In the past few years, Malaysia has invested a lot in improving its medical education programs. They have also upgraded their university hospitals and health centers with the latest medical equipment. Because of these efforts, Malaysia has become a top choice for international students who aspire to study medicine abroad. In this guide, we will guide you through the benefits, requirements, time it takes, and costs to study medicine in Malaysia for international students.
Malaysia is a great option for a lot of foreign students to study MBBS, because the tuition fees are affordable, and the cost of living is low.
Why study Medicine in Malaysia?
Many international students choose Malaysia to study medicine abroad because it offers many great advantages:
- Study Medicine in English. Most public and private medical universities in Malaysia teach medicine in English, which is very helpful for international students.
- Modern Hospitals and Health Centers. Malaysian medical universities focus on practical training. They have the newest medical equipment and are famous for doing important research in different medical areas.
- Quality Education. Malaysian medical universities are among the best in the world. International students who would like to study MBBS in Malaysia receive a top-notch education for a successful medical career.
- Prestigious International Universities. Malaysia is home to campuses of famous international universities like Monash University, Curtin University, University of Nottingham, Newcastle University of Medicine, Southampton, and others.
- Part-Time Work Opportunities. International students in Malaysia can work part-time, up to 20 hours per week. However, they need a work permit.
- Affordable Living Costs. The average cost of living while studying in Malaysia is about 1,500 ringgit per month (around $400). This makes the country more budget-friendly for international students.
- Welcoming Environment. Malaysian universities warmly welcome over 130,000 students from around the world.
Disadvantages of studying MBBS in Malaysia for international students
Studying medicine in Malaysia has some downsides. One significant drawback of studying MBBS in Malaysia is that international students can’t do the sixth year of clinical training, also called the internship year. This year is only available for Malaysian students.
So, international students need to think about finishing their sixth year of medical training in their home country or in a country where it’s possible.
Another issue is that studying medicine at private Malaysian universities can be expensive, which might worry many international students. In the next parts, we will discuss the costs to study MBBS in Malaysia in more detail.
What is the duration of MBBS in Malaysia?
In Malaysian medical universities, studying medicine takes 5 years. The first two years are called the pre-clinical stage, and they happen at the medical university. Then, from years 3 to 5, students go into the clinical stage and begin their training in Malaysian hospitals.
Once international students complete the 5-year medical program in Malaysia, there’s an extra 2-year training period in hospitals and government health centers.
However, this extra training is only available for Malaysian students, not for international students. So, international students finish their medical studies in Malaysia after 5 years of study.
Can international students study Medicine in public and private Malaysian universities?
Some Malaysian public universities don’t offer medical programs for international students. For example, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak doesn’t accept international applications for MBBS, but they offer nursing programs to international students.
On the other hand, the state university, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, accepts applications from international students for their medicine program taught in English.
To find universities where you can study medicine in Malaysia as an international student, check the websites of the public universities listed in the table below.
Keep in mind that admission to public medical universities is highly competitive for international students. That’s why many foreign students choose private medical universities since they are more flexible.
The good news is that all Malaysian private medical universities accept applications from international students without any exceptions.
Requirements to study medicine in Malaysia for international students
To get into a Malaysian medical university, you need to meet certain conditions for studying medicine. We’ll list the main requirements that apply to both Malaysian public and private universities:
1. Pre-Medical Foundation Year in Malaysia
In Malaysia, most public and private universities ask students to complete a pre-medical foundation year before starting their medical studies. This course has two semesters.
The purpose of this preparatory program is to get international students ready for their undergraduate studies in medical sciences. It includes subjects like biology, math, and chemistry, along with English, teamwork, and leadership skills.
Many Malaysian public and private universities offer the pre-medical foundation year to international students. Here are some examples:
|The university||The cost of Pre-Medical Foundation Year|
|Penang Medical College Pre-Medical Foundation||45,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$10,100)|
|UNIMAS Foundation in Life Science||US$4000.|
|MAHSA University Foundation in Science||40,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$9000)|
The required GPA for the pre-medical foundation year is different for each Malaysian university. So, make sure to check the specific application requirements of the university you want to apply to.
2. High school diploma
To apply to Malaysian medical universities, you need a high school diploma or equivalent with a transcript of records.
If you want to do the pre-medical foundation year, you must have finished your secondary education. Your high school certificate should be in English or translated into English.
3. Required GPA to study MBBS in Malaysia
To study medicine in Malaysia, the international student should have a GPA of at least 70%. However, your chances to get accepted into a medical school will be higher if your GPA is 80% or higher.
When considering applications from international students, Malaysian medical universities focus on your grades in certain subjects such as biology, chemistry, and mathematics.
