Study Psychology in Malaysia

An emerging human sciences course in Malaysia.
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Hands holding thread against a forehead.

Psychology is one of the most-liked programmes by students of not only Malaysia, but all over the world. 

Students get into this field with the assumption that it will be mostly about clinical psychology, which is a discussion of the approaches to therapy.

However, psychology goes beyond that, as it is a study of social psychology, cognitive science, basic neuroscience, and research methods, to name a few.

What is Psychology course all about?

Psychology is a branch of science - specifically - the scientific study of the mind.

Psychology is a part of Humanities and Social Sciences. You will cover a wide range of topics within and out of Psychology, such as:

  • Modules on memory
  • Developmental psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Evolution
  • Genetics

Additionally, you will learn research methods and presentation skills.

Compulsory modules will build on what you had learned in the first year and progress to more challenging topics, such as cognitive neuroscience and advanced statistics.

You will also carry out more practical experiments in order to learn professional skills in Psychology.

What are the major fields in Psychology?

1. Clinical Psychology

This treatment-oriented branch of psychology deals with scientific ways of handling psychological problems. 

Also known as psychotherapy or counselling psychology, it focuses on the understanding, cure and prevention of psychological issues by psycho-therapeutic treatments.

2. Cognitive Psychology

This branch deals with mental processes, such as thoughts, memory and problem-solving. It involves the perception and problem-solving capabilites of the brain.

3. Educational Psychology

It is the scientific study of human behaviour for an educational setting and thus, deals with issues like learning disorders, adolescence behaviours, and so on. 

4. Biopsychology

This branch of psychology looks at the roles of the brain and neurotransmitters in influencing our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It combines neuroscience and the study of psychology.

5. Social Psychology

Focused on the psychological aspects of individuals within a community environment, social psychology explores characteristics such as interdependence, adaptation, diplomacy, empowerment, social justice, and more. 

6. Forensic Psychology

A forensic psychologist applies psychology to law enforcement, such as the examination of witnesses and the treatment of criminals.

Also known as legal psychology, this branch of psychology involves a thorough understanding of the law, unlike cognitive and clinical psychology.

7. Industrial Psychology

This branch of psychology addresses practical problems in the workplace through the application of psychological principles.

Industrial psychologists/Organisational psychologists are employed by companies to administer tests that measure employee aptitudes or skills in hiring and placement programmes.

8. Health Psychology

This role observes how behaviour, biology and social context influence illness and health. Health psychologists generally work alongside other medical professionals in clinical settings.

9. Experimental Psychology

Experimental psychologists work to understand the underlying causes of behaviour by studying humans and animals. They work mainly in a laboratory environment to investigate the evolutionary significance of different behaviours.

10. Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology attempts to explain the development of humans over time, both in the micro sense (development from babies to mature adults), and macro sense (evolution of culture throughout the years).

What subjects are taught in a Psychology course?

Psychology courses in Malaysia follow professional guidelines. 

This is important if you want to pursue a career as a practising psychologist with a chartered status. Courses can focus on scientific research and/or applied psychology.

The subjects that you come across will vary, depending on your specialisation. 

Check out the subjects in Psychology offered by Asia Pacific University (APU)

Year 1

Common Modules:

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Trends and Visual Thinking
  • Principles of Public Relations

Specialised Modules:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Ethics in Psychology
  • Historical Perspectives in Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Year 2

Common Modules:

  • Social Media
  • Managing Creativity & Innovation

Specialised Modules:

  • Psychological Disorders
  • Biological Psychology
  • Introduction to Research Methods and Qualitative Analysis
  • Personality Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology

Year 3

Common Modules:

  • Investigations Module
  • Project Module

Specialised Modules:

  • Counselling Principles and Philosophy
  • Psychological Testing & Measurement
  • Industrial and Organisational Psychology
  • Conceptual Issues and Critical Debates in Psychology

Elective Modules (Choose 2):

  • Health Psychology OR Cyberpsychology
  • Educational Psychology OR Human Factors Psychology

MQA Compulsory Subjects*

  • Ethnic Relations (M’sian Students)
  • Islamic & Asian Civilisation (M’sian Students)
  • Malaysian Studies (Int’l Students) & (M’sian Students)
  • Bahasa Kebangsaan (Int’l Students) & (M’sian Students)
  • Workplace Professional Communication Skills
  • Employee & Employment Trends
  • Co-Curriculum

(*All students are required to successfully complete these modules as stipulated by the Malaysian Qualification Agency.)

Internship (16 weeks)

Students will undertake an Internship/Industrial Training for a minimum period of 16 weeks to prepare them for a smooth transition from the classroom to the working environment in various fields relating to psychology.

APU campus in Malaysia that offers Psychology course.

Image source: APU website

What are the skills and characteristics needed for Psychology?

While it is rewarding to understand human minds and their behaviour, Psychology can be a tough course to pursue. Check the following qualities before you decide on taking this course to ensure that you’re prepared:

1. You have a knack for analysing things.

Have a deep interest at analysing situations and people? Analytical skill is important in this course as you are required to understand cases and devise solutions for different problems.

2. You can good at critical thinking.

Critical thinking skills are important to help you make informed decisions.

In this field, you must be able to think critically in different aspects and gain insights that can bring significant improvements in an individual’s progress.

