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The basics
Malaysia: Student Finances

Malaysia’s Twinning Programmes

Malaysian Twinning Programmes are making studying abroad a more affordable option for those who wish to study in the growing education hub that is Malaysia...

Study on a twinning programme in Malaysia

Use this guide to find out what a twinning programme could offer you and why this can be an attractive option to students who want a study abroad experience without paying the high fees.


What are twinning programmes?

Twinning programmes allow students to study a portion of their qualification in Malaysia, and then transfer to an institution in another country to complete their studies. Several Malaysian institutions have partnered with highly reputable institutions in other countries to create these programmes such as the UK, USA, New Zealand, Germany etc. Additionally some foreign institutions have established campuses in Malaysia such as the University of Nottingham. The credits a student accumulates, the material which they cover and the skills they acquire can be transferred, so they can pick up their studies abroad.


Twinning programmes are also known as “2+1 programmes”, which refers to the structure of studying an undergraduate degree as part of this (2 years in Malaysia + 2 years overseas). There are also “2+2 programmes” which are arranged in accordance with several US institutions (these are referred to as “American Degree Programmes").



For Malaysian domestic 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, but experience student life abroad for the remainder of their time studying. 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 is called a “3+0 degree” but means that a student in Malaysia can obtain a degree from a top foreign university without leaving home. This is an excellent way to gain a world-class degree without paying the high costs that would be incurred while living and studying in a major study destination.


Why study on a twinning programme?

The flexibility of twinning programmes is hugely attractive. More and more international students are looking to Malaysia for their higher education because of the country’s growing reputation for teaching and research. However, they still want a taste of studying in a country which has traditionally been considered a premiere destination for international students such as America or the UK – this might look more impressive to employers. Plus being able to study in more than one country adds to a student’s general life experience and personal development- Malaysia is very different from these western countries. For Malaysian students who might feel a little intimidated about living in another country for the entirety of their degree, this can be a better alternative.


The other main reason why twinning programmes are becoming so popular is because they are a cheaper alternative to studying overseas for 3-4 years. Malaysian students can live at home while studying the beginning of their course in the country, allowing them to save money for when they do move overseas to complete their course. Living costs in Malaysia are significantly lower than in most popular study destinations like the UK so studying in Malaysia as part of a twinning programme will significantly reduce your living costs and tuition fees.


Another major advantage of twinning programmes is that students can receive a qualification from an internationally renowned university without needing to leave their home country. Or, students can choose to do just a year in another destination while still obtaining a prestigious and highly employable degree from a university in another country. This flexibility makes twinning programmes so popular. In fact, 1 in 6 international students in the UK are part of a twinning or pathway programme (British Council and UUKi report 2020).


Where can you study a twinning programme?

Malaysian institutions like Sunway University have established partnerships with American institutions, such as the Western Michigan University and Australian universities, including Monash and Victoria, respectively. Significantly, this leader in transnational education also offers a Canadian International Matriculation Programme, whereby pre-university students can earn an Ontario High School Diploma, leading to increased opportunities for tertiary education in Canada and abroad.


Institutions from the following countries are working with Malaysian institutions to offer twinning programmes:



If you’re still unsure about what course and university you want to pursue, check out our course matcher tool to find what’s right for you based on your qualifications and preferences.


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Study in Malaysia


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