Study Top Foundation Programmes after SPM Malaysia’s Best Private Universities & Colleges
Choosing the best Foundation course in Malaysia to study after SPM or O-Levels can be challenging. Many students after SPM or O-Levels are left with the difficult task of making that choice without being sufficiently equipped with the necessary details to make an informed choice. Students should ask a counselor who is knowledgeable and experienced to provide the right information to help them make the right choice.
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Best Foundation Courses at Top Universities & Colleges in Malaysia
“Pre-University” means the course that you take before entering into a university in Malaysia. Therefore, a Foundation Programme is also classified as a Pre-University Programmes. Most students will enter into the Pre-University programme after completing SPM. There are many different Pre-University programmes available in Malaysia such as the STPM, A-Levels, SAM, CPU, AUSMAT, and more. If you don’t plan to go overseas immediately after your Pre-University Programme, then you should go for the Foundation programme in Malaysia.
Students after SPM or O-Levels should choose the foundation programme in Malaysia that best fits their career goals and needs. Students will take about 10-12 subjects in 3 semesters (1 year) for the Foundation programme at private universities in Malaysia. You will get the chance to study a variety of subject areas in the Foundation Programme. This will not only give you an idea of what subject you may like to progress on to, but also to develop the valuable learning skills necessary for pursue a degree. A Foundation Programme in Malaysia can be 2 semesters with 6 months each semester or 3 semesters with 4 months each semester.
Top private universities in Malaysia, have developed their own internal university foundation programmes. The curriculum and examination of the Foundation programmes are set by the local private colleges & universities, following the quality criteria set by the Ministry of Higher Education and quality assurance agency, Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).
These Foundation courses are accredited by the Malaysia Qualification Agency (MQA) and recognised by the university’s respective foreign partner universities and also accepted by many other overseas universities as an equivalent to pre-university qualification in their respective home countries.
External Pre-University Programmes such as the A-Levels, AUSMAT or CIMP offer general subjects in Science or Arts.
There are many types of Foundation programmes in Malaysia, some are general like the Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Science, while other are more specific to the intended course of study like the Foundation in Engineering or Foundation in Computing & Technology. Students who know what they want to study can just go for the specific Foundation at the university offering the degree of interest. You can go for the Foundation in Design, Foundation in Communication, Foundation in Technology, etc.
However, there are also general Foundation programmes such as Foundation in Arts and Foundation in Science offered by the private universities. Foundation in Science programmes can lead to engineering, pharmacy, medicine, applied sciences, health sciences and other arts related degree programmes. The Foundation in Arts programme can lead to accounting, business, computing, architecture, design, and other arts related courses. After completing the Foundation in Science students have the choice to choose sciences or arts related degree programmes.
For students who have yet to decide on what to study for their degree, or would like to keep their choices open, should go for the Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Science.
Through these foundation courses, students will be able to gain an understanding of the core skills in a main field of choice through exposure to a range of subjects, even if they are unclear about which degree programme they want to undertake in university.
To enter into the degree programmes, you will need at least a CGPA of 2.00 or 2.50 depending on the university and the course.
Choosing a top private university in Malaysia to study after SPM or O-Levels for your Pre-University or Foundation course takes time, it is a process in finding out which one best fits you. You need to talk to the right counselors who are knowledgeable and experienced. Students should choose top universities in Malaysia that has an English-speaking environment so that it will help you to improve your language skills. Good English is important to obtain higher salaries and faster promotions in Malaysia. English-speaking environments promote critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership skills which enhance your career prospects.
Study Foundation or External Pre-University or STPM in Malaysia
Students after SPM or O-Levels can consider taking the Foundation Programmes at top private colleges & universities in Malaysia. The Foundation Programmes are 1 year and is cheaper compared to the external Pre-University Programmes. Foundation programmes are generally easier than external Pre-University courses. If you do not plan on going overseas for your degree programme, then it is better to go for the Foundation programme at a top private university in Malaysia.
Choosing the right Pre-University course that fits you would mean that you have to ask yourself which methods of assessment best suit you? Exams, coursework, practicals, group projects and presentations could all be in the mix in differing quantities.
