All Courses

Team Education Malaysia
Team Education Malaysia Updated on - Dec 08, 2023

Ph.D in Malaysia: Top Universities, Duration, Tuition Fees, Scholarships, Entry Requirements and more

Ph.D. programs in Malaysian universities stand out as among the best due to a combination of factors. These institutions offer a diverse range of internationally recognized programs across various disciplines, providing students with access to high-quality research and academic opportunities. Malaysia's commitment to cultural diversity, coupled with a vibrant research environment, enriches the overall educational experience.  Additionally, the nation's ambitious goals in producing Ph.D. graduates underscore its commitment to advancing education, research, and innovation. These factors collectively position Ph.D. programs in Malaysian universities as an attractive choice for those seeking a top-tier education in a dynamic and multicultural setting.

Opting for a Ph.D. in Malaysia presents a compelling blend of academic excellence, cultural diversity, and a thriving research milieu. Leading institutions like Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia offer internationally acclaimed doctoral programs across diverse disciplines. The relatively lower cost of living, combined with potential scholarship opportunities, adds to the overall attractiveness. Pursuing a Ph.D. in Malaysia not only ensures a top-tier education but also immerses students in a culturally rich experience within a dynamic and rapidly progressing nation.

Why is studying for a PhD in Malaysia?

Malaysia has become a magnet for students pursuing higher education, particularly in Ph.D. programs, drawing individuals from a wide array of countries. Notably, nations in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, and Africa have been prominent contributors to Malaysia's international student community. Countries such as China, Iran, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia consistently stand out as significant sources of students choosing to pursue their studies in Malaysia.

According to available statistics, 25,014 Malaysian Ph.D. graduates completed their studies from 2011 to 2021, with a noteworthy 2,872 graduates in 2022 alone. The Higher Education Ministry remains committed to its goal of producing 60,000 Ph.D. degree holders by 2023, contributing to a more educated society and meeting the nation's demands for heightened research and innovation. Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh emphasized that the current count of Ph.D. degree holders in the country is at 23,000.

While Malaysian universities, including UTM, have excelled quantitatively in terms of Ph.D. students, the research quality is evolving and has yet to match that of top global institutions. Nevertheless, substantial progress is evident. UTM's statistics reveal significant improvements over the past five years, with ISI publications, accumulated impact factors, and total citations experiencing a noteworthy increase by several hundred percent.

List of Top Universities Offering PhD in Malaysia for International Students

Numerous prestigious universities across the globe are renowned for providing PhD programs to students from abroad. It is crucial to note that rankings and program offerings are subject to change, thus it is imperative to refer to the list of universities offering Ph.D. programs for international students. Presented below are a few esteemed colleges.

No. University Official Website Ph.D. Programs Offered Notes
1. University of Malaya (UM) Various disciplines, including science, engineering, humanities One of Malaysia's oldest and top-ranked universities.
2. National University of Malaysia UKM Science, engineering, business, social sciences, health sciences Known for research-intensive programs.
3. University of Sains Malaysia USM Website Natural sciences, engineering, medical sciences, social sciences Emphasizes research and innovation.
4. Universiti Putra Malaysia UPM Agriculture, forestry, veterinary science, engineering, social sciences Comprehensive university with a focus on agriculture and research
5. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Engineering, science, technology, management Leading technical university
6. International Islamic University of Malaysia Islamic Studies, Economics, Law, Social Sciences Recognized for Islamic-focused programs.
7. Taylor's University Business, Education, Engineering, Hospitality Private university offering a variety of programs.
8. Sunway University Business, Science, Engineering, Arts, Social Sciences Offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
9. Monash University Malaysia Science, Engineering, Business, Social Sciences Malaysian campus of Australia's Monash University.
10. Heriot-Watt University Malaysia Engineering, Business, Built Environment, Mathematical Sciences International branch of Heriot-Watt University, UK.
11. University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Science, Engineering, Business, Social Sciences Malaysian campus of the UK-based University of Nottingham.
12. Asia e University (AeU) Business Administration, Education, Information Technology Multinational university specializing in online and distance learning.
13. Management and Science University (MSU) MSU Website Business Administration, Education, Health Sciences, Information Sciences Offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programs
14. University of Malaya, Perlis Campus (UniMAP) Engineering, Technology Technical university with a focus on engineering and technology
15. Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Creative Industries, Business, Technology Known for its creative and innovative programs.

