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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About M.Sc. & Ph.D. Chemical Engineering Program

General Questions

Question : How can I make the application for admission?
Answer : To speed up the application process, we advise you to apply online, through our Institute of Postgraduate Studies website ( This also means that all hard copies of supporting documents such as evidence of qualifications to satisfy the entry requirements, like English language proficiency (where necessary), academic transcripts and degree scrolls must be sent by postal mail to the Institute of Postgraduate studies. Note that these documents are required for your applications to be evaluated and therefore, must be sent as soon as the online application is made.

Question : Will the university provide me with financial assistance throughout my study?
Answer : The University cannot promise any financial assistance to students. For research mode postgraduate students, the University provides various forms of financial support for application. However, they are very competitive and usually provided on a yearly basis or by semester. Extension can be considered subject to satisfactory performance in the study as well as the financial situation of the university. Another possible alternative is from research grants held by lecturers accepting the students. No financial support is provided by the University for MSc (mixed mode) candidates and they should source for it from external funders. Further information on the financial assistances is available from :

Question : When can I make the application?
Answer : The application for MSc/PhD (research mode) can be made throughout the year while for MSc (mixed mode), application is usually open between March to June every year. Please check the Institute of Postgraduate Studies’ website for the specific dates. (

Question : If I have received the offer letter, can I delay in making the registration for certain reasons?
Answer : Yes, the offer letter is valid for a period of one year. Successful MSc/PhD (research mode) applicants can register anytime at their convenience but it is suggested to register at the beginning of each semester which is in early September (semester 1) and middle of February (semester 2). However, for MSc (mixed mode) programme, the registration for successful applicants can only be made at the beginning of semester 1 which is in early September.

Question : How long does the application process usually take?
Answer : Normally, the application process takes about 2 months provided that complete documents are attached while making the application. Should further information is needed, the School with contact you directly.
Question Is there any possibility for applicants to be exempted from the English admission requirements?
Answer Applicants from countries with English as the mother tongue or the teaching medium for earlier degrees is English can be considered for exemption from the English admission requirements.

Question I failed in my earlier application for admission into postgraduate studies at USM. Can I make another application in future?
Answer You should not make any new application unless you have new degree or English qualification that can meet the admission requirements. 

Question Can I change status of candidature from part time to full time and vice versa?
Answer You can make an application for status change with necessary justifications for consideration by the University.

Question What are the estimated living expenses for a foreign student while studying in Universiti Sains Malaysia?
Answer : A foreign student would require approximately US$ 4,000 per year for food, accommodation, books and other expenses.

Question Does the university provide hostels for postgraduate students?
Answer The University has several hostels for accommodation. However, they are not available for students with accompanying family members. Students are advised to make necessary arrangement for accommodation directly with the hostels.
Question My university does not use CGPA system for measuring academic achievement. How can I know that my academic qualification meets the admission minimum requirements?
Answer The School Board will try to convert the measuring system to make it equivalent to our CGPA system based on a full score of 4.0.

Question I have completed my master’s degree study and a letter from the university senate has been issued to prove the completion of the study. However, I have yet to receive my scroll and academic transcript that are usually provided after the convocation ceremony. Can I make an application for PhD admission using available documents so far.
Answer You can make your application using available documents for the consideration of the School Board. If eventually approved for admission, a conditional letter of offer will be issued. However, you still need to produce the original copy of the scroll and academic transcript while making your registration here. The University reserves the right to decline any registration without these documents.


Specific to MSc/PhD (Research Mode)

Question : To make an application for admission into MSc/PhD (research mode) studies, what should I do first?
Answer : First, you need to contact and have early communication with any suitable lecturers in this School for research project that suit your interest. In the application process, one of the documents needed is a brief research proposal. As such, applicants should have identified the potential supervisor as well as the proposed research title while making the application for admission. Information on expertises available in this School is available from :

Question : Can I propose my own research title for my study?
Answer : You may propose suitable title for the research work leading to your degree but it is subject to approval by the supervisor based on his/her research focus as well as availability of resources to support the research work.