Best Guide on Choosing a Top University for Architecture to Study in Malaysia

EduSpiral patiently answered my questions on whatsapp & then took me around the campus for a tour to help me make a better decision. Jie Sheng, Architecture at UCSI University

How to Choose the Best Private University or IPTS for Architecture to Study in Malaysia after your SPM, O-Levels, STPM, A-Levels, UEC or Pre-University

Written by EduSpiral Consultant Services For more information contact 01111408838

A university is like a coach. It equips you with knowledge, trains you and provides you with the necessary skills to win. If one chooses a lousy coach, then the knowledge and skills would be lousy as well. If one chooses the cheapest coach, then don’t expect to learn much. Top universities for architecture in Malaysia would have the years of experience in teaching the course, qualified & experienced lecturers, top facilities, student support services, English-speaking student environment, multi-cultural student body, excellent internship programme and accreditation from both MQA and Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM).

Architecture is a combination of creativity, history, sciences, and design. You will learn how to conceptualise and design buildings in relation to the economic, technical, environmental and social needs. Architecture strongly relates to built environment and urban planning disciplines such as civil and structural engineering, quantity surveying, and property economics and management. Students should choose the best university in Malaysia to study architecture so that they can gain the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in their career.

Established since 2009, EduSpiral Consultant Services is a recruitment agent for top private universities in Malaysia and private colleges in Singapore providing information and counselling on courses and helping students to choose the right university. EduSpiral Consultant Services sets ourselves apart from other agents by providing personalised counseling based on facts and evidence so that our students are able to make the right choices after SPM, O-Levels, UEC, STPM, A-Levels or Pre-University. We research on articles and information to help them make the right choices about choosing their university, career and course in architecture.

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Best Guide on Helping Students to Choose the Best Private University in Malaysia for Architecture

Students interested to pursue education in architecture must go for top private universities that are accredited by Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia. Students interested in architecture must not be colour-blind, should be good academically in maths, physics, science and design. Just because you are interested in design doesn’t mean that you would do well in architecture.

One needs a wide variety of skills & interests to be successful in architecture such as design, creativity, history, philosophy, maths, physics, buildings, etc. The Average passing rate is 9%~20% for the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) Part 3 which means that the path to become a professional architect in Malaysia is not an easy one.

When choosing a university and college in Malaysia for your architecture course, it is important for students to visit the campus and see the facilities and feel the culture of the students to see if it fits you. The environment should be one where students speak mostly in English so that you can improve your English and communication skills.

Research has shown that graduates with a good command of the English language get 25% higher salaries in Malaysia with faster promotions. In addition, if you want to have the opportunity to work in Multi-National Companies (MNC) or work overseas, a strong command of the English language will be one of the key factors.

Talk to the lecturers and find out from the counselors there if the courses have been accredited by MQA and other external bodies like the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia. The best universities and colleges in Malaysia have excellent facilities, years of experience running the programme, strong student support services, and experienced lecturers.

Don’t choose a university just because someone told you that it is good. Ask why is it good? Don’t choose because a university is “famous” because it has put out a lot of advertisements.  Many Uncles and Aunties will give you their opinions. It is important to check out what they have said is true or not. Also, don’t go to a university because your girlfriend or boyfriend or friends are going there. The university will play an important part in building your knowledge, skills and character to face the challenges of the working world. If you are weak, then you would not be able to perform well enough to earn a high salary.

Take time to find and talk to experienced and knowledgeable education counselors. Some of these counselors are very young and would not have gained enough experience or knowledge to be able to guide you well in this life changing decision. Or they may have other motives to push you to a particular university.

The best university for architecture in Malaysia will focus on quality, have award winners for the particular course, years of experience offering the particular course, highly experienced lecturers, a good study environment (not a party university) and excellent facilities that support your studies.

Top Criteria to Consider When Choosing the Best Private University in Malaysia for Architecture that Fits You

  • Is the architecture course popular at that university? Quality/reputation/ranking of the private university in Malaysia
  • Are the courses recognised and approved by the Ministry of Education Malaysia?
  • Are the courses accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Audit (MQA)?
  • Are the engineering degree programmes accredited or pending accreditation by the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) or Board of Architects Malaysia (BAM)?
  • Subjects offered in the diploma or degree (Are they relevant, up-to-date, and help you to achieve your career goals)
  • Does the university have a strong internship or Co-Op programme?
  • Do they have enough students to start a class?
  •  How many students do they have studying that course at that university?
  •  What is the duration of the course?
  •  Quality of lecturers. What are their qualifications? How many years of experience in teaching?
  • Faculty contact/classes taught by full-time qualified & experienced faculty
  •  Ask your friends who have studied there for their opinion. Ask your friends who are currently studying there as well.
  • Entry requirements (Foreign branch campuses in Malaysia have higher entry requirements)
  • How much money do I have to pay for the course and cost of living? Ask your parents. Note that you will need to have enough to pay the tuition fees as well as your cost of living. (tuition, hostel, food, transportation, etc.)
  • What are the Financial assistance available at the university? (Scholarships, PTPN Loan, EPF withdrawal, MARA Loan, etc)
  • Is the PTPTN loan available for the course at the university?
  • How much are the tuition fees? Does it include the exam and other fees?
  • How much is on-campus accommodation?
  • How much is off-campus accommodation? Note that it might be cheaper to find off campus accommodation on your own with friends. Is the accommodations near eateries, banks, entertainment, public transportation, etc.?
  • What is the student culture at the university? (English-speaking environment, ambitious, serious about studies, lifestyle or party university, etc) The language spoken mostly at the college by the students may also matter if you don’t know Mandarin or BM or English. If most of the students speak Mandarin at that university then it will not help you to improve your English. Having a good command of the English language helps you to get good jobs and promotions.
  • What is the make up of the student body (diversity, international students, gender, etc.)
  • What are the Extra-curricular activities available? (Student organisations, clubs, sports, etc.)
  • Public vs. Private (STPM is tougher and choice of course & university is determined by the government)

