The UK is one of the top destinations – if not the top destination – for Malaysian students planning to study abroad. In 2018, an estimated 14,950 students traveled to the UK for further studies. Despite setbacks from Covid-19, our market insights suggest these numbers will rise even further. So, what makes the UK attractive to Malaysian students? Let’s find out.
Why Do Malaysian Students Want to Study in the UK?
1. Access to World-Class Education
Getting higher quality education is one of the top motivations Malaysian students have for studying abroad. And the UK has a legacy spanning centuries of providing just that! In fact, many of the world’s best universities are in the UK. 26 of the top 200 universities on the QS World University Rankings 2022 are in the UK. Of these, two institutions, the University of Oxford, and the University of Cambridge, are in the top three! Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 places 29 UK universities in the top 200. And the first place goes to the University of Oxford!
UK universities are a mainstay in world rankings. Be it for subject-specific ranks, research, or teaching quality, these institutions place impressively every year. Thus, holding a degree from a UK university unlocks many doors for you. The UK has several frameworks in place to ensure that the standards for education are always as high as possible. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), for example, accredits all UK universities against specific standards. Meanwhile, the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) rates the quality of teaching across UK higher education providers at undergraduate level.
These systems, among others, ensure that you’re getting the best education opportunities in the world. You graduate with the knowledge, skills, mindset, and experience employers are on the lookout for. According to QS Top Universities, 36 UK universities rank in the top 300 for highest graduate employability in 2020!
2. Cost of Studying in the UK for Malaysian Students
A common concern for international students is the cost of studying in the UK. The country has quite the reputation for being expensive for students. International students pay several times more in tuition fees compared to locals. Plus, the cost of living in the UK can skew higher as well.
As a Malaysian student, though, you have several unique opportunities for getting a degree from a UK university at a lower cost. Malaysian and UK universities have a significant history of collaboration. What makes the UK attractive to Malaysian students includes opportunities like:
Study at a Branch UK University
Several well-known, highly-ranking UK universities have branch campuses in Malaysia. Depending on the institute, you can enroll in the Malaysian branch of a UK university. You can then study the same courses and qualify for the same programs as their UK counterparts. These programs lead to the same qualifications as UK students earn in their home country. Again depending on the school, you also can complete part of your course in the UK! This allows you to study abroad and get a UK university degree, at far less cost!
The following UK universities have branch campuses in Malaysia:
- University of Nottingham Malaysia
- Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
- University of Reading Malaysia
- Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia
- University of Southampton Malaysia
Do A 3+0 Degree
A 3+0 degree involves enrolling at a Malaysian higher education provider which partners with a UK university. You complete your program in Malaysia – but you’re awarded by the partner UK university. The course requirements, structure, and standards are set by this partner university. Essentially, you get a degree from a UK university at far less cost, by studying in Malaysia. Some university partnerships offering 3+0 degrees are:
- The University of West of England, Bristol, in partnership with Taylor’s University for degrees in business and computer science
- Anglia Ruskin University with HELP College of Art and Technology for degrees in Business Information Systems (BIS) and computer science
- Nottingham Trent University with KBU International College for degrees in graphic design, software engineering, and architecture programs
This is one of the most affordable options for Malaysian students looking to get a UK university degree. The downside, though, is that you don’t get to study abroad in the UK.
Enroll for a Dual Award Degree Program
A Malaysian university and UK university may also partner to offer dual award degrees. When you complete a dual award program, both institutions award you a degree. In other words, you graduate with two degrees from both the Malaysian and the UK universities for completing the same program. Depending on the university, you may have the opportunity to complete part of your program at the partner university in the UK. Typically, you would complete one or more years of the program in Malaysia, before transferring to the UK university. Some dual award opportunities for Malaysian students include:
- Taylor’s University Malaysia with the University of West of England, Bristol – dual award degree programs awarded by Taylor’s Business School and Bristol Business School
- Sunway University Malaysia with Lancaster University – dual award degree programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels for Business, Arts, Science & Technology, and more
- Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) Malaysia with De Montfort University
3. Scholarship Opportunities for Malaysian Students in the UK
As you can see, there are plenty of options for Malaysian students to get a UK degree at lower costs. Another option Malaysian students can pursue are scholarship opportunities to study in the UK. Several institutions, including government bodies and private corporations, offer opportunities for talented Malaysians to study in renowned UK universities.
