Malaysia warmly welcomes international students to its shores…

 At the beginning of 2009, there were more than 70,000 international students from more than 100 countries studying in Malaysia. These students pursue courses ranging from diplomas, degrees to PhDs at private higher educational institutions, public universities and foreign university branch campuses. Currently, Malaysia is ranked 11th in the world by UNESCO in terms of the highest number of international students studying in the country. This demonstrates the confidence of international students in choosing Malaysia as a preferred destination for acquiring an academic qualification and the acceptance of Malaysia as an international education hub.

Malaysia – A Land of Diversity For Postgraduate Studies & Research

Malaysia has embarked on an aggressive pursuit of research in telemedicine, online information services, electronic commerce, digital broadcasting and many other booming industries. The Malaysian government has also launched research and development projects in biotechnology on a big scale with innovative technology and world-class facilities.

Education System in Malaysia

Education in Malaysian is the responsibility of the government and is provided through government funded schools, private schools or independent schools. The education system encompasses five main types:
  • Pre-school
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Pre-university, and
  • Tertiatry education
Malaysia Students

Pre-school to secondary education is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education (MOE) while tertiary education is the responsibility of the Ministry of High Education (MOHE).

Cost of Living

Another attraction for international students to study in Malaysia is the relatively cheap cost of living. The total cost of expenditure for accommodation, either on-campus or off-campus, is reasonable and within many budgets.

Depending on the location and choice, the average monthly rental for a single room (twin sharing) per student is between RM 250 to RM 450 (USD78 – USD 140). Other expenses such as food, transportation, laundry and other essentials, based on an ordinary lifestyle are estimated to be between RM 600 and RM 700 (USD 188 – USD 218) per month. Therefore, the average total cost of living will range from RM 11,000 to RM 14,000 (USD 3,438 – USD 4,375) per year.


Estimated Cost of Study in Malaysia 

Another prime reason why many international students have chosen Malaysia to pursue their tertiary education is the affordable tuition fees. The following tables show the estimated tuition fees at various levels of education :

1. Preparatory Courses for English Proficiency Tests

Type of Programme Estimated Tuition Fees in USD Duration
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 129 –229 2 months
Test of English as  a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 143 –229 2 months

2. Pre-University Programmes

Type of Programme Estimated Tuition Fees in USD Duration
GCE ‘A’ level, UK 3,100 – 4,800 18 months
Western Australian Matriculation 2,600 – 3,100 1 year
South Australian Matriculation 2,600 – 3,900 1 year
Canadian Pre-University 3,400 – 4,400 1 year
International Baccalaureate Diploma 8,000 – 16,400 2 years
Malaysian Pre-University 2,300 – 3,200 I year

3. Bachelor’s Degree Programmes

Area of Study

Paths of Study

Cost in USD for Private College 3+0 Foreign Degree Programme (3 years) Cost in USD for Foreign Branch Campus University Degree Programme (3 years) Cost in USD for Malaysian Private University Degree Programme (3 years)
Business 11,100 –14,300 13,700 – 24,000 8,600 – 11,400
Engineering 13,000 – 15,000
(3 yrs, UK; 4yrs, Aust)
21,100 – 40,000
(3 yrs, UK; 4yrs, Aust)
12,900 – 14,300
(4 yrs)
IT 9,700 – 12,900 13,400 – 25,100 9,400 -12,300
Hospitality & Tourism 13,700 – 18,600

12,000 -14,300
Medicine   114,300 (5 yrs) 62,900 -108,600

All figures are estimates

4. Preparation for External Professional Examinations

Type of Programme Estimated Tuition Fees in USD
Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA) 3,300 – 4,300
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) 3,700 – 4,500
Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administration (ICSA) 2,900 – 3,400

Cost Advantage

If budget is one of your main concerns when deciding on whether to study abroad, then Malaysia�s relatively aff ordable tuition fees can fulfi ll your dream of acquiring a postgraduate qualifi cation. Awards, scholarships and funding are also available particularly in selected research fi elds. The following tables show the cost comparison of studying in Malaysia:

The Estimated Tuition Fees Per Semester For Non-Medical Postgraduate Programmes (By Research)
Master’s Degree RM 1500 – RM 1800 (USD 430 – USD 520) per semester
Ph.D. RM 2000 – RM 2700 (USD 570 – USD 770) per semester


An Estimation of Education Cost for a Bachelor’s Degree
Programme in Arts & Business (per year) in Various Countries

Country Tuition Fees Living Cost
Australia (public) USD 8,500 USD 8,500
Canada (public) USD 7,500 USD 9,000
France (public) minimum USD 13,000
Malaysia (private) USD 5,000 USD 4,000
New Zealand (public) USD 10,000 USD 11,500
Singapore (private) USD 6,500 USD 9,000
United Kingdom (public) USD 14,000 USD 12,500
USA (public) USD 13,000 USD 12,000
USA (private) USD 22,000 USD 13,000
Source: Study in Malaysia Handbook (International Edition) & various related websites

(The above information on tuition fees serves as a guide only. Please contact the respective universities for more information.) (Estimated exchange rate: USD 1 = RM 3.50)


Working Part-time While Studying In Malaysia

International students are also allowed to work part-time (maximum of 20 hours per week during semester breaks or holidays of more than 7 days) while studying full-time in Malaysia, subject to immigration requirements.