Universiti Sains Malaysia
Universiti Sains Malaysia (University of Science, Malaysia; acronym: USM) is a public university
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 with its main campus
A campus is traditionally the land on which a college or university and related institutional buildings are situated. Usually a campus includes libraries, lecture halls, residence halls and park-like settings...

 in Penang
Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the...

, Malaysia. There are three branch campuses: one in mainland Penang (Engineering Campus
Universiti Sains Malaysia Engineering Campus
The Universiti Sains Malaysia Engineering Campus is located in Transkrian, Nibong Tebal, Seberang Perai Selatan, Penang. The campus covers an area about 320 acres...

), one in Kelantan (Health Campus) on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia
Peninsular Malaysia
Peninsular Malaysia , also known as West Malaysia , is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula. Its area is . It shares a land border with Thailand in the north. To the south is the island of Singapore. Across the Strait of Malacca to the west lies the island of Sumatra...

, and a offshore collaboration with a university in India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. This offshore five-year M.D. programme is conducted at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (Belgaum)
Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (Belgaum)
Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College is a constituent college of newly created KLE University. The college is located at Belgaum in Karnataka. It is recognized by the Medical Council of India, Malaysian Medical Council, and listed in W.H.O. directory of World Medical Institutions.The high standards...

, KLE University, Belgaum, Bangalore, India offering the MD (USM) or better known as the Doctor of Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 undergraduate degree. USM plans to open a Kuala Lumpur campus. With around 28,287 (postgraduates and undergraduates) students in 2009, USM is one of the biggest universities in terms of enrollment in Malaysia. The number of lecturer
Lecturer is an academic rank. In the United Kingdom, lecturer is a position at a university or similar institution, often held by academics in their early career stages, who lead research groups and supervise research students, as well as teach...

s is about 1,479, which leads to a student-lecturer ratio of around 1:19.


The establishment of USM began with an agreement through a resolution which was approved by the Penang State Legislative Assembly in 1962, which called for the establishment of a university college in the state. The acquisition of a piece of land in Sungai Ara was then followed by the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Y.T.M Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj on 7 August 1967.

USM was established in 1969 as the second university in Malaysia. It was first known as Universiti Pulau Pinang. Initially, the university operated on borrowed premises at the Malayan Teachers' Training College at Gelugor. In 1971, it moved to its present 239.4-hectare site at Minden (formerly Minden Barracks
Minden Barracks
Minden Barracks was a military barracks located in the south-eastern town of Gelugor in Penang, Malaysia approximately away from the city of Georgetown...

 of the British Far East Command
British Far East Command
The Far East Command was a British military command which had 2 distinct periods. These were firstly, 18 November 1940 – 7 January 1942 succeeded by the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command , and secondly, 1963 – 1971 succeeded by Australia, New Zealand, and United Kingdom Force...

) in Gelugor
Gelugor is a town located at the southern part of Georgetown, a midway town between Georgetown and Sungai Dua...

, approximately 9.7 kilometres from the city of Georgetown. The site, which consists mainly of undulating land, is an ideal location to house a university campus.

There are now two other USM campuses: one at Kubang Kerian in Kelantan, known as the Health Campus, and the other at Seri Ampangan in Penang, known as the Engineering Campus. The former houses the School of Medical Sciences, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Dental Sciences, while the latter houses the six engineering schools.

From the outset, Universiti Sains Malaysia was given the mandate to provide, promote and develop learning in the fields of Pure Sciences, Applied Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Building Science and Technology, Social Sciences, Humanities and Education as well as to conduct research and foster the dissemination of such knowledge. To date, the University has not departed from these mandates and has made significant progress in meeting its academic, social, and national obligations.

The management of the University is carried out through the executive power of the Board of Directors, made up of members chosen from the University, representatives from government departments and those appointed by the Ministry of Higher Education. As an executive council, the Board of Directors retains the right to wield power entrusted to it by the University Constitution, Statutes, Acts and Regulations.