Benefits of Studying PhD in Malaysia

  • Cost-Effective Education: Malaysia offers financially accessible Ph.D. studies with lower tuition fees and a reasonable cost of living.
  • Academic Excellence: Malaysian universities are globally recognized for providing high-quality education and research opportunities.
  • Multicultural Environment: The diverse cultural landscape promotes cross-cultural understanding, enriching the academic experience for international students.
  • English-Medium Instruction: English is widely used, eliminating language barriers and facilitating a seamless academic experience for international Ph.D. candidates.
  • Research Opportunities: Malaysia's focus on research and development provides ample opportunities for meaningful and impactful research projects.
  • Strategic Location: Malaysia's central location in Southeast Asia serves as a gateway for students to explore and engage with neighbouring countries.
  • Government Support: The Malaysian government actively supports higher education through scholarships and financial incentives for international Ph.D. candidates.
  • Modern Infrastructure: State-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure create a conducive environment for academic and research pursuits.
  • Networking and Collaboration: Opportunities to network with industry professionals enhance the overall academic and career prospects for Ph.D. students.
  • Global Recognition: Many Malaysian universities are globally recognized and ranked, contributing to the credibility and employability of international Ph.D. graduates.

PhD Fees in Malaysia: Total Budget to Study PhD for International Students

The financial considerations for international students undertaking a PhD in Malaysian universities can vary considerably, influenced by factors such as the specific university, program of study, and individual lifestyle choices. These expenditures typically encompass various elements, including tuition fees, living expenses, accommodation, and miscellaneous costs.

Providing a rough estimate in USD, the overall cost structure for international PhD students in Malaysia involves careful consideration of these diverse components. It's crucial for prospective students to thoroughly research and understand the specific cost breakdowns at their chosen universities to plan and budget effectively for their academic journey.

No. University Tuition Fees (USD) Living Expenses (USD)
1. Universiti Malaya (UM) 5,000 - 10,000 6,000 - 10,000
  Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 3,000 - 8,000 5,000 - 8,000
2. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) 3,000 - 7,000 4,000 - 7,000
3. Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 3,000 - 8,000 5,000 - 8,000
4. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) 4,000 - 9,000 5,000 - 9,000
5. International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) 3,000 - 6,000 4,000 - 6,000
6. Taylor's University 8,000 - 15,000 6,000 - 10,000
7. Sunway University 7,000 - 12,000 6,000 - 10,000
8. Monash University Malaysia 12,000 - 20,000 7,000 - 12,000
9. Heriot-Watt University Malaysia 10,000 - 18,000 6,000 - 10,000

Ph.D. Programs in Malaysia with the Lowest Tuition Fees for International Students

University Courses offered Duration & Type of Program Tuition Fees in MR
Universiti Teknologi Petronas
  • Engineering & Geoscience 
  • Technology
  • Science & Applied Science 
  16,600 / Complete program FT 3,600 Complete program PT
  • Information Systems
  8,000 / Complete program FT 1,200 Complete program PT
  • Management Ø Social & Humanities
  12,000 / Complete program FT 3,600 Complete program PT
Universiti Malaysia Kelantan
  • Materials Technology 
  • Forest Resources Technology
  • Bioindustrail Technology
  • Applied Physics 
  • Chemical Technology and Process
  • Microbial Technology
  • Applied Chemistry
  • Metallurgy
  • Polymer
  • Ceramics
  • Composite
  • Electronic Materials
  • Mineralogy
  • Advanced Materials
3 years Full Time 5770 / Semester
University of Malaya
  • Cyber Security
3 years Full Time October & March Intake 50,700 / Complete course
  • Malay Studies
3 years Full Time October & March Intake 50,700 / Complete course
  • Linguistics 
  • Legal Studies 
  • Asean Studies 
3 years Full Time October & March Intake 58,200 / Complete course
  • Mathematics 
  • Science & Technology 
  • Sport Science
  • Built Environment
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering Science 
  • Renewable energy
3 years Full Time October & March Intake 65,200 / Complete course
  • Business & Accountancy
  • Economics & Administration field
3 years Full Time October & March Intake 69,000 / Complete course
  • Dental Science
3 years Full Time October & March Intake 77,400 / Complete course
  • Education
3 years Mixed Mode October & March Intake 80,500 / Complete course
Ø Medical Science 2 years Full Time October & March Intake 81,100 / Complete course
Sunway University
  • Biology 
  • Business 
  • Computing 
  • Creative Arts and Media 
  • Hospitality and Tourism 
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Medical Science 
  • Psychology
  • Sustainability Science and Technology 
  • Sustainable Development 
Full Time 59,980 100 % Tuition fee waiver scholarships and Stipends available
MONASH University Malaysia
  • Arts & Social sciences
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Medicine and Health Sciences 
  • Pharmacy 
  • Science
Full time 3-4 years / Part time 6-8 years 59,980 100 % Tuition fee waiver scholarships and Stipends available
Universiti Tecknologi Malaysia
  • Architecture
Full time / Mixed Mode 3 years 55,800 MM / 48,600 FT
  • Business & Management
  • Computing / IT
51,600 MM / 48,600 FT
  • Engineering
57,600 MM / 51,600 FT
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
51,600 MM / 48,600 FT
  • Science
55,800 MM / 48,600 FT
  • Education
51,600 MM / 48,600 FT
  • Quantity surveying
  • Engineering Business Management
Mixed Mode 3 years 56,204 MM
  • Software Engineering
Mixed Mode 3 years 46,014 MM
  • Business Administration
Mixed Mode 3 years 60,154 MM

