Study in Malaysia

Are you curious to know about Malaysia in detail? Are you looking for the suitable options for pursuing higher study in Malaysia? Would like to know about Visa details and work permit options there? If yes, then all the details can be obtained from below.

Malaysia Overview

It is located in Southeast Asia. It has 13 states (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, and Terengganu) and 3 federal territories (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Labuan and Federal Territory of Putrajaya) which are separated by South China Sea into 2 equal parts known as “Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo”. The capital and the largest city of Malaysia is ‘Kuala Lumpur’ but the federal government is situated in ‘Putrajaya’.
If we talk about geography, Peninsular Malaysia is in connection with Thailand by sharing the land and maritime border with it in the north. It also shares a maritime border with Singapore in the South, Indonesia in the West and Vietnam in the Northeast.
Malaysia is at the 44th position in the population by holding around 30million people in the world.
Eurasia and Tanjung Piai, the southernmost part of the content lie in Malaysia and it is having the large numbers of endemic species.

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About Malaysia

In Malaysia, you can find different 8 broad categories of educational institutions including government and public-funded and private institutes.
If we specifically talk about schools, Malaysia has government and private preschools or kindergartens that are following the preschool curriculum, government and public national schools and Private funded schools following Malaysian syllabus and examination. They also have national-type or government-aided primary schools which are basically of 2 types- Chinese national-type and Tamil national-type. In these schools, the medium of instruction is Chinese and tail respectively but they follow the same Malaysian curriculum.
For higher education, they have government-funded public universities, community colleges, polytechnics and public colleges. The other category is of private higher educational institutes which are not funded by government and it includes private institutes having non-university status, foreign university branch campuses and university status institutes and colleges.

Top courses to study in Malaysia


  • Chemical Engineering- In Malaysia, engineering is considered as a core strength as a number of engineering specializations like chemical engineering, civil engineering, electronic and electrical engineering etc are available in universities and secured the place among top 100 QS World University Ranking recently. Chemical Engineering deserves special attention as there are 3-4 universities among the top ranking universities for the same in Malaysia. Below is the list of universities where you can consider enrolling for chemical engineering-
    Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
    Universiti Malaya (UM)
    Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
    These are offering B.E., M.Sc. Ph.D. and M.Eng.Sc. in the chemical of engineering.


  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering-This specialization has secures 37th and 51st rank in QS list for UM and UTM. QS Ranking gives your degree an international recognition when you pursue the courses from those top listed universities. UM, UTM and USM are the main 3 universities to pursue Electrical and Electronic engineering in Malaysia.


  • Business and Accountancy-Business and accountancy can also be pursued in Malaysia and the top universities have developed these courses considering the demand of the expert in the field of business, finance, and accountancy. UM, UTM and USM offer different courses related to the field of Business and Accountancy like B.Acc., BM, BBA, MM, MBA, M.Acc., MS, Ph.D., MF, etc.


  • Architecture/ Built environment-Malaysia has many options for those who are looking forward to having a career in the field of Architecture. Most of the universities offering these courses are accredited by the Malaysian Qualifying Agency (MQA) which is itself a proof that they have certain standards.
    One can purse B.Arch., BSArch, M.Arch, MSArch, and Ph.D. in the top universities like UTM, USM, and UM in Malaysia.


  • Chemistry-Chemistry is again to be pursued in Malaysia as the courses designed here are unique in the way that they have considered the changing needs of present time for both research and teaching.

Please note that apart from other requirements, scores of IELTS or TOEFL are mandatory for admissions in most of these top ranking universities.

