Your Guide to a Medical Degree in Malaysia

Have you always imagined yourself saving lives and giving a healing hand to those in need? Always been fascinated with the human body and how it works?

If so, a medical degree might be just for you!

But while medicine is a rewarding and satisfying career path, many students have romanticised ideas of being a doctor. We don’t want to scare you, but the road to becoming a doctor is long and demanding, and you MUST fully understand the demands of studying a medical degree.

This guide will take you through all that you need to know about studying a medical degree in Malaysia, as well as all the key skills that you need in order to make it through medical school.

#1. The Basics of Medicine

a) What Is Medicine?

Medicine - The Basics

Medicine relates to diagnosing, treating and preventing a sickness or a disease. Medicine involves utilising healthcare practices to maintain & restore the health and wellbeing of a person.

When you are sick or unwell, a doctor performs an examination to find out the cause of your illness (also known as “diagnosis”). The doctor then finds suitable treatments for you, and prescribes the right medication in order for you to recover.

From treating the common cold to performing complex surgeries, doctors play a significant role in keeping today’s society well and healthy.

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b) What Are the Various Fields of Medicine?

Medicine - Various Fields
Medicine as a whole is very broad and multidisciplinary. There are many departments within Medicine, and you will require years of training and experience before you are able to specialise in a particular field.

Here are some of the specialties within Medicine in major hospitals:

FieldWhat It Is All About
AnaesthesiologyRelates to providing pain relief to patients prior to, during and after surgery
Internal MedicineRelates to diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, including cancer, infections, and diseases affecting the heart, blood & kidneys, among others
Emergency MedicineInvolves providing immediate medical attention to patients with acute illness or injuries to prevent death or disability
Obstetrics & GynaecologyRelates to medical care for women, particularly care during childbirth, and diseases of the female reproductive system
OrthopaedicsFocuses on injuries and diseases of the body’s musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves
PaediatricsDeals with medical care of infants, children, and adolescents
SurgeryDeals with injuries and disorders that require surgical intervention

You can find out what other medical specialisations that you can pursue from the National Specialist Register (NSR).

Upon completing a degree in Medicine, you will be required to complete your “housemanship”, which is a 2-year internship for aspiring doctors. Your houseman training will usually consist of six 4-month placements at many of these major departments.

#2. Studying a Medicine Degree

a) Entry Requirements & Qualifications

Here are the minimum academic qualifications required in order for you to pursue a degree in Medicine, as set by the Malaysian Medical Council.

Level of StudyMinimum Requirements
STPM or A-LevelMinimum of BBB / ABC / AAC in:
Biology + Chemistry + Physics or Mathematics
Australian Matriculation (SAM or AUSMAT)You will need EITHER:
(1) Average of 80% (or the equivalent of B) in:
Biology + Chemistry + Physics or Mathematics,
OR
(2) ATAR 80.0, including:
Biology + Chemistry + Physics or Mathematics
Matrikulasi or Foundation in ScienceMinimum CGPA 3.0 (out of 4.0) in:
Biology + Chemistry + Physics or Mathematics

You will also need to have at least 5Bs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths / Add Maths and one additional subject at SPM, O-Level or equivalent.

Important Note: A degree in Medicine is highly competitive with many students vying for entry. As such, you may be required to pass an interview before you are offered a place.

b) How Does Your Education Pathway Look Like?

Medicine - Education Pathway
A typical undergraduate degree in Medicine is 5 years long.

However, in order to become a fully registered medical practitioner in Malaysia, you must undergo further training to obtain experience as a house officer.

Known as “housemanship” in Malaysia, it is a two-year compulsory internship that combines service and training roles. This is to ensure that you gain the appropriate knowledge, skill, experience, and above all, the right attitude, in order to be a competent, caring and compassionate medical professional.

Upon completing your housemanship, you will be a qualified medical officer (MO).

After that, most medical officers will work for several years, before going into an area of specialisation, such as anaesthesiology, orthopaedics and gynaecology. In order to be a registered specialist, you will need to take another 4-5 years of postgraduate study plus 2-4 years supervised training as a specialist.