Is a PhD in a Malaysian University cheaper?

Ph.D. programs in Malaysian universities are comparatively more affordable for international students due to various factors. Firstly, Malaysian universities offer competitive tuition fees, making Ph.D. programs financially accessible. The cost of living in Malaysia is generally lower than in many European countries, including expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, and daily necessities.

The Malaysian government actively supports higher education, providing subsidies, grants, and scholarships that reduce the financial burden on Ph.D. students. Favorable currency exchange rates, where the Malaysian Ringgit is often more advantageous for international students, further contribute to cost advantages. Additionally, the use of English as the primary language of instruction attracts international students and may contribute to overall cost savings.

The perceived faster completion of Ph.D. programs in Malaysia is influenced by structured program approaches, a strong focus on research, a thesis-based model, flexible entry points, and effective supervision and support mechanisms.

PhD in Malaysia with Scholarship offered for International Students

University Scholarship Program offered Eligible nationalities Scholarship Coverage Stipend / other benefits offered in MR
University Kebangsaan Malaysia UKM Vice-Chancellor Scholarship Ph.D All countries Tuition and other fees waiver RM 3200 living allowance /month
Gold Vice-Chancellors Award Ph.D All countries for Full time Ph.D Tuition and other fees waiver RM 3200 living allowance /month
Silver Vice Chancellors Award Ph.D All countries for Full time Ph.D Tuition and other fees waiver RM 2000 living allowance /month
HERIOT WATT UNIVERSITY James Watt PhD Scholarships Ph.D All countries Tuition and other fees waiver living allowance /month
TAYLOR?S UNIVERSITY TAYLOT?S RESEARCH EXCELLENCE SCHOLARSHIP Scheme A Plus-PhD All countries 100% Tuition and other fees waiver Stipend of RM 3200 / month for 36 months
Scheme A -PhD All countries 100 % Tuition and other fees waiver Stipend of RM 2300 / month
Scheme B-PhD All countries 75 % Tuition and other fees waiver Stipend of RM 1900 / month
Scheme C-PhD All countries 75 % Tuition and other fees waiver _____
Scheme D-PhD All countries 50 % Tuition and other fees waiver _____
Monash University Malaysia Global Excellence and Mobility Scholarship (GEMS) Ph.D All countries Tuition and other fees waiver for 3 years and 6 months living allowance 2800/month for 30 months in Malaysia 8500 RM / month for 12 m in Australia
EngIT Teaching and Research Scholarship Ph.D All countries 100% Tuition and other fees waiver RM 3640 Monthly stipend

Top 4 Universities offering PhD programs in Malaysia for International Students

Here are the few universities that are open to get Admission PhD in Malaysia.


  • Duration: 3-6 years (FT) / 4-8 years (PT)
  • Intake: January, May, September 
  • Delivery Type: Full-Time / Part-Time PhD Degree Program
Ph.D Programs Tuition Fees Eligibility Application Process
Medicine Varies with program
  • A Master's Degree from a recognized university accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) or a foreign Accreditation Body. 
  • Alternatively, equivalent qualifications with recognized experience approved by the Senate.
  • Current full-time Master's students at the University may be recommended by the Faculty's/Institute's Graduate Studies Committee for conversion to a doctoral program, pending approval from the Dean/Director.
  • A Bachelor's Degree with distinction from a recognized university or institution, approved by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) or a foreign Accreditation Board.
  • Qualifications acknowledged by the Senate through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).
  • Compliance with program-specific requirements and adherence to the standards established by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).
  • English language proficiency requirements
  • With program-specific scores such as TOEFL (550), IELTS (6), or MUET (4). Some programs may necessitate an English Proficiency Test (EPT).
  • Apply online at
  • Coursework and mixed mode intakes twice a year: October to November (February intake) and April to May (September intake)
  • Research mode program applications accepted year-round 
  • Doctor of Philosophy program: 6-12 semesters full-time, 8-14 semesters part-time.
Health Science
Science & Technology
Islamic Studies
Economic & Management
Information Science & Technology
Social Science & Humanities
Engineering & Built Environment
Environment & Development
Malaysian & International studies
Malay World & Civilization
Medical Molecular Biology
Systems Biology
Islam Hadhari
Micro Engineering & Nano Electronics
Solar Energy
Fuel Cell
Institute of Visual Informatics
Ethnic studies
Climate change


