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The following frequently asked questions are common among those contemplating Graduate School of Business (GSB), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). This page provides answers to these questions and provides links to useful USM websites that provide additional answers.

General questions

What is USM's ranking?

USM is ranked #142 in QS Global World Rankings 2021.

Is there any age limit for admission?

There is no age limit as long as you have met the entry requirements.

Where can I get assistance as an International student?

From International Mobility and Collaboration Centre
Telephone: +60 4 653 2770/2771/2772/2773/3907/2346
Address: International Mobility and Collaboration Centre (IMCC) Building C09, Universiti Sains Malaysia Main Campus, 11800, USM, Penang, Malaysia Location: Click Here

What is the average cost of living in Penang for a student?

Depending on the needs and lifestyle of each student, the estimated cost is inclusive of food, accommodation, books, entertainment, traveling, and miscellaneous.

√ Tuition Fee from USD2,750.00/year

√ Accommodation on-campus from USD248 per year (without meals)

√ Other expenses from USD2,500.00/year

What accommodation is offered to international students?

On-Campus Accommodation is equipped with a single room or a twin-sharing room, common bathroom, cafeteria, laundry room, sports facility, study room, pantry, and grocery store. Rental for on-campus accommodation is from USD30 – USD75 per month (not inclusive of meals). For more information regarding our hostels, please click on this link:

Off-Campus Accommodation is the rental of private accommodation within walking distance and also available within a 3km in radius. Most of the condominium/apartments are equipped with 3 bedrooms, air-conditioned, groceries store, gymnasium, swimming pool, tennis/badminton court, and laundry shop. Rental for off-campus accommodation ranges from USD200 – USD400 per month (not including utility bills).

What time do the classes meet for each programme?

MBA: Evening weekday classes.
EMBA: Evening weekday classes.
DBA: full-day weekend classes.

Can I defer or take a break? How long for?

In all GSB’s Programmes, you are allowed for a max of 2 semesters of postponement and 2 semesters of extension.

Fees and Scholarship

What are the fees for MBA?

Type of Candidate Registration Fees Personal Bond Tuition Fees Total Fees
Malaysian(MYR) 340.00 495.00 × 48 units 23,760.00 (RM)
Non-Malaysian(USD) 227.50 475 200.00 × 48 units 9,600.00 (USD)

What funding is available for MBA or PhD students?

For Malaysian, you can apply financial assistance from PTPTN and EPF. Click here for more details


Are postgraduates generally more employable? What is the average starting salary of a USM MBA students?

Yes, most of our students are working adults. The salary varies depending on which sector they are employed.

Can I do MBA online?

GSB also offers MBA Online using the Webex platform.

What are the entry requirements for this MBA programme?

  1. A Bachelor’s degree from a university recognised by the USM’s Senate or an equivalent qualification
  2. A minimum CGPA of 2.75 or equivalent
  3. A minimum of 1 year working experience
  4. A CGPA of 3.5 and above for fresh graduates (without working experience)
  5. Pass the interview (if required)

How many years of working experience does a candidate need to have to apply this programme?

Candidate needs to have at least one year of working experience. However, fresh graduates without any working experience can also apply but need to have a CGPA of at least 3.50

Can I study the MBA part-time?

We only have a full-time mode. Classes are held on weekdays from 7 pm to 10 pm.

Can I pay in installments?

No, it is as per University policy.

How much is the application fee? And how do I pay?

RM 70.00 via online payment

How does an MBA degree improve one’s career prospects?

Getting an MBA is a great way to acquire a diverse set of knowledge and enhance both skills and knowledge in the business sector. Graduates of MBA programmes usually have higher chances of holding a high-level management position and successful MBA careers.

How long does it take to complete this MBA programme?

The candidature period is between 2 to 5 years.

What is the difference between MBA and Online MBA?

Both programmes will have exactly the same curriculum and syllabus. The only difference is the mode of delivery. The on-campus MBA, requires class attendance whilst the online MBA has more flexibility, self-paced, and convenience of attending online classes anywhere as long as the location has internet connection.

After submitting the application, how and when do we know the decision?

If all the requirements are met, you will be getting the offer letter in a week or two.

Are transfer credits accepted?

No, we do not accept any transfer credit

Do I need to pay the tuition fees in full once I have registered as a student?

Students will only need to pay the tuition fees based on the number of courses registered in a semester.

How many semesters are there?

There are 2 semesters in a year; February and September


Will the term "Online" be printed on my scroll?

No. Your degree will state Master of Business Administration

How will I interact with faculty and other students?

Using Cisco WEBEX Platform and e-learn (Moodle).

How long are the classes?

2 hours per class.

When are the classes for the online MBA course?

The online MBA course classes typically run on weekdays from either 7-9 PM or 9-11 PM.


What are the entry requirements for this program?

  1. A Master’s degree in Management or Master Business Administration (MBA) from a recognised university by the USM’s Senate or an equivalent qualification.
  2. A minimum CGPA of 3.00/4.00 or equivalent.
  3. Degree awarded by local private Institutions of higher learning including those awarded under any collaborative/franchising schemes with local or foreign partners must be accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)
  4. A minimum of 5 years relevant working experience
  5. Pass the Interview to candidate who do not achieve above requirement.

Can I complete the program at my own pace?

  1. Full time: 7 semesters to 10 semesters)
  2. Part time: 10 semesters to 14 semesters)

How is a DBA different from a Ph.D.?

  1. The DBA Programme is delivered in 3 parts through a series of lecture seminars, consultancy, training and independent study.
  2. The PhD is a pure research degree and more to independence study


Do you offer a part-time PhD programme or a distance-learning/external program?

We offer both a part-time Ph.D. programme as well as an ‘offshore’ Ph.D. programme in Hong Kong in collaboration with the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA).

Should I contact a faculty member before submitting an application?

Though not compulsory, it might expedite the application process if you identify a potential supervisor and seek his/her advice on your proposed research topic.

Are there any English-language requirements that need to be met when applying for a PhD?

The minimum score for each programme can vary from the below list, candidates are required to check for each programme requirements.

A minimum score of 35 for TOEFL (Internet-based); or
A minimum of Band 5 for IELTS; or
A minimum score of 36 for PTE; or
A minimum score of 154 for CAE/CPE; or
A minimum of Band 2 for MUET

Exemption is given to candidate if:

English is the candidate’s mother tongue or National Language; or
Candidate graduated from an Institution of Higher Learning in which the medium of instruction at Bachelor and/or Master degree level is English (statement of proof required)

I already took research methods courses during my Masters degree. Would I still need to attend GSB's courses on this subject?

Yes, all students, regardless of their background, are required to attend and pass both of these courses. The minimum pass mark is ‘B’