Top 5 Private Universities in Malaysia Based on SETARA Ratings

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In Malaysia, there are currently 20 public universities and 437 private universities. Perhaps you have already chosen your preferred course and have a clear understanding of your future career path. However, with the large variety of universities available in the country, how do you ensure which institution is best for you?

To help you narrow your choices down, in this article, we’ll be providing information on the top 5 universities in Malaysia based on the SETARA ratings. 

What is SETARA Rating?

While most university ratings are often referred from the QS World University Ranking, an internationally-recognised system, there is also the SETARA Rating. This rating system was developed in 2007 by the Higher Education Ministry (MoHE). The methodology used by this system seeks to asses and rate an educational institution’s quality of teaching, research, and services. 

How is a University Assessed by SETARA?

To ensure a fair representation of universities, there are three separate categories against which these institutions are measured. They are each measured with the same performance metric but are separated in order to take into account the unique strengths and challenges of these universities. 

These three categories are as follows:

Mature Universities

Universities over 15 years old

Emerging Universities

Universities established within the last 15 years

University Colleges

Institutions with university college status

As for the weightage and rating of the performance, the most recent rating exercise was completed in 2017 between various universities and university colleges. Its performance rating weightage is as shown below:


Mature University

Emerging University

University College





Teaching & Learning












Mature Universities are expected to be more engaged in their research development and for the offer on their current services to be expanded; Emerging Universities and University Colleges are demanded to build their foundations and strengths in their quality of teaching and polishing their overall repertoire.

To have a better understanding on the criteria of the SETARA Rating, below is a detailed table explaining each of the guidelines needed to be achieved by each higher education institution (HEIs).


Teaching & Learning



  • Student quality & diversity
  • Lecturer capabilities
  • Academic staff
  • Quality management system
  • Financial sustainability
  • Institutional reputation
  • Academic staff capacity
  • Student satisfaction with teaching & facilities
  • Graduates’ quality
  • Internationalisation of Academic programmes
  • Programme recognition
  • Critical mass of researchers
  • Research income
  • Quantitiy of publications
  • Quality management system
  • Quality of publications
  • Income from commercialisation of intellectual property
  • University’s social responsibility and knowledge transfer
  • Education & training programme
  • Other sources of income

For more information on this area, do feel free to contact us!

What are the Top 5 Private Universities Rated Highly in SETARA Rating?

To be fair to the three respective categories of HEIs, I have taken the liberty of listing down the top 5 private universities from each category for your own perusal. 

Top 5 Private Mature Universities

  1. University Teknologi Petronas
  2. International Medical University (IMU)
  3. Monash University Malaysia
  4. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)
  5. Curtin University, Malaysia

Top 5 Private Emerging Universities

  1. Management and Science University (MSU)
  2. Taylor’s University
  3. Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU)
  4. Sunway University
  5. SEGi University

Top 5 Private University Colleges

  1. University of Cyberjaya
  2. Lincoln University College
  3. Tunku Abdul Rahman University College
  4. KDU University College
  5. University College TATI

Contact us now for more information on deciding the best university for your needs. 

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About The Author

Karisse Hannah 

Journalism and Advertising major. Passionate about reading and writing, and an advocate for the truth.

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