To summarise, it generally takes a total of 7 years to be a fully registered doctor, and more than 10 years to become a specialist.

Pro Tip: Make sure your medical degree is recognised by the Malaysian Medical Council. Otherwise, you may risk not being able to practise medicine in Malaysia.

c) What Will You Study in a Medical Degree?

Most medical programmes include patient contact, coursework in patient handling, and clinical rotations in general fields.

A medical degree is at least 5 years long, and is generally divided into 2 parts.

Medicine - Course Structure
Part 1, which is about 2 years, relates to pre-clinical training that is set in an academic environment. It involves the learning of basic medical sciences, such as anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology and pharmacology.

Part 2, which is comprised of the remaining years of your degree, relates to clinical training. You will undertake clinical training at teaching hospitals or clinical schools, rotating in various clinical disciplines such as general medicine, surgery, paediatrics and internal medicine.

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#3. Why Should You Study Medicine?

Medicine - Why
If you find yourself going into medicine for the money, prestige, job security, because of pressure from your parents or because “your grades will be a waste”, then we highly encourage you to rethink your chosen degree path.

Medical school is extremely challenging and demanding, not to mention time consuming and expensive. While there is no denying that being a doctor is a noble and well-respected profession, never pursue medicine for the wrong reasons.

Here are some reasons why you should study Medicine.

(a) Because you have a strong desire to help sick people

Medicine is about caring and treating the sick. To be a good doctor, you MUST have an interest to care for the ill, even if they are cranky, rude or annoying. If you are passionate about making a difference by helping and caring for the sick, a medical degree might be just the thing for you!

(b) Because you have a keen interest in science and the human body

A medical degree will allow you to learn the functions and intricacies of the human body, and how different things can heal and destroy systems within the body. Medicine can be extremely fascinating and rewarding for those with a curious and inquisitive mind, specifically in the area of biology.

(c) Because you really, really want to be a doctor

This may sound like a given, but many students have idealistic notions about being a doctor. Some aren’t prepared for the long working hours and high stress levels, or have a completely different perception of how a doctor’s life is. Before embarking on this journey, make sure you’ve truly understood all the challenges and demands of a doctor’s life – from medical student to houseman, followed by medical officer and finally, specialist.

Being a doctor is truly one of the most rewarding careers, but it isn’t for everyone. Do your research and make sure you’re in it for the right reasons!

#4. What Skills Do You Need for a Medical Course?

Medicine - Key Skills
Here are some of the key qualities and skills that you will need to develop in order to do well in a medical degree.

(a) Tenacity and determination

Most medical courses are rigorous and demanding, with extremely long study hours and HUGE amounts of learning material. The lives of many will be in your hands one day, so medical schools need to ensure that you are prepared to handle high-pressure situations. From gruelling exams and examining corpses to intense questioning during clinical training, you must have the determination and grit to get through your medical degree.

(b) A genuine concern and interest in people

Having empathy and genuine care is crucial, as you will be treating people at times of need. The medical profession is one of privilege, as patients put their trust in you with their health and their lives. You must have a strong desire to help the sick and be able to empathise with your patients, even if it’s the 2,689th time you’ve heard the story.

(c) Strong communication skills

Communication is extremely important when examining patients. In order to correctly diagnose a patient’s condition, you must be able to probe and truly listen to what the patient is saying about his/her symptoms. In addition, you must be able to explain the condition and treatment in simplified, non-technical terms.

(d) Ability to think critically and be decisive

As a doctor, you will be expected to diagnose and make critical decisions about a patient’s condition. At times, decisions must be made quickly and decisively, as every second could mean the life and death of a person.

Don’t worry if you haven’t mastered all these skills yet. A degree in Medicine will help you hone and develop these skills! Just make sure you’re mentally prepared for the demands, challenges and rigours of a medical degree.

#5. What Career Options Do You Have with a Medical Degree?

The standard path for a medical degree holder is becoming a medical doctor! After all, that’s what you studied for, right?

