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Studying Chemical Engineering In Malaysia

I wrote this entry thinking about Malaysian students coming to the end of their high school life, 17 yr old youngsters who thought "Hey chemical engineering sounds like a good field, but how do I go about it in Malaysia?" This was the question I asked myself 5 yrs ago & I hope to present my view as unbiased as possible & maybe a young Malaysian reading this will get some useful information! ;)

It is necessary to have a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering; this is due to the professional nature of the job which requires you to be equipped with a basic set of skills and knowledge before you can venture into this career. This undergraduate degree is provided by private and public universities across Malaysia and takes 4 years to complete; below is a list of several local universities that offer this course:

Public Universities

  • Universiti Malaya (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (Johor)
  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Selangor)
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia (Selangor)
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia (Penang)
  • Universiti Malaysia Pahang (Pahang)
  • Universiti Malaysia Sabah (Sabah)
Private Universities

  • Monash University (Selangor)
  • University of Nottingham (Selangor)
  • Taylor's University College (Selangor)
  • Curtin University(Sarawak)
  • Universiti Teknologi Petronas (Perak)
So where do you start? It really depends on the university you want to enter:

Public university

To enter a public university, you've to go public all the way: literally! After SPM, you can either go for STPM (in a public school), Matriculation (in a public matriculation college), or diploma (in a public university).

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- easy to enter, cheap (study in public school)

- the toughest pre-university syllabus in Malaysia (in my opinion)

- takes 2 years to complete

- difficult to gain entry (study in matriculation colleges)

- the syllabus is easier than STPM

- takes a year to complete

- relatively easier to enter (than matriculation, study in public university)

- highly specific course (I encourage this route for those who are certain about becoming a chemical engineer)
- takes 3 years to complete: upon completion, you can directly enter 2nd yr of the undergraduate course

Private university

It's easier but costlier to enter a private university; the government subsidizes 90% of the total fees in public universities, but there are many scholarships available if you want to study in a private university. A typical study year costs around RM30k. Different universities have different entry requirements; generally if you fulfill the academic requirements and can afford the tuition fees, you should have no problem landing a place. There are a variety of twinning programs available so there are plenty of opportunities for you to gain international exposure.

Quality of education

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Studying in a public institution is very attractive not only because it's affordable but the government also provides funding for co-curricular activities, which is seldom present in private universities. The facilities provided by public universities are generally better and more well-equipped than those in private universities. However as private universities are fundamentally business-orientated, there is a check and balance to ensure that the students get the quality education that they paid for.

To conclude, I believe that being a young adult means being responsible for your own future. Do thorough research before signing up for any course; ask yourself the following questions:

  • What career do I want to pursue? What is the job scope of being a chemical engineer?
  • What is my financial budget?
  • Can I get a scholarship/loan?
  • Where do I take this course? What are the requirements?
  • What about other details like accommodation, transport, etc?
Tertiary education is a huge step in life. Malaysia is becoming a popular education hub in South East Asia; the industry here has a bright future. Do your homework to ensure you will make the right decision for your future!

I welcome feedback, especially from fellow Malaysians! :D

Mar 03 2011 05:54 AM

Thanks for the post! Which pathway did you take and how would you rate it? Would you hsve it any other way?

I did my A levels after SPM and I thought it was a good choice, i thought it helped make up my mind about my degree course. Of course, once I went down the A levels route there was no going back to the public universities. I think both the A levels and STPM are excellent courses that provide students with a good background in the core sciences, which also allows quite a bit of flexibility just in case you change your mind.
<P>Hi thanks for your feedback! I took STPM &amp; got a place in a public university, I'd say it was the right choice for me because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do &amp; Form 6 was the cheaper option for me, plus I wanted a place in a public university (I was aiming for Universiti Malaya, it's 10 min from my house lol!). I think we're lucky that tertiary education is a solid sector in Malaysia, so we have a variety of pre-university courses to opt for. I admit I had my reservations when I got a place at my university (a little-known &amp; barely 9 yrs old university in Pahang), I worried that it might make me less on par than my peers who studied at more renown places, but I now know it's the person, not the place, that defines your marketability. I just graduated &amp; I'm working at a good company in KL, so I'm proud to say I'm a testament to that haha! At the end of the day, we can't predict the future &amp; it's wise to study our options carefully, be ever-ready to overcome challenges &amp; aim to be the best in your field! I wish you good luck! </P>
Hello there, I need your help on these..

Civil Engineering Vs Chemical Engineering?
Which one is better?
What is their job prospect?
Type of industry ?
Location of work ?
Which one can go for private ?
Chances for work?
Hi iAdor3,

1. I can't comment on which is better, this is really up to your own preferences!

2. Job prospect for both professions in Malaysia is good, a simple indicator is the newspaper classifieds, every week they have openings for both civil & chemical/process engineers.

3. Well civil engineers can be involved in construction firms, engineering firms, oil & gas industries. Chemical engineers can opt for engineering firms, chemical/petrochemical/processing plants.

4. Location of work & salary varies with the employers Posted Image

5. I assume you meant private institutions when you say "private". I've mentioned the institutions that offer chemical engineering degree. There are plenty of private universities that offer civil engineering degree, such as:
- INTI International University
- Sunway University
- University of Nottingham
- Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)
- UCSI University

Good luck!
Hi there,

Very good post.

I graduated from Monash Uni since last dec, and have a bit of trouble in getting first job in the field of chemical/process engineering. Most jobs advertised require at least 1 year experience. Very few offers fresh grad jobs.

So, I've applied SL1M program, like 1 yr exposure with SapuraKencana. But, what bothers me a bit, I'm placed in Drilling, Geotech & Maintenance dept. More like petroleum/drilling engineering works.

Any advice or tips? How did you secure your first job after graduation?

Thanks :)
Sep 28 2012 10:06 AM

Probably the best way to look at it is: would you think that the drilling / geotech job maybe something you would like to try / be interested in or do you strongly want to be in process / chemical engineering?

In many cases, fresh out of school, you may or may not know what you are interested in. If any opportunity comes along in an area that has something to do with what your interest are, i would say go for it. Remembering that your degree in chemical engineering allows you much more flexibility than you would imagine.

I am working as a process engineer in traditional downstream refining and would consider my self fortunate since this was something that i wanted to do.

Also, i would recommend you to not take the '1 year requirement' too seriously - just go ahead and apply for the jobs that you see relevant.

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