Should I study at Malaysia’s Private University (IPTS) or Public University (IPTA)?

Study a Course and Graduate to Work in a Job with Future High Demand in Malaysia

Study a Course and Graduate to Work in a Job with Future High Demand in Malaysia

Malaysia’s Private University (IPTS) Vs Government Public University (IPTA)

One of the choices that students have after SPM and STPM in Malaysia is choosing between Malaysia’s Private University (IPTS) Vs Government Public University (IPTA). Most students that have taken the STPM would go for Public University unless their results cannot make it or they didn’t get the course that they desire.

In this article, we will discuss about what are the pros and cons of studying at Private University (IPTS) Vs Public University (IPTA) and which one would fit your needs.

You might also be interested to read these:

Please fill up the Form below and I will WhatsApp you and provide you with sound advise on how to choose the best private university or college in Malaysia to study at. If you do not give your mobile number or full name as in IC, your query will not be answered. Our knowledgeable & experienced counsellor will send you a message on WhatsApp & provide assistance from there.

Things Students Need to Consider When Considering to Choose Between Malaysia’s Private University and Public University

I was interested in choosing a course that has high job demand & salary as well as meet my interests. EduSpiral gave me job reports & statistics to help me choose the right course. Bernice, Digital Marketing at Taylor's University
I was interested in choosing a course that has high job demand & salary as well as meet my interests. EduSpiral gave me job reports & statistics to help me choose the right course.
Bernice, Digital Marketing at Taylor’s University

Part of finding the right college or university in Malaysia for you will, of course, be picking out the criteria that matters to most to you, and then seeing if any of the top private or public universities in Malaysia that you’re looking at fit those criteria.

After SPM, there are many different pathways for you to choose from and sometimes it can be confusing. Because of this confusion, some students just take the easy way out of by choosing to study Form 6. Students should take the time to understand the system and how Form 6 works to see if you are able to handle the material and do well in the STPM examination. Scoring high in STPM is possible but it takes immense amount of focus and hard work. If you are not prepared for that, then you are already doomed from the start.

A better choice, if you have the finances is to go for the Foundation course at top private universities in Malaysia. The Foundation course is 1 year which will save you time compared to the STPM and when you continue on to the degree course, you get to choose what you want to study.

Students with high distinctions have the advantage of scholarships for Foundation Programmes at the private universities. Since the Foundation programme is much easier than the STPM, you would probably get a high score in the Foundation programme and get a scholarship for the Degree course. However, if you choose the STPM which is extremely tough, although you may pass but you may not get 3As or 4As in STPM to apply for scholarships at Private Universities in Malaysia.

Most students choose the STPM because of financial difficulties which is a valid reason. However, if your parents can afford or if they can sacrifice, it is better to go for the Foundation programme at private universities in Malaysia.

Cost of Studying

The average cost for tuition at a Public University is around RM6,500.00 a year. That would amount to RM19,500.00 for a 3 years’ course and RM26,000.00 for a 4 year one. For the more popular courses at the higher ranked Public Universities, it will cost from RM30,000 – RM35,000.

The cost of studying at private universities will vary from university to university. A 2-year diploma can cost from RM20,000 to RM40,000. A 3-year degree may cost from RM60,000 to RM120,000.


I was not sure of what to study. EduSpiral helped me to choose the right course. Jasmine, Business Information Systems Graduate from Asia Pacific University (APU)
I was not sure of what to study. EduSpiral helped me to choose the right course.
Jasmine, Business Information Systems Graduate from Asia Pacific University (APU)

University Malaya is still Malaysia’s number one university, and there are more public universities in the top rankings compared to private ones. However, the private universities have done well in the QS World University Rankings as well with Taylor’s University ranked as the number 1 Private University in Malaysia.

Taylor’s University has taken the 49th spot in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings Top 50 for “young universities” below 50 years old. This makes Taylor’s the only Malaysian private university to achieve a place on the coveted global higher education analysts’ 2021 edition.

Taylor’s has earlier broken into the top 400 at number 379 on the QS World University Rankings, making it the No.1 private university in Malaysia and South-East Asia with an outstanding performance of having climbed 135 spots from the previous year.

Students can also consider Foreign branch campuses with top rankings in the UK such as Heriot-Watt University & The University of Southampton Malaysia Campus.

Salary is lower for Public University (IPTA) Graduates Compared to Private University Graduates

The 2018 Malaysian Graduate Tracer Study indicates that most  of public university graduates are earning lower salaries than their private university peers.

The report cites general unfavourable perceptions from current and prospective employers on the skill incompetencies of public university graduates further complicate the issue.

Higher Unemployment Rate Amongst Public University Graduates

Malaysia’s 21 public-sector universities and 38 private-sector universities produce something like 51,000 graduates a year, but nearly 60% remain unemployed one year after graduation, according to a study in 2018 conducted by the Minstry of Education Malaysia’s Graduate Tracer Study.