Today, USM offers a wide range of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels to more than 28,000 students. The success achieved, especially in research, including the latest through the Asian Innovation Award in which USM emerged as the only winner from this country, has placed USM on the world map.

Academic programmes

USM has always been guided in its activities by the need to develop a personality and identity of its own. Since its establishment, it has adopted an innovative approach to higher education and departed significantly from the traditional faculty system of an academic organisation. In its place, the university introduced a system that allows for a multidisciplinary approach. The policy was to combine subjects and to organise programs so that a degree of specialisation in a chosen subject was possible.

To date, 24 academic schools, 14 centres and 7 units have been established. Of the schools, 12 are applied science and technology-based schools: Civil Engineering, Aerospace Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Housing, Building and Planning; Industrial Technology; Medical Sciences; Dental Sciences; Health Sciences; and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The three liberal arts schools are Educational Studies, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The pure science schools are Biological Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Computer Sciences, and Physics, all of which offer courses that are similar to those traditionally available in other universities.

In December 1989, the School of Management was set up, having evolved from the Management program within the School of Social Sciences. As part of its continuing expansion, the university established the School of Computer Sciences and the School of Communication as of March 1995.

The centres and ancillary services include the Centre for Languages and Translation, the National Poison Centre, the Doping Control Centre, the Centre for Archaeological Research Malaysia, the Centre for Educational Technology and Multimedia, the Computer Centre, the Centre for Knowledge, Communication and Technology and the Islamic Centre. There are research centres, namely the Centre for Policy Research, the Centre for Drug Research and the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies. The distance education program offered through the School of Distance Education is another innovative program adopted by the University in 1971. It has gained an encouraging response from working adults and is set to be developed further in this decade to cater for new directions and needs.

In the field of research, the emphasis is on function-oriented or interdisciplinary research. The main focus is on areas that integrate academic interest and practical relevance, thus directing scientific thrusts towards breakthroughs in areas crucial to the quality of life and national development.

USM is one of six universities in Malaysia that have been identified as research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

-intensive universities, with the other being University of Malaya
University of Malaya
The University of Malaya is located on a campus near the centre of Kuala Lumpur, and is the oldest university in Malaysia. It was founded in 1905 as a public-funded tertiary institution...

 and Universiti Putra Malaysia
Universiti Putra Malaysia
Universiti Putra Malaysia , or UPM, is a leading research intensive public university located in central Peninsular Malaysia, close to the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. It was formerly known as Universiti Pertanian Malaysia or Agricultural University of Malaysia...



It is no coincidence that the Main campus has the name of a German city (Minden
Minden is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends along both sides of the river Weser. It is the capital of the Kreis of Minden-Lübbecke, which is part of the region of Detmold. Minden is the historic political centre of the...

). The campus was built on the territory of a the former British Minden Barracks
Minden Barracks
Minden Barracks was a military barracks located in the south-eastern town of Gelugor in Penang, Malaysia approximately away from the city of Georgetown...

, which themselves where named after the Battle of Minden
Battle of Minden
The Battle of Minden—or Thonhausen—was fought on 1 August 1759, during the Seven Years' War. An army fielded by the Anglo-German alliance commanded by Field Marshal Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, defeated a French army commanded by Marshal of France Louis, Marquis de Contades...


Besides the main campus in Minden, USM has two other campuses: one at Kubang Kerian
Kubang Kerian
Kubang Kerian is a town and also a parliamentary constituency in Kota Bharu district, Kelantan, Malaysia. The Universiti Sains Malaysia branch campus is located here. This campus is also referred to as the USM Health Campus. The campus houses 3 schools - the School of Medical Sciences, the School...

 in Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

 known as Health Campus and the other at Seri Ampangan, Nibong Tebal
Nibong Tebal
Nibong Tebal 高淵 is a town under parliamentary constituency P047. It is situated in Seberang Perai on the mainland side of Penang, Malaysia, bordered by Parit Buntar in Perak and Bandar Baharu in Kedah....

 in mainland Penang known as Engineering Campus.