Quick Facts

  1. The capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur and it is the largest city of the country.

  2. There are 3 official languages of Malaysia- Malay, Latin and English.

  3. The total area is around 330,803 sq kilometers.

  4. The population is 32,04,700 as per the recent data.

  5. The currency of the country is Ringgit (RM) (MYR) which is equal to around INR 17.00.

  6. The calling code for Malaysia is +60.

  7. The ISO 3166 code is MY.

  8. The internet TLD is .my.

  9. Malaysia’s oldest name is ‘Aurea Chersonesus’ which means “peninsula of Gold”.

  10. Malaysia is famous for the world’s largest producer of refined Tin.

  11. Malaysia has a 65,877 kilometers long highway which is even more than the Earth’s circumference.

  12. The smallest tree- Tongkat Ali can be found in the forest hills of Malaysia. It has deep, thick, straight roots.

  13. Malaysia has secured the 9th most visited country as per the reports of World Tourism Organization. There were around 23.6 million visitors reported in the year 2009 in Malaysia.

Admission Process in Malaysia

For admissions in Malaysian universities, the very first and important step is to search for a suitable university for yourself. Once you have finalized the University for Admission, you can initiate the application process. In Malaysia, sessions start from February in most of the cases. So, below are the steps one should follow-
  • You should start searching for a suitable university depending upon the course you want to pursue one year before your enrollment. You can start this during May-June of the one year before.

  • During July of the previous year, you need to register for the standard tests like TOEFL, PTE Academic, GMAT, IELTS, etc. After that you need to appear for the test.

  • From August, you need to start preparing your application documents/ package. You also need to obtain your test score for application purpose.

  • In September, you can start your application procedure online. This should be done in advance to avoid unexpected delays. The applications get closed by the month of October.

  • By the start of November, universities start replying to the applications they have received with proper documentations.

  • Once the confirmation letter is received from the university, you should start preparing for your finances and you may search for scholarship options, education loans options, etc as per your suitability and requirement.

  • By December, you should apply for Visa as it also takes time to get confirmed students visa for Malaysia. It is advised to book your flight ticked only after getting your student visa approved.

  • After all the above mentioned options are completed, you are all set for departure. Book your tickets and travel to Malaysia in February. By the end of this month, the sessions usually get started.

Student Visa Application Process

Malaysian student visa is a bit difficult than the student visa from any other country. It could be even expensive also because for the pre-arrival medical check-up. Students from countries like United Kingdom, Japan, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, South Korea, Turkey, Australia, and Sweden may not get those much difficulties is getting the student visa as they do not require the pre-arrival medical checkup.
Please note that it is compulsory to get a student visa if you want to study in Malaysia as studying as a tourist on a social pass is not allowed. One cannot even extend the 6 months student pass if he or she wants to pursue another course. In such case, return to your home country and start the application process again is the only available option.
So it is better to apply for student visa for both the semesters together so that you will get the pass for 1 year in one time.

Bellow is the steps to be followed to get Malaysian student visa or Pass-
  1. Getting Electronic Visa Approval Letter/ eVAL-It is the very first step which needs to be completed before even applying for the student visa. Students need to apply for an Electronic Visa Approval Letter through ‘Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS)’. They also need to pay the processing fee to EMGS to the application processed. They also need to pay the visa processing fee separately to Universiti Putra Malaysia after arriving in Malaysia. The eVAL application process can be started immediately after receiving the Official Acceptance Letter from Universiti Putra Malaysia. It takes around 5-8 weeks to get the eVAL and if you want to track your application, it can be done through the EMGS mobile app.
    Below is the list of documents required for eVAL application-
    • The Offer letter or Official acceptance letter from the host university.

    • Initial Acceptance Letter from Asia Exchange

    • A confirmation letter from the Home University is required.

    • Passport size photos-4, that too with snow white background. You can check the photo requirements for before getting clicked.

    • Photocopy of some pages of the Passport-Passport information page, All Visa information and observation page.

    • The last document is a medical examination report or an official declaration of health status. For this, you need to attend the pre-arrival medical screening available at EMGS registered clinics.


  2. Single Entry Visa (SEV)-When the eVAL get issued, you need to download the same and can initiate the application process for Single Entry Visa. This can be done at your own country’s Malaysian embassy. One cannot apply for Visa from outside of own country hence it is advised not to leave own country earlier than 1 week before the course starts. The processing time for student visa varies from one embassy to another.

