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The basics
Malaysia: Student Finances

Malaysia’s Twinning Programmes explained

With affordable tuition fees, Malaysia’s Twinning Programmes make studying abroad a more realistic dream for international students. Read on for the details.

Study on a twinning programme in Malaysia

Malaysia, in Southeast Asia, is a multicultural, multi-ethnic country. It’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, or KL as its known by locals, has everything an international student needs and ranked 28 in QS Best Student Cities 2023.


Malaysia is fast becoming a top study destination for international students and its twinning programmes make studying at universities worldwide more accessible to many.


What are twinning programmes?


Twinning programmes are partnerships between some Malaysian universities with overseas universities. These programmes allow students to study a portion of their qualification in Malaysia, and then transfer to a university in another country to complete their studies.


The syllabus, course structure and grading are created in partnership which means that the credits a student accumulates, the material they cover and the skills they acquire can be easily transferred.


Several Malaysian institutions have partnered with highly reputable institutions in other countries such as the UK, USA, New Zealand, Germany etc. Additionally some foreign institutions have established campuses in Malaysia such as the University of Nottingham I nt the UK and Monash University, Australia.



What types of twinning programmes are there?


There are various types of programmes based on the number of years you spend studying in Malaysia and the number of years you spend abroad. For example, the 1 + 2 programme sees you studying for 1 year in Malaysia and then 2 years abroad.


Twinning programmes are:

  • 1+2
  • 2+1*
  • 1+3
  • 2+2
  • 3+0*
  • 3+1*


*These programmes are cheaper as you spend a greater part of your studies in Malaysia where tuition fees are cheaper.


For Malaysian students too


Twinning programmes are also an option for Malaysians in the country who wish to study at home for the first part of their course. They can then experience student life abroad for the rest of their course.


They may even choose to study their entire course at a campus which technically belongs to an overseas institution but is located in Malaysia. This ‘3+0 degree’ means that a student in Malaysia can get a degree from a top ranking university from abroad without actually leaving the country. This is an excellent way to gain a world-class degree without paying the high costs involved in living and studying in a top study destination such as the US or the Australia.


What are the benefits of a twinning programme?


There are various advantages to studying on a twinning programmes. Here are the main ones:

  • Malaysia has an excellent reputation for teaching and research
  • Cheaper tuition fees (as mentioned above)
  • Cheaper student living costs
  • Similar course structure, syllabus and grading
  • Automatically enrolled in two universities
  • Use resources such as libraries from both institutions
  • Gain qualification from an international institution
  • Qualification is recognised world-wide
  • Qualification widely accepted by employers
  • Guaranteed transfer
  • Experience life as an international student
  • Personal development


The main thing to be aware of is that you are only able to transfer to the specific university that is part of the twinning programme. It’s therefore important that you do your research and choose your course and university carefully to make sure you take part in a twinning programme that best suits your needs and wishes.


What universities have twinning programmes?


There are a number of Malaysian institutions which offer twinning programmes. The table below has some examples:


Malaysian Universities with Twinning programmes

Malaysian university


Taylor’s University


New Zealand


HELP University












International Medical University





New Zealand


Sunway University



Did you know that one in six international students in the UK were part of a twinning or pathway programme (British Council and UUKi report 2020)? They are excellent pathways to studying at top ranking universities while reducing the costs associated with those universities and top study destinations.


If you’d like to look into what courses are on offer in Malaysia, check out our course matcher tool to find what’s right for you. Use the filters to help you narrow down your options.




Study in Malaysia


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