Started as a USM hospital in 1982, the health campus has expanded after the School of Medical Science was moved from the main campus to the present site which is 72.84 hectares. The School of Medical Science was moved from the main campus in June 1984. The Medical School recently celebrated 30 years since its establishment. There are now two other schools in the health campus — the School of Dental Science and the School of Allied Health Sciences.

The engineering campus moved to the present site from its previous site in Tronoh, Perak
Perak , one of the 13 states of Malaysia, is the second largest state in the Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor the Strait of Malacca to the south and west.Perak means silver in Malay...

 in 1996.


Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) offers excellent opportunities for research and education to local and foreign scholars.
The university's core competencies are teaching, research and consultancies, which relate directly to the advancement of human resource development and capacity building, knowledge and industrial competitiveness.

The University has always emphasised the interdisciplinary approach in all its programmes and this is reflected in both its academic structure and research activities. The Science Fund funding is the main source of R&D for USM. However, to promote research, the university allocates money from its operating funds annually as incentive and for short-term research purposes. External funds, mainly in the form of research grants, awards and consultancies won by individual academic staff members, also feature prominently. There are external sources of funding as well, but these are largely ad hoc and do not, as a rule, result in the development of major research facilities. Some external research links have been established through individual and through institutional networking arrangements.

Research areas

Research areas of special strength at USM include brain and neuroscience, environmental science, aquaculture, biomedical and pharmaceutical studies, natural language processing and computer aided translation, information technology, food technology, polymer science and technology, biotechnology, distance education, geographical information system, structure analysis, materials science, engineering, surface chemistry, and robotic vision. Penang has research facilities for collaborative search, particularly in coastal pollution, mangrove ecosystem and marine aquaculture.

Graduate studies

USM offers three modes of study for the graduate programmes, i.e., by research, by a combination of coursework and research (mixed mode), or by coursework. In 2009, there were about 9,011 students in the master’s and doctoral level programmes with 24.9% of them are nationals from more than 40 countries. The majority of the foreign students are from other parts of Southeast Asia as well as the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...


Undergraduate studies

Almost all undergraduate degree programmes at the university require a minimum full-time residence of three years. Degrees in engineering, health sciences, pharmacy, medicine and dentistry, however, require minimum periods of study between four and five years. Most undergraduate courses are taught in Bahasa Malaysia
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 but the newer batch of undergraduate students are taught in English, especially in science courses. International students have to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the national language as part of the entrance criteria.

Other study programmes

USM has programmes for foreign students, and they can undertake one or two semesters. These students are considered full time and enjoy the benefits of USM's academic and physical facilities. The university and its community benefits from the cross-cultural flow of students and gains international standing.

USM has a school of distance education. It was established in 1971 to provide opportunities for local working adults to obtain a tertiary qualification. These students are able to undertake undergraduate courses while they are in full-time employment. At present only four undergraduate degree programmes are available through distance learning: bachelor of science, bachelor of social science, bachelor of arts, and bachelor of management.

Technology-based schools

  • The school of Aerospace Engineering
    Aerospace engineering
    Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering...

  • The school of Civil Engineering
    Civil engineering
    Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

  • The school of Chemical Engineering
    Chemical engineering
    Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with physical science , and life sciences with mathematics and economics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms...

  • The school of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • The school of Materials and Mineral Resources
    Mineral resource classification
    Mineral resource classification is the classification of mineral deposits based on their geologic certainty and economic value.Mineral deposits can be classified as:...

  • The school of Mechanical Engineering
    Mechanical engineering
    Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

  • The school of Housing, Building and Planning
  • The school of Industrial Technology
    School of Industrial Technology
    The School of Industrial Technology is one of nineteen schools in USM, Malaysia. It has emerged from the School of Applied Sciences which was established during the inception of the university. The name of the school was changed to the School of Engineering Sciences and Industrial Technology in 1984...

Liberal arts schools

  • The school of Arts
    aRts, which stands for analog Real time synthesizer, is an audio framework that is no longer under development. It is best known for previously being used in KDE to simulate an analog synthesizer....

