Top universities & colleges in Malaysia

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Malaysia has more than 590 higher education institutions and more than 1,270,000 students of all higher education. With so many universities and colleges to choose from, you might need some help.

Let us guide you through all the different types of higher education institutions and how to choose from them.

Private universities and colleges

These are colleges and universities that do not get funded by the government and rely on the students' tuition contribution. With that said, their fees may be higher than in public universities.

There are three types of private institutions:

  1. Universities. They offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses and can confer these degrees.
  2. University Colleges. They don't have full university status and often are part of a bigger university, and they mainly offer pre-university and diploma programmes. They can confer degrees under specialised fields and disciplines.
  3. Colleges. They offer diploma and pre-university programmes. Some of these establishments can provide degree courses, twinning programmes included, through a local or foreign partner university.

Foreign universities

Foreign universities in Malaysia are also considered private and they work together with Malaysian institutions. Malaysian students who study in these schools will get an international qualification without leaving the country.

Currently, there are 11 Foreign Branch Campuses in Malaysia, with more than 100,000 international students from different countries.

  • Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, Sarawak
  • Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, Putrajaya
  • Curtin University, Sarawak
  • Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, Johor
  • Monash University Malaysia, Selangor
  • University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Selangor
  • University of Southampton Malaysia Campus, Johor
  • Xiamen University Malaysia Campus, Selangor
  • Raffles University Iskandar, Johor
  • University of Reading Malaysia
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong Campus, Sarawak (in 2018)

Public universities

While students still pay for their tuition fees, Public Universities are funded by the government as they pay for most of the operating costs. These universities are in overall bigger with thousands of students studying there.

There are 20 public universities in Malaysia:

  • Universiti Malaya (UM)
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)
  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
  • Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)
  • Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)
  • Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia
  • Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM)
  • Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP)
  • Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT)
  • Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)
  • Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)
  • Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA)
  • Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK)
  • Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM)
  • Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)
  • Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia
  • Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS)

Top 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 2021

We have compiled the complete list of institutions that made it to the QS World University Rankings for 2021 below:

SN

Universities 

QS World Ranking 

1

Universiti Malaya

59

2

Universiti Putra Malaysia

132

3

Universiti Kebangsang Malaysia

141

4

Universiti Sains Malaysia

142

5

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

187

6

Taylor's University

379

7

UCSI University

391

8

Universiti Teknologi PATRONAS (UTP)

439

9

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM

531-540

10

Management and Science University (MSU)

551-560

 

Best universities in Malaysia according to the SETARA 2019 rankings

SETARA is a ranking/rating system carried out by the Ministry of Education Malaysia to assess Malaysia’s universities and colleges.

SN

Universities 

SETARA Rankings

1

Universiti Malaya (UM)

Outstanding: 6

2

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

Outstanding: 6

3

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)

Outstanding: 6

4

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)

Outstanding: 6

5

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

Outstanding: 6

6

Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP)

Outstanding: 6

7

International Medical University (IMU)

Outstanding: 6

8

Monash University Malaysia

Outstanding: 6

9

Multimedia University (MMU)

Excellent: 5

10

The University Of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNM)

Excellent: 5

11

Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN)

Excellent: 5

12

Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)

Excellent: 5

13

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)

Excellent: 5

14

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

Excellent: 5

15

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)

Excellent: 5

Tuition fees

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

Study Level Tuition Fee, per year
Foundation / Pre-U RM 8,000 - 23,000
Diploma RM 6,000 - 30,000
Bachelor's degree RM 9,000 - 40,000
Master's degree RM 13,000 - 40,000

Our only goal is to help you find the study and university which fits you best, look around at our website and compare universities and courses with each other and apply for more information.

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