Your Helpful One-Stop Guide on What to Study After SPM

after SPM

Congratulations on completing your SPM and waving goodbye to your incredible secondary school journey! 

Where to go after SPM? What is a fresh grad to do next?

In Malaysia, a wide range of pre-university programmes are available to cater to different student needs before their desired degree.

However, choosing the right programme to pursue is crucial, as it can be confusing and difficult for many without proper guidance. (Especially if you aiming for the top universities in Malaysia.)

Worry not! Uni Enrol has created this comprehensive guide to help you understand your study and finance options. You will also learn to apply the art of the Ikigai concept when choosing your course after SPM.

Pathway After SPM: What Are Your Choices?

where to go after spm
Photo by cottonbro studio on


A foundation programme is designed to equip students with the basic skills and knowledge needed before taking on a bachelor’s degree programme. Among the popular programmes for foundations offered by Malaysian institutions are 

  • Foundation for Science and 
  • Foundation in Arts

Typically taking one year to complete, foundation programmes consist of core and elective subjects. University lecturers will assess their students through 

  • quizzes, 
  • assignments and 
  • final examinations.

Foundation programmes can cost you between RM10,000 and RM26,000.

However, universities design these foundation programmes to help students embark on their desired career paths. The subjects are specific and tailored to fit students’ future degree curricula. 

International Pre-University

If you are looking to keep your options open upon graduation to study locally or abroad, here are 3 popular pre-university programmes available for your consideration:


A-Level, otherwise known as Advanced Level Qualifications, is a UK-based programme. It is known to be one of the most challenging qualifications that is globally recognised. Meaning, your chances of entering one of the top universities in Malaysia will be higher.

A-Level focuses fully on examinations. Students study three to four subjects of their choice relating to their preferred degree.

This pathway in Malaysia generally takes 1.5 to 2 years to complete and costs between RM16,000 and RM35,000. Upon completion of A-Levels at local institutions, you may apply for your degree of choice at a wide range of universities worldwide. The best thing about it is that it covers many essential degree modules even if you are unsure of what to do.


Another preferred study pathway after SPM is Australian-based programmes, such as Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) and the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). 

During your studies, you must complete 5 preferred subjects. These subjects will consist of 50% coursework and 50% examinations.

Then, your university will award you an ATAR rank once you have reached the finish line. After receiving your ATAR rank, you can use it as an entry requirement to apply to overseas universities.

These programmes generally take 1 year to complete and cost between RM35,000 and RM40,000

Further reading: Your One-Stop Guide to AUSMAT and SACE International

American Degree Transfer Programme

If studying in the US is part of your study plan, then these 2 American programmes may be for you.

The American Degree Programme (ADP) and American Degree Transfer Programme (ADTP) allow students to directly start their degree in Malaysia and continue their last two years in the US. 

In addition, some ADPs also give students a chance to complete the entire programme locally while still receiving the academic experience and degree certificate of an American university. You can even take general subjects, such as 

  • English, 
  • History and 
  • Psychology before specialising in a specific field of study. 

The total duration of this programme is 4 years and would cost approximately RM60,000 for the first 2 years spent locally.

This holistic educational approach is 70% coursework and 30% final examination.


A diploma programme is equivalent to the first year of a degree, with a more hands-on learning experience at its core. Colleges combine coursework, final examination and final year internship to equip students with industry-specific skills,

Upon completing a diploma, you can either enter the workforce or directly take on the second year of a related degree programme.

Generally, diplomas are 2–2.5 years long and cost between RM20,000 and RM60,000. The duration and tuition fee may vary, depending on the university and/or course of choice. 

Further readings about diplomas in Malaysia :
Top Diploma Courses to Study in Malaysia

Malaysian Matriculation 

Another cost-efficient road to college is through Malaysian Matriculation, – perfect for entry into top universities in Malaysia.

In this programme, you can choose from 4 general streams: 

  • Science, 
  • Accounting, 
  • Professional Accounting, and 
  • Engineering. 

Each stream offers you a wide variety of subjects to venture into. Grades of this course consist of

  • 10%-20% classroom assignments, 
  • 10% mid-semester exams and 
  • 70%–80% final examinations. 

