A Guide to Help Malaysian Students on How to Study at Universities Overseas
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Students after SPM or O-Levels in Malaysia planning to study overseas in UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Japan or Korea would need to choose the relevant Pre-University programme that would be recognised and accepted by the universities in these countries. Studying partly in Malaysia first would save you a lot of money in terms of tuition fees and cost of living. To study overseas, it will cost you about RM200,000 a year including cost of living. Students interested to study overseas need to plan carefully which course to take in Malaysia and which country they intend to go to, so that you don’t waste any resources. If you choose the wrong course in Malaysia, you may not be able to enter the university or course that you want overseas.
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With so many Courses in Malaysia, how do you choose the Right Programme to Study Overseas?
There are basically 5 pathways after SPM or O-Levels before going overseas for your degree course. They are:
- External Pre-University Programmes
- Degree Transfer Programmes
- Twinning Programmes
- American Degree Transfer Programme (ADTP)
External Pre-University Programmes
For students who are sure that they want to pursue their degree programme overseas, you may go for the External Pre-University Programmes such as the A-Levels, South Australian Matriculation or SACEi, AUSMAT, CIMP, etc.
A Pre-University Programme is a “transition” course between secondary school and university degree studies. The Pre-University Programme is general and equips students with the knowledge and skills to handle the rigours of an undergraduate programme.
Choosing the right Pre-University Programme is an important step after SPM or O-Levels. The best Pre-University Programme is the one that matches your learning style, budget, academic & career goals, and soft skills. There are a number of different Pre-University programmes in Malaysia that’s available to you.
You should find out more about various pre-university programmes are available at top private colleges & universities before making your decision. You need to understand yourself, your learning style, career goals, academic goals and capabilities in order to decide which Pre-University course would best suit you.
Choosing the right Pre-University Programme will help you enter your university of choice to study the degree course that you want.
- Foundation programmes by private universities in Malaysia
- University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) UK A-Levels
- South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International
- Edexcel International Advanced Level UK A-Levels
- Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)
Degree Transfer (1+2, 1.5+1.5 or 2+1) in Malaysia
A Degree Transfer means that after completing 1 or 2 years of study, the student will have to submit the transcripts, course outline, syllabus and high school certificates to the university overseas for evaluation for exemptions. The university overseas will take some time to go through and then inform you which subjects have been exempted . You may have to take extra subjects.
In a Degree Transfer Programme, you are not limited to the partner university and you have the choice to transfer to a few universities overseas. Some of the Twinning Programme partner universities’ rankings may not be appealing to you so you can try to transfer your credits to higher ranking universities.
Degree Transfer (1+2, 1.5+1.5 or 2+1) in Malaysia
Twinning programmes at private universities allow students to study a part of their studies in Malaysia, and then transfer to a university in another country such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada to complete their degree programme.
In the Twinning programmes, the private university’s degree course would have been assessed and the subjects mapped out by their overseas partner university for a guaranteed transfer as long as they meet the minimum requirements. The credits a student accumulates at the private university in Malaysia can be transferred, so they can pick up where they left off when they study abroad.
This is different from a Transfer Programme where the subjects haven’t been evaluated by the overseas university hence the subjects that you have taken may or may not be accepted for transfer.
Twinning programmes are also known as “2+1”, “1.5+1.5” or “1+2”, where the first number refers to the time spent in Malaysia while the second number is for time spent overseas. For example, a 2+1 means that you will spend 2 years in Malaysia and the final year overseas.
American Degree Transfer Programme (ADTP)
With at least 5 credits, students after SPM from Malaysia can enter the American Degree Transfer Program in Malaysia at top private colleges & universities. Students after SPM or O-Levels will enter directly into Year 1 of the degree program for a total of 4 years. The American education system does not require Pre-University to enter into the degree programme after SPM or O-Levels. The American Degree system after SPM or O-Levels is Year 1 (Freshman), Year 2 (Sophomore), Year 3 (Junior) and finally Year 4 (Senior).
After SPM, students will enter into the American Degree Programme for 2 years before transferring their credits to a university of their choice in the USA for the final 2 years. Students will need at least 5 credits in SPM to enter the ADP. There is no “Foundation or Pre-U” in the USA education system. Students after high school will enter directly into 4 years of degree studies. Students complete (on average) two years in the ADP and the remaining two years at universities in the United States.
Students will take about 40 subjects (110 – 140 credit hours) in total during their four years of studies, where 20 subjects (60 credit hours) are completed at ADP and the rest are completed in the USA. Students will normally take about 4-5 subjects each semester. Since the total duration to obtain a USA degree is four years, students spend about two years in Malaysia and the other two years in the USA.
Students are assessed through exams, coursework, assignments, presentations, quizzes and research papers. The percentage of exams and assignments varies depending on the subject you are taking.
After completing your diploma at a private university, you may consider going overseas to complete your degree. You will have to submit the transcripts, course outline, syllabus and high school certificates to the university overseas for evaluation for exemptions. The university overseas will take some time to go through and then inform you which subjects have been exempted . You may have to take extra subjects.
Generally, after a 2-year diploma, you will take 1.5 to 2 years to complete your degree overseas depending on the exemptions given.
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Source: HSBC’s Retail Banking and Wealth Management (RBWM), 2014.