Assess your budgetary constraints, explore available scholarships, and ensure that your financial arrangements align with the overall cost of living and studying in Malaysia.
  • Prepare Your Application: Navigating the application process is a crucial step toward realizing your study goals in Malaysia. Recognize that each university may have unique application processes and deadlines. The primary intakes occurring in February, July, and October necessitate early planning. To enhance your chances of acceptance, submit your application well in advance, ideally 3 to 4 months before the designated deadlines. Pay close attention to the specific requirements of each institution and submit a comprehensive application that reflects your academic strengths and aspirations.
  • Submit Application Online: Complete the university's online application form, ensuring accurate completion of all required information. Follow instructions to upload relevant documents.
  • Get Acceptance: After submission, allow the university's admissions team time to thoroughly review your application. Upon acceptance, you'll receive an official offer letter. Read and understand the terms, then confirm your acceptance by following provided instructions, potentially involving an acceptance payment and expressing your intent to enrol.
  • Apply for Malaysian Student Visa: Follow the university's guidance to initiate the application for a student visa or student pass. Comply with additional document requirements, and undergo any necessary medical examinations. Visit your nearest embassy, adhere to the stipulated application procedures, and pay the requisite fee of 2700 - 3000 MYR. The visa application process typically takes 3 to 4 weeks or more, contingent on individual circumstances. According to the Malaysian visa policy, certain travellers are eligible to enter the Southeast Asian nation without a visa for short stays ranging from 14 to 90 days, depending on their nationality. Visa-exempt travel is typically allowed for purposes such as tourism, business, or transit.
  • Prepare to Fly: Once your relevant visa is secured, meticulous planning for your departure becomes imperative. Explore diverse accommodation options within Malaysia, delve into comprehensive information about the city where you'll reside, book your air ticket well in advance, and efficiently pack your bags. This strategic preparation ensures a seamless and organized transition into your Malaysian study experience, setting the stage for a successful academic journey.
  • Malaysia Application: Deadlines  Application deadlines in Malaysia vary depending on the university, program, and the intake period. However, there are generally three main intakes in Malaysian universities:
    • February Intake:
    • Application Deadline: November to January (previous year)
    • July Intake:
    • Application Deadline: March to May
    • October Intake:
    • Application Deadline: June to August

Study in Malaysia: Budget and Cost Estimation

Tuition Fees to Study in Malaysia:
The tuition fees vary based on the level of study (undergraduate or postgraduate) and the specific program. On average, for international students, undergraduate programs can range from 7,500 to 30,000 MYR per year, while postgraduate programs may range from 10,000 to 40,000 MYR per year.

Category Tuition Fees (Annual) Cost of Living (Monthly)
Undergraduate 7,500 - 30,000 MYR 1,200 - 2,500 MYR
Postgraduate (Master's) 10,000 - 40,000 MYR 1,200 - 2,500 MYR
Ph.D. 15,000 - 45,000 MYR 1,200 - 2,500 MYR

Cost of Living in Malaysia for a Student:

The cost of living in Malaysia is generally considered affordable compared to many Western countries. Monthly living expenses, including accommodation, food, transportation, and other miscellaneous costs, can range from 1,200 to 2,500 MYR. This, of course, depends on the city, lifestyle, and accommodation choices.

  • Accommodation: Rent for accommodation can vary significantly. On-campus housing may range from 300 to 1,000 MYR per month, while off-campus options can vary between 500 and 2,000 MYR, depending on the location and facilities.
  • Food: Monthly food expenses can range from 500 to 800 MYR, depending on whether you cook at home or eat out.
  • Transportation: Public transportation costs are relatively low in Malaysia. Monthly transportation expenses may range from 50 to 150 MYR, depending on your location and usage.
  • Miscellaneous: Other miscellaneous expenses, including books, supplies, and personal expenses, may range from 200 to 500 MYR per month.
Category Cost Range (MYR)
Cost of Living 1,200 - 2,500 per month
Accommodation On-campus: 300 - 1,000 per monthOff-campus: 500 - 2,000 per month
Food 500 - 800 per month
Transportation 50 - 150 per month
Miscellaneous 200 - 500 per month

Scholarship Opportunities in Malaysia: Full and Partial Funded Scholarship

Over 34,500 participants from 144 developing countries have availed themselves of these scholarships. The scholarship program spans a duration of 12 to 24 months and is applicable for enrollment in public or private universities in Malaysia.