However, there are also alternative career options in non-clinical fields:

  • Hospital Administration
  • Pharmaceutical Medicine
  • Medical Research
  • Medical Journalism
  • Medical Education (e.g. teaching at universities)

That’s not it! Feast your eyes on the myriad roles in the healthcare industry, aside from a medical doctor of course.

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#6. Should you take up a Degree in Medicine?

If you are still sitting on the fence and contemplating if you should go down the route as a medical student, take our Medicine quiz and see if it’s the right course for you before taking the plunge!

Additionally, you should also inform yourself about the ins and outs of the medical field.

#7. Where Can You Study Medicine in Malaysia?

When choosing a university for your degree in Medicine, you must ensure that your degree is recognised by the Malaysian Medical Council. Otherwise, you may risk not being able to practise medicine in Malaysia!

In two minds about which university to kick start your medical journey? Don’t fret! With our comprehensive table, you can seamlessly find and compare medicine Degree Courses in Malaysia.

Here are some of the most popular medical schools in Malaysia.

Featured
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SEGi University

Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (MBBS)

Quick Facts

Campus: Kota Damansara
Intakes: Sep
Estimated Fees: RM340,850
Scholarships: Up to RM3,000 tuition fee waiver

Key Highlights

Emphasis is placed on delivery through engagement with students, with problem-based learning and personal interaction to foster interpersonal skills
Integrated curriculum that delivers units as a whole to closely reflect the ways students are expected to address problems in their future careers
Exposes students to early patient contact and clinical training to help them be more prepared and able to respond to changes

View other colleges

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Penang Medical College

Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (MBBS)

Quick Facts

Campus: Penang
Intakes: Sep
Estimated Fees: RM580,975
Scholarships: Up to 100% tuition fee waiver

Key Highlights

Wholly-owned by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Dublin (UCD), two of Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious medical universities
Successful graduates of the five-year programme are awarded medical degrees as those who complete a full programme in Ireland
Programme is accredited by both Irish and Malaysian Medical Councils

Taylor’s University

Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (MBBS)

Quick Facts

Campus: Subang Jaya
Intakes: Mar & Aug
Estimated Fees: RM438,214
Scholarships: Up to RM45,000 tuition fee waiver per year

Key Highlights

Students organise activities that create a sense of social responsibility
Facilities are on par with the standards set by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) and MOE
Students are allowed to explore their passion in the field of medical sciences through the Student Selected Module (SSM)

International Medical University (IMU)

Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (MBBS)

Quick Facts

Campus: Bukit Jalil
Intakes: Feb & Aug
Estimated Fees: RM493,600
Scholarships: Up to 100% tuition fee waiver

Key Highlights

Rated Tier 4 out of 6 for “Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy” by Ministry of Education (MQA D-SETARA 2012)
Malaysia’s largest private medical school with over 13 years of track record
Transfer to partner universities abroad, including UK, Ireland, Australia & USA

UCSI University

Doctor of Medicine (MD)

Quick Facts

Campus: Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Sep
Estimated Fees: RM317,125
Scholarships: Partial scholarships available

Key Highlights

Rated Tier 3 out of 6 for “Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy” by Ministry of Education (MQA D-SETARA 2012)
Computerised multi-purpose laboratory and 3D cyber anatomy software for active learning process
Final three years of medical school will be completed in Terengganu campus

MAHSA University

Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (MBBS)

Quick Facts

Campus: Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Sep
Estimated Fees: RM340,950
Scholarships: Up to RM5,000 tuition fee waiver

Key Highlights

Innovative methods such as problem-based learning (PBL), e-learning, early clinical exposure (ECE) and small group sessions are integrated into the curriculum
Local and international pool of highly experienced teachers
Modern facilities that include ultra-modern wet and dry anatomy labs

Perdana University

Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (MBBS)

Quick Facts

Campus: Serdang, Selangor
Intakes: Sep
Estimated Fees: RM508,500

Key Highlights

Curriculum and training equips students with the intellectual and personal attributes to be the best in the future
The only 5+0 Irish Medical Programme available in Malaysia

Where else can you study Medicine in Malaysia? Check out our comprehensive comparison table for Medicine degrees! You can also compare institutions for Foundation in Science.

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