How To Become A Surgeon in Malaysia

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Have you spent hours and hours binge-watching shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Doctor or even Scrubs and thought to yourself how amazing you’d do as a surgeon? Do you think you have what it takes to operate on an open human body on a table in front of you?

Let’s break down everything you need to know about becoming a surgeon in Malaysia before you make a decision to step into the world of medicine and hospitals. 

Types of Surgeon

Once you’ve made your choice in becoming a surgeon, the next step is to understand the different types of surgeons there are in the medical world. All surgeons learn general core knowledge of anatomy, physiology, metabolism, immunology, pathology, wound healing, intensive care and many more but many times, surgeons choose to go into one specialization in which they can focus their career on. 

Type of Surgeon


General Surgeon 

  • Trauma victims & critically ill patients 
  • Conditions related to : head,neck,breast,skin,soft tissues, gastrointestinal, vascular and endocrine systems. 

Colon & Rectal Surgeon 

  • Conditions related to : intestinal tract, colon, rectum, canal, perianal area, liver, urinary and female reproductive systems 


  • Conditions related to : Brain tumors, intracranial aneurysms, head injuries, and disorders affecting the spine, including spinal canal stenosis, fractures, and spinal deformities

Obstetrician and Gynecologist 

  • Conditions related to : Issues related to pregnancy, fertility, menstruation and menopause, family planning, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections (STIs), ovarian cysts, breast disorders and pelvic inflammatory diseases


  • Treats all eye and visual problems 
  • Conditions related to : Amblyopia (“lazy eye”), astigmatism, cataracts, conjunctivitis (“pink eye”), corneal dystrophies, dry eye, eye cancer, glaucoma, macular degeneration and “nearsightedness”

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon 

  • Known to be the intersection of medicine and dentistry 
  • Conditions related to : Extracting wisdom teeth, misaligned jaws, tumors and cysts in the jaw and mouth, cleft palate, and dental implant surgery

Orthopaedic Surgeon 

  • Focuses on treatment of issues of the musculoskeletal system including bones, joints, muscles, nerves and arteries. 

Pediatric Surgeon 

  • Specializes in diagnosing, treating and providing care for children
  • Conditions related to: birth defects, fetal surgery, traumatic injuries & malignant tumors. 


  • Conditions related to: ears, nose, throat and respiratory systems which includes Hearing loss, balance disorders, ringing in the ears, sinus and nasal cavity disorders, snoring, deviated septum, allergies, smell and taste disorders, migraine headaches, and disorders of the throat, esophagus and larynx

Plastic Surgeon 

  • Handles repair, replacement, and reconstruction of form and function defects of the body
  • Conditions related to : Congenital deformities, nose reshaping, breast augmentation for cosmetic purposes or following mastectomy, reconstructive surgery for individuals who have sustained burns, scars, or trauma to the face, hands and lower limbs, and removal of excess skin or body fat

Thoracic Surgeon 

  • Known as a “heart surgeon”, includes the coronary artery, lung, esophagus, chest wall, great vessels and heart valves, and management of the airway


  • Focuses on conditions related to adrenal gland and reproductive & urinary system. 
  • Typically operated on kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate, urethra and testes 

Vascular Surgeon 

  • Focuses on arteries and veins and the circulatory system 
  • Conditions related to : stroke, aneurysm, blood clots and conditions of the vascular system 

Difference between a Doctor & a Surgeon



Practice primary care – encourages the body to heal itself

Act directly to correct illnesses, injuries and deformities 

Build long-term relationships with their patients, counsel them & treat their illness 

Surgeons cut, fuse and reshape the body’s tissues to restore proper function

Key Skills Needed to Become a Surgeon

1. Precision

Precision is a key skill that you probably need in becoming a successful surgeon. As your job will consist of  full hands-on duties and responsibilities daily, it is incredibly crucial for you to have good fine-motor skills especially with handling surgical instruments such as scalpels, dilators or even suction tubes. You would need a good set of hand-eye coordination with manual dexterity to ensure a successful career as a surgeon. 

2. Adaptability

If you want to become a surgeon, you will most definitely need to be able to keep calm in stressful situations. In the world of surgery, most times the surgery does not go according to plan and complications may arise mid-surgery and when this happens, it is highly important for you to be able to adapt accordingly whilst continuing and completing your surgery with the best possible quality output in mind. 

3. Endurance

Surgeons work in one of the most fast-paced, highly demanding industries possible. When thinking of becoming a surgeon, you have to keep in mind that you would be required to have both physical and mental stamina. Many times surgeries run from 2-4 hours for basic surgeries but some may take up to 18 hours depends on the complexity of it. With that, you would have to be able to physically endure standing in the operating room and mentally endure operating on a patient for that long. 

Key Pathway of Becoming A Surgeon

General Pathway of Becoming A Surgeon:

Step 1 : After SPM/O-Levels, you are required to complete a Foundation in Science or a Pre-University course (A-Levels, STPM, AUSMAT)

Step 2 : Join a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) Degree that lasts for 4.5 to 6 years, along with undergoing a 2 year internship period of housemanship

*Do note that for international students, you will not be allowed to complete your housemanship period in Malaysia 

Step 3 : Upon completing your housemanship, you will be a ‘Medical Officer’ registered under ‘Malaysian Medical Council’ which generally takes 8-9 years from completing SPM/O-Levels

Step 4 : [OPTIONAL] If you’re interested in specialization, you can pursue your postgraduate studies after working for several years as a ‘Medical Officer’ which would take you about 4-5 years and 2 years of supervised training to become a specialist. 

Step 5 : Upon graduating your postgraduate studies & completing your supervised training, you will be able to be registered as a certified ‘Specialist’ under the MMC. 

Academic Requirements to Study Medical Degree in Malaysia


IGCSE & SPM: Min 5 Bs in Math, English, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and 1 other subject 


BBB, ABC or AAC in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics 


BBB, ABC or AAC in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics 

Australian Matriculation

Min. ATAR 80 with an average of 80% in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics 


5B’s in SPM including Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics or Additional Mathematics

Foundation in Science

Min. CGPA of 3.0 in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics 

Top 5 Recommended Universities

1. International Medical University (IMU)

Photo Credit : IMU University

Program Name 

Bachelor in Medical Sciences (Hons) (BMedSc) 

Program Duration 

4.5 years to 6 years 


February and August 

Indicative Fee (2021)

RM 494,900 (Malaysians)

RM 543,500 (Non-Malaysians) 

2. Newcastle University of Medicine Malaysia

Photo Credit : Newcastle University of Medicine Malaysia

Program Name 

Bachelor in Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery 

Program Duration 

5 years



Indicative Annual Fee (2021)

RM 97,850 (Malaysians)

RM 110,000  (Non-Malaysians) 

3. Monash University Malaysia

Photo Credit : Monash University Malaysia

Program Name 

Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (BMedSci/MD)

Program Duration 

5 years 



Indicative Annual Fee (2021)

RM 101,970 (Malaysians)

RM 117,600 (Non-Malaysians) 

4. MAHSA University

Photo Credit : MAHSA University

Program Name 

Bachelor of Medical Science and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Program Duration 

5 years



Indicative Fee (2021)

RM 445,300

5. Manipal University College Malaysia

Photo Credit : Manipal University College Malaysia

Program Name 

Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Program Duration 

5 years 


April & October 

Indicative Fee (2021)

RM 345,000 (Malaysians)

RM 598,777 (Non-Malaysians)

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About the Author

Raveena Rakni Suresh Raj
Leo baby & psych major
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