Study Engineering in Malaysia

Everything a Malaysian student needs to know about studying engineering.

Studying locally is growing in popularity, especially since Malaysia set the ambitious goal of becoming the world’s sixth-largest education exporter by 2020. The government is investing a lot to make this goal become a reality, and with this increase in qualitative education, studying engineering in Malaysia now is a wise choice. Malaysian universities are also well respected overseas and graduates are highly sought after.

If you’re interested in this field, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you understand how to and why you should study engineering in Malaysia, as well as your study and career options in the country.

Engineering is about solving problems as well as making life easier and better through innovative ways for people all around the world. In a way, engineers are like Earth’s collared superheroes! There are many different fields that you can get into in this industry, such as mechanical, electrical, civil and chemical engineering. Check out our comprehensive guide to engineering for more information.

How long does it take to study engineering?

This depends on the level of the course you are enrolling for, and on the university’s standards as well. Some institutions allow for longer periods of study. The minimum duration of the course may vary between universities as well. Typically, however, the duration per level of study for engineering is as below:

  • Foundation – 1 year

  • Diploma – 2 years

  • Bachelor’s degree – 4 years

  • Master’s degree – 1 to 2 years

  • Doctorate – 2 years

What are the entry requirements?

Like the duration of study, your eligibility will vary depending on the course and the institution. In general, the entry requirements per level of study are:

Foundation

  • 5 credits for English, mathematical and science-based subjects in SPM or equivalent

Diploma

  • 3 credits including Mathematics and a Science subject in SPM or equivalent, or

  • Certificate in relevant field

Bachelor’s degree

  • 5 credits in SPM or equivalent, and

  • Minimum of 3Cs for Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in A-levels or equivalent, or

  • Foundation or Diploma in related field

Master’s degree

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in relevant field

  • Working experience may also be considered

Doctorate

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in related field, or

  • Bachelor’s degree with excellent CGPA of at least 3.70 (for direct Bachelor to PhD students)

How much does it cost to study engineering?

This will give you an idea of how much it costs to study engineering per level of study in Malaysia (the price range includes public and private universities):

  • Foundation – around RM 18,000

  • Diploma – RM 1,200 to RM 42,000

  • Bachelor’s degree – RM 5,600 to RM 180,000

  • Master’s degree – RM 3,000 to RM 278,000

  • Doctorate – RM 6,000 to RM 100,000

Again, these are just estimated costs as universities charge differently. This website can help you find out the exact tuition fee of the course you are interested in. You can even compare the prices of various courses to make the research process easier for yourself (yay!). Besides the tuition fee, there may be additional costs for your course, including course materials and access to institution facilities, so keep that in mind when you plan out your budget.

Top/best 10 universities in Malaysia for engineering degrees

Many public and private universities in Malaysia offer high-quality engineering courses. Ten (10) Malaysian universities made it on the famous Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject 2018: Engineering and Technology rankings.

No

University

Rank

1

Universiti Malaya

22

2

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

53

3

Universiti Sains Malaysia

60

4

Universiti Putra Malaysia

86

5

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

88

6 Universiti Teknologi Petronas  145
7 Universiti Teknologi MARA - UiTM 180
8 Universiti Tenaga Nasional  255
9 Multimedia University 355
10 International Islamic University Malaysia 371

As you can see 5 universities from the above list are placed among the Top 100 out of 502 universities worldwide!

Let's briefly cover some of these universities...

Universiti Malaya

UM engineering degree

In terms of overall global rankings, Malaysia’s first public university, Universiti Malaya (UM), is ranked 87th in the world and 24th in Asia according to the latest QS scale. The university’s faculty of engineering consists of 5 departments – Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Some of UM’s highlights include its research-led teaching and state-of-the-art facilities, providing students with an engaging and challenging learning environment.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

UTM engineering degree

Ranked 228th in the overall 2019 QS World University Rankings, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) is one of the nation’s strongest, emerging universities, placing at number 18 out of 150 institutions across the globe in the QS Top 50 Under 50 list. UTM’s faculty of engineering is composed of 6 schools, with each school offering various courses for students to specialise in. UTM also has a high teacher to student ratio so that students don’t have to be restricted in their access to lecturers.

Universiti Sains Malaysia

USM engineering degree

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is ranked 207th in the world and possesses one of the highest scores for research citations per paper in Malaysia, based on QS rankings data. The university offers a broad range of specialisations, covering even Aerospace Engineering and Materials & Mineral Resources Engineering. Research output is very high in this institution, with USM dedicating several research centres solely for studies in engineering.

Universiti Putra Malaysia

UPM engineering degree

At number 202 in the general 2019 QS scale, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) is another good option for students to consider. UPM has strong linkages to society and the engineering industry, enabling students to grow personally and professionally. One of the engineering faculty’s community programmes include conducting workshops for secondary school students, while the university collaborates with the industry through research projects and placements for student training.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

UKM engineering degree

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) is reputed for its teaching excellence. The university’s lecturers are diverse in nationality and are highly qualified as well, with more than 90% of them being PhD holders. UKM also publishes its very own Journal of Engineering, giving the university a strong presence in the research community. UKM’s high ranking of 184th place in the global QS rankings is yet another indicator of the institution’s excellent academic reputation.

