What’s A Diploma Programme?

what is diploma in malaysia

Alright, your certificate is in your pocket and it’s time to consider your after-SPM options. And now, people are telling you that you should consider a Diploma programme.

But what is a diploma in Malaysia? Are there science diplomas? Engineering or IT diplomas? Crucially, SPM graduates want to know: 

  • What is the diploma level? 
  • What’s the difference between a Diploma and a degree? 
  • What’s the difference between taking a Diploma and a Foundation programme? 

Here are our answers.  

What’s the Meaning of a Diploma programme?

A Diploma in Malaysia is somewhat of a shortcut to help you set foot in the workforce. 

It takes less time to obtain a Diploma than it does for a Bachelor’s Degree and you can join a programme right after SPM. You can then choose to start working right after that or pursue a degree—and that’s the crucial difference between Diploma programmes and Foundation, or any other pre-U options. 

A diploma is higher than a pre-university/Foundation qualification, and it’s one level below an undergraduate or Bachelor’s Degree qualification. 

In fact, it’s the same as finishing the first year of a degree. With a diploma, you can enter a degree programme in the second year. 

Diplomas usually take between 2 and 3 years, depending on the field of study. 

Generally, they are offered in specific fields of study, like IT, Engineering, Hospitality, Culinary Arts, Business, Education and many more. 

What Do I Need to Qualify for a Diploma Programme? 

Diploma programmes are a bit more specific compared to Foundation programmes, so they have different qualifications that depend on the exact programmes. 

Generally speaking, SPM and UEC leavers need at least a pass with credits in THREE (3) subjects. For more details on the exact requirements, click here and check out the programme details

Alright, so now you know everything that you need to know about a Malaysian Diploma programme. What are the advantages of getting a Diploma?

What can a Diploma programme offer you?

Get Into the Job Market Faster 

Firstly, time is precious! If you prefer getting a head start in the working world, a diploma may be exactly what you need. 

You’ll be able to enter the job market with a higher education certificate within 2.5 to 3 years. Comparatively, a Bachelor’s degree (with one year of Foundation) can take between 4 to 5 years. Of course, a Diploma can be cheaper as well. 

A Very Specific Set of Skills 

Diploma programmes are more specific than foundation and other pre-university programmes, which cover more diverse subjects. 

These pre-U programmes have their benefits, but if you know exactly what you want to do, a Diploma will teach you theoretical and practical skills. 

This is particularly relevant to technical, hands-on fields like culinary arts, IT education and engineering. 

Accessible Education 

In a perfect world, everyone would be getting 10,000 A’s and have millions to spend on education. It’s not like that though.

Diploma programmes are accessible because they allow students to take up PTPTN loans. Generally, most pre-university programmes don’t have this option (certain institutions do though, so you’ll need to check). 

At the same time, there are a variety of diverse merit-based scholarships available for students looking to join a Diploma programme. 

Some are related to academic performance. Meanwhile, others deal with extra-curricular achievements. Check out if you qualify for them here!

Also, a Diploma programme has lower entry qualifications compared to Foundation. So, if your results aren’t enough to qualify for a Foundation programme, a Diploma course is a great alternative.  

scholarships for foundation and diploma in malaysia

What You Should Think About Before You Choose

Step One: Decide What You Want After SPM

Basically, it comes down to this: do you want to enter the workforce quickly or do you think you want a more thorough, academic education. 

Firstly, a Diploma might just be the ideal choice for you if you are looking to move into a field which entails hands-on expertise. Secondly, if you just want to enter the job market as soon as possible. 

However, if you’re indecisive about what interests you or if you have a plan to pursue academically-inclined degrees like biomedical science, then you should look into other options. 

In that case, a Foundation programme that leads to a Bachelor’s Degree might be exactly what you need. Head here to read all about Foundation! 

Step Two: Look at the Options Available under Your Chosen Programme 

However, if you’re more interested in a Diploma, here are some of the programmes available:

However, keep in mind that you don’t have to enter the workforce after finishing your Diploma. You can also sign up for a Bachelor’s Degree—and you’ll automatically enter Year 2! 

In this section, we’ll outline some of the Bachelor’s degrees you can consider.

Allied Health Sciences

Integrated Life Sciences 



Culinary Arts/Hospitality



Step Three: Talk to Experts

This is how you can get in touch with people who will advise you for free! You’ll also be able to speak directly with faculty deans and academics if you want to know more about Diploma programmes. 

You can also WhatsApp or call us at 019-8300 881—or email enquiries@qiu.edu.my

And for more information, check out more options on what you can do after SPM here! 


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