Malaysia has several top-notch universities that are both affordable and internationally recognized. This university also boasts of a world-class learning environment where students can conveniently enroll for Ph.D. programs mostly taught in English.

International students interested in studying for a Ph.D. program in this country will need all the help they can get; hence, this article will guide prospective students through essential steps in applying for a Ph.D. in Malaysia — covering admission criteria and required documents for international applicants. Read on and learn the important details on how to start your Ph.D. journey at a Malay university.

Is it Expensive to Study Ph.D. in Malaysia?

Generally, Malaysia provides Ph.D. education at more affordable rates compared to other popular study destinations like Canada, Australia, and the USA. Making it a better option for international students looking for more affordable universities for their doctorate programs.

For instance, tuition rates at Monash University Malaysia are about 50,880 MYR or $10,639 regardless of the doctorate program they applied for. Aside from tuition, students are expected to pay for the following: application, registration, and general amenities fees.

Admission Requirements for Doctoral Degree in Malaysia

Malaysian universities require applicants for doctorate degrees to submit certain documents before being considered for admission. The university will use these documents to determine if applicants are suitable for the program or not. Although these requirements vary from one university to another, here are the most common ones usually requested:

1. Completed Application Form

To apply for a doctoral degree in Malaysia, applicants will be required to fill out and submit the university application form accurately. Applicants must completely fill out the form and pay the necessary fees.

2. Master’s Degree Certificate

Before applying for a doctoral degree in Malaysia, you must have earned a master’s degree certificate. The admissions committee will then ask you to submit copies of the certificate. Ensure the copies are legible and meet the university submission guidelines.

3. Academic Transcripts

When applying for a doctoral degree in Malaysia, you must provide an official academic transcript from your previous educational institution. These documents show the classes you took, the grades you received, and your overall academic performance. Before sending this document, ensure that the records are current and in English or translated if needed.

4. Proof of Funding

Applicants must show proof of funding, proving they can cover the tuition fees and living costs while studying in the country. Proof of financial documents like bank statements, and certificates of earnings are generally accepted. If a candidate has secured a scholarship, he/she must include an official confirmation to assure the university they have the necessary funds to cover their study.

5. Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume

When applying for a doctoral degree in Malaysia, applicants are also required to submit a CV or resume detailing their education, work experience, and achievements. A CV should also contain any research experience, awards, publications, and skills. In addition, ensure you keep your resume well organized and relevant to the course you are applying for.

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Doctoral Programs

International students who are not from English-speaking countries will likely need to take a language proficiency test such as IELTS or TOEFL. Most universities in this country typically require a minimum score, usually between 6.0 and 7.0 for IELTS and 80 to 100 for TOEFL.

In addition, many Malaysian universities offer doctoral programs in English, like those at Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. And while English is the primary language in this country, some programs may be available in other languages like Malay. Therefore, it is important to check specific language requirements for your chosen discipline on the official website of the university you want to attend.

Application Process for Doctoral Degree in Malaysia

Step 1. Choose a university and a discipline

Once you have decided to study for a doctoral degree in Malaysia, you first want to decide on the university you would like to go to and the course you want to study. You can find a lot of information on the school’s official website and go through the courses they offer. You should also consider other factors like the university’s reputation, the university acceptance rate, available resources, and faculty expertise.

Step 2. Check admission requirements

After selecting a university of your choice, the next thing to check is the school’s admission requirement for a doctoral program. The school will validate and evaluate all the requirements submitted to check if you qualify to study for a doctoral degree. For most, the number one admission requirement is a master’s degree. Other necessary documents may include a minimum GPA, a letter of recommendation, a resume, a passport, and proficiency in the English language.

Step 3. Research funding opportunities

Securing funding for your doctoral studies is very important. This usually covers academic needs, living expenses, and research execution. Therefore, start researching early, as some opportunities have specific deadlines.

Step 4. Complete online application

Applicants interested in studying for a doctoral degree in Malaysia must register to the university’s online portal, where they will submit their personal and academic information and upload the necessary documents. The applicant must also pay the application fee and follow other application guidelines during this process.

Step 5. Accept the offer and register

If the school deems you fit for the program, you will receive an admission offer, of which you must decide whether to accept the offer or not. Once you accept the offer, you then have to proceed to further registration and submit other relevant documents requested by the school. You should also begin to make adequate preparations, such as applying for a visa, organizing accommodation, covering financial obligations, and learning more about the culture of Malaysia.


After you have prepared all these steps, you are then ready to fly to Malaysia to start your journey to obtaining a doctoral degree! Not many are aware that doctoral programs in Malaysia are some of the best in the world, and international students who have found the opportunity to study at this school have become impactful individuals who make significant changes in their community. If you are interested in earning a doctorate at a university in Malaysia, This guide will make the process a lot easier.


Hopefully, this guide will help you in applying for your Ph.D. in Malaysia. Head on over to the Study in Malaysia Page to read more articles about studying abroad! You can also search for courses on our Available Programs for international students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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