How to do a Doctorate Degree Programme in Malaysia - Part 5

Study Methods
There are flexible study options for studying for a post-graduate degree.
  • Full time Programme
    A two-year programme has more course options for the student who is also able to have an in-depth understanding of knowledge. A one-year programme is less costly but more intensive. The limited time could bring much pressure and this in turn may not allow the student much time and space to think about whether to choose electives or to take courses. In addition, there would be less time to study in-depth complicated management/business issues. Both programmes however allow good interaction between students and the school faculty.
  • Part-time Programme
    This is a flexible programme with no time limit and the duration can range from two to four years or even more depending on how long the student wants to take to complete the programme. Students who enroll for this programme are usually in the workforce and they can bring practical experience to the classroom in which lessons are usually conducted either in the evenings or during weekends. Students need to be very self-disciplined as combining work and studies can be very challenging.
  • Distance Learning
    This programme is taught through the Internet, video conferencing, e-mail, fax and telephone. Since you study at your own pace, the programme can take up to three years to complete. Face-to-face and peer group contacts are not possible and in order to compensate for this lack, several shorter meetings of groups are arranged for two weeks for several months. This form of studying can be a lonely task since there is no frequent interaction between students and the faculty; thus students need to be very self-disciplined to work out a regular timetable to meet deadlines.

Funding for Postgraduate Programmes
Grants are usually available for postgraduate studies, but these would very much depend on the institution, and also on the class of first degree, especially for research degrees. Meanwhile, there are an increasing number of scholarships available from research institutions, endowments, and certain large industries which are interested in specific research areas. However, the competition for these grants is naturally intense.

Another possible funding option is your university, which may have set aside grants for specific research projects.

Below are some other avenues of aid for postgraduate studies:
  • University Fellowships: Some universities award fellowships on the basis of merit and Department recommendation. These fellowships usually cover tuition and provide a stipend.
  • Scholarships: Many universities give scholarships from endowed funds that have been donated by individuals who wish to assist students in their academic endeavors. In some cases the donor may specify certain characteristics that a student must possess in order to receive the award. Check with your university to see if there is an application for these sorts of scholarships.
  • Assistantships: These are usually sponsored by the institution to which you are applying for and are most commonly available for Doctoral candidates in the Science and Engineering fields.
  • Teaching Assistantships: These usually provide full or partial tuition benefits as well as a competitive hourly wage. Responsibilities include teaching undergraduate courses, grading papers, compiling bibliographies, leading discussion sections, and monitoring laboratories. However, these positions can be time-consuming as you are often expected to maintain office hours and grade examinations. On the other hand, if you are interested in teaching or are considering pursuing a Doctoral degree, this is a great way to gain experience in the classroom.
  • Research Assistantships: These types of positions are most widely available in the Sciences area, although some Humanities and Social Science departments hire research assistants as well. Research assistants work with the faculty on their research projects and receive tuition benefits.

In this fast progressing society, an advanced degree has become a routine preparation for a wide variety of jobs sought after by the young people.

Fortunately, Malaysian higher education institutions have extensive ranges of diverse subjects (which are relevant to students' career development) plus high-quality teaching and flexible time-frame for completion of the programme. In addition, the institutions encourage and offer certain advantageous features to those who have a few years' work experience behind them, but wish to improve their qualifications without sacrificing too much of their time.

Thus, higher learning has become more popular. As it is important for you to obtain all relevant and important information before you make your decision on the type of postgraduate programme to pursue, you should make a list of universities that offer the programme you are interested in. Shortlist them as according to all the information researched by you from various sources, like the libraries (public and universities owned) and the internet, including the university's website which will provide comprehensive information on the course content as well as details of its research priorities. In your research, remember to search up details of the advisors and the general reputation of the Department. The really good websites of universities will also display profiles of their professors and tutors as well as the work of its current postgraduate students. Some universities' websites also highlight the career options upon achieving this more marketable higher degree qualification.