The Increasing Popularity of Psychology Degree in Malaysia Higher Education

Published by Afterschool.my on Sep 02, 2021, 11:27 am

Psychology has seen a spiral rise in choice and popularity among Malaysian students which is why Afterschool.my has decided to write a piece based on an exclusive interview with Dr Steve Janssen and Dr Elizabeth Jones, who are the head of department for Psychology programme at two high ranked universities in Malaysia. 

Image via Monash University and University of Nottingham 

If you are a student looking to further your studies in the psychology field, you have made an excellent choice. Psychology is an arts programme with a dash of science where you will study the human mind and learn to work with interesting assessment tools. Wondering which area of psychology to specialise in? Keep reading as we are here to share with you everything there is to know about studying psychology in Malaysia. 

Which Psychology Path has a Market in Malaysia?

As per the interview with Dr Steve and Dr Elizabeth, we could derive that the two most common yet important branches of psychology in Malaysia are clinical psychology and organisational psychology

Clinical psychology will continue to be an important branch of psychology in Malaysia, more so during and post pandemic as people of all age groups are affected psychologically. 

On the other hand, with a spike in the number of consultancies operating in Malaysia, organisational psychology has become almost as popular as clinical psychology. Industries of all sectors are looking into hiring organisational psychologist to contribute in the recruitment and selection process, training and development, employee assistance programs, and health and safety in the workplace.  

Also, both Dr Steve and Dr Elizabeth believe that there is a growing interest for educational psychologists. Malaysia takes education achievement of its population very seriously which is why primary and secondary schools have begun to hire educational psychologists to improve the learning experience of students and to offer additional support to students with learning difficulties. 

In short, despite a slower uptake on certain areas of psychology such as forensic psychology and sport psychology, there is a dynamic option for psychology graduates in Malaysia that are certainly worth considering. 

Local Trained Psychologist Vs Overseas Trained Psychologists

If you are a local student who plans to study at the comfort of your own homeland but worry that you might not be able to stand out in the competition, especially among overseas trained psychologists, there is nothing for you to worry about. Here is why. 

Even though there is a common speculation that overseas trained professionals would provide better consultation and care and it might be true in some measure, most undergraduate psychology programmes offered at universities in Malaysia are benchmarked to a similar standard. This is especially undeniable if you get yourself enrolled in foreign branch campuses in Malaysia. 

As quoted by Dr Steve “Although the quality of the Psychology programmes in Malaysia varies, I would say that the quality of programmes that have been accredited internationally tends to be excellent. The main advantage of internationally accredited programmes is that their degrees are recognized everywhere in the world, which is especially helpful when students are planning to do their postgraduate studies abroad”

Dr Elizabeth also adds “At present there are more limited opportunities for high quality postgraduate training in Malaysia, in part due to the lack of access to high quality placements and clinical supervision.  However, this is rapidly changing, and I think it will only be a small number of years before Malaysian programs will be providing the same quality of training as overseas programs”.  

This goes to say that if you have your heart set on becoming a psychologist, it is best to consider studying at an international accredited university in Malaysia, and if you are planning to pursue your postgraduate studies, you can always opt to study overseas. 

What is the Future of Psychology in Malaysia? 

Back in the days, psychology didn't seem to have a future. As Dr Steve states "Most people used to think that psychology graduates had no career options to consider and often ended up as counsellors and people working at human resource departments". This is a common man-made stigma which is far from the truth. 

People are starting to understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. The new generation is also normalizing the attitude of putting things out in the open instead of suffering in silence which is why psychology emerged to be the number 1 most searched courses among Malaysian students. 

So, what will the future of psychology be like in Malaysia? Is psychology going to be a less significant career post pandemic and will Malaysians continue to put their mental well being at stake?

Based on the interview, both Dr Steve and Dr Elizabeth were asked to share their vision for the future of psychology in Malaysia in relation to their expertise and experience in this field. 

According to Dr Elizabeth, the field of Psychology is expanding and will continue to grow in Malaysia and other Asian countries. "I see an exciting future for Psychology in Malaysia. There will be more options for students to pursue postgraduate training and we may expect to see further training programmes in various fields of psychology in the near future as more psychologists in Malaysia are striving to gain professional recognition for their practise". 

Meanwhile, Dr Steve also describes the importance of psychologists post pandemic. "We will need clinical psychologists to help people deal with social isolation from the lockdowns or with losing loved ones due to the virus; we need developmental and educational psychologists to help us understand the consequences of prolonged online learning to our children's cognitive, emotional, and social development; we need cognitive psychologists to help us understand why people share misinformation on social media; and we need social psychologists to help us understand why many people have difficulties following health guidelines, such as wearing facemasks"

Therefore, it is safe to say that these areas of psychology are here to stay even post pandemic.  

To kickstart your search on Psychology course, you must check out our top two picks. These two highly reputable universities are Nottingham University and Monash University. 

What makes Psychology at these Universities Worthwhile? 

School of Psychology, University of Nottingham 

Image via University of Nottingham

Besides having one of the few psychology programmes in Malaysia that focuses on the way the brain works (i.e., BSc in Psychology and Bsc Cognitive Neuroscience), the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia has several other qualities.

  • It is research-intensive. Students can design and conduct experiments using a wide range of equipment.. This includes eye-tracking, TMS, and EEG equipment to examine psychophysical processes. 

  • Since psychology is a broad field, you will be introduced to the basics of psychology in the first two years of your Bachelors Degree. In the third year, you can choose subjects depending on your interest and relevance to the career path you intend to take. 

  • The psychology programme have received accreditation from the British Psychological Society.

  • The university offers exchange programmes where students can go to the UK campus during second year of their degree.

  • Students can get first hand exposure through non-compulsory internship module and work placement.

School of Psychology, Monash University

Image via Monash University

Monash University is ranked in the top 100 universities globally for its BSc in Psychology (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021). The psychology programme has received its seal of approval from the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council. Other qualities of the Psychology programme at Monash University includes: 

  • It is an outstanding research university where students have access to training and internships with leading researchers across a wide range of areas of psychology.

  • Monash is undertaking a major review of their psychology programs to provide students with specialisations in cognitive neuroscience or mental health and wellbeing which is currently in high demand. 

  • It has been given Self Accreditation Status by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) through the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

  • The university offers exchange programmes where students can travel to the Australia campus or even enrol online in psychology units in Australia

  • A proven high rate of employment among psychology graduates.

Your graduation degree from these two top ranked universities will ensure your abilities and skills in the field that no one can deny. So, get yourself enrolled in a psychology degree programme now! You are guaranteed to find a fulfilling job and excel in this career in Malaysia. 

If you are interested in applying to a private university in Malaysia but unsure of which private university is best suited for the course you want to pursue, you can browse through a list of top private universities in Malaysia here. You can also schedule a personalized 20 minutes FREE counselling with our Afterschool Expert Counsellors. 

Afterschool.my is Malaysia’s no 1 higher education website that provides helpful information on courses, institutions and scholarships for students transitioning from secondary school to university level. 

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