Malaysia is one of the world’s most peaceful and politically stable countries. It boasts of being one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant economies, which is the fruit of decades of industrial growth and political stability.

Consisting of two regions – Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, which are separated by 1,030km of the South China Sea, Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and three federal territories where the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans and other ethnic groups live in harmony. This plural society comprises many races and faiths that speak a variety of mother tongues, and each continues to maintain its respective traditional culture. There is an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance that has ensured peace and stability for the nation through the decades.

Since independence in 1957, Malaya – as it was known then – has grown into Malaysia. Its primarily agricultural economy has been transformed, with the country becoming, over the years, a major manufacturing centre, a global energy and financial sector player, as well as an often-cited role model for other nations on the road to development. The country continues its quest to develop further into a high-income, knowledge- and innovation-based economy.

For more than half a century, Malaysia has been a federal constitutional monarchy with a multi-party system and a democratically-elected parliamentary government. The structure of government allows the diversity of the country’s peoples and regions, its long-standing traditions, its contemporary pluralism and its sense of consensus to be encompassed within the political system. Since Malaysia achieved independence, preservation of the balance between the main ethnic groups and access to the national wealth have been delicately balanced with concessions and compromises reached between the political parties that make up the ruling government. This has strengthened the people’s resolve in calling Malaysia their home.

The stable relationships between the ethnic groups is one of the key ingredients to political and economic stability in Malaysia. A powerful sense of being Malaysian prevails among the population. A common language – Bahasa Malaysia – binds the Malaysian people together, while English is widely spoken. The government has, over the years, successfully implemented a successful policy of economic reforms and taken an active role in the development and industrialisation of the nation.

Today, Malaysia has emerged as a confident and vibrant entity that is secure, stable and increasingly prosperous at home, and at peace with its neighbours.

With its history of political stability, there are strong foundations on which Malaysia can rely as it moves ahead with efforts to become a high-income, innovation-based society.

Aside from affordable tuition fees, another great reason to study in Malaysia is the relatively low cost of living. Kuala Lumpur has been ranked one of the least expensive cities in the world to live in. Whether you choose to live on campus or off-campus, you will find that it is quite possible to live very comfortably within a budget of USD 5,000 per year. To give you an indication, here’s a breakdown of living costs for students in Malaysia:

Personal Expanses

This would very much depend on your personal lifestyle. Your cost for toiletries, grooming, occasional movie or social outing and other necessities can start from as low as USD50 per month.


Where you live as a foreign student in Malaysia will depend on your accommodation budget: like everywhere else, the higher the budget, the better the lodging! Most universities and colleges will assist their students in finding adequate accommodation within a convenient distance.


You can have an immensely satisfying meal at a shop for just USD1.50, while three square meals can be enjoyed for under USD5 per day. So, if you’re prudent, your food bill for a month can be covered within USD200.

Phone Bills

Your costs in this area would depend on your usage charges and could be anything from USD10 onwards.

Public Transport

Students who stay on or near campus may not incur any travel costs going to and from classes. However, other travel costs could come up to USD15 per month.


The cost of washing and ironing your clothes can be from as low as USD20 per month if you lead a normal student lifestyle.

One of the main attractions Malaysia holds for foreign students is ‘affordability’. The major cost considerations when it comes to a foreign education are course fees and living expenses.

Once they calculate the cost of education and living in Malaysia, many international students discover that studying in Malaysia offers them real value for money. The affordable cost of quality tertiary education is one of many good reasons why international students choose Malaysia.

For example, you can acquire a UK engineering degree (3 years) in Malaysia through a franchised degree programme at an estimated RM51,000 (USD16,000), whereas the tuition fee of the same degree programme at the host university in the UK is about RM144,000 (USD45,000).

Estimated Cost of Education in Malaysia

1. Preparatory Courses for English Proficiency Tests

Type of Programme Estimated Tuition Fees in USD Duration
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 129 –229 2 months
Test of English as  a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 143 –229 2 months

2. Pre-University Programmes

Type of Programme Estimated Tuition Fees in USD Duration
GCE ‘A’ level, UK 3,100 – 4,800 18 months
Western Australian Matriculation 2,600 – 3,100 1 year
South Australian Matriculation 2,600 – 3,900 1 year
Canadian Pre-University 3,400 – 4,400 1 year
International Baccalaureate Diploma 8,000 – 16,400 2 years
Malaysian Pre-University 2,300 – 3,200 I year

3. Bachelor’s Degree Programmes

Area of Study

Paths of Study

Cost in USD for Private College 3+0 Foreign Degree Programme (3 years) Cost in USD for Foreign Branch Campus University Degree Programme (3 years) Cost in USD for Malaysian Private University Degree Programme (3 years)
Business 11,100 –14,300 13,700 – 24,000 8,600 – 11,400
Engineering 13,000 – 15,000
(3 yrs., UK; 4yrs., Aust)
21,100 – 40,000
(3 yrs., UK; 4yrs., Aust)
12,900 – 14,300
(4 yrs.)
IT 9,700 – 12,900 13,400 – 25,100 9,400 -12,300
Hospitality & Tourism 13,700 – 18,600

12,000 -14,300
Medicine 114,300 (5 yrs.) 62,900 -108,600

All figures are estimates

4. Preparation for External Professional Examinations

Type of Programme Estimated Tuition Fees in USD
Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA) 3,300 – 4,300
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) 3,700 – 4,500
Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administration (ICSA) 2,900 – 3,400

“Malaysia is ranked as the world’s 12th most preferred study destination by UNESCO.”

The Malaysian government is committed to its vision of turning the country into a high quality education destination for students from all over the globe. The country’s Ministry of Higher Education monitors all institutions to ensure that they adhere to the highest standards.

As a result, many reputable foreign universities from countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have set up branch campuses in Malaysia or engaged in collaboration with Malaysian institutions.

Quality Assurance

The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) monitors the quality of all areas of the education system. It is the main quality assurance and accrediting body and it has the responsibility of assuring the quality of both public and private higher education institutions in Malaysia. This ensures students gain the skills they need and obtain qualifications that are relevant for their future career.

Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF)

The Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) is Malaysia’s declaration about its qualifications and their quality in relation to its education system. MQF is an instrument that develops and classifies qualifications based on a set of criteria that are approved nationally and benchmarked against international best practices, and which clarifies the earned academic levels, learning outcomes of study areas and credit system based on student academic load. These criteria are accepted and used for all qualifications awarded by recognised higher education providers. Hence, MQF integrates with and links all national qualifications.

MQF has eight levels of qualifications which range from certificates to doctoral qualifications in three national sectors, Skills, Vocational and Technical as well as Higher Education.


Malaysia has:

  • More than 30 years of experience in international education.
  • 2% of the international student population around the world.
  • Close to 100,000 international students.

Malaysia offer:

  • A wide range of courses ranging from English language programmes and diplomas, to degrees and post-graduate studies.
  • A variety of study options in private higher educational institutions, foreign university branch campuses and public universities.
  • Flexible external degree programmes that cater to different budgets and academic needs.
  • Excellent internationally-recognised qualifications.

If you opt to study in Malaysia, you can get the best of two worlds – a degree from a highly recognised international university, at a very affordable cost. There are three ways to do this:

  • Study at a Malaysian Private University and earn a bachelor’s degree or postgraduate degree that is recognized worldwide.
  • Study at a Foreign University Branch campus in Malaysia at a lower cost and get a degree issued by the parent university.
  • Study at a private college under a split degree programme or 3+0 degree programme.