Foundation vs Diploma in Malaysia: Which Path to Take? 

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What is a Foundation and Diploma Programme in Malaysia?

Are you a Malaysian student pondering what on earth a Foundation or Diploma Programme is? Don’t be afraid of being a FOMO – we’ve got you covered!

First up, is the Foundation Programme. This is a one-year course that helps you get ready for university. You’ll learn all sorts of stuff like science, maths, languages, and social sciences. Basically, it’s like a catch-all to prepare you for your future studies. You’ll be exposed to the basics such as Foundation in Science or Foundation in Arts before you continue your degree later by the time you’re done with your Foundation. If you’re still wondering which Foundation programme to take, you can read here. 

Next, let’s talk about the Diploma Programme. This is a two to three-year course that gives you hands-on training in a specific field and you will be exposed to a certain syllabus where it will be taught in Degree Year 1. Not only that, you will be exposed to the industry with the internship required. You’ll learn real-world skills that will help you land a job after graduation.

Why study Foundation and Diploma in Malaysia?

Bestie, if you’re a student who’s done with secondary school and wondering what’s next, we’ve got some cool options for you to consider – Foundation and Diploma Programmes! 

Here are some reasons why studying Foundation and Diploma in Malaysia could be a good choice for you:

Programme

Foundation

Diploma

Purpose

To prepare students for undergraduate studies

To provide students with practical skills and knowledge for employment or further studies

Duration

1 year

2-3 years

Entry Requirements

5 credits

3 credits

Focus

Students can venture into fields such as Business, Psychology, IT, and so on based on their preferred degree programme later on

Learn and develop skills that are essential to the demands of the industry

Types of Programmes

  • Foundation in Business
  • Foundation in Engineering
  • Foundation in Science
  • Diploma in Business
  • Diploma in Hospitality
  • Diploma in Communication

Note: These are only the common Foundation and Diploma programmes in Malaysia and there’s actually a vast array of options beyond those.

Contact us for more Foundation and Diploma programmes available. 

Pathway for Foundation and Diploma in Malaysia

Foundation

Since a Foundation programme only takes one year to complete, you can begin your Bachelor’s Degree at a relatively younger age compared to students who opt for a Diploma programme. However, a Foundation programme only serves as a stepping stone to a Bachelor’s Degree and doesn’t provide any other career opportunities. Therefore, if you aspire to pursue a profession where possessing a Degree is necessary to enter the job market, like Engineer, Dentist or Doctor, then a Foundation Degree is a suitable choice.

Diploma

As a Diploma programme requires a greater amount of time to finish and provides a more comprehensive understanding and hands-on abilities that are specific to the industry, completing a Diploma enables you to directly enrol in the second year of a Bachelor’s Degree programme. 

After graduating with a Diploma, you have the option to immediately start working since many employers consider it as a basic level of qualification for various job opportunities across various industries. Therefore, compared to a Foundation programme, a Diploma can offer you more choices after graduation.

Foundation and Diploma in Malaysia Entry Requirement

For Foundation:

Academic Entry 

Minimum Score

SPM

5 credits

O Level

5 credits

UEC

3Bs

Note: Universities may have different requirements. To learn more, get in touch with us!

For Diploma:

Academic Entry 

Minimum Score

SPM

3 credits

O Level

3 credits

Certificate

1 credit

STPM

CGPA 2.00

UEC

3Bs

Note: Universities may have different requirements. To learn more, get in touch with us!

English Language Entry Requirements

Entry Level

Minimum Score

IELTS

4.0

MUET

Band 2

TOEFL

iBT 31

Note: It is important to note that entry requirements may vary based on the institution and programme. In addition, some institutions may conduct their own internal assessments or interviews to determine whether a student is qualified for the programme.

For more information on the table presented above, contact us now!

Top Universities to Study Foundation and Diploma

Since you are interested in Foundation and Diploma programme, here are the list of top universities to study Foundation and Diploma in Malaysia that you can consider:

1. Taylor’s College

Taylor’s College is well-known for its advanced amenities, which comprise contemporary lecture halls, libraries, computer laboratories, scientific laboratories, design studios, and athletic facilities. Furthermore, the university offers on-campus lodging, dining alternatives, and student assistance programmes to augment the comprehensive academic experience for students.

The institution has garnered several awards and commendations throughout its history, with multiple ranking bodies recognising it as a leading university in both the global and Malaysian contexts. Taylor’s College is dedicated to delivering superior education and equipping learners with the necessary skills to emerge as frontrunners in their respective domains.

Programmes Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

Foundation in Arts

1 Year

February, April, August 

Local Students: 

RM 28,000.

International Students: 

USD 10,109

Foundation in Design

Diploma in Communication

2 Years

April, August

Local Students: 

RM 54,020

International Students: 

USD 17,189

Diploma in Accounting

Note: These are only the common Foundation and Diploma programmes in Malaysia and there’s actually a vast array of options beyond those. Contact us for more Foundation and Diploma programmes available. 

For more information on the table presented above, contact us now!

2. Asia Pacific University (APU)

APU provides a diverse selection of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across multiple disciplines, including business, computing, engineering, design, media, and technology. The institution has established partnerships with more than 200 universities across the globe, which provide students with opportunities to engage in student exchange initiatives, joint degree programmes, and research collaborations.

