The University of Malaya


The University of Malaya (UM) was the first university established in Malaya on 8 October 1949 with the merger of the King Edward VII College of Medicine (established in 1905) and the Raffles College (established in 1928).

Its establishment accelerated the advancement of education in Malaya and led to the founding of two autonomous branches in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 1959.In order to enhance higher education in both countries, there was a need to upgrade the branches to national university status. Thus, with the passing of the Parliament Act in 1961, the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur became a national university.

To achieve this vision, UM is supported by the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), the biggest and first research teaching hospital in Malaysia, two academies, 12 faculties, four institutes, and three centres of excellence that comprehensively encompass medicine, science, technology, the social sciences and the humanities. In addition, six research clusters have been established to place the university at the forefront of new knowledge and discoveries. The thrust of its contribution to academia as well as society is through teaching, research, publication, innovation, and commercialisation.

On 11 October 2006, UM was recognised by the Ministers Council as a research university among five public universities. On 26 January 2012, UM was granted a status of autonomy by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE). The Malaysian Research Assessment Instrument II (MyRA II) placed UM as 'the Best Research University in Malaysia' on 1 December 2013.


With the nation’s aspirations as its guide, UM continues to strengthen its status in the academic world, both within the country and internationally. It has been ranked 133rd in the 2016 QS World University Ranking and 27th in the 2016 QS Asian University Ranking. UM is also the only university in Malaysia listed in the top 400 Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong, China. These accomplishments have endorsed UM as the best university in Malaysia. On 6 May 2014, another international recognition was achieved when UM became the only institution of higher learning in the country to be awarded a 5 star rating by the QS Stars Ratings. UM has also been named as a University of Choice by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand for seven consecutive years from 2007 until 2013.With that record, UM was awarded the Platinum Award for the Public University Category on 27 May 2014.

UM has successfully produced more than 189,000 exemplary individuals. These include YABhg Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor (wife of the Prime Minister), YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad (former Prime Minister), YABhg Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi (former Prime Minister), YABhg. Tun Musa Hitam (former Deputy Prime Minister), YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin (former Deputy Prime Minister), YBhg Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa (Chief Secretary to the government), YBhg Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz (former Governor of Bank Negara) and many others.

UM has collaborated with renowned research institutes and universities from 71 countries. Some of its active global partners are:

  • University of Cambridge
  • Harvard University
  • Kyoto University
  • University of Sydney
  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • Queen’s University, Belfast
  • Beijing Foreign Studies University
  • Tsinghua University
  • National University of Singapore
  • National Taiwan University
  • Yale University
  • University of Hyderabad

Another landmark was in February 2010 when the University of Malaya High Impact Research (UM HIR) was established. Fundamental research lead of Tier 1 ISI/WoS publications was supported by RM10 million from internal fund. Recognising the importance of UM as a premier research institution in the country, MoHE allocated RM590 million into the UM-MOHE HIR programme for a period of five years from August 2011 until June 2016.


The HIR Committee was formed to ensure the objective of the HIR Programme is achieved by 2016 and assisted by several distinguished scientists who have been appointed as members of the UM HIR Advisory Council. Council members will advise the university in matters related to high impact research priority areas, including conducting joint research between their own institutions and UM.

To date, UM has appointed four Nobel Fellows and two Distinguished Fellows as members of the UM HIR Advisory Council. They are Nobel Fellow Professor Barry Marshall (Physiology or Medicine), Nobel Fellow Professor Ryoji Noyori (Chemistry), Nobel Fellow Professor David Baltimore (Physiology or Medicine), Nobel Fellow Sir Richard Roberts (Physiology or Medicine), Distinguished Professor Rita Colwell (University of Maryland, USA) and Distinguished Professor Wong Chi-Huey (Academia Sinica, Taiwan).


UM has attained accreditations from many institutions and professional bodies, such as Washington Accord, Institution of Chemical Engineers UK, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Association of Building Engineers, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales, Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia, SMBG-Eduniversal France, Royal College of Surgeons of England UK, Institute of Physics & Engineering in Medicine UK, Association of MBA, UK and many others to ensure the university’s curriculum meets national and international needs, indicating that our programmes are relevant globally relevant.

UM is committed to lead the nation in research and innovation and to be one of the top 100 universities in the world by 2020. Thus far with the above achievements, UM is committed in leading the nation to even greater heights in the coming years.

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