Every Pre-University course in Malaysia will include a percentage of the breakdown of assessment for the subjects. You need to understand yourself and capabilities in order to decide which Pre-University course would best suit you. Students who are not sure of what to study after SPM can contact EduSpiral Consultant Services to help guide you to choose the right course and university.
After SPM, one of the choices that students have is to take Form 6 and eventually the STPM examination. Most students choose the STPM because of financial difficulties which is a valid reason. However, if your parents can afford or if they can sacrifice, it is better to go for the Foundation programme at private universities in Malaysia. In the article below, we will discuss in detail the advantages and disadvantages of taking the STPM and why you should take the Foundation programme.
If you are still not sure of what to study for your degree, the Foundation programme is a good choice and is shorter in duration than the STPM or A-Levels and less difficult.
What you need to know about the Foundation Course in Malaysia
Foundation courses can be seen as preparatory courses that assist students to transition from SPM or O-Levels in Malaysia to specific bachelor’s degree programmes. The Foundation Programme in Malaysia is a pre-university program designed to help students meet the entry requirements for first-year university and prepare them to handle the rigours of undergraduate studies. Students gain a solid grounding in academic and communication skills, with a focus on developing their Critical Thinking and English language skills.
- Duration: 3 semesters (1 year of full-time study). Some universities offer a 2-semester Foundation which is still 1 year in duration.
- Entry Requirements: Min. 5 credits, inclusive of Maths and 2 pure Science subjects for Foundation in Science or Engineering. For IT, you must have a credit in Maths. Other courses just require 5 credits. For Medicine and Pharmacy, Min. 5B in Maths, Additional Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics but will vary from university to university.
- Recognition: Mostly in Malaysia and some overseas. As long as the Foundation course is accredited by MQA, it will be accepted by another private university for entry into the relevant degree programme.
- Cost: Generally cheaper than overseas Pre-University courses and A-Levels
Foundation Courses Assessment System
Assessment for Foundation programmes in Malaysia will vary from university to university. Foundation courses will follow assessment methods set by the institution and/or its partner university.
The coursework could cover different assessment tasks such as projects, assignments, laboratory work, presentations, tests, and others as assigned throughout each semester. The final examination is conducted at the end of each semester. The assessments are subject to quality assurance procedures to maintain high standards and ensuring fair assessment.
Unlike the external pre-university programmes in Malaysia which focus on more general Science and Art-based subjects, the Foundation programmes for private universities provide specialisation in specific areas of study such as business, computer & IT, or engineering, and hence, cater to the specific needs of different students.
Foundation Subjects: The number of subjects vary from 8 to 12 subjects depending on which university.
MPU Subjects / GENERAL STUDIES (Compulsory Units)
- Through the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), the Ministry of Education (MOE), Higher Education Sector has imposed the following requirements on programmes offered by all private tertiary education providers:
- MPU (i.e. General Studies) will replace MPW from September 2013 onwards (Ministry of Education directive of 18th June 2013).
- The Ministry of Education requires that all NEW Degree (International and Malaysian) students enrolled in September 2013 and onwards must take the MPU units as a prerequisite for the award of their degree.
- Malaysian Degree students must take the units and pass them as a prerequisite for the award of the degree.
- Students are required to take other MPU units which will be rolled out during the course of their study.
Why Study Foundation in Malaysia?
- It is cheaper than other Pre-U programmes like SAM, AUSMAT, A-Levels, etc which can cost from RM20,000 to RM60,000.
- The Foundation Programme is generally easier than the external qualifications.
- It is faster and easier than the A-Levels and STPM
- It is accepted and recognised for entry into most Private Universities in Malaysia
- If you don’t plan to go overseas to study for your degree then it is a cheaper and better option.
General Entry Requirements into Foundation Programmes in Malaysia
General Entry Requirements are 5 SPM Credits with Passes in BM & Sejarah. Note that the entry requirements will vary from university to university. You will need to check with the university of interest to find out exactly what their entry requirements are. Or you may contact EduSpiral Consultant Services for advise on your entry to top private universities in Malaysia.