  • Duration: 3-6 years (FT) / 4-8 years (PT)
  • Intake: January, May, September 
  • Delivery Type: Full Time / Part Time

Delivery Type: Full Time / Part Time

PhD Programs Tuition Fees in MR Eligibility Requirements Application Process
Business & Administration FT 38,640
  • Complete the online application, indicating the Malaysia Campus.
  • Applicants need a government-recognized MSc, acceptable to the University.
  • Candidates with a first-class BSc Hons and significant research experience may be considered.
  • Some Ph.D. applicants may undergo interviews before receiving a formal offer.
  • Supporting documents include academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • A detailed research proposal is required.
  • English language proficiency at IELTS-6.5 or equivalent is necessary.
  • Create an account to access the online application form.
  • The application doesn't need to be completed in one session; you can save your progress and return to finish it later.
  • Commencement dates for students can vary, subject to approval from the Director of Research.
Business & Administration PT 19,320
Building Full Time 42,840
Building Part Time 21,420
Statistics Full Time 38,640
Statistics Part Time 19,320
Engineering and Engineering Trades FT 42,840
Engineering and Engineering Trades PT 21,420
Actuarial Studies FT 38,640
Actuarial Studies PT 19,320
Statistical Quality Control FT 38,640
Statistical Quality Control PT 19,320
Financial Modelling FT 38,640
Financial Modelling PT 19,320
Risk Theory FT 38,640
Risk Theory PT 19,320


  • Duration: 3-6 years (FT) / 4-8 years (PT)
  • Intake: February, April, June, September and October 
  • Delivery Type: Full Time
Ph.D Programs Tuition Fees in MR Eligibility Application Process
Food Studies FT 16,384
  • A Master's Degree from a recognized university accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) or a foreign Accreditation Body. Alternatively, equivalent qualifications with recognized experience approved by the Senate.
  • Acceptance of any equivalent qualification recognized by the Malaysian Government or approved by Taylor's University Senate is subject to approval, requiring the endorsement of the student's research proposal.
  • International students need an IELTS score of 5.0 or TOEFL 40 (Internet Based Test), with the option to join an IEN preparatory course to achieve the required IELTS score.
  • The validity of the IELTS or equivalent score is within 2 years from the examination date.
  • Utilize TOPAS to monitor your application status.
  • Access the platform at any time and from anywhere.
  • Make secure and convenient online payments through TOPAS.
Hospitality & Tourism 15,321
Social Sciences 15,321
Business 15,321
Science 15,321
Architecture 15,321
Computer Science 15,321
Medicine 15,321
Media and Communication 15,321
Design Management 15,321
Education 15,321
Engineering 15,321
Law 15,321
Pharmaceutical Science 15,321

Monash University

  • Duration: 3-6 years (FT) / 6-8 years (PT)
  • Intake: Throughout the Year (Subject to availability of Supervision) 
  • Delivery Type: Full Time
Ph.D Programs Tuition Fees in MR Eligibility Application Process
Arts & Social Sciences 50,880 Hold a relevant bachelor's degree with at least four years of full-time study, including a research component in the fourth year, resulting in an honours 1 or 2A. Completed a course rated by the University as equivalent to an honours 1 or 2A in a relevant field. Possess a master's degree involving significant research, comprising at least 25% of one full-time equivalent year, with a research thesis or project typically earning a grade of honours 2A. For ungraded qualifications, examiner's reports are considered. Qualifications deemed equivalent by the Graduate Research Committee and Monash Graduate Research Office are also accepted. 1. Assess your eligibility. 2. Identify at least two potential supervisors. 3. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). 4. Obtain an Invitation to Apply. 5. Complete and submit a Formal Application. 6. Expect a review and notification within 4-8 weeks. 7. Once accepted, receive the letter of offer.
Business 50,880
Engineering 50,880
Information Technology 50,880
Medicine and Health Sciences 50,880
Pharmacy 50,880
Science 50,880

Why are PhD programs in Malaysia for international students?

