Higher Education in Malaysia
With over 50 private and public higher learning institutions, Malaysia offers a varied range of choices for international students. You can choose from a comprehensive range of courses, programs and other study options offered by hundreds of universities and colleges in Malaysia. To search for courses offered in Malaysia, see the Study Malaysia website.
Preparatory language opportunities
Bahasa Melayu is Malaysia’s national language, although English is widely used and spoken. If you plan to study at an institution where English is not the language of instruction, it is possible to study Bahasa Melayu at a few in-country providers, such as the Centre for Language Studies based at UNMIAS in Sarawak.
Study in English
English is the medium of instruction of all private colleges and some government universities in Malaysia. The remainder of government universities largely provide instruction in Bahasa Melayu.
Malaysian immigration laws allow holders of student passes or permits to work while studying for up to 20 hours part-time per week during semester breaks or holidays of more than seven days (subject to immigration requirements). For up-to-date information, you can visit the website of the Malaysian Immigration Department or contact the Malaysian High Commission in Australia.
There are a number of internships available for Australian students in Malaysia. One example is the Malaysia Australia Business Council Internship Competition, which provides an opportunity for an Australian (or Malaysian) tertiary student to undertake a business internship in Malaysia.
The cost of living for international students in Malaysia is relatively cheap. Separate of accommodation (see “accommodation” section below), expenses such as food, transportation, laundry and other essentials normally cost between RM700 - RM950 (US$200 – US$270) per month. The average total cost of living will range from RM 12,000 to RM17,000 (US$3,430 – US$4,860) per year.
Fees and funding
Malaysia has quite affordable tuition fees. For information on the cost of studying various courses in Malaysia, you can visit the Education Malaysia website.
Malaysia has internationally linked banking and financial services sector including Islamic banking services. There are automated teller machines (ATMs) available and most credit cards are accepted. VISA and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards.
Scholarships and support
See Money matters for information about scholarships and financial support for studying overseas.
The Malaysian Government runs the Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS) Program to attract, motivate and retain talented international students. For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply, see the MIS Program website.
Visas and entry
For up-to-date information about the visa you will require to study in Malaysia, visit the website of the Malaysian Immigration Department or contact the Malaysian High Commission in Australia. You can also refer to the Study Malaysia website for information.
Healthcare and insurance
If you study in Malaysia, you will be required to have insurance cover which covers medical care, repatriation and accidents. A medical examination is also compulsory for all international students who are in the country for six months or more. Your institution will facilitate this procedure. You should expect to pay between RM 40 – 60 (AU $15-25) when you visit a GP and this amount includes medication.
The cost of accommodation in Malaysia is reasonable and within many budgets. Depending on the location and choice, the average monthly rent for a single room (twin sharing) per student is between RM300 - RM450 (US $86 – US $129). You can choose between on-campus or off-campus accommodation such as college hostels, apartments, link-houses and condominiums. Home stays are also an option in some areas. Well-established institutions in Malaysia have residential officers who can help you to find accommodation. You should be aware that rent is normally paid monthly and it does not always cover water, electricity or furnishings.
The public transport system in Malaysia is quite good, particularly in urban areas. If you use public transport in Malaysia, it will likely cost you RM30 to RM50 (estimated US $13) per month. However, if you stay on campus or near campus, you may not incur any cost of travelling to and from classes.