How arts stream students can get science degree - Feature
8 Dec 2017

How to Pursue a Science Degree as an Arts Stream Student

You may have been a happy camper as an arts stream student in Form 4 and Form 5, but are you now considering pursuing a science degree instead?

We’re here to tell you that it’s not too late to change direction!

Here’s how you can still pursue a science-related degree even if you’re an arts stream student for SPM.

#1. Pursue a diploma programme

How arts stream students can get science degree - 1 Pursue a diploma programme

A science-related diploma is a great option for Arts students if all you have is a background in general Science at SPM level and not in any pure science subjects. For example, if you’ve set your mind on pursuing engineering, one of your options is to pursue a Diploma in Engineering with a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including Mathematics and Science.

This is unlike pre-university courses such as A Levels, Australian Matriculation and STPM where you must have taken SPM pure science subjects such as Biology, Physics and Chemistry in order to take these same subjects at A Levels or equivalent.

If you take this diploma route, you can either enter the workforce after completing your diploma or continue to a degree, where you can enter Year 2 of the programme if you have obtained the required CGPA.

#2. Take a Foundation in Allied Science / Applied Sciences

While a Foundation in Science requires at least a credit in 2 pure science subjects like Biology, Physics or Chemistry, a Foundation in Allied Science or Foundation in Applied Sciences grants you entry as long as you have 5 credits including Mathematics and any one science subject, including Science. This makes Foundation in Allied Science / Applied Sciences open to arts stream students.

With this foundation programme, you’ll be able to enter selected science degrees such as physiotherapy, biomedical engineering technology, food science and nutrition.

Do note that not many universities offer this programme and it may only be accepted by certain universities. Therefore, it’s best to double-check before selecting this route.

#3. Consider an American Degree Program (ADP)

How arts stream students can get science degree - 3 Consider an American Degree Program (ADP)

The American Degree Program (ADP) is a 4-year programme with a direct entry into university level from SPM. Many ADP courses in Malaysia enable you to transfer to universities abroad to complete your studies in the USA or Canada (e.g. 1+3 or 2+2).

ADP is a flexible course where you can choose a wide range of subjects for your general courses (generally completed within your first 2 years in university, alongside your core courses), including English, Social Science, Mathematics and Science, before progressing deeper into your major courses from your third year onwards.

The ADP can enable you to pursue a Science Degree since you can build a solid foundation in Science subjects through the programme’s general courses. From there, you can progress to a Science Degree by taking more advanced Science modules.

It’s important to note that entry requirements may differ between universities, so it’s best to do your research.

#4. Retake your SPM

How arts stream students can get science degree - 4 Retake your SPM

If you’re determined to pursue a science-related degree that requires you to have SPM-level pure science subjects (e.g. medicine, dentistry, pharmacy), you may want to retake SPM as a private candidate.

Instead of returning to secondary school and starting all over again, what you can do is register as a private candidate and self-study the relevant science subjects. It is worth noting that you’ll need to register to take SPM as a private candidate as SPM Ulangan is only available for 3 subjects — namely Bahasa Melayu, Mathematics and Sejarah.

Bear in mind that because you will be sitting for SPM again, you’ll not only delay your enrolment in college, but your friends will also have at least a year’s head start by the time you receive your second SPM results.

Bonus: Check out these science-related options

How arts stream students can get science degree - Bonus - Check out some of these science-related options

Contrary to popular belief, science degrees are not limited to courses such as medicine or dentistry — there are plenty of other courses that award you with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.).

Here are some science programmes that you can consider enrolling in with your SPM arts qualification.

Important Note: Do note that we’ve curated the following based on a combination of general guidelines from universities and MQA guidelines. Certain universities may have higher entry requirements than stated here, so do your research before making a decision!
CourseRecommended Pathway & Requirements
Actuarial ScienceSome universities accept Foundation in Arts/Foundation in Business, which you can enter with your SPM Arts qualification.
ArchitectureTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including Mathematics, English and a Drawing subject (i.e. Art).

Some universities accept Foundation in Arts, which you can enter with your SPM Arts qualification.
Bioscience (Biochemistry, Biotechnology)Take the diploma pathway with a minimum of 5 credits in SPM, including English, Bahasa Malaysia and General Science.
Computer ScienceTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including Mathematics or Additional Mathematics, Bahasa Malaysia and History.

Some universities accept Foundation in Arts, which you can enter with your SPM Arts qualification.
Dental TechnologyTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 5 credits in SPM, including Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics and General Science.

Important: You will not be able to progress to a Degree in Dentistry by taking a Diploma in Dental Technology.
DentistryRetake SPM with a minimum of 5Bs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics or Additional Mathematics. Progress to a pre-university course or Foundation in Science, and then a Degree in Dentistry.
EngineeringTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including Mathematics, English and General Science.
Medical ImagingTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 5 credits in SPM, including English, Bahasa Malaysia and General Science.
Medical Laboratory TechnologyTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 5 credits in SPM, including English, Bahasa Malaysia and General Science.
MedicineRetake SPM with a minimum of 5Bs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics or Additional Mathematics. Progress to a pre-university course or Foundation in Science, and then a Degree in Medicine.
NursingTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 5 credits in SPM, including Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics and General Science.
OptometryRetake SPM with a minimum of 5 credits in SPM, including 2 Pure Science subjects or Mathematics, and English, Bahasa Malaysia and History.
PharmacyRetake SPM with a minimum of 5Bs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics or Additional Mathematics. Progress to a pre-university course or Foundation in Science, and then a Degree in Pharmacy.
PhysiotherapyTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 5 credits in SPM, including Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mathematics and General Science.
PsychologyTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including Mathematics, General Science and English.

Some universities accept Foundation in Arts, which you can enter with your SPM Arts qualification.
Quantity SurveyingTake the diploma pathway with a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including Mathematics, Bahasa Malaysia and English.
Pro Tip: Not all universities’ programmes are structured the same! We strongly recommend that you reach out to us to get free education advisory services so that we can advise you on how you can transition from arts to science. Click here to get in touch.

Whether you choose to stick to an arts degree or switch over to science, remember that neither is better than the other. If you’ve reflected and believe that science is truly your calling, don’t let a bad decision from your past stop you from pursuing your passion. After all, your future is your own, so go out there and make it happen!

 

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