APU is renowned for its pioneering and industry-applicable curricula, which equip students with pragmatic competencies and expertise to ready them for employment. The institution boasts contemporary amenities such as advanced lecture halls, computing facilities, engineering laboratories, creative spaces, and a multimedia repository.

APU has garnered multiple accolades and acknowledgements throughout its history, including its placement among the leading universities in Malaysia and Asia by diverse ranking entities. The institution has obtained accreditations from esteemed professional organisations, including the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC), Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. (ACCA).

Programmes Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

Foundation in Science

1 Year

April, June, July, September

Local students: 

RM 25,500 (Non-Engineering Pathways)

RM 25,900

(Engineering Pathway)

International Students:

RM 26,300 (USD 6,415)

(Non-Engineering Pathways)

RM 26,900 (USD 6,560)

(Engineering Pathway)

Foundation In Engineering

Diploma in Information & Communication Technology

2+ Years

Local student: 

RM 44,900

International students:

RM 48,800 (USD 11,900)

Diploma in Information & Communication Technology With A Specialism In Software Engineering

Note: These are only the common Foundation and Diploma programmes in Malaysia and there’s actually a vast array of options beyond those. Contact us for more Foundation and Diploma programmes available. 

For more information on the table presented above, contact us now!

3. INTI International University

INTI International University is recognised for its academic offerings that are closely aligned with industry needs, equipping students with hands-on competencies and theoretical understanding to enable them to excel in their chosen careers. The institution boasts advanced amenities, such as contemporary lecture halls, computing facilities, scientific workspaces, engineering workstations, creative spaces, and a multimedia repository.

The institution has garnered multiple accolades and acknowledgements throughout its history, including its placement among the leading universities in Malaysia and Asia by diverse ranking entities. The institution has obtained accreditations from various professional organizations, including the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and the Board of Engineers Malaysia. (BEM).

INTI International University is dedicated to delivering superior education and equipping learners with the necessary skills to excel as accomplished experts and trailblazers in their individual domains. The objective is to offer a comprehensive educational encounter that encompasses scholastic distinction, individual growth, and practical involvement to equip learners for a worldwide context.

Programmes Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

Foundation in Arts

1 Year

January, April, August

Local students: 

RM 20,943

International students:

RM 20,943

Foundation in Science

Diploma in Business

3 Years

Local students: 

RM 35,787

International students:

RM 35,787

Diploma in Computer Science

Note: These are only the common Foundation and Diploma programmes in Malaysia and there’s actually a vast array of options beyond those. Contact us for more Foundation and Diploma programmes available. 

For more information on the table presented above, contact us now!

4. Curtin University Malaysia

Curtin University Malaysia is recognised for its industry-focused academic offerings, which equip students with practical competencies and expertise to effectively navigate the professional landscape. The institution boasts advanced amenities such as contemporary lecture halls, computing facilities, scientific research facilities, engineering research facilities, and a repository of knowledge.

The institution has garnered multiple accolades and acknowledgements throughout its history, having been assessed by diverse ranking entities and positioned as a leading university in Malaysia and globally. The institution has obtained accreditations from various professional organisations, including the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), Engineers Australia, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. (ACCA).

The institution provides a diverse array of undergraduate and graduate programmes across multiple disciplines, including but not limited to business, engineering, science, health sciences, and humanities. Furthermore, the institution has established partnerships with more than 400 universities across the globe, providing students with opportunities to engage in student exchange initiatives, joint degree programmes, and research collaborations.

Programmes Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

Foundation in Arts & Commerce/Engineering & Science

1 Year

March, July, October

Local students: 

RM 17,100

International students:

RM 25,768

Diploma of Commerce

2 Years

Local students: 

RM 31,350

International students:

RM 47,025

Diploma of Media Studies

Note: These are only the common Foundation and Diploma programmes in Malaysia and there’s actually a vast array of options beyond those. Contact us for more Foundation and Diploma programmes available. 

For more information on the table presented above, contact us now!

5. UniKL

The University of Kuala Lumpur provides a diverse selection of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across multiple disciplines, including engineering, technology, business, and creative industries. The educational institution comprises of 14 institutes that are situated in various regions of Malaysia, with each institute specialising in distinct fields of study.

UniKL is renowned for its academic programmes that are tailored to meet the demands of the industry, equipping students with practical skills and knowledge that are essential for their career readiness. The institution boasts advanced amenities, such as contemporary lecture halls, computing facilities, engineering workspaces, creative design centres, and a repository of knowledge.

The institution has garnered several accolades and acknowledgements throughout its history, having been assessed by several ranking bodies as one of the leading universities in Malaysia for engineering and technology. The institution has obtained accreditations from esteemed professional organisations, including the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) and the Board of Architects Malaysia. (LAM).

Programmes Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

Foundation in Creative Art and Design

1 Year

January, July

Local students: 

RM5,500

International students:

RM9,000

Diploma in Medical Imaging

3 Years

Local students: 

RM8,450

International students:

RM8,450

Diploma in Pharmacy

Note: These are only the common Foundation and Diploma programmes in Malaysia and there’s actually a vast array of options beyond those. Contact us for more Foundation and Diploma programmes available. 

For more information on the table presented above, contact us now!

For more information regarding the university, programs offered, entry requirements and fees, contact Excel Education

Recommended Articles to Read

Top Private Universities in Malaysia Based on the QS World University Ranking 2023

Which Foundation Programs to Choose in Malaysia?

What Can You Do with a Foundation in Arts?

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About The Author

Qasyrina Zahirah

One day at a time 🙂

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