3. You are observant.

Psychologists must be good at interpreting body language and words. This is a common skill to have as you will be analysing people you barely know.

4. You are a good communicator.
Conveying information clearly is vital to prevent miscommunication. You must be able to break down complex issues and explain them to people who have little knowledge in this field.

5. You can solve problems efficiently and effectively.
Since Psychology jobs essentially aim to solve psychological-related issues developed within individuals, you must like to explore problems and solutions based on the uniqueness of each individual's issues or concerns.

What are the Psychology programmes offered in Malaysia?

University Programme Offered
Asia Pacific University
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology
Monash University Malaysia
  • Bachelor of Psychological Science
  • Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Psychological Science and Business
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology)
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology with Management
  • MSc Business Psychology
Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC)
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) in Psychology
  • Master of Arts (Psychology)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Management & Science University (MSU)
  • Bachelor in Psychology (Honours)
  • Bachelor in Marketing with Psychology (Hons)
Sunway University
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
  • MSc in Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
  • BSc (Hons) Biology with Psychology
University of Nottingham (Malaysia)
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • MPhil/PhD Psychology
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) Psychology
  • Master of Psychology (Industrial and Organisational Psychology)

Taylor's University

  • Bachelor of Psychology (Hons)
  • Master of Clinical Psychology
UCSI University
  • BA (Hons) Psychology
  • Master of Clinical Psychology
  • Master of Child Psychology

What is the salary outlook for Psychology jobs in Malaysia?

You can find various psychology jobs in Malaysia and even counseling roles.

Salaries and outlook for future job growth are dependent on the degree of Psychology you have as well as your specialisation.

Psychologist listening carefully.

So, what can you do with a degree in Psychology in Malaysia? Check out the list below:

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Industrial-Organisational psychologist
  • Counselling psychologist
  • School psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Health psychologist
  • Sport and exercise psychologist
  • Life coach
  • Market researcher
  • Psychotherapist

Keep in mind that some of these occupations require a minimum of a Master’s in Psychology and many even require a Doctoral degree. 

The below table showcases the different types of jobs within Psychology and the annual expected salary in Malaysia according to SalaryExpert:

Clinical Psychologist: RM 79,000 -  RM 140,000

Industrial-Organisational Psychologist: RM 102,000 -  RM 182,000

Forensic Psychologist: RM 36,000 - RM 58,000

How long is the duration of studies for Psychology course in Malaysia?

The duration of studies will depend on the level of studies and chosen universities. 

Bachelor’s Degree: 3 - 4 years

Master’s Degree: 2 - 3 years

Doctoral Degree: 3 - 8 years

What are the entry requirements for Psychology in Malaysia?

The list below serves as a general guideline and does not generalise the entry requirement of universities as a whole:

Bachelor's Degree

STPM - Mathematics and science subjects, CGPA 2.00 for 2 subjects with min. Grade C for each subject

A-Levels - Min. EE or equivalent of min. 80 points

Australian Matriculation - ATAR 50

Foundation - Pass all subjecs, Min. CGPA 2.00

UEC - Min. 5Bs including English

International Baccalaureate - Min. 24 points

Master's Degree

Bachelor's Degree - Min. CGPA 2.5-3.0

English - IELTS (min. 6.0 overall) or TOEFL (min 550)

PTE Academic - 50 overall

How much is the tuition fee to study Psychology course in Malaysia?

The estimated tuition fee per year for Psychology courses can be seen here:

Programme

Estimated Fees (per year)

Bachelor’s Degree

RM 13,600 - RM 47,000

Master’s Degree

RM 5,600 - RM 43,000

PhD

RM 5,000 - RM 43,000

 


FAQ

1. What are the subjects that I must take to get into a Psychology course?

You don’t need all science subjects to meet the entry requirement of a Psychology course in Malaysia. Most universities, however, prefer at least one subject out of chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. Other preferred subjects include sociology, anthropology, economics, philosophy, and literature.

2. What level of education must I possess to be a psychologist?

Completion of studies up to a Doctoral degree is a must if you want to practise as a psychologist. This includes counselling, forensic, industrial and school psychologist.

The final step to become a psychologist is obtaining a licence to practise. You must have a licence regardless of whether you're opening your own clinic or practising in a hospital/clinic.

3. How long does it take to be a Therapist/ Licensed Psychologist?

While there are several types of therapists, psychologists and counselors, the path to each profession is similar.

Most of the time, becoming a therapist will take at least around 7-15 years following graduation from high school. 

  • 3-4 years of undergraduate studies 
  • 7-10 years of postgraduate studies

Formal education is followed by supervised clinical hours of direct experience before you can receive your licence as a therapist. This means that once you have a bachelor’s degree, it is a matter of 4-10 years before you can be a full-fledged therapist.

4. What is the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist?

Simply put, psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medication, but psychologists can't.

Most psychologists are specialists in clinical psychology and have a Master's in Clinical Psychology. They help the mentally ill cope with their day to day problems of living in a society that doesn’t quite understand their needs. 

Psychiatrists work directly with patients to provide a variety of treatments, including hospitalisation and direct counselling. They work closely with neurologists, surgeons and other medical practitioners to bridge the connection between the mind and body.

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