Important information about UA and IPTA for UPU applicants

March 05, 2015
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Universities are one of the pillars to build a brighter future for the nation. Malaysian students who wish to enroll in most public universities (except when applying for First Degree at USM, UiTM and UM) are obligated to update their details via the UPU.

Public universities are owned by the government and is by far the most popular choice for tertiary education among Malaysian students.

There are 3 types of public universities:

Research Universities


Since 2015, five public universities in Malaysia have been given full autonomy by the Ministry of Higher Education. They are:

  • Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)*
  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
  • Universiti Malaya (UM)*
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)
  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)

A research university seeks to actively participate in new adventures of ideas, experiment with innovative methods, and take intellectual initiatives to further discover and expand the frontiers of knowledge. It’s focus is on research activities and teaching based on research and development (R&D)

The goals of the RU are:

  • to be a leader in innovation;
  • to produce Nobel Prize winners;
  • to be produced world class research outputs;
  • to be a center of excellence in prioritized areas of the nation;
  • to generate high impact research publications;
  • to secure research funds from industry;
  • to attract and to graduate students of high standard;
  • to attract the best brains for teaching and research; and
  • to provide a conducive environment for all the above.

Comprehensive Universities


Institutes recognized as comprehensive universities offer courses in various fields of studies for all levels of education including pre-undergraduate, undergraduate, and post graduate degrees.

  • Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)*
  • Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia
  • Universiti Malaysia Sabah
  • Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Focus Universities


Focus universities are institutions that pay attention to specific fields such as technical, education, management and defence.

  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Universiti Utara Malaysia
  • Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
  • Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia
  • Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka
  • Universiti Malaysia Perlis
  • Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
  • Universiti Malaysia Pahang
  • Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
  • Universiti Darul Iman Malaysia
  • Universiti Malaysia Kelantan
  • Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia

 *Students applying for First Degree at USM, UiTM and UM must apply to the institutions directly and not via UPU.

Related topics:

A comprehensive list of IPTA in Malaysia

Malaysia rolls out massive open online courses for public varsities

Earn a public university qualification without having to enrol in Malaysian public universities

68% of public university intake are women in 2013

How to apply to USM

What will happen to my UPU application if I apply for USM?

What if I want to study in UPM?

I want something more technical. How do I apply for polytechnic?

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