What you will Study in the Architecture Degree Course at Top Private Universities in Malaysia

Architecture is a mixture of practical and theoretical studies. It is important to understand the philosophy, history and culture in order to create stunning buildings.

Architecture major students in Malaysia will learn how to use design software to create models, drawings, prototypes and structures. You will learn how to use creative and rational inquiry to analyse and provide solutions to design problems, integrating emerging aesthetic, technical, social and ethical concerns.

Architecture degree students in Malaysia will apply advanced digital design tools to solve design problems and address sustainability issues. Students will spend long hours in research and project-based architectural design subjects to create aesthetically beautiful design pieces that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

To create these projects will require you to think logically on how the buildings function and are constructed, and then combine them with innovative & creative concepts.

Some of the design software that you will learn how to use are:

  • Photoshop
  • AutoCAD
  • 3D Max

Entry Requirements to Study Architecture at Top Private Universities in Malaysia

Students after SPM or O-Levels may go for theFoundation in Natural & Built Environments or Foundation in Arts (Architecture) at top private universities in Malaysia for 1 year before continuing on to the 3-year Architecture degree programme. If you are still not sure whether you want architecture or other courses, you may choose the Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Science programme at premier private universities in Malaysia.

Students after the external Pre-University Programme such as UECSTPM, A-Levels, SAM, CPU, AUSMAT, etc. may enter directly into the Architecture Degree programme with relevant results at the best university in Malaysia.

Entry requirements for architecture would vary from university to university. Students may contact EduSpiral Consultant Services to find out the exact entry requirements for architecture at top private universities in Malaysia.

Best Architecture Degree Programmes at Premier Private Universities in Malaysia with Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) Accreditation

Architecture students at Taylor's University
Architecture students at Taylor’s University

If you are interested in creating things, buildings and spaces, technology, art and design, a career in architecture may be for you. Basically, an architect is a person who creates the designs of buildings. They don’t actually build them, that’s the job of the Civil Engineer. Architects role is like a project leader who works with different people to coordinate and get the building up on time within budget.

The architecture profession in Malaysia is protected by law and is regulated by the Lembaga Akitek Negara (LAM). They govern the entire profession starting from the definition of an architect under the Malaysian Constitution, licensing, practice, acts and enactments as well as education.

Another important body concerning architects is the Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) who takes care of the well being of the architects including professional development from the lowest to the highest qualifications. They also organise functions and activities for their members.

What is the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) and Becoming a Professional Architect in Malaysia

The architecture profession in Malaysia is protected by law. The regulating and governing body of the architecture profession in Malaysia is known as Lembaga Akitek Negara (LAM). They govern the entire profession starting from the definition of an architect under the Malaysian Constitution, licensing, practice, acts and enactments as well as education.

The other body that concerns the well being of architects themselves is Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM). It functions as an association that takes care of its members, organize functions and manages the professional development of an architect from the lowest to highest qualification. Just like Bar exams for lawyers, architects also require certain level of qualification that is a standard worldwide.

The qualifications are known as LAM Part 1, 2 and 3. The equivalent of this is RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), AIA (American Institute of Architects) and RAIA (Royal Australian Institute of Architects).

Students after SPM or O-Levels will go for the Foundation program for one year first. After that, they will go on to an Architecture degree that’s accredited by Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) Part 1. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will then go on to a Masters in Architecture that’s accredited Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) Part 2.

After graduating with Part 2, a person is known as an architect, and will be able to practice according to the job specification of an architect. This should be the minimum target of anyone pursuing this profession. Anything less is a waste of time.

These qualifications can be obtained in two ways:

  • Obtaining a fully accredited degree (or equivalent) that carries Part 1 or 2 equivalent.
  • Sitting for individual exams after obtaining a non-accredited degree for Part or 2.

Part 3 can only be obtained after practicing as an architect for a minimum of 2 years and fulfilling all the project requirements set by LAM.

Fulfilling these needs, the architect will then submit themselves to a series of interviews and exams to determine that they are capable and absolutely qualified. These exams are conducted by Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM).

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