Malaysia’s higher education scene has grown a lot in the past decade, leading it to become a tertiary education hotspot for students from more than 100 countries. The main draw of pursuing a higher education here is that these institutions offer affordable, top class tertiary qualifications: plus partnerships between Malaysian colleges and universities and those from UK, US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and New Zealand allow for cost-effective twinning programmes. As at June 2007, Malaysia is home to 32 private universities, 20 public universities and four foreign university campuses (including The University of Nottingham, UK and Curtin University, Australia): besides that, the country has 485 private colleges, 37 public community colleges and 22 polytechnic schools.
A large number of private colleges offer pre-university courses, twinning degree programmes and fully-fledged degrees awarded from accredited international universities. On the other hand, the local universities are primarily for local students, requiring a Form six qualification (done after completing secondary school) called 'STPM' to enter, though they do open occasional scholarships for students from other countries.
Most degree programmes offered to both locals and internationals are done in private institutions of learning. These private colleges are accredited by foreign universities to offer their degree programmes in Malaysia, either through 1+2/2+1 twinning (The last two or one year of studies spent overseas in the university) or 3+0 where the entire duration of the course is in Malaysia.
Internationals can enrol in a wide variety of arts-based courses that lead to international degrees. These include majors in the fields of Law, Accounting, Business, Economics, Media, Marketing, Multimedia, Graphic Design, Journalism, Literature, Baking, Teaching, Hotel Management, Tourism, Linguistics and Language Studies.
Science courses are generally more stringent in their enrolment. Some of the science courses offered privately needs to be completed overseas rather than the finishing entire course in Malaysia. Some of the degrees offered are Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Chemistry, Biology, Bio-Technology, Engineering, Information Technology (IT), Applied Science, Agriculture, Health, Computer Science and Web Development.
For science-oriented colleges, they usually specialise in one field, such as Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIT) which runs predominantly IT courses.