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Coursework Phd Malaysia

English is the lingua franca in academia. Unfortunately, the level of English among students (both Malaysians and foreigners) in Malaysian universities often range between poor to atrocious. Yes, English courses (even from British Council) are easily available, but the level of English proficiency required in science is much higher than what can be taught in these English language centers. It is one thing in being able to read and speak conversational English such as:

“I would like to see my supervisor. May I know when he is free to see me?”

and wholly different in being able to read scientific text and actually understand what the whole text is saying, such as:

“…factors of aggregate stability can interact with one another; meaning that a factor may not, by itself, have a unique contribution to aggregate stability. Instead, it jointly contributes with another factor or factors to affect aggregate stability. Such jointly contributions cannot be measured by simple linear regression or by correlations…”.

So, if your command of English is less than desired, how far are you willing to work to improve it? You simply cannot escape achieving at least a good level of English language proficiency in science.

6. Are you willing to learn to read and write a lot?

Laziness to read and write scientific papers is a key problem among postgraduate students. Part of this problem is the poor level of English proficiency among the students.

Plenty of reading is required in research postgraduate study (photo from srpp.com.au).

You need to start reading—and read a lot—early in your research work. You need to understand the problems, gaps in knowledge, issues, and latest findings in your research area. When you read enough, you feel more confident and competent in your work. Instead, students often start to read only when it is time to write their thesis.

And how much should you read? One journal per day, as once pledged by my former (and failed) student? No. You read as much as you can or as needed. Contrary to a common notion among students, you do not have to read a book or journal paper from front to back like a novel or story book.

You only read parts of a book or paper that are relevant or for information you require. Yes, there would be books or papers which you will read front-to-back and many times over because they are most relevant to your research, but certainly not all documents should be treated as such.

Unfortunately, poor comprehension and low concentration skills hamper reading. Students may understand the individual words that make up a text, but yet fail to understand what the whole text means.

Lastly, you need to write. You must get your research published, but not just in any journal, but also preferably in high impact journals. Unfortunately, there are many so-called scientific journals out there, ready to publish your work, sometimes as fast as within a week. These journals require payment, which itself is not unusual because some high impact journals do carry page charges, but the problem is these so-called journals carry low quality research papers, sometimes complete with grammar and spelling errors and missing references.

Students must publish their work in good journals (photo from www.agronomy.org)

7. Are you self-reliant?

Self reliance is a very essential ingredient in all good research students. Masters and PhD study is a test on independent work. You must plan your research work and keep to the schedule. It isn’t your supervisor’s duties to accompany you to the lab or to the field all the time.

Self reliance is crucial in research. It means able to go out to the field to collect data, for example. This was one of my previous research with my former student.

It is your supervisor’s duties to provide financial support for your research (such as to purchase chemicals or research equipment) or networking assistance in any research collaboration with external organizations. But, ultimately, it is you who have to plan and setup the lab and/or field experiments, collect and analyze the data, and interpret the results. This includes solving problems that often crop up unexpectedly in research work.

Your supervisor guides and advises you in your research but not do all of your statistical work and interpret your analyses.

Self reliance is such an important criterion that it cannot be stressed often enough. Used to being spoon-fed with information and work being carried out for them, students often struggle to prepare, let alone execute and complete, a series of experiments on their own. Deadlines are never self-imposed, so their work is often completed late and shoddy, lowering the quality of research.

Self reliance also means self study, where you learn to overcome your knowledge deficiencies through reading, consultations, and hands-on practice. No one knows everything or is talented in all aspects. The crux is being able to seek out the relevant information and to do it diligently to overcome our knowledge or technical skill weaknesses.

Consequently, these seven questions are essential questions you need to ask yourself. This article is not about the nitty-gritty details about postgraduate application, as universities’ websites carry those information, but it is about whether you should be pursuing a Masters or a PhD programme.

My PhD student, Mohsen, and I (left) discussing about some finer points in his research project.

Stress, difficulties, sleepless nights, and delays are part and parcel of any research work. In fact, they are to be expected. But what becomes an unrewarding Masters or PhD experience is when students come unprepared in terms of insufficient financial means, wrong attitude and expectations, and inadequate basic knowledge and skills.


ProgrammesFull Time (3 Semester)Full Time (3 Semester)
Master of Software EngineeringMYR 13,200.00MYR 25,200.00
Master of Science (Information Assurance)MYR 13,200.00MYR 25,200.00
Master of Science (Computer System Engineering)MYR 13,200.00MYR 25,200.00
Master of Science (Informatics)MYR 13,200.00MYR 25,200.00
Master of Science (Business Intelligence and Analytics)MYR 13,200.00MYR 25,200.00

Doctor of Software Engineering

Malaysian (6 Semesters)International (6 Semesters)
MYR 25,200.00MYR 44,810.00



*Fee for class (weekend class) conducted at:-
– Johor Bahru/Melaka range from RM18,000-RM22,000
– Kuala Lumpur/ Selangor range from RM25,000-RM27,000
– Penang/ Ipoh  range from RM28,000-RM29,000
– Kuantan/ K.Terengganu range  from RM25,000-RM28,000
– Kuching/ Kota Kinabalu range from RM28,000-RM30,000
– Master of Architecture – Kuala Lumpur RM37,000

*The above part-time fee is  based on previous/current programme offered at the above location.  UTM will calculate a new costing for the programme offered at specific location  with minimum number of 15 students. Call 07-5537547/ 7639 for details on part-time postgraduate fee.

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