For example, the Yayasan Khazanah Foundation offers Malaysian nationals fully-funded scholarships to study in the following UK universities:
- University of Oxford
- London School of Economics
- University of Cambridge
- Imperial College London
- University College London
- King’s College London
- University of Edinburgh
By qualifying for the Khazanah Global Scholarship, Malaysian undergraduate and graduate students can study at these top-ranked UK universities. The award covers tuition fees, living expense allowances, and more! In exchange for accepting this scholarship, students agree to return to Malaysia and work for government-approved schools or research institutions after completing their studies.
There are several other options for talented Malaysian citizens to study in the UK through scholarship opportunities in Malaysia! These awards are usually part of an initiative to develop Malaysia’s human capital. Along with sponsoring you for the best education in the world, this usually guarantees career prospects for awardees, too!
Scholarship opportunities aren’t limited to the home country either. Both the UK government and UK institutions may have funding opportunities for Malaysian students. Malaysian students may be eligible, for example, for the Chevening program at master’s level. Don’t miss out on these opportunities – thoroughly research what award options are available for Malaysians!
4. Job Prospects in the UK for Malaysian Students
The opportunity to work as a student in the UK is not one to miss out on. The experience you get can be invaluable when you’re applying for work. Employers tend to prefer graduates with real-world experience in the workplace. Getting that experience in one of the economic and industrial powerhouses of the world is an incredible opportunity!
Your entry clearance or BRP (biometric residence permit) will let you know if you have permission to work as a student in the UK. If you’re enrolling under a student sponsor with a track record of compliance, you may be eligible to work while studying! If you’re studying full-time at degree level, you can work up to 20 hours a week. During the holidays, you can work full-time. Below degree level, as long as you are 16 or older, you can work for 10 hours a week.
Even if you don’t have the authorization to work in the UK, you can still get industry experience through work placements. If an internship or work placement is anywhere between a third and one-half of your course curriculum, you can work as part of completing your program. Your university, which must be a student sponsor with a track record of compliance, will coordinate this agreement with the Home Office and make sure you comply with necessary guidelines. Be sure to check into the eligibility criteria for you to qualify for work in the UK as an international student!
5. Experience a Multicultural Environment
Just as Malaysia is “Truly Asia” with its harmony of cultures co-existing in one country, so is the UK. Studying in the UK allows Malaysian students to experience a truly global community. The UK has hundreds of years of history of welcoming and hosting international students in its schools. As a result, UK universities are very accommodating and accustomed to working with international students. Since the UK is a popular destination for international students, you can meet people from all over the world. With some of the most diverse cities in the world, the UK offers a truly global experience!
This also means that you are very likely to find familiar sights and sounds here, too. From restaurants and cafes to music and arts, the UK celebrates cultures from around the world. For Malaysians worried about feeling homesick, rest assured – you’ll definitely find a slice of home here.
Our Final Thoughts: What Makes the UK Attractive to Malaysian Students?
Among what makes the UK attractive to Malaysian students is certainly the fact that it’s more accessible than you may think. Thanks to partnerships and collaborations between Malaysian and UK universities, you can graduate with a UK university degree at a lower cost. These may involve opportunities to complete part of your program in the UK! One of the biggest plus points is always the fact that the UK is a leader in higher education. Graduating with a degree from a UK university unlocks many possibilities for your future you may otherwise not have access to. The Malaysian government and several private corporations recognize this too. With a UK degree, you are instantly recognized as a skilled, knowledgeable young individual. As a result, home organizations offer several attractive scholarship opportunities that can cover your study abroad costs at renowned universities! It certainly isn’t an opportunity to miss out on.