Numerous fully funded scholarships are available in Malaysia, covering short courses, and undergraduate, master's, and Ph.D. degree programs at leading Malaysian universities. These international scholarships in Malaysia are open to students worldwide, providing opportunities for a promising academic future.

Scholarships for International Students in Malaysia

The Malaysian International Scholarship (MIS) encompasses airfare, tuition fees, a monthly stipend, allowances for books and internal travel, medical insurance, thesis support, and a grant for journal publication. This comprehensive grant fully covers all expenses for the entire duration of the study program.
The eligibility criteria for the Malaysia Government Scholarship 2023 include being a graduate or citizen of the specified countries. Applicants should not exceed 40 years of age for a master's degree and 45 years for a Ph.D. Additionally, candidates must have the intention to undertake full-time postgraduate studies in Malaysia.
The Global Ambassador Scholarship Program in Malaysia is a fully funded scholarship designed for students seeking international studies. Notably, there is no requirement for IELTS or TOEFL scores to participate in this program.

List of Government and University Scholarships in Malaysia

Government Scholarships in Malaysia Provider Eligibility Website
Malaysian International Scholarship (MIS) Ministry of Education International students (Postgraduate and Postdoctoral) MIS
MyBrainSc Scholarship Ministry of Education Malaysia Malaysian students pursuing science-related studies (Undergraduate and Postgraduate) MyBrainSc
University Scholarships in Malaysia University Eligibility Website
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Scholarship UKM Various (Undergraduate and Postgraduate) UKM Scholarships
Universiti Malaya (UM) Scholarships UM Various (Undergraduate and Postgraduate) UM
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Scholarships USM Various (Local and International) USM Scholarships
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Scholarships UTM Various (Undergraduate and Postgraduate) UTM Scholarships
Multimedia University (MMU) Scholarships MMU Various (Undergraduate and Postgraduate) MMU Scholarships

Employment Opportunities Following Education in Malaysia

Completing your studies in Malaysia opens up diverse job prospects, catering to various fields and industries. Graduates often find opportunities in both local and international companies. Malaysia's thriving economy and strategic location make it an attractive destination for career advancement. 
As per the 'Employment Statistics, First Quarter 2023' released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) today (May 11), the report indicates that out of a total of 8.61 million jobs, the employment rate stood at 97.8%. Meanwhile, the job vacancy rate was recorded at 2.2%, with a total of 192.6 thousand job vacancies reported for the first quarter.

See also: Jobs and Career in Malaysia For Foreigners

Here are potential pathways for employment after studying in Malaysia:

Job Opportunities After Studying in Malaysia Fields/Industries Examples of Opportunities
Industry Integration Various sectors including technology, finance, manufacturing, and services Job openings in local industries
Multinational Corporations (MNCs) International companies with a presence in Malaysia Employment with global corporations
Research and Development (R&D) Active investment in R&D across sectors Contributing to technological and scientific advancements
Entrepreneurship Start-ups and business ventures Initiating and running entrepreneurial endeavors
Tourism and Hospitality Tourism-related businesses Careers in hospitality, travel, and cultural services
Government Positions Government agencies and public service Administrative roles, public health, urban planning
Technology and Innovation Tech startups, innovation hubs Opportunities in technology-driven sectors
Finance and Banking Financial hub in Kuala Lumpur Positions in banking, finance, and related fields
Education and Research Institutions Universities, research centers Academic and research roles
Language and Communication Communication-related fields Opportunities in content creation, translation, and communication
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