  3. Student Pass/ Actual student visa-Students need to appear in the medical screening after arriving in Malaysia. Once the single entry visa gets issued, you can arrive in Malaysia and after that, you need to submit your passport along with the Letter of Health Endorsement issued from UPM Health Care to Universiti Putra Malaysia. This is required to be done to get the final student visa from EMGS. It takes around 2-4 weeks and you should not leave the country before the completion of this process.
    This final student visa is a Multiple Entry Visa through which you will be allowed to leave the country or travel outside the country during the course.

  4. Visa Canceling process-Students need to cancel their visa before the few weeks of semester end. For this, you need to pay the processing fee to EMGS and UPM and then need to go to the international office with your passport, flight tickets, and payment receipt. It takes around 2 weeks to process your application and you cannot travel outside Malaysia during this process. If you fail to get the cancellation, you will face difficulties while entering Malaysia in future.


Fee for student’s visa for Malaysia

The whole process of Student Visa costs around 1100MYR. It varies slightly depending upon the student’s home country. The fee once paid to EMGS and UPM is non-refundable in any circumstances. You may need to pay additional for SEV or Single Entry Visa and Canceling of Visa depending upon the embassy.
Students need to buy EMGS insurance in Malaysia. AIA and AXA are the two options students prefer.

Lifestyle

Malaysia is a country holding many ethnic groups, languages, and traditions. It is a truly multi-racial nation and supports the multi-cultural society. It has the main 3 ethnic groups- the Malays, Indians, and Chinese. People have freedom and they even love to learn each other’s languages and cultures and also feel free to carry forward their own beliefs and traditions.
The Malays occupy the largest part of the country with more than half of the country’s population. The Chinese community comes on the second place with around 23% of the total population of Malaysia. Indian are only about 7%.
All the ethnic communities are free to learn their own language, they are taught the national language ‘Malay or Bahasa Malaysia’ and English compulsorily. This makes all the Malaysians bilingual and capable to communicate in Bahasa, English and their own language properly.
Although the religion of the state is Muslim through which all the Malays are required to stick, they are allowed to hold their culture and traditions. Many of them practice Christianity, Buddhism, Animism, Hinduism, etc.
One can consider Malaysia as an expensive country and at the same time, another person can say it cheaper. The difference is because it offers different options at different prices. The food can be found expensive in big cities and expensive restaurants whereas it can be quite affordable in other cities.

We can discuss it further in detail-

Events and Public holidays in Malaysia-

Malaysia is known for it’s vibrate heritage and the citizens enjoy the same by celebrating different events and festivals and preserves their cultures and traditions. The major cities of Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur are having many events mentioned in their calendar throughout the year.
The festival ‘Thaipusam’ is basically a festival of Tamil communities living in Malaysia but it is something one should not miss to enjoy. People gather in thousands to witness the processions of devotees piercing their various body parts with spears, hooks, and skewers.
They also celebrate ‘George Town Festival’ which is a suitable time to travel to Malaysia. People celebrate it for a month on Penang Island. It is advised not to visit Penang during Chinese New Year as it will not be very easy to find accommodation during those days. Many shops and restaurants also get closed during that time. Ramadan is again one such event when one should not visit Malaysia as finding good restaurants or food becomes very difficult.
If we talk about the public holidays in Malaysia, they have lots of public holidays to support different culture and religious occasions. The list includes Eid, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Malaysia Day, etc.

Malaysian sports-

Malaysia is a land of water sports and its humid temperature and plethora of pristine beaches and islands support the same. You can find kayaking, scuba diving, parasailing, etc very easily in Malaysia. One should visit the Perhentian Islands and Sipadan to have an unforgettable experience of diving.
Golf is also in trend in Malaysia and they have many world class golf courses all over the country.

Malaysian cuisine-

Food plays an important role in Malaysian culture and Malaysians can travel and can even wait in queues to have what they like to eat. Dishes like ‘fried flat noodles (char kuay teow)’, ‘coconut rice dish (nasi lemak)’, etc are very famous there.
Malaysians used to have several small meals in a day and the habit is like to plan for the next meal while eating the one.
In many of the Indian restaurants, cutleries are not in use and people use their right hand for all purposes. Opposite to this, in Chinese restaurants, people order many dishes and share with the whole table. They also use chopsticks, forks, and spoons for eating.
“Kedai kopi and Mamak” are the local stalls you can find anywhere in Malaysia and even at any time.
Alcohol is very expensive here and people prefer to buy from Duty-free shops at airports.