  • The school of Communication
    Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

  • The school of Educational Studies
  • The school of Humanities
    The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

  • The school of Social Sciences
    Social sciences
    Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

  • The School of Management
    Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

Pure science schools

  • The school of Biological Sciences
    Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

  • The school of Chemical Sciences
    Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

  • The school of Mathematical Sciences
    Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

  • The school of Computer Sciences
    Computer science
    Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

  • The school of Physics
    Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

Health science schools

  • The school of Medical Sciences
    Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

  • Advanced Medical and Dental Institute (AMDI)
  • The school of Dental Sciences
  • The school of Health Sciences
  • The school of Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

Activities at USM

USM has facilities for student accommodation, sporting and recreation. The university offers housing for approximately 75% of its students. They are known as student villages or hostels (desasiswa), and they are on campus. Cafeterias with reasonable prices can be found all around the university area.

USM provides varied and sufficient sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

ing facilities such as archery range, cricket, football field, badminton courts, tennis courts, hockey ground, rugby field, softball, squash courts, and basketball courts. In fact, its ground was used for 2008 U/19 Cricket World Cup
2008 U/19 Cricket World Cup
The 2008 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup was held in Malaysia from February 17, 2008 to March 2, 2008. The opening ceremony took place on February 15, 2008. The final was played between India and South Africa, which India won by 12 runs by D/L Method....


Activities throughout 2006

Throughout 2006, activities involving the Department of Student Affairs and Development were carried out. They included sports and cultural activities, leadership programs, community service programs and excellence programs with the cooperation of the Student Advisory and Development Unit, the Sports Unit, the Arts and Cultural Development Unit, Hostel Management and realized through societies, clubs, sports and cultural activities, motivation workshops and debate competitions.

Annual activities such as forums, workshops and programs in conjunction with the National Day celebrations such as the Ambang Merdeka Night and the Merdeka Campus Walk, and religious activities such as Qur’an Recitation and Ramadhan Appreciation Month in the holy month of Ramadhan were provided.


The university was ranked 111st in the World University Rankings 2004 published by the Times Higher Education Supplement. However, it dropped out of the list of top 200 universities in the world in 2005.

USM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said that the addition of new criteria such as the employer survey could have contributed to the sharp drop in the university's integrity: "Our poor standing could also be attributed to the fact that we are a relatively young university compared to UM which is 100 years old. They have built up a stable reputation in that time." Prof. Dzulkifli also cited the poor staff-student ratio in Malaysian universities: "Over the past years we have doubled our intake. USM now has 35,000 students including 28,000 undergraduates but the number of lecturers, about 1,400 has not increased in tandem."

On 3 Sept 2008, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) was declared the Apex (Accelerated Programme for Excellence) University by the Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia. In 2010,USM worked hard to achieve the position of 123 under the category of Life Sciences and Biomedicine (Times Higher Education QS World University Rankings).

For the 2010 QS Asian University rankings
QS World University Rankings
The QS World University Rankings is a ranking of the world’s top 500 universities by Quacquarelli Symonds using a method that has published annually since 2004....

, USM was at 69th place. For particular subjects, the rankings were as below:
Year Subject Rank
2010 Arts & Humanities 58
Engineering & Technology 63
Social Sciences & Management 37
Natural Sciences 39
Life Sciences & Medicine 20


Meanwhile, in January 2011, the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, also known as Ranking Web of World Universities, is ranking system for the world's universities based on a composite indicator that takes into account both the volume of the Web contents and the visibility and impact of these web publications...

 ranked USM as the no. 2 university in Malaysia, 5 in South East Asia and ranked 428 in the world. The inaugural 2011 QS World University Rankings - Engineering & Technology ranked USM as the 19th best varsity for Chemical Engineering in Asia, and also classified in the 51-100 bracket globally.

Movies and television

Numerous movies have been filmed on or near USM's campus, including:
  • Ali Setan (1985)
  • Soalnya Siapa (2002)

Various television shows have used USM's campus, including:
  • Layang-layang terputus talinya
  • Spektra

External links

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