A Guide to Studying Architecture in Malaysia

In a career where you’re able to unleash creativity, it is no wonder Architecture is one of the most promising as well as popular jobs today.
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study architecture in malaysia

Architecture has always been one of the most sought after programme in Malaysia. For many Malaysians, dreaming of becoming an architect, their passion might stem from the endless list of inspiring local architecture that decks the Malaysian landscape. What better way to realize this dream than to study architecture here locally in Malaysia.

Having an architecture degree can be greatly rewarding. Although it also comes with a trail of challenges - with the long hours, huge chunks of workload and critical focus on details - so it’s vital to understand what you’re about to enter.

Architecture course focuses more on the concept and ideation of the design on paper, whereas the realisation of the building’s construction is part of a Civil Engineering course. It is a mixture of art and construction engineering that involves planning, surveying, construction, even until the finishing of the decorative side.

Not just about creating the design of the building, architecture also involves other disciplines, such as interior design, landscape, and urban planning. Hence, architecture is regarded as a field that can give you skills for a wide range of careers.

Architecture studies in Malaysia

So here we list out everything you need to know about studying architecture in Malaysia.

  1. What is Architecture all about?
  2. What are the skills and characteristics needed for Architecture?
  3. What are the entry requirements for Architecture programmes in Malaysia?
  4. How long is an architecture degree?
  5. Additional qualifications to practice Architecture in Malaysia
  6. How much does it cost to study Architecture in Malaysia?
  7. 10 recognised Universities offering Architecture courses in Malaysia
  8. Career prospects for Architecture graduates
  9. 5 reasons why you should study Architecture

What is Architecture all about?

Architecture is the study to design buildings and environments that are useful, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing. This indicates an understanding of people’s needs, the science of technology and science of buildings and concepts of aesthetics.

In this course, you get the opportunity to shape and transform the environment.

With a project-based approach to learning, architecture course synthesizes creative, technical, environmental, and social considerations. It is fueled by a forward-looking and entrepreneurial spirit, too!

major fields in architecture

What are the skills and characteristics to study Architecture in Malaysia?

While it is rewarding and fun, architecture 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. Creative and imaginative
Creative art and design will require you to be creative that is heavily emphasised on a great extent of the imagination.

This is important so that the artwork that you produce will meet the demand as the market in architecture involves new innovation at stake.

To work in the creative and design world, you will have to get used to thinking outside of the box.

There are many other buildings and designs that are created out of new inspiration from things that have never been done or thought of before.

2. Patience in paying attention to detail
Architecture is not an easy field to takeover. Many architectural designs require a high degree of patience to create.

This is due to the high level of detail that needs to be attended in replenishing the produce. Both of these characteristics are interrelated with each other.

3. Math
Mathematics is often a basic prerequisite to enrol in any degree which is related to architecture, building and planning.

Strong mathematical skills are crucial to ensure the safety of a building and the cost of a construction project is within its budget. If you are struggling with Mathematics, you might want to improve them as it is an essential skill in this field.

4. Able to work under pressure
Majority of the career in the architecture, building and design field is always strict on their deadline setting. For that, you will have to be good enough to work fast.

You will be facing plenty of pressure and criticism in your career in the architecture field, both from your own superiors and clients that you work with.

Not to mention the intensive workload and long hours that it takes. As such, you will need a resilient mentality.

What are the entry requirements for Architecture programmes in Malaysia?

Each university has different entry requirements and the list below does not generalise the entry requirement of universities in Malaysia as a whole.

Undergraduate
SPM A pass in SPM / O-Level or equivalent with 5 credits including English and Mathematics with a pass in Bahasa Melayu and History in SPM
English IELTS (minimum 5.5 - 6.0 overall), TOEFL (minimum 550 or 80)
A Level Min. CDD or equivalent of min. 200 points
International Baccalaureate Diploma 3 subjects at grade 5 at Higher Level and 3 subjects at grade 4 at Standard Level
UEC Pass with min. 5Bs including English and Mathematics
Diploma or Foundation Min. CGPA 2.67
Canadian Pre-U Min. average of 65% in 6 subjects
Additional Prerequisites Pass School of Architecture, Building and Design Aptitude Assessment (for some universities)
Supporting Document Design and art portfolio
Postgraduate
Bachelor’s Degree Minimum CGPA of 2.5 - 3.0
Board of Architectures Malaysia Must obtain LAM Part 1 exemption or recognition prior to joining the programme
Working Experience Min. 6 months (vary on the universities)
English IELTS (minimum 6.5 - 7.0 overall), TOEFL (minimum 650 or 98)
Additional Prerequisites Pass interview which includes a review of Design Portfolio and Personal Statement (for some universities)
Supporting Documents Recommendation letter, updated CV and design & art portfolio

Entry qualification may vary depending on the university, hence you should check the admission criteria from the university you are applying for admission. It is required that the university offering Architecture is a recognised university by the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM).

How long is an architecture degree?