Healthcare services-

In Malaysia, the healthcare services are very easily accessible and even affordable for all. They have a strong network of government hospitals and clinics in approachable locations. They also have world-class private hospitals and dental clinics at reasonable fee structures.

The Malaysian weather-

Malaysia is close to the equator which keeps it hot all year long. The climate is quite stable and faces little monsoon affecting different parts of the country at different times. The daily temperature ranges from 30 to 34 degrees Celsius and the humidity levels are also very high.

Cost of Living for Students

The cost of living depends upon different factors hence we cannot define it as a single figure.
The cost of living is explained in a better way below-

Accommodation cost-To find a suitable house in Malaysia is a bit difficult task for bachelors or students as a family is their first choice. In general, a double storey house will cost you around 2000 MYR to 2500 MYR. A slight variation can be observed depending upon the location of the house. These 2 storey houses may have around 5-6 bedrooms and if you rent such house, you can further rent out the extra bedrooms to students as per your suitability. The rent for each bedroom is between 400 to 500 MYR.
Another option to live in is Condominium apartments. These are a bit expensive for a single person.
When you rent an apartment, you have to pay 3 months rent, current month rental, and half month utility charges as a standard rule.
The most reasonable options are Studio apartments. They ate small, cozy and comfortable for living alone. The rent ranges between 1200 to 2000 MYR for studio apartments.
The utility monthly bills for single person comes between 300 to 500 MYR which includes 60-80 MYR for electricity, 70 MYR for Astro TV channels, 200 MYR for the Internet, 20 MYR for Water and rest is for other miscellaneous expenses.

Food and GroceriesIt will cost you around 400 to 600 MYR per month. If you are habituated of eating outside, you can find Mamak restaurants very easily. These are the restaurants owned by Muslim Tamilians. They have Indian soups, curries, and other Malay food in their menu. These Mamak restaurants are very reasonable and will not cost you more than 20 MYR for full meal.

TransportPublic transport is cheaper than the private taxis in Malaysia. You can find metro buses very easily. Monorails and train stations are also very much accessible.
If you have to hire a taxi, it is better to avoid the taxis with the pre-determined fare. You can use ‘myteksi application’ and can also use Sunlight taxi.

Apart from these above-mentioned factors, the healthcare services and schooling is almost free in Malaysia. There are many government clinics providing their services free of cost to all the people living in Malaysia. Apart from this, there are many private clinics and well-established hospitals offering their services at reasonable costs.
The schooling is free for all in government-funded educational institutes till the level of secondary education.

Documents for University Admissions in Malaysia

Although the details process for student visa application is mentioned above, please find the list of documents required for the Student visa for Malaysia-
  1. One signed copy of IMM 14 (student pass application form) duly filled and completed. I can be downloaded from EMGS site online.

  2. An offer letter from the Malaysian University/ Institute needs to be submitted. It can be submitted in original or a copy of it depending upon the embassy.

  3. 2 Passport size photo, specifically of 3.5cmX5cm size with the blue background is required.

  4. One copy of special pass and a passport page with an exit stamp on it is also required.

  5. A copy of all the certified pages of passport should be submitted with the application. It includes the special pass and exit stamp pages of passport.

  6. Your passport with the validity of at least 1 year from the date of your arrival in Malaysia.

  7. A pre-arrival medical examination report from India.

  8. Copies of all the academic certificate and other documents certified as per the requirement of EMGS.

  9. One needs to submit a typed or handwritten persona bond form which should be stamped. It is a money bond in which you need to pay a certain amount of money to your educational institution in the form of security deposit. For Indian students, it is around 12,000/-.


