Study in Malaysia

With natural attractions, rich culture and gorgeous scenery, Malaysia attracts people from all over the world. The country has a unique combination of ancient and modern architecture, inspired by their mix of cultures and ethnicities. Its location makes it the perfect destination for any international student looking for a new experience for their studies.

Why Study in Malaysia?

The recent rapid development of the country has made it an attractive destination for all sorts of people. This has led to the culture and people being incredibly diverse, with lots of different ethnic groups and religions. You will find bustling cities, beautiful beaches and never-ending rain-forests all located in Malaysia, and lots of wildlife too. Malaysia is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, which means it is home to around 20% of the world’s animal species.

The system and structure of tertiary education is run by the country’s Ministry of Higher Education. Individuals who choose to study in Malaysia for higher education can take certificate, diploma, undergraduate or postgraduate courses. There are 6 Malaysian universities in the 2019 QS World University ranking top 500. The highest ranked of these is University Malaya (UM) which comes in at 87th place. Universities in Malaysia can offer high quality education alongside a unique experience.

Cost of Studying and Living in Malaysia

Malaysia uses the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) as its currency.

Tuition fees will vary at each institution, but will be lower at one of the many public universities. On average, an international student can expect to pay around MYR 7,000 per year for a bachelor’s degree. Masters degrees will cost an international student around MYR 11,000 per year. Private and foreign institutions may have higher tuition fees, particularly for specialist subjects such as medicine.

There are scholarships available for people undertaking postgraduate studies, which would help with funding. Your institution will be able to provide you with information about this.

The cost of living in Malaysia is low in comparison to other tourist destinations like America and the UK. It is recommended that you budget for between MYR 10,000 and MYR 15,000 per year. This includes food, travel and accommodation. If you are living in a bigger city such as Kuala Lumpur, your living costs will be higher than if you are living in a smaller city or town. You will also need to make sure you have health insurance for your time in Malaysia, your institution can give you advice on the best policies for students.

International students are not permitted to work during term-time, but you will need to prove you have sufficient funds to be able to enter Malaysia. This means that ensuring you have the required funding in place in plenty of time.


In order to be able to study in Malaysia, you will need to apply for Student Pass, which acts as a student visa. This can be applied for online before your arrival, but it is more common for your institution to apply on your behalf once you’ve accepted their offer of a place.

If you are applying for a Student Pass yourself, you will need:

  • A passport sized photograph
  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your university offer letter
  • Copies of academic certificates and transcripts
  • A pre-arrival medical examination report
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof that you have sufficient funds for course fees and living costs.

Your Student Pass will last for a year, so will need renewing if your course is longer than 12 months.

More information about the visa process and requirements, please visit the Education Malaysia website, which has been set up by the Ministry of Education to aid the application of international students.


The official language of Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu Malaysia, but the country also has a recognised language of English.

Most courses will be offered in English at both public and private institutions. If your native language is not English, you may need to prove your language skills will meet the teaching standards. If they do not, it is common for universities to offer English proficiency courses to help you improve.

Even if you are studying a course in English, it is always recommended that you try to pick up some of the Malaysian language. Communicating with the locals and other students is the perfect way to practice, and will make learning easier. This is a skill that will look great on your CV/resume!


Kuala Lumpur

The country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur is home to 1.79 million people. The city is the cultural, financial and economic centre of Malaysia, and is the official residence of the country’s King. Kuala Lumpur is now a very modern city, with the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers. Located in the city is the Universiti Malaya, which is one of the oldest universities in the country, as well as the highest ranked.


Also located on Peninsular Malaysia is Penang. Penang is comprised of two major areas, which are Penang Island and Seberang Perai. It’s capital, George Town, was founded in the late 1700s by the British, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This alone makes the area a top tourist destination. Another one of the oldest educational institutions in the country, Universiti Sains Malaysia, can be found here. Additionally, Penang is also home to a number of medical schools and colleges.

Johor Bahru

As one of the major commercial hubs in the country, Johor Bahru is also one of the fastest growing cities. It frequently receives tourists from neighboring Singapore and Indonesia. Like Kuala Lumpur, its retail outlets and shopping malls draw visitors from all over the region. Some institutions located in Johor Bahru include the University of Southampton, Raffles University and Newcastle University.