Foundation Courses in Malaysia

Looking to take up graduate level programs in Malaysia but do not have the necessary qualification in terms of grades or years of education? Foundation courses are the ideal option.

What are foundation courses?

Foundation courses are preparatory in nature, offered by many higher education institutes (HEI) in Malaysia that include both public and private organizations.

These courses introduce the students to the required skills in the field that they wish to pursue graduation programs in.

Why take up a Foundation Course?

  • They are shorter in duration as compared to regular pre-university courses. Foundation courses in Malaysia are held for a period of 12 months with 2 semesters of 6 months each or 3 semesters with 4 months in each semester.
  • Affordable when compared to pre-university qualification
  • You can better prepared for graduate studies
  • A wide variety of specializations including law, architecture, IT, hospitality, arts, social sciences and much more are available.

Assessment is usually based on coursework, assignments, quizzes, lab work, and examinations conducted by the institutes, and to be awarded the qualification, a student needs to complete 50 credit hours. More weightage is given to examinations, but this can depend on the university that is offering the foundation course.

SPM, UEC, GCE O-Level or its equivalent exams are the entry-level requirements. For foreign students, additional TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for entry into foundation courses in Malaysia.

Most foundation courses are home-grown and enable the students to gain direct entry into degree programs offered in the same institute. Many foundation courses are accepted in other universities as well, depending on their policies and fields of study. If the foundation course is accredited by MQA, other private universities usually accept the students into their graduate level programs.

The intakes for foundation courses happen three times in a year.

List of foundation courses in Malaysia

The foundation courses listed below are offered by many popular colleges in Malaysia.

  • Arts
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Information Technology
  • Health Sciences
  • Commerce
  • Hospitality
  • Media Studies
  • Law
  • Visual arts
  • Design
  • Liberal arts

Foundation course in Science:  For students keen on pursuing science, health sciences or applied sciences at an undergraduate level, the foundation courses in science is the best stepping stone. The syllabi of the foundation course in science may differ based on the college or university that is offering them.  Despite the varied syllabi, the core subjects are science related, such as mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, information technology, and health sciences.

The foundation in these science related subjects can prepare the students to take up further studies in the following domains:

  • Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Health Science
  • Pharmacy
  • Nursing
  • Environmental Health
  • Psychology
  • Biotechnology

The entry requirements for a 3-semester foundation course in science include a minimum final GPA score of 3.0 /4with Grade B in mathematics and any two other science subjects. A SAT score of 610 in evidence-based reading & writing and 570 in mathematics would also be required for international students. An IELTS score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each element is also a prerequisite for foreign students wishing to take up foundation courses in science in Malaysia.

For those who have completed secondary schooling in Malaysia, an SPM with minimum of 5 Bs in science subjects are mandatory for getting into foundation courses in science.

Foundation courses in Arts: Topics related to arts, language, and social sciences are the focus of foundation course in arts in Malaysia. Most universities and colleges offer the following subjects in the foundation course in arts:

  • Literature appreciation
  • Creative writing
  • Politics
  • History
  • English
  • Sociology
  • Public speaking and communication
  • Writing for business
  • Accounting
  • Management
  • Education
  • Economics

Most universities and colleges require 5 Bs in SPM or 3 Bs in STPM or a minimum GPA score of 3.0 out of 4.0 for foreign students. A TOEFL score of 79 or IELTS score of 6.0 is also necessary.

Foundation course in Business:  Students who wish to take up business studies in their bachelor’s degree program, but do not have the entry level requirements of ‘A’ can realize their dream through the foundation course in business offered at various colleges and universities.

The 3-semester course introduces students to the below topics, although the core subjects may differ slightly in each college or university.

  • Basics of business management
  • Financial accounting
  • Macroeconomics
  • Information technology
  • Fundamentals of mathematics
  • Economics
  • Marketing and accounting
  • Legal framework
  • Finance

Entry requirements for Malaysian students include 5 or 6 credits in SPM and for international students, 5 credits at GCE '0' Level or 3.0 out of 4.0 with IELTS score of 6 are mandatory.

A foundation course in business enables students to take up the following degree courses as per their interests in both science and arts domains.

  • Economics
  • Business Economics
  • Management Studies
  • Business management
  • Finance, Accounting and Management
  • International Business Management

Foundation course in Engineering:  The foundation course enables students to get engineering degree programs in various institutions. Some of the modules offered in Foundation course in Engineering features the following topics.

  • Basic Engineering Mechanics
  • Algebra
  • Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Computer Methods
  • Electricity and Magnetism

After completing the foundation course in Engineering, students can enter domains such as

  • Chemical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Materials and manufacturing
  • Electronics and electrical engineering

Foundation in Information Technology: This foundation course prepares students to enter graduate level programs in computing and information technology.

The course modules are generally based on the following:

  • Information technology
  • Basic mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Programming
  • Database management
  • Multimedia

Entry requirements are 5 or 6 credits in SPM and 5 credits at GCE '0' Level or 3.0 out of 4.0 with IELTS score of 6 for international candidates.

How to choose the right foundation course?

Getting the help of an education counselor is the best way to make decisions on which foundation course is right for you.

The other factors to consider while choosing the foundation course are:

  • What subjects you are interested in
  • Which subjects do you score better
  • What is your career objective
  • What is the job market for various career options
  • How much does the foundation course cost