This course will take students 1 to 2 years to complete. With the government subsidising your tuition fees, you only need to pay less than RM550 for registration. 

Further readings about Malaysia’s Matrikulasi :
3 Exclusive Matrikulasi Facts To Discover Before Starting


If you are looking for a competitive course after SPM, STPM might just be the one.

Equivalent to GCE A-Levels, STPM stands for Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). STPM has several benefits, including being widely accepted by most reputable universities worldwide. Without sacrificing cost-efficiency, it offers students a holistic approach to learning that focuses on soft skills.

You can selected find this established pathway in selected local secondary schools. There, students need to choose from 23 subjects, many of which are compulsory.

At school, you will receive credits from 2 types of assessments:

  • 20%–40% school-based assessment and 
  • 60%–80% final examination. 

Moreover, STPM is a 2-year pathway in Malaysia that is free for students to pursue right after SPM. After completing it, you can use your STPM results to apply for a degree programme at a university locally or abroad.


Are you looking for the fastest way to jump into the workforce? Try TVET!

Like a diploma programme, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) equips students with the technical skills needed to become functional workers in a skilled trade. 

With multiple courses at hand, a TVET college can prepare students for a wide range of industries, such as

  • auto body repair, 
  • fashion, 
  • automotive or 
  • culinary arts. 

These programmes are generally half to 2 years long, with tuition fees subsidised by the government. 

What to do After SPM: How to Fund Your Studies

how to fund for your studies after SPM
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

Pursuing tertiary education is a must to secure a job. However, this can be financially draining for many. Thus, it is necessary to consider your options before you apply.

Common forms of financial aid available to students in Malaysia are PTPTN loans, scholarships, and student loans. Be sure to identify an option that matches your financial capabilities and selected university to avoid complications.


PTPTN stands for Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional and is a government institution that offers study loans specifically for tertiary education.

On the road to the top universities in Malaysia, many students apply after SPM. It has a relatively low interest rate compared with others. As a bonus, students who achieve first-class honours upon graduation can convert this education loan into a scholarship!

However, PTPTN loan applications have certain requirements for you to meet, such as 

  • minimum qualification, 
  • household income, and 
  • the type of institution. 

Upon graduation, you will have 12 months to secure a job before repayment commences.


Another way to fund your university course is through scholarships.

Scholarships are financial aid awarded to support a student’s education. They are awarded based on academic or other achievements, and students do not have to make repayments. 

Common types of scholarships include:

  • Government scholarships: Competitive, full or partial, available but require you to work for the government for a number of years upon graduation.
  • Institutional scholarships: Merit-based financial aid. They are specifically for students enrolled at the institution, required to maintain good academic results.
  • Corporate scholarships: Aimed at grooming future employees of corporations, students are expected to study a course related to the corporation and are bonded to the corporation upon graduation. Examples of corporate scholarships include
    • Petronas Scholarships, 
    • CIMB Scholarships and 
    • Bank Negara Scholarship.


If you do not qualify for a PTPTN loan or scholarship, don’t fret. Your road to the top universities in Malaysia does not end there.

There are other full or partial loans for you to consider, including 

  • The Maybank Education Loan Malaysia, 
  • The AFFIN Bank Education Financing-i and 
  • The KOJADI Loan Scheme. 

Although these loans provide financial assistance to qualified students, there is still a mountain of requirements to be fulfilled for a successful application.

These loans generally have a higher interest rate, from 3.6% to 7%.

Course After SPM: Top Choices of SPM 2021 Students

Curious about the continuously changing trend in courses and majors, we asked students how they choose where to go after SPM. The answers we obtained brought up several interesting points.

  1. 3,910 out of 31,000 students surveyed chose Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, making it the most popular field of study among SPM 2021 students. 
  2. Common majors under this FOS are Medicine, pharmacy, and Nursing. 
  3. Business, Accounting and Finance, and Computing and IT are equally popular, with about 2,000 students opting for them.
  4. While Medicine remains the most popular major of choice, new data shows that more students prefer Nursing over Professional Accounting. 
  5. Business and Management, Business Administration, and International Business are also top major choices for students who study Business. 

Should a cloud of doubt visit you, you can always turn to our friendly counsellors. With their updated knowledge, they can shed some light on a study pathway after SPM that brightens your future.