- Foundation in Arts entering into the following degree programmes:
- Business Administration, Management, Logistics & Marketing – 5 Credits
- Accounting, Finance, Banking, Investment & Actuarial Science – 5 Credits including Maths and a Pass in English
- Arts, Design, Advertising, Hospitality, Hotel Management & Communication – 5 Credits
- Psychology – 5 Credits including Maths, one Science subject and a Pass in English
- Architecture and Information Technology (IT) – 5 Credits including Maths
- Computer Science – 5 Credits including Additional Maths
- English Language, TESL & Mass Communication – 5 Credits including English
- Foundation in Science entering into:
- Engineering – 5 Credits including Maths and 1 Science (Physics/ Chemistry/ Biology)
- Architecture and IT – 5 Credits including Maths
- Computer Science – 5 Credits including Add Maths
- Foundation in Science entering into the following degree programmes
- Biotechnology, Culinology, Food Science, Nutrition, Physiotherapy, Biotechnology, Biomedical Science, Medical Imaging & Optometry – 5 credits including Mathematics and 2 science subjects
- Pharmacy – 5Bs including Biology and Chemistry and Physic and Math (or Additional Math)
- Medicine & Dentistry – 5Bs including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics/Additional Mathematics and 1 other subject
- Architecture and IT – 5 Credits including Maths
- Foundation in Computing & Technology into the following degree programmes
- Computing, Information Technology, Software Engineering, Game Development, Intelligent Systems, Cyber Security & Networking, – 5 credits including Mathematics
- Foundation in Business into the following degree programmes
- Business Administration, Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Logistics & Marketing – 5 Credits
- Accounting, Finance, Banking, Investment & Actuarial Science – 5 Credits including Maths and a Pass in English
- Foundation in Engineering entering into:
- Mechanical, Civil, Electrical & Electronic, Telecommunication & Mechatronic – 5 Credits including Maths and 1 Science (Physics/ Chemistry/ Biology)
- Foundation in Architecture or Natural & Built Environment entering into:
- Architecture – 5 Credits including Maths
- Interior Architecture or Interior Design – 5 Credits
- Foundation in Design to enter into:
- Graphic Design, Interior Design, Product Design, Multimedia, Animation – 5 Credits
- Some universities may require a portfolio of your artwork or a credit in Art
- Foundation in Communication to enter into:
- Mass Communication, Media Studies, Public Relations, Journalism, Branding & Advertising – 5 Credits
Top Ranked Universities such as Heriot-Watt University Malaysia will require higher entry requirements into the Foundation Course
English Language Requirement For Foundation Programmes in Malaysia
In addition to the academic requirements, students are also required to meet the English Language requirements. An applicant who does not meet the Universities’ English Language Requirements may need to take an extra English course at the university or an external English examination such as the IELTS.
Top Ten Reasons to Study the Foundation Programme at the Best Private Universities in Malaysia
- Cheaper than the External Pre-University Programmes
- Easier than the External Pre-University Programmes such as A-Levels, STPM or AUSMAT
- Some are recognised for entry into overseas universities
- Accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency
- You study subjects that you like, which is Arts-related
- Your coursework and exams are marked by Malaysians who understand what you write or express
- You will be exposed to different types of arts-related subjects which would help you to decide which major to choose in the degree.
- Faster to enter the degree programme compared to taking the STPM or A-Levels
- If you do not plan to go overseas, there is no reason to take an external Pre-University programme which is tougher and more expensive.
- When you score well in the Foundation in Arts, you can apply for scholarships for the degree programme at the same university.
Top Private Universities & Colleges Offering First-Rate Foundation Programmes in Malaysia
- Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
- Asia Pacific University (APU)
- Taylor’s University
- UCSI University
- Foundation in Arts
- Foundation in Science
- Foundation in Music
- KDU University College Utropolis Glenmarie
- MAHSA University
- HELP University
- First City University College
- IACT College
- Berjaya University College of Hospitality
- Foundation in Commerce
- Foundation in Hospitality
- KDU Penang University College
- KDU College Damansara Jaya
Top Criteria to Consider When Choosing the Best Private University in Malaysia for a Foundation Programme that Fits You
- Is the Foundation course popular at that university? Quality/reputation/ranking of the private university in Malaysia
- Are the courses recognised and approved by the Ministry of Education Malaysia?