Work permit for Students in Malaysia

In Malaysia, students are allowed to work for 20 hours per work in the form of part-time jobs that too only during semester breaks or holidays exceeding 7 days. They can work in petrol kiosks, restaurants, hotels, mini-markets, etc. They can work only till their students pass is valid. Another important point to note is, they cannot work as a cashier, as a singer, musician, masseur, GRO or any other such activity which is considered as an immoral act as per the Malaysian law.
The Application for the work permit should be made through the educational institution you have enrolled in.
Below is the list of documents required for the Work permit in Malaysia-
  • A passport with the validity of at least 1 year from the date of his or her arrival in Malaysia.

  • Visa application form duly filled and signed by the applicant.

  • Passport size photo with white background, pasted on the form. Please do not staple the photos.

  • A covering letter mentioning the purpose of visiting Malaysia.

  • A letter of acceptance from the company you will be working in.

  • An approval for the work permit from the Immigration Department in Malaysia. It is required in the original. Please note that this approval is provided in a sealed envelope only and students are not allowed to open the seal.

  • An original copy of VDR approval letter received from the Malaysian Immigration Department.


It takes 3 working days to process your application for the work permit in Malaysia.

The government of Malaysia offers some scholarship program to support the international students financially.
Malaysian Technical Cooperation Program Scholarships
Malaysian Commonwealth Scholarship
Malaysian International Scholarship
Apart from these government funded programs, around 51 universities in Malaysia also supports international students financially.

Education in Malaysia

The education starts at the age of 4 years in Malaysia and is named as ‘Pre-school’. It is for 2 years and is not compulsory. The Primary education starts at the age of 6 years and is having the duration of 6 years.
After that, Secondary education comes. Secondary education is having 5 years duration. Until the completion of the Secondary level, education is compulsory and is free in Malaysia.
Once the secondary education gets completed, students appear for the public common examination known as Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
Students who are willing to pursue their higher education need to secure goof academic grades in secondary level education and should be able to fund their education. Those who leave schools after secondary education can go for pre-university qualification or can study a diploma at higher educational institutes.
The duration for the pre-university program varies depending upon the specialization of course. For example, it is one year for matriculation program or STAM and one and a half or two years for SPTM and A-levels.
The higher level education includes certificate course, diplomas, undergraduate and post graduation courses. The undergraduate programs include bachelor degrees and some professional qualifications whereas the post graduation program includes master’s degree and research programs like Ph.D. Admission in bachelor education is availed only after qualifying post-secondary exams like STPM or GCE A-levels or any other equivalent pre-university qualifications.
Malaysia is on the 11th position in the world for international education at the tertiary level and it welcomes students from all over the world to study at all levels.
In a general way, the education can be divided into 2 parts- Pre-tertiary and tertiary education. Currently, the education is managed by Ministry of Education Malaysia which is a merged form of Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education.
Below are the main highlights of education in Malaysia-
Pre-school and Kindergarten-It starts at the age of 4 years and has the duration of 2 years.
Primary education-It starts at the age of 6 years and students study at this level for 6 years from standard 1 to 6.
Secondary education-It is for the age group of 12 to 16 years.
  • Lower secondary- The first 3 years are included in this level

  • Upper secondary- the last 2 years are included in this level.

There are various options a candidate can choose for upper secondary education as mentioned below-
  1. Academic secondary education

  2. Technical secondary education

  3. Vocational education

  4. Religious secondary education

Post-secondary education/ Pre-university education-It starts with the age of 17 years and has below-mentioned options-
  1. Form 6, STPM- it is having one and a half year duration.

  2. Matriculation certificate- having the duration of 1 year.

  3. STAM- having duration of 1 year.

Higher EducationIt also includes various options as mentioned below-
  1. Certification and Diploma level education from the age of 17 years or more.

  2. Teacher education at teacher training institutions available only at the age of 17 years or higher.

  3. Bachelor’s degree at the age of 18 or 19 years and it has the 3 to 5 years duration.

  4. Post Graduation program with the duration of 1 to 5 years. It includes Master’s courses and Ph.D. It can be pursued only after completing Bachelor’s degree.

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