Normally, it takes approximately 3 years to obtain a fully accredited degree in Architecture. As for the master's degree, it usually takes between 1-3 years.

However, in order to become a practising architect, you need to acquire additional qualifications as described below.

Additional qualifications to practice Architecture in Malaysia

Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM), the Board of Architects Malaysia, sets out qualification level for all architects. Basically, the level of the qualifications are LAM Part I, II and III:

  1. LAM Part I - you become Assistant Architect
  2. LAM Part II - you are referred to as Graduate Architect
  3. LAM Part III - entitles you to register as an Architect with the board and qualify you as a Professional Architect.

To obtain LAM Part I qualification you need to do one of the following three:

  • sit for individual LAM qualification exams if you have a non-accredited Architecture degree, OR
  • obtain a fully accredited Architecture degree, OR
  • have a minimum of 10 years of relevant working experience in the field of architecture

To obtain Part II certification, you must study for another two years equivalent to a Master’s degree in Architecture.

In order to acquire LAM Part III, you are required to have two years of experience as a practising architect and meet all the project requirements set by LAM.

How much does it cost to study Architecture in Malaysia?

The cost of studying Architecture in Malaysia is much more economical as compared to other countries. The cost of architecture programmes may vary for each qualification level and from one university to the other. Below are the estimated fees for each programme.

Programme Estimated Fees
Diploma RM 17,000 - RM 54,000
Bachelor’s Degree RM 73,000 - RM 314, 000
Master’s Degree RM 26,000 - RM 71,000

The fee above only covers the tuition fee and not other additional fees nor living expenses.

Living expenses of students in Malaysia depend on the location of the university and the city that you live in.

Related: Cost of Living in Malaysia

10 recognised Universities offering Architecture courses in Malaysia

Now that you have more knowledge about studying architecture in Malaysia, below are ten recognised institutions offering architecture in Malaysia.

  1. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
  2. Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)
  3. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
  4. University of Malaya (UM)
  5. Taylor’s University
  6. UCSI University Kuala Lumpur
  7. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
  8. Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL)
  9. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)
  10. LimKokWing University of Creative Technology (LUCT)

Each university offers different LAM recognition level, therefore be sure to do your research on which recognition level that each university offers.

1. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)

UTM

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia is a locally and internationally recognised institution, their Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying offers both Undergraduates and Postgraduates architectural programmes. Their programmes offer the LAM part I and II recognition. The faculty have won numerous awards. Such includes,  21st Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors 2017 for Best Paper Award. 11th International Symposium on Architectural Interchanges in Asia (ISAIA) Special Chief Jury Award and many more. With that, It is considered one of the top Architecture School in Malaysia.

2. Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)

UITM Logo

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) is one of the top university in Malaysia, with campuses spread out across the country, UiTM is considered the biggest tertiary education provider in Malaysia. Their Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying offers programmes ranging from diploma to postgraduate programmes and which are considered as LAM part I and II recognition. The faculty is best known for their research and publication works.

3. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

USM

Universiti Sains Malaysia is one of the leading university in Asia, it ranks at 207 in the world university ranking. It is the only APEX (Accelerated Programs for Excellence) university in Malaysia. For such reason, USM is known as a world-class entity. Its qualification is recognised locally and internationally. USM is an autonomous university that is fully funded by the government.

It is also known as the most sustainable university in the region and is currently working their way towards earning a GLOBAL most sustainable university status. Its faculty of housing, building and planning offers a wide variety of programmes ranging from short courses to postgraduate programmes that are recognised as LAM part I and II.

The faculty is best known for their academic staff which are made up of remarkable researchers and practitioners in the industry.

4. University of Malaya (UM)

UM

Universiti Malaya (UM) is an internationally and locally recognised university. It is one of the top university in Asia. It ranks at 87th in the world university ranking. Its faculty of Built Environment offers a wide range of comprehensive bachelor’s degree that is recognised by a relevant local and international professional organisation.

Their programmes are considered as a recognise LAM part I and II qualification. The faculty is known to emphasize academic excellence and at the same time providing opportunities for international participation.

5. Taylor's University

Taylor's University

Taylor’s University is one of the leading international university in Asia, its School of Architecture, Building and Design is recognised by international and local professional bodies. It offers a wide range of undergraduate programmes and a postgraduate programme that is tailored to bring out only the best professional practice in architecture.

These programmes are recognised as LAM part I and II qualification. The faculty emphasizes on dynamic teaching and extensive industry exposure to the students. All in all, the faculty has won numerous awards and recognition, from various local and international competition.

6. UCSI University Kuala Lumpur

UCSI

UCSI University Kuala Lumpur is one of the leading university in Malaysia, it ranks at 481 in the world university ranking. It is known to introduce industry-relevant programmes and has been listed as a tier 5 university in the SETARA university ranking.

Its faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment offers two bachelor programme for architecture, both are recognised by Malaysia Board of Architects and Malaysia Qualification Agency. The programmes offered are a recognised LAM part I qualification. The faculty is known for its excellent teaching, learning and research works.

7. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

UKM

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) is an internationally and locally recognised university. It ranks at 184 in the world university rankings. Its faculty of Engineering and Built Environment offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Its Bachelor of Science Architecture is a LAM part I recognised the programme. The faculty emphasizes on controlling the quality of its education through continuous assessments while striving towards realizing its mission; which is to be ahead in terms of educational development and moral upbringing.

The faculty is known for its research and publications works by their profound academicians and integrating the knowledge of local culture into their teachings.

8. Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL)

IUKL

Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL) is one of Malaysia’s new leading private institution and the only institution in Malaysia that is focusing entirely on infrastructure and is well known for its geo disaster research centre.

It is known to offer courses that integrate the physical and soft aspect of infrastructure. Its faculty of architecture offers programmes ranging from diploma to postgraduate. Their Bachelor of Science (Architectural Studies) is a LAM part I recognised qualification.

9. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

UTAR

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) ranks top 600 in the World University Ranking, Its Three (3) years-long Bachelor of Science (Hons) Architecture programme is recognised by both local and international professional bodies and is a recognised LAM part I qualification.

The programme is known for its student-centred learning and well-equipped facilities. It emphasizes on giving industry-relevant skills and knowledge.;

10. LimKokWing University of Creative Technology (LUCT)

Limkokwing

LimkokWing University of Creative Technology is an international private institution with its main campus located in Malaysia. It is one of the leading arts and design university in Malaysia and it is also the first college in the country to be recognised as a university college.

Its faculty of Architecture and Built Environment offers programmes ranging from pre-university to postgraduate programme and is known for its partnership with a noteworthy organisation such as TV3 and Terengganu State Government. Its Bachelor in Architectural Studies is a recognised LAM part I qualification.;

Career prospects for Architecture graduates

The career opportunity for this major is great and can always be found across industries and sectors.

Here are some of the career options that you can consider as a graduate:

  • Technical architect
  • Design architect
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) manager
  • Specifications (specs) writer
  • Project manager
  • Workplace consultant
  • Interior designer
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Urban designer
  • Feng shui consultant
  • Sole proprietor

The wage that you will make while working in this field in Malaysia is comparatively high, but it is not the same across, depending on the occupation.

Here are some career options for Architecture graduates in Malaysia and their monthly average salaries.

Career Prospects Average Salary
Architect RM 3,500
Project Architect RM 5,800
Interior Designer RM 3,000
Architectural Assistant RM 2,800
Architectural Designer RM 4,100
Building Supervisor RM 2,700
Structural Engineer RM 4,600

5 reasons why you should study Architecture

Journeying through Malaysia, we get to see stunning building decorating the Malaysian streets and skyline in a vibrant manner. What makes it special is the thought that goes into designing each building, and the complex process of ensuring these buildings are sustainable, yet contributes value to the Malaysian landscape. With so much to offer to passionate architects, we list out top five reasons why you should study architecture in Malaysia.

  1. Malaysia’s Unique Topography: Malaysia, which is a combination of lush green rural areas and sustainable urban living implores architects to explore ways to highlight her unique features.
  2. Historical Heritage: This can be seen from the Royal Palaces to the colonial-era building. This serves as an aspiration for architects to incorporate historical elements into new designs.
  3. Job Opportunities: As a developing country, one obvious business that is flourishing in Malaysia due to rapid development is, the property development business. This means, more job opportunities available for architects, engineers and other graduates.
  4. Affordability: The cost of studying architecture in Malaysia is much economical compared to other overseas study destinations.
  5. Quality Education: The Malaysian architecture education is supervised by two professional bodies which are, Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) and Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA) which ensures the quality of education in general and the standard of education for architecture.

FAQ

1. Do I need to complete advanced mathematics or maths A-level for Architecture degree?

Different universities will have different course requirements. More artistic subjects can prove useful, particularly where technical drawings are involved.

2. Is physics necessary in Architecture course?

There are myths around physics and maths. In reality, there are a lot of students with a background in arts & humanities, design tech, or maths and science.

3. Are there any extra costs?

Although you may skimp on spending on textbooks, you’ll spend money on scalpel blades, drawing tools, photocopying, printing, and modelling materials.

In summary, each end of the project you will roughly spend about RM 150 to print your portfolio as you go.

4. What should I include in my portfolio before applying to an architecture course?

Include a wide range of drawings. From human figures, perspectives, and landscapes. Hand drawings, specifically gestural drawings are highly encouraged.

5. How do I choose the best university for architecture course?

You should always be prioritising a university that suits yourself. There are many factors to consider, such as campus environment, location, facilities and tuition fee.

For some stances, you can also consider other engineering schools that aren’t necessarily in the top 10 of the country.

You can contact our counsellors to have a better guide and consultation regarding this.

6. When can I enrol to a university in Malaysia?

If you’re interested to continue to study in Malaysia, the general admission will be different for each university.

For instance, Taylor’s University opens its intake in early March and August every year.

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