Top universities in Malaysia | Top Universities

Top universities in Malaysia

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated March 1, 2024 Updated March 1, 2024

One of Asia’s emerging regional and international study hubs, Malaysia is an increasingly popular choice for international students, and has set an ambitious goal of attracting 250,000 international students by 2025. Universities in Malaysia already have a strong presence in both global and regional rankings, and the country’s home-grown institutions are also joined by a growing selection of international branch campuses, many based at the new EduCity development.

For those considering studying in this dynamic and diverse country, here’s a guide to the top universities in Malaysia, based on the QS World University Rankings 2024.

QS World University Rankings 2024

Top universities in Malaysia

Global rank University
=65 Universiti Malaya (UM)
=137 Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
158 Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)
=159 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
188 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
284 Taylor's University
300 UCSI University
=307 Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP)
=538 Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)
555 Universiti Teknologi MARA - UiTM

Universiti Malaya (UM)

Universiti Malaya

The highest-ranking Malaysian institution is Universiti Malaya (UM), a public research university based in Malaysia’s federal capital and largest city, Kuala Lumpur (which features in the QS Best Student Cities). Malaysia’s oldest university, Universiti Malaya was established in 1949, based on a merger of several existing colleges in neighbouring Singapore. It offers courses across the full subject spectrum, with an enrolment of more than 14,580 undergraduate students and more than 13,700 postgraduates.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Next is Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), a public research university that covers a broad subject spectrum. Universiti Sains Malaysia has its main campus in Georgetown on the island of Penang, with two additional campuses focusing on engineering and healthcare on the western and eastern sides of the Peninsular Malaysia mainland. 

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)

Universiti Putra Malaysia

Universiti Putra Malaysia is another public research university, located in the town of Serdang just to the south of Kuala Lumpur. Originally founded as an agricultural college, Universiti Putra Malaysia maintains a strong focus on research and teaching in the fields of agriculture and forestry, but has expanded to become a comprehensive university offering courses across all subject areas.

Alongside other top universities in Malaysia, it has a large intake of international students, particularly at postgraduate level.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), also known as the National University of Malaysia (NUM), is publicly funded, with a fairly large intake of students at both undergraduate and graduate levels, teaching a comprehensive range of subjects alongside a strong research focus. It has its main campus in Bangi, a small town in the Selangor region to the south of Kuala Lumpur.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

An engineering and technology-focused public institution, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia has two main campuses: one in federal capital Kuala Lumpur and one in Johor Bahru, a city at the southern tip of the Malaysian mainland.

It teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in a range of specialisations; most are within the engineering and technology fields, but there are also faculties dedicated to sciences, biosciences and medical engineering, management and human resources. 

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This article was originally published in June 2018 . It was last updated in March 2024

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