4. Proficiency in English
Most Malaysian medical universities require international students to submit official English test scores. This will help them evaluate students’ English skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Medical universities in Malaysia accept IELTS Test scores of 6 or higher or TOEFL Test scores of 550 or higher.
5. Online interview
Once your application to study medicine in Malaysian universities is fully evaluated, some public or private universities might request an online interview with you.
The interview typically lasts around 30 minutes. It aims to assess your qualifications, communication skills, and commitment to succeed in the medical field.
However, not all Malaysian medical universities require this interview, especially private ones. So, make sure to carefully read the requirements of the medical university you plan to apply to.
6. Recommendation letters
Having at least one letter of recommendation from a previous professor who knows you well can help the university review your application better.
7. Personal Statement
Some public universities in Malaysia, like Universiti Malaysia Sabah, may request a personal statement showing your motivation to study medicine in Malaysia.
Admission requirements in Malaysian public and private medical universities are quite different. Public universities often have more demanding requirements due to high competition for available spots.
If you intend to apply to study MBBS at Malaysian public universities as an international student, be ready to put in more effort and time.
To help you choose the best Malaysian medical university that matches your qualifications and financial situation, we have gathered a table of Malaysian medical universities with links to their official websites.
Full list of medical universities in Malaysia
In Malaysia, there are 32 medical universities, with 11 being public and 21 private. This means international students have many choices to study MBBS based on what they prefer.
Most Malaysian medical universities teach medicine in English, and private ones are usually more flexible.
Here is a complete list of Malaysian public and private medical universities, along with their official websites:
The cost of studying medicine in Malaysia for international students
The average cost to study medicine in Malaysia is around 85,000 Malaysian ringgit per year for international students (around US$19,000).
Tuition fees for MBBS in Malaysia can differ between public and private medical universities. For example, the cost of studying medicine at the State University of Islamic Sciences starts from 66,000 ringgit per year (around US$14,900). However, tuition fees for MBBS at St Penang Medical College are around 148,000 ringgit per year (around US$33,000).
In the table below, you’ll find information about tuition fees for studying medicine in many Malaysian public and private medical universities that accept international students.
|The University||University type||Tuition fees for MBBS|
|Universiti Malaysia Sabah||Public||97,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US21,000)|
|Universiti Putra Malaysia||Public||100,200 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$22,550)|
|Universiti Sains Malaysia||Public||US$27,500 per year|
|Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia Medical Faculty||Public||66,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$14,900)|
|International Islamic University Malaysia||Private||100,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$22,500)|
|Penang Medical College||Private||148,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$33,000)|
|International Medical University||Private||109,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$24,470)|
|Monash University||Private||117,600 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$26,500)|
|Melaka-Manipal Medical College||Private||US$29,000 per year|
Top 9 medical universities in Malaysia
In the QS World University Rankings for 2023, there are 9 Malaysian medical universities in the list of the top 650 medical universities worldwide.
The top 9 medical universities in Malaysia are:
|The Malaysian medical university||QS World University Rankings|
|1. Universiti Malaya (UM)||144|
|2. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)||251-300|
|3. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)||251-300|
|4. Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)||301-350|
|5. UCSI University||451-500|
|6. Universiti Teknologi MARA – UiTM||451-500|
|7. International Medical University||551-600|
|8. International Islamic University||601-650|
|9. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia||601-650|
What is the cheapest university to study medicine in Malaysia?
UCSI University is the cheapest medical university in Malaysia for international students. Tuition fees for MBBS at UCSI University are 60,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (around US$13,450).
Here is a list of the cheapest medical universities in Malaysia, starting from the most affordable, along with the cost of studying medicine at each of them:
|The University||University type||Tuition fees for MBBS|
|1. UCSI University||Private||60,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$13,400)|
|2. Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia Medical Faculty||Public||66,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$14,90)|
|3. Universiti Malaysia Sabah||Public||97,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$21,000)ا|
|4. International Islamic University Malaysia||Private||100,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$22,500)|
|5. Universiti Putra Malaysia||Public||100,200 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$22,550)|
|6. Medical College||Private||109,000 Malaysian ringgit per year (US$24,470)|
If you want to study at affordable universities in Malaysia, check out our previous article: With Fees.. 9 Cheapest Universities in Malaysia for International Students
That’s all you need to know about how to study medicine in Malaysia for international students. As we’ve seen, there are many options that match each student’s qualifications and preferences.
While tuition fees for MBBS in Malaysia might seem a bit high to some students, it’s important to remember that studying medicine in English can be costly in many countries around the world.
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