Research Mode Programme

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:

Masters Degree
Full time

  • Minimum 12 months
  • Maximum 36 months

Part time

  • Minimum 24 months
  • Maximum 72 months

PhD Degree
Full time

  • Minimum 24 months
  • Maximum 60 months

Part time

  • Minimum 36 months
  • Maximum 90 months

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.

If an active student fails to renew his/her registration, a show-cause letter will be issued. A student is given two weeks to respond to the show-cause letter failure of USM will initiate that:

  • the candidature be terminated
  • a penalty of RM200 will be charged (subject to permission granted for late registration).

A student is required to renew his/her registration and pay fees until such time that he/she has submitted ten (10) copies of the thesis to IPS for examination.

Renewal of registration can be done “on-line” at the Health Campus portal ( 
The manual of the process can be obtained at the IPS website

Registration for Languages and Pre-requisite Courses

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.

A TOEFL score of 550/ IELTS 6.0/ equivalent examination may be required for certain programmes.

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.

Postponement of Candidature / Extension of Candidature / 
Change of Status / Change of Programme / Change of Topic

Conversion of status and Candidature
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 available at IPS. Approval must be obtained from the respective Dean of the School/Centre concerned.
The conversion of status is permitted twice only during the entire period of candidature.

Conversion of Candidature: Masters to PhD 
The upgrading of the level of candidature from that of a 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. 
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 using form IPS/HEP – 03. The duration for the extension applied should be stated. The completed form is then to be submitted to IPS.
The maximum period of extension allowed is two (2) semesters only.

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

Withdrawal from programme of study 
Withdrawal from a programme of study can be made to IPS based on acceptable reasons.
Refund of fees (tuition fees and caution money) can be made for withdrawals of candidature up to the second month after registration.
No refund of fees will be given to a candidate who withdraws from the third month onwards except for the refund of caution money.

Termination of Candidature 
The University Senate reserves the right to terminate a student if his/her progress is found to be unsatisfactory or expiration of his/her maximum period of candidature.

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 using form IPS/HEP – 03. Approval must be obtained from the respective Dean/Director of the School/Centre. The endorsed form must be submitted to IPS.

Change of supervisors, research topics and fields
Permission to change supervisors, topic or field of research must be approved by the Supervisor. A student must specify his/her intention to apply for a change in the area of study or change of topic.
The form must be submitted to the Supervisor for approval before it is submitted to the relevant School/Centre for endorsement.

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Institute of Postgraduate Studies,
Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia

Tel : +604 653 2606  |  Fax : +604 653 2940 

Our support Hotline is available 8 hours a day
Monday - Friday:

8.10am - 5.10pm
Weekend: Closed

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