Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Malaysian students represent the highest percentage of international students studying at the undergraduate level (79 percent) in the United States (Profiles, IIE 1992). In the past decade, numerous changes have occurred within this population. Transfer students have risen from 22 percent in 1986 to 82 percent in 1993, and the Malaysian minority population (Chinese and Indians) studying in America has escalated from 32 percent in 1983 to 65 percent in 1992 (Thomson 1992 and 1993). These dramatic changes have taken place, in part, because of the rise of American transfer programs (ATPs) in Malaysia.

ATPs are two-year, American-patterned education programs in Malaysian postsecondary institutions which allow qualified Malaysian students to transfer up to two years of credits to American colleges and universities. The programs have advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages: a program can save the student 30,000 to 40,000 US dollars, reduce the time he or she spends away from home, help a student mature and increase his or her English language skills. Some of the disadvantages: the highest degree that the programs grant is an associate degree; the programs are authorized but not recognized by the Ministry of Education; the programs limit students exposure to the foreign country to 18-24 months rather than four to five years; though the official medium is English, the students exposure and fluency is not as strong as it would be if they were educated in an English speaking country; the colleges vary in quality; and it is possible that the American institution in which an individual desires to enroll will not accept any of the credits. Nevertheless, ATPs have been successful since their inception.


International and Comparative Education