Where to Go After SPM: Top Universities in Malaysia

Have you found the right place to further study? If nowhere catches your eye, how about visiting these private universities? You may even find something interesting.

Taylor’s University 

Taylor's as one of the top universities in malaysia

Taylor’s is a pioneering private higher education institution located in Subang Jaya, Selangor. 

Known for its beautiful lakeside campus, Taylor’s has also achieved Tier-5 in the SETARA Ranking. It ranked 284th in the QS World University Ranking (2023).

Moreover, Taylor’s is famous for valuing educational excellence. To boost your learning process, the institution gathered

  1. Diverse study options,
  2. Industry-leading staff, and
  3. Well-equipped facilities.

If you are figuring out what to do next, check out Taylor’s for a course after SPM. There are foundations, diplomas, and pre-universities available!


SACE International 


American Degree Transfer Programme


Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU)

APU as one of the universities in malaysia

Located in Bukit Jalil, APU is a private university widely recognised as a student’s tech and innovation hub.

APU has received 5 Stars by QS for Teaching, Employability, Facilities and Inclusiveness. On top of that, it is also a proud winner of the award for Premier Digital Tech University status by MDEC.

By forging a strong partnership with De Montfort University, UK, the university opened many doors for students to earn a Dual Degree Award. 

Looking for a way into the top universities in Malaysia? APU has numerous pre-u and diploma programmes for you to start off with.



Multimedia University (MMU) 

MMU as one of the universities in malaysia

When we talk about history, MMU has its fair share. This government-linked university once belonged to Telekom Malaysia. It is the oldest and first-ever full-fledged private research university in Malaysia.

With 2 campuses in Cyberjaya, Kuala Lumpur and Ayer Keroh, Melaka, MMU is a popular choice among students. Having diverse study options and cheaper tuition fees are two of its shining traits. Yet, there is still more to it.

Their latest outstanding student accomplishment was the bronze medal at the SIRIM Invention, Innovation and Technology Expo (SI2TE) 2017.

Be part of the MMU family today! They have a buffet of pre-university and diplomas for your study appetizer, such as



International Medical University (IMU) 

IMU as one of the universities in malaysia

Next on our list of established private universities is IMU. One of its biggest joys comes from becoming the first private medical and health sciences university. Both in Malaysia and worldwide!

Moreover, IMU is the first and only private Malaysian medical university to receive a self-accreditation status from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). This renowned institution strongly enforces an outcome-based curriculum for all students by putting a 100% focus on

  • medicine,
  • health sciences, and
  • complementary medicine programmes,

You can find the main campus located in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur! (near a beautiful park.)

If you are struggling to “cure” your doubts, try IMU. Their pre-university and diploma programmes are worth looking into.



HELP University 

HELP as one of the universities in malaysia

Founded in 1986, HELP is one of Malaysia’s leading institutions for tertiary education. It has a strong reputation for incubating outstanding graduates in both local and international establishments. 

Most recognised for its postgraduate Psychology and Business programme, HELP is also a gateway to many international universities. Here, students can transfer credits to top universities in Australia and the UK.

Back home, HELP has 2 campuses: HELP Subang 2 and HELP Damansara Heights. While they both comfortably reside in Selangor, the programmes they have differ.

From the artistic foundation to the number-filled diplomas, HELP has something for your future pathway after SPM. You can find a list of their pre-university and diploma courses to further study here!




What to do Next: How to Choose a Course After SPM

Now that you know what your options are, it is time to discover your road to college.

During the process, you may struggle to choose between pursuing your interest or what will benefit your future. But, lucky for you, the Japanese have figured out a concept known as IKIGAI

IKIGAI roughly translates to “reason for being” in achieving happiness and purpose. 

ikigai how to choose a road after spm

In short, IKIGAI infers that you can marry your career with your passion and strengths to bring value to others. The concept speaks about providing something “The World Needs” and which “People Will Pay For”. It proposes that the most fulfilling career is when “What You Love to Do” is also “What You Are Good At”. 

If you still have not figured it out yet, don’t worry. You can contact us at Uni Enrol for advice to help you achieve a balance of your interests and future needs.