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Study Psychology in Malaysia

Curious about psychology programs in Malaysia? We've got all the information you need!

Hands holding thread against a forehead.

Are you thinking of studying psychology courses in Malaysia? Well, you're not alone! 

Psychology is one of the most popular programs offered in Malaysia's colleges and universities, attracting a large number of students each year. 

This is unsurprising, given the widespread interest in understanding human behavior and personality. However, there is a common misconception that psychology courses are primarily focused on clinical psychology and therapy approaches. 

In reality, psychology courses in Malaysia has a much broader range of topics, including social psychology, cognitive science, basic neuroscience, and research methods.

If you are considering pursuing a psychology degree in Malaysia, this guide will provide you with comprehensive information about the program and its various aspects.

What is Psychology course all about?

Psychology, a branch of Humanities and Social Sciences, is all about understanding the human mind. This program isn't just about therapy - it explores how we think, feel, and perceive the world around us, considering both our mental and biological makeup. 

By studying psychology, you'll gain a solid foundation in human behavior, including normal and abnormal patterns. You will also explore how both cognition and emotion may affect one's behaviour. With that being said, 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

What are the major fields in Psychology?

For those of you who are new to the psychology fields, there are several major categories that you should know, such as:

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 are the entry requirements for Psychology programme in Malaysia?

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

Program Entry requirements
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 courses in Malaysia?

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

Program 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

What is the duration of psychology courses in Malaysia?

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

Diploma: 2.5 years

Bachelor’s Degree: 3 - 4 years

Master’s Degree: 2 - 3 years

Doctoral Degree: 3 - 8 years

Which subjects will you study in psychology courses in Malaysia?

APU campus in Malaysia that offers Psychology course.

Each college and university in Malaysia presents different subjects, yet there are basic courses you should prioritize. This is particularly significant if your goal is to become a licensed psychologist. Your coursework may emphasize scientific research or applied psychology, and the subjects you encounter will depend on your chosen specialization.

Here's a glimpse of the psychology subjects you will learn at Asia Pacific University (APU)

Year 1

Common Modules:

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Trends and Visual Thinking
  • Core Concepts in Communication Theories 

Specialised Modules:

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

Year 2

Common Modules:

  • Social Media
  • Political Communication

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*

  • Appreciation of Ethics and Civilisation (Malaysian students) 
  • Malay Communication Language (International students)
  • Philosophy and Current Issues 
  • Workplace Professional Skills 
  • Integrity and Anti-Corruption
  • 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.

What are the Psychology programmes offered in Malaysia?

You might be wondering, what are the psychology pathways offered, and which university is best for psychology in Malaysia? 

Don't worry, we've got a list of Malaysia's institutions that provide psychology programs at different levels of academic programs.

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Information (APU)

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology

Monash University Malaysia

  • Bachelor of Psychological Science
  • Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Psychological and Business
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical 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)

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology with Management
  • MSc Business Psychology

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

Universities in Malaysia with courses in Psychology

See more related universities

What are the skills and characteristics needed for Psychology programme?

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 is the salary outlook for Psychology jobs in Malaysia?

Psychologist listening carefully.

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.

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

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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