  • Program Structures: Some Malaysian universities have structured Ph.D. programs that streamline coursework and research, facilitating efficient progress.
  • Research Focus: Malaysian Ph.D. programs prioritize research over extensive coursework, allowing students to engage in early and intensive research for quicker completion.
  • Thesis-Based: Ph.D. programs in Malaysia often follow a thesis-based model, emphasizing original research and enabling students to delve into their topics sooner.
  • Flexible Entry Points: Several Malaysian universities offer multiple entry points throughout the academic year, allowing students to start their Ph.D. studies at various times, contributing to a perception of faster completion.
  • Supervision and Support: Dedicated supervision and support mechanisms in Malaysian universities help guide students effectively through their research, potentially aiding in faster completion.

Online PhD in Malaysia for International Students

Malaysian universities are broadening their horizons by incorporating online Ph.D. programs, and inviting international students to explore advanced research and academic prospects. These virtual Ph.D. courses span various fields such as business, technology, social sciences, and humanities. This educational evolution underscores a dedication to offering adaptable learning choices that cater to the requirements of a diverse global student community. Malaysia's distinctive blend of affordability, language accessibility, and academic prowess positions it as an increasingly appealing destination for individuals pursuing advanced education within a global context.

Entry Requirements to Study PhD program in Malaysia for International Students

The admission requirements for international students aspiring to pursue a Ph.D. in Malaysian universities typically include:

  • Educational Background: A relevant master's degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution.
  • Academic Transcripts: Official transcripts detailing academic performance during previous tertiary education.
  • Research Proposal: A well-defined research proposal outlining the intended Ph.D. study, research objectives, and methodology.
  • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in English is usually required, demonstrated through standardized tests such as IELTS or TOEFL. Some universities may accept other proof of English proficiency.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation from academic or professional references attesting to the applicant's suitability for doctoral studies.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV): A comprehensive curriculum vitae highlighting academic and professional achievements, research experience, and publications.
  • Interview (if applicable): Some programs may require an interview to assess the candidate's motivation, research goals, and compatibility with the program.
  • Entrance Examination (if applicable): Certain disciplines or universities may require candidates to take a subject-specific entrance examination.
  • Work Experience (if applicable): Some Ph.D. programs may prefer or require applicants to have relevant work experience in addition to academic qualifications.
  • Passport and Passport-Sized Photos: A valid passport and passport-sized photographs for documentation purposes.
Show More
Applied and Pure Sciences

Applied and Pure Sciences

Applied Sciences’ focal point is the scientific knowledge of nature, it is more about engineering and technology. In Pure science, you understand more about theories and projection of the world’s nature and are performed in a laboratory.

Architecture and Construction

Architecture and Construction

Is a combination of using your skill in designing, planning, and management to build homes, bridges, or machinery by building and maintaining structures.

Computer Science and IT

Computer Science and IT

This is more to do with installing, maintaining, and improving computer systems, operating networks, and databases. However, computer science is about using mathematics to run a program system more effectively which includes Design and Development.

Creative Arts and Design

Creative Arts and Design

It says on its own, it includes all the creative courses like photography, videography, performing arts, film, visual arts, fashion design, interior design, multimedia design, and more. It is a subject of arts which helps the student to bring out their creative side.

Education and Training

Education and Training

To inculcate a specific skill in a person, training is important. It is all about obtaining theoretical knowledge in and out of the classroom or any institute. You are trained to develop a specific skill, whereas Education is a simple system of learning.



A foundation course is a preparatory course that will prepare you for an undergraduate degree at the university level.

Health and Medicine

Health and Medicine

A candidate holds a degree program in medicine and healthcare including the practice of medicine, nursing, pharmacology, and biomedical research. Medicine and Health knowledge helps the treatment and prevention of illnesses and diseases of human beings and animals.



It comprises the study of ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, history, archaeology, anthropology, human geography, law, politics, religion, and art.



Students who wish to study judiciary and law will develop skills like judgment, communication. School of Legal Studies offers cutting-edge law courses that suit the changing landscape of legal education.

Social Studies and Media

Social Studies and Media

It is a united study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Whereas, Media studies is a regulated field of study that deals with the content, history, and effects of various media; in particular, the mass media.

Travel and Hospitality

Travel and Hospitality

Gives a platform to the candidates to work under the profession like: tour operators, travel consolidators, tourist boards, airlines, cruise lines, railroads, private transportation providers, car rental services, hotels, resorts, lodging, restaurants and other real-estate intensive consumer businesses.

Copyrights © 2024-25 Education Malaysia. All rights reserved.

Need any help
Chat with us
Talk to Our Expert Counsellors
Hi! Click one of our Counsellors below to chat on WhatsApp