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Research Mode Programme


A foreign student must ensure that a student’s pass has been approved by the Immigration Department of Malaysia before entering Malaysia. For issues pertaining to immigration matters, visas, student’s pass, please contact the Officer-in-Charge at the International Office, USM.

Registration of a research mode student is based on the semester system and the date will be determined when the student registers. The period for Semester I is from the month of September-February while that of Semester II is from the month of March-August.

The registration date will take effect based on the following:

  • If a student registers on or before the 15th of the month, the effective date is the 1st of that month. If a student registers after the 15th of the month, then the effective date is the 1st of the following month.
Duration of Candidature

A student who is registered for a Masters or PhD degree must fulfill the duration of candidature as follows:

  1. Doctor of Philosophy
    • Full Time
      • Minimum - 4 semesters
      • Maximum - 10 semesters
    • Part Time
      • Minimum - 6 semesters
      • Maximum - 15 semesters
  2. Master (Research)
    • Full Time
      • Minimum - 2 semesters
      • Maximum - 6 semesters
    • Part Time
      • Minimum - 4 semesters
      • Maximum - 10 semesters
  3. Coursework/Mixed Mode
    • Subject to the programme structure
Renewal of Registration

It is the responsibility of a student to renew his/her registration every semester and make payment of tuition fees within the renewal registration period.

Renewal registration process is complete upon the completion of the progress report and tuition fees payment. For the students who received sponsorship, they MUST submit the copy/proof of sponsor letter to the Bursary Department according to the campus they registered. Failure to complete the renewal of registration process will result in the termination of the candidature.

A student is required to renew his/her registration and pay fees until such time that he/she has submitted the complete draft thesis for examination.

Renewal of registration can be done online through CampusOnline portal ( 

Registration for Languages and Pre-Requisite Course

Bahasa Melayu is compulsory for all foreign students and must be taken and passed prior to graduation. The passing grade is C. Registration for this course can be made at the Centre for Languages & Translation, USM.

Registration for all pre-requisite courses (where applicable), other than LKM 100, must be done within the first week of the Semester.

The registration form IPS/HEP – 05 for Pre-requisite courses are available at IPS.

Conversion of Status

A student can apply for conversion of his/her status from full-time to part-time or vice-versa. Application for conversion must be made using IPS/HEP – 03. Approval must be obtained from the respective Dean/Director of the School/Centre/Institute. The conversion of status is permitted twice only during the entire period of candidature.

Conversion of Candidature: Masters to PhD

The conversion of the level of candidature from Masters degree to a PhD must be done WITHIN a period not exceeding 12 months for full-time students and 24 months for part-time students, starting from the date of registration as a student.

A Masters student who is applying for conversion of his/her candidature to that of a PhD must submit a new research proposal endorsed by the main supervisor. This application must be done in writing to the Dean of IPS via the Dean of the School/Centre/Institute. The recommendation for conversion of candidature as above is subject to approval of the University Board of Graduate Studies, USM.

Extension of Candidature

An application for extension must be made two (2) months prior to the date before the expiration of the candidature.

This application must be made officially to the Dean/Director of the respective School/Centre/Institute using form IPS/HEP – 03.

The duration for the extension applied should be stated. IPS will process and update accordingly upon receiving the official endorsement from School/Centre/Institute. The MAXIMUM period of extension allowed is two (2) semesters only.

Change of Mode

A student who wishes to change his/her mode of study must submit a NEW application form to IPS. A processing fee will be charged for this.

Withdrawal from Programme of Study

Withdrawal from programme can be made by sending a withdrawal letter to Dean/Director of School/Centre/Institute.

IPS will process and update accordingly upon receiving the official endorsement from School/Centre/Institute.

Research mode student - Refund of all fees (except registration and smart card fees) will be made for withdrawals up to two (2) months from the date of registration.

Postponement of Studies

A student can apply to postpone his/her studies for a period not exceeding one (1) year.

The postponement is only allowed after registration and completion of at least one (1) semester except for medical or valid personal reasons. Apart from medical reasons, approval can also be given if a student has presented one seminar (if this regulation is stipulated in the entry requirement).

Application for postponement can be made online through CampusOnline portal.

Change of Supervisors, Research Topics and Fields

Students are required to submit the application to the School by filling in the form. The form must be submitted to the Supervisor for approval before it is submitted to the relevant School/Centre/Institute for endorsement.

IPS will process and update accordingly upon receiving the official endorsement from School/Centre/Institute.

Termination of Candidature

The University reserves the right to terminate a student’s candidature based on:

  • Student’s failure to renew the registration before new semester commences.
  • Unsatisfactory academic performance (Coursework/Mixed mode) / Research progress  (Research mode).
  • Failure to pay the tuition fees.
  • Maximum candidature.

Disclaimer: Universiti Sains Malaysia shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused by the usage of any information obtained from this web site. We reserve the right to revise any information from time to time at our absolute discretion without prior notice and shall not be liable for any loss or damage on any ground due to such revision.


Institute of Postgraduate Studies,
Universiti Sains Malaysia,
11800 Penang, Malaysia
Tel.: +604-653 2994
Fax: +604-653 2940
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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