Study in Malaysia for International Students

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Last Updated on April 14, 2023 by Akwaowo Akpan

Interested to study in Malaysia? Then you have come to the right place! Wherever you are from, we can help you find the best colleges or universities in Malaysia.

A Quick Intro to Malaysia

As of 2022, there are 170,000 international students in Malaysia from 162 countries, mainly Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Malaysia is a vibrant country with more than 30 million people, located in the centre of Southeast Asia. Culturally diverse with plenty of natural resources, the country offers beautiful beaches, unique festivals, and delicious cuisine that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Malaysia’s rich culture – due to the various ethnicities living in the country – is one of the main reasons why it is such an appealing destination for international students. The cost of living is also more affordable compared to other countries

The government’s ultimate goal is to make the country a major education hub in the region. Aside from world-class and home-grown universities, Malaysia is also home to foreign university branches.

This means you can still receive top-notch education at a lower price when you study in Malaysia.

Universities and Colleges in Malaysia

The higher education system in Malaysia is improving every year and boasts top colleges and universities. Most of them have been recognised not just locally, but also abroad.

To put together this list, we referred to both the internationally-recognised QS World University Rankings and the prestigious Malaysian rating system, SETARA.

Top Universities in Malaysia according to QS World University Rankings 2023

It is also worth noting that Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) is ranked 280 in Asia.

Applying to study in Malaysia

A. Language Requirements

In Malaysia, courses are mainly taught in English. Hence, you must be able to communicate in written and spoken English should you wish to study in Malaysia. Some universities also require you to take an English proficiency test like TOEFL or IETLS, which you can take in your home country.

Take Note!

  • Don’t worry if your English is not so good yet. Most colleges in Malaysia offer English proficiency classes to improve your English. Besides, there is no better way to learn a language than to be surrounded by English speakers at a Malaysian university.
  • Universities in Malaysia generally do not require international students to take any admission tests. You can apply using your high school diploma/certificate and recommendation letter.

B. Visa Requirements

To enter Malaysia as an international student, you must first choose a course offered by a Malaysian higher education institution. Their requirements vary, so be sure to check first before you apply.

Your university is required to submit some relevant documents to apply for your Student Pass. The documents they will request are:

  • An official letter of acceptance from your university
  • A completed student application form
  • Three copies of your passport-sized photo
  • Two photocopies of your passport
  • A copy of your medical health examination report

Once your application to the university is accepted, the university will apply for a student pass for you. The immigration will look at this application and send you a Student Pass approval letter.

With this letter, you are ready to travel to Malaysia! But before you send details of your flight to the university, you first need a Special Pass (from the immigration department) in order to receive your Student Pass. Within two weeks after arrival, you can visit the nearest Immigration Department to receive your Student Pass.

Don’t worry if this seems too complicated. Your university will guide you through this whole process and make sure you don’t miss any steps.

Tuition Fees

Aside from global recognition, universities in Malaysia are reputable for their affordable tuition fees.

To give you a general idea of the tuition fees of Malaysian universities, you can see the ranges per level below.

To study abroad is a big step – we know that all too well. Our website has guides and articles full of the information you need, so do check them out to compare courses and universities.

Cost of Living in Malaysia

Malaysia as you know it, is home to one of the most affordable student cities in the world. This is why the number of international students in Malaysia are growing tremenduously. Refer to the table below for more information:

Based on the table above, on average you will need around USD 800 to live comfortably in Malaysia. In fact this number can be much lower depending on your lifestyle.

After Graduation Opportunities in Malaysia

Done with your studies but don’t want to leave Malaysia just yet? Yup, we feel you!

Should you wish to work in Malaysia, you can apply for a job to obtain your work permit as long as you have the qualifications.

Once your application is approved, your employer will then apply a visa for you to work legally in the country.

The available working visas are Employment Pass, Temporary Employment Pass, and Visitor’s Pass (Professional). The duration varies from six months up to about five years, as do the terms and conditions so be sure to check your eligibility.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can international students work in Malaysia during their studies?

Yes, but there are certain restrictions to it. International students can only work a maximum of 20 hours per week during semester breaks or long holidays of more than 7 days.

2. As an international student, can I work in Malaysia after graduation?

Yes, but you will need a work visa and this is usually sponsored by your employer.



  • Akwaowo Akpan

    Hi there, welcome to Online Studying Services. As a fan of authentic information and a student, I devise this means to offer reliable information to international students wishing to either study abroad or online. Thanks for stopping by!

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