Length of Time Taken to Complete the Course

While STPM may only be an 18-month course from start to the release of results, you will need to wait an additional 5-6 months for public university intakes, a grand total of 2 years. If you’re just looking for the fastest route to a Degree, then this isn’t it. From the time you enter Form 6 till the exam and getting into IPTA or Public University in Malaysia would be 2 years.

If you had taken a diploma at a Private University after completing the SPM examination, you would have already completed it and enter Year 2 of the degree programme allowing you to graduate much faster.

On the other hand, if you choose the Foundation course, it is only 1 year and you would also complete much quicker as you do not have to wait for the UPU Results and then entry into the public university in September.

There are 180,000 graduates each year and competition for jobs are high therefore the faster you graduate, the faster you get a job and start your savings.

STPM is a Challenging Pre-University Programme

The STPM is extremely tough and if you do not do well, you would have wasted 2 years of your life and time is money. The earlier you graduate and join the work force, the more work experience you can gain and add this to your resume where it translates into higher salary.

If you take a diploma at a private university in Malaysia, you would have finished it at the same time you would have taken to complete Form 6.

You can choose an easier way through the 1-year Foundation offered at the Private Universities.

You need a lot of discipline and good teachers in order to do well in the STPM. If you have alright results for your SPM, don’t expect a miracle in the STPM as it is 20 times tougher than the SPM.

Choice of Degree Programmes

Students who take the STPM will have to list their choice of courses and the government will either approve or give other courses, hence, it is not guaranteed that you will get the course of your interest. Especially in high demand courses, chances are not high that you will get what you want.

Added Value

Students at some private universities are able to get a UK degree upon completion of the course under the dual award programme. You study a course at a local private university (fully) in which it collaborates with an institution from overseas. Upon completion, you will receive two degrees, one from the local university, and one from the overseas one. For example, graduates from Taylor’s University will receive a degree from Taylor’s as well as University West of England while Asia Pacific University (APU) graduates will get one from De Montfort University.

The dual award allows for graduates to have wider recognition when applying for jobs overseas. The courses are also moderated by the partner university thus increases the quality of the programme.


The facilities at private universities are modern and up-to-date to current industrial trends and needs.  Private universities tailor their facilities and are able to adapt quickly. This will make you more competitive in the job market.  However, students who are interested in research based courses, public universities will offer more.

Student Environment

English is very important to secure a job as well as getting a higher salary and faster promotions. This is reported in the Star and from research conducted by the Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia.

Students at some of the top private universities communicate more in the English language therefore forcing Chinese-speaking students to also communicate in English and practice this during their course. This will help students to improve their English skills. However, not all private universities are like that so you have to choose the ones that have an English speaking environment.

The medium of instruction in IPTA is in BM and most of the Chinese there communicate in Mandarin.

International Student Environment

The overall culture of your university may play as big a role in your future success as your degree. Private universities have many students from different countries compared to public universities where it is predominantly only Malaysians.

It is important to choose a private university in Malaysia that has an English-speaking environment, students who are ambitious and serious about studies, and a globalised student body. Mixing around with international students will help to improve your English language skills and understanding of different cultures.

A private university that has a diverse student body with many international students would help students to improve their English-language and cross-cultural communication skills. With globalisation, many top companies in the world are looking for professionals who are dynamic with strong management skills to lead a globalised work force.

Talk to a Knowledgeable & Experienced Education Consultant to Help you to Choose the Best Private University or College in Malaysia

Choosing a the right university to study after SPM  in Malaysia takes time, it is a process in finding out which university in best for you. You need to talk to the right counselors who are knowledgeable and experienced.

A knowledgeable counselor would be able to provide detailed information about the course, facts & evidence to support the job prospects for the course and in-depth information about which university would be suit you. While an experienced counselor would be able to analyse your results, understand your personality & skills to figure out which course and career suits you.


Write your comment or question & our experts will reply you soon

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Please Fill up the Form For Education Advise on Choosing the Right Course & Private University

Want to learn more about which is the right course or the best private university for you? Get answers to your most important questions with expert advise from our knowledgeable and experienced counsellor.

If you are the Parent, please provide your Child’s Details

If you are the parent or sibling or relative, please give the name of the student, not yours.
If you are the parent or sibling or relative, please give the IC number of the student, not yours.
If you are the parent or sibling or relative, please give the email of the student, not yours.
Phone number of the Person Enquiring
Date of completion of your Academic Qualification eg SPM, IGCSE, UEC, A-Levels, etc
List down the courses that you are interested in
List down the universities that you are considering

By filling up the form you accept our Privacy Policy & allow us to share with our partner universities related to your interests. EduSpiral Consultant Services abides by the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) & do NOT sell your Personal Data.

EduSpiral Consultant Services  has more than 20 years experience in the private education industry and is an officially appointed representative for over 20 private colleges & universities in Malaysia.