- Are the courses accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Audit (MQA)?
- Subjects offered in the Foundation (Are they relevant, up-to-date, and help you to achieve your career goals)
- Do they have enough students to start a class?
- How many students do they have studying that course at that university?
- What is the duration of the course?
- Quality of lecturers. What are their qualifications? How many years of experience in teaching?
- Faculty contact/classes taught by full-time qualified & experienced faculty
- Ask your friends who have studied there for their opinion. Ask your friends who are currently studying there as well.
- Entry requirements (Foreign branch campuses in Malaysia have higher entry requirements)
- How much money do I have to pay for the course and cost of living? Ask your parents. Note that you will need to have enough to pay the tuition fees as well as your cost of living. (tuition, hostel, food, transportation, etc.)
- What are the Financial assistance available at the university? (Scholarships, PTPN Loan, EPF withdrawal, MARA Loan, etc)
- Is the PTPTN loan available for the course at the university?
- How much are the tuition fees? Does it include the exam and other fees?
- How much is on-campus accommodation?
- How much is off-campus accommodation? Note that it might be cheaper to find off campus accommodation on your own with friends. Is the accommodations near eateries, banks, entertainment, public transportation, etc.?
- What is the student culture at the university? (English-speaking environment, ambitious, serious about studies, lifestyle or party university, etc) The language spoken mostly at the college by the students may also matter if you don’t know Mandarin or BM or English. If most of the students speak Mandarin at that university then it will not help you to improve your English. Having a good command of the English language helps you to get good jobs and promotions.
- What is the make up of the student body (diversity, international students, gender, etc.)
- What are the Extra-curricular activities available? (Student organisations, clubs, sports, etc.)
- Public vs. Private (STPM is tougher and choice of course & university is determined by the government)
Common Factors in Choosing the Best Private University in Malaysia for the Foundation Programme
Here’s a list of common criteria in choosing a top private university in Malaysia for the Foundation course:
- What type of university do I like? (Large, medium, small, city, suburbs, or outer city) Some people like small universities where you get a community feel while others like large university campuses where they get to meet lots of people.
- The size of the university also matters to some people as some prefer a small and friendly university environment where you know everyone’s names. Some may prefer a medium sized university where there are more students to interact with and more facilities to use like a bigger library, student centre, computer labs etc.
- In large universities you might feel lost but there will be more facilities like a football field, gym, swimming pool, basketball courts, etc. You just need to understand your personality and then choose the type of university that fits you.
- If you are a sports person, you might want to find one with a football field, basketball courts, gym or swimming pool.
- Safety at the university campus and community.
- Know yourself, if you like city life, don’t choose a university far away from the city even though the facilities are great. However, if you have a discipline problem in having too much fun, studying away from the city may be a good choice
- What are the facilities and resources offered at the university? – engineering labs, computer labs, computers, science labs, sports facilities, student centre, job placement centre, etc. Note – You should expect to get what you pay for.
- If you like sports, you may not want to choose a university without a basketball court or gym.
- Is it near public transportation? This is important if you do not have transportation.
- Note that you get what you pay for, if you pay for a Kancil don’t expect a Mercedes service. Nothing wrong with a Kancil, it’s just being realistic with your “purchase” however that does not mean that you should get lousy service from that college.
Best Foundation Programmes in Malaysia at Leading Private Universities & Colleges
Students after SPM or O-Levels should choose the foundation programme in Malaysia that best fits their career goals and needs. Students will take about 10-12 subjects in 3 semesters (1 year) for the Foundation programme at private universities in Malaysia.
If you are not sure of which degree you plan to take then go for the Foundation in Science where it allows you to enter into any science-related or arts-related degree courses. The Foundation in Arts will allow students to choose from only arts-based degree programmes.
Students who are sure of their degree course may go for the specific Foundation courses where the subjects are tailored towards their degree studies such as Foundation in Computing & Information Technology, Foundation in Business Administration, Foundation in Engineering, Foundation in Design, Foundation in Architecture or Foundation in Communication or Media Studies.