Universiti Teknologi Petronas

UTP engineering degree

Owned by Malaysia’s energy company Petronas, Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) is the top choice for those looking to study chemical and petroleum engineering. UTP places a strong emphasis on research, and is currently Malaysia’s best private university in the engineering field. It is also the only private institution in the country to be ranked in the top 150 in the 2018 QS Rankings by Subject for chemical engineering. The university’s close ties with Petronas also enable students to move seamlessly into the workforce after graduation.

Other notable universities in Malaysia with engineering courses

There are a number of well-respected foreign universities with campuses in Malaysia which offer engineering degrees as well. One of the advantages of studying in a Malaysian branch is that you receive the same qualification as students who study in the main campus abroad, but for a lower price. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the high cost of living overseas, and can instead use your savings for other future investments.

These are 4 options you can consider if you decide to study engineering at a foreign university in Malaysia:

  • Monash University Malaysia

  • University of Southampton Malaysia

  • University of Nottingham Malaysia

  • Curtin University Malaysia

Let's briefly talk about them too...

Monash University Malaysia

Monash University Malaysia engineering degree

Monash University Malaysia is the Malaysian campus of Australia's Monash University, which ranked 36th worldwide for engineering and technology in the 2018 QS World University subject rankings. At this university, students have plenty of opportunities to develop their skills, talents and knowledge beyond the classroom setting, through leadership programmes and professional research projects.  

University of Southampton Malaysia

University of Southampton Malaysia engineering degree

Did you know that the University of Southampton was specially invited by the government to open a campus in Malaysia, specifically for engineering? The university provides cutting edge equipment and learning facilities, as well as a split campus programme that enables students to study in the Malaysian campus for 2 years, followed by another 2 years in the UK campus. With the Guardian University Guide 2018 ranking the university within the Top 20 in UK for its engineering courses, students can be sure that they will receive a world-class education.  

University of Nottingham Malaysia

University of Nottingham Malaysia engineering degree

The University of Nottingham is another university that is widely acknowledged as one of the premier engineering institutions in the world, having placed 133rd across the globe in the QS scale for this subject. The departments under the faculty of engineering include Chemical & Environmental, Civil, Electrical & Electronic and others. The university’s dedication towards changing the world for the better through its multiple engineering research centres will also inspire students to truly make a difference in their careers.  

Curtin University Malaysia

Curtin University Malaysia engineering degree

Curtin University is an Australian university with a full-fledged Malaysian campus based in the beautiful coastal city of Miri, Sarawak. This institution is a great option for students who want to study mineral and mining engineering, as Curtin University is 2nd in the world for this course in the 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject.

What are the career options?

To all of you who are thinking of studying engineering, we have very good news for you – there will always be a need for engineers, not just in Malaysia, but around the world as well. To practise as a professional engineer in Malaysia, you will need to register with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM).

Here are just a few engineering-related jobs that you can take up once you join the workforce, and the expected salaries for each of them in Malaysia:

Job

Estimated average monthly salary

Director of Engineering

RM 24,000

Chief Technology Officer

RM 16,000

Civil Engineer

RM 4,000

Electrical Engineer

RM 4,000

What are the advantages of studying engineering in Malaysia?

The top 3 benefits of studying engineering in Malaysia:

  • Study at universities which rank highly specifically for engineering

  • Pay less for more

  • Be part of a growing industry

Pay less for more

Engineering is one of the most expensive courses to study in the world, which could be one of the factors students find it difficult to pursue. Some may try to compromise quality for the lower price of education, but why do that when you can significantly cut down your spending on tuition fees and still receive a great education in Malaysia?

For example, the engineering Bachelor degrees offered in Universiti Malaya (UM) – one of the world’s best universities in this field – cost around RM 9,500 only for students who apply through the higher education ministry’s Student Entry Administration Department (UPU). In general, the fees in public universities like UM are much less because they are heavily subsidised by the government.

Overall, how does Malaysia’s prices compare to other countries? The table below shows the approximate costs of an undergraduate degree in some of the best public and private universities from different parts of the world:

Country

Full tuition fee for engineering Bachelor degree

Malaysia

RM 5,600 – 180,000

Singapore

RM 150,000 – 240,000

USA

RM 190,000 – 400,000

Australia

RM 200,000 – 460,000

UK

RM 230,000 – 600,000

Along with the relatively low tuition fees in Malaysia, students can also apply for scholarships or for other forms of financial aid. Universities usually offer in-house scholarships for their students, so be sure to check them out.

Be part of a growing industry

The engineering field in Malaysia is becoming more advanced, with notable engineering achievements being made by engineers in the country. Penang’s second bridge, for example, is internationally recognised as an excellent civil engineering feat. The team who built it won the prestigious Brunel Medal Award by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), United Kingdom. Who knows – you could be next!

Additionally, there is a need for more engineers to meet the upcoming challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0). As such, Malaysia aims to have 500,000 engineers and scientists by 2020. However, there are currently only 70,000 registered engineers in the country. This means that job prospects are very high for engineering graduates. According to TalentCorp’s Critical Occupations List 2017/2018, engineers from various sectors are in great demand. Here are just some of the engineering careers in the list:

  • Civil Engineer

  • Mechanical Engineer

  • Chemical Engineer

  • Mining Engineer

  • Electrical Engineer

  • Ships Engineer

 

 

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