Cost of Studying in Malaysia

How Much does it Cost to Study in Malaysia?

Malaysia is widely known as a more cost-effective and affordable destination for international students. The country is home to just under 70 universities, giving prospective students a wide variety of options to choose from.

It is also home to some of the most inexpensive yet high-quality education opportunities in the world. Students with a budget on their mind would be wise to consider Malaysia as their international destination given the scope the degrees offered and the price for which they can be earned. Even still, here are a few things to consider when deciding which university to attend in the country:

Public or Private University?

Similar to the education system in the US, Malaysian education institutions are divided into public and private systems. Both have many advantages and neither have any blatant weaknesses when compared to the other – but what do they look like when viewed through a cost-conscious lens?

Public Universities are, of course, less expensive than their private counterparts. Over the course of a four-year degree program, it is estimated that students attending a public school will save approximately 15,000 Malaysian Ringgit (MR) (approximately 3,500 USD) compared to those enrolled in private universities. On average, in popular degree programs at the most highly ranked public options, the annual cost of tuition is between 7500 MR and 9000 MR. Public universities are also highly ranked – in fact, University of Malaya - UM the top school in the country by global ranking, is a public institution.

However, there are advantages to attending a private school. While the annual tuition increases to approximately 12,000 MR, students opting for private universities open up a plethora of degree programs and paths of study not offered at public institutions, which only provide the typical Diploma, Degree, etc. “Twinning” degree programs, which offer students two degrees – one from a private Malaysian university and another from an international partner institution – are among the most popular options in private schools. Additionally, students at private schools can choose to double-major, meaning they will focus more than one subject throughout their studies. Private universities include both local universities like Taylor’s University and international schools like the UK’s Monash University in Malaysia.

Overall, both private and public institutions in Malaysia are immensely less expansive than many other popular destinations, but public programs tend to save students a little more than their private counterparts.

Which Course of Study?

One of the biggest factors when it comes to tuition cost in Malaysia is the course of study a student chooses. This, of course, is not unusual – sciences tend to come at a higher price than humanities, but salary typically runs parallel to this trend. Below, you can find the variation in price in paths of study:

Public Universities

  • IT/Computer Science: 8900 RM to 9910 RM
  • Hospitality: 9090 RM to 9390 RM
  • Other Programs: 8690 RM to 8890 RM

Private Local Universities

  • Business: 39,000 RM to 52,000 RM
  • IT/Computer Science: 33,000 RM to 43,000 RM
  • Hospitality: 31,000 RM to 55,000 RM

Private International Universities

  • Business: 48,000 RM to 84,000 RM
  • IT/Computer Science: 52,800 RM to 84,000 RM
  • Medicine: 325,000 RM

Pre-University, Undergraduate, or Postgraduate?

Depending on what level of study a student is seeking to complete, the price of the degree will vary, often with wide financial gaps. There are three degree levels in Malaysia: pre-university, undergraduate, and postgraduate.

A pre-university degree is designed to be completed before applying for and attending an undergraduate degree program. The aim of the program is to further prepare students for their time at more traditional university programs at an undergraduate level. In Malaysia, there are a wide variety of options for pre-university programs, including A-level, Foundation Studies, Diploma Courses, STPM, and more. Most last between 12 and 18 months, though some are as little as 2 months and others last up to 3 years, and typically have the lowest cost of tuition.

Undergraduate degree programs in Malaysia are comparable and compatible with all other traditional programs in the world, with a higher-than-average overall quality. These programs surround traditional studies, such as Business, Engineering, IT, Computer Science, Hospitality, Medicine, etc. Programs tend to last 4 years, though it is possible to graduate earlier, depending on transfer credits. Tuition fees vary based on degree program and institution, but these tend to have the highest annual cost of tuition.

Finally, graduate studies directly follow undergraduate study, or can be returned to after a student has been in the workforce for a period of time. Just as is the case with undergraduate studies, the cost of tuition will vary given the student’s choice of university and program. However, the cost typically falls between that of pre-university and undergraduate degrees. These programs also tend to be shorter than the average, four-year undergraduate degree.