Best universities in Malaysia

Explore the best universities in Malaysia, based on data collected by Times Higher Education

March 13 2019
Best universities in Malaysia

Malaysia is a country in South East Asia known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse population.

Made up of two main land masses, the Malaysian Peninsula and Malaysian Borneo, the country is known equally for its cosmopolitan capital and its wildlife-rich rainforests. The jungles of Borneo are home to over 1,000 species of animals, many of which are endangered. These include orangutans, clouded leopards and pygmy elephants.

By contrast, Kuala Lumpur – the nation’s capital – is a bustling metropolis, often used as a stepping stone to many other major South Asian destinations. Featuring the iconic Petronas Towers, the city’s impressive skyline is just one of KL’s many attractions. ​

Others include a canopy walkway 100ft in the air in the heart of the city, as well as the Batu Cave Temple, the stunning National Mosque and a host of museums.

Street food is incredibly popular and you can expect a varied cuisine with Indian, Chinese and Malay influences.

Among all of this are some outstanding universities, which we have listed below, based on data collected for the THE World University Rankings 2019

University of Malaya​

The University of Malaya, a public research university in Kuala Lumpur, is Malaysia’s oldest university, founded in 1905.

Initially established to cover the shortage of doctors in the country, the university has maintained its position as a leading medical school.

It also offers bachelors degrees right through to doctoral qualifications across a range of other disciplines including economics, law, engineering, accountancy, linguistics and education.  

The university also partners with several institutions across the globe, with links to Australia, France, Japan and the UK.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)​ 

Situated across two campuses in Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) is Malaysia’s second best university.

Established as a not-for-profit university in 2002, the initial intake was just 411. This has now risen to 2,500 students, who can choose from over 110 academic programmes of study. When the university first started there were just eight degree programmes. 

UTAR is made up of nine faculties, three academic institutes, three academic centres and 32 research centres. ​

There are 56 registered student societies at the university including the yoga society, the international friendship society, the robotics society, the board games club, the taekwondo club and the first aid society among others.  


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Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia​

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, or The National University of Malaysia as it is sometimes known, was initially founded to uphold the Malay language.

​Today, the university’s focus has switched to energy, with an emphasis on biotechnology and earth science.

UKM’s Tun Seri Lanang Library is one of the biggest university libraries in Malaysia, housing a collecting of over two million resources.

The university has three campuses: in Bangi, Cheras and Kuala Lumpur.

And the rest...

You can also choose from a range of other universities in Malaysia.

Other institutions with a focus on energy include Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN).

Away from Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) is located on the northwest coast of stunning Borneo.

The Universiti Teknologi MARA (UITM) is the best of both worlds, with campuses in each part of Malaysia. ​


The top universities in Malaysia 2019

Click on each institution to see its full World University Rankings 2019 results 

Malaysia Rank 2019 World University Rank 2019 University City/Area
1  301–350  University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur
2  501–600  Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Petaling Jaya
=3  601–800  Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Selangor
=3  601–800  Universiti Sains Malaysia Pulau Pinang 
=3  601–800  Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Johor 
=3  601–800  Universiti Teknologi Petronas Seri Iskandar 
=7  801–1000  Universiti Putra Malaysia Selangor 
=7  801–1000  Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) Selangor 
=7  801–1000  Universiti Utara Malaysia Kedah Darul Aman 
=10  1001+  Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor 
=10  1001+  Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Sarawak

Read more: Best universities in Asia

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