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About Malaysia
Country Handbook

Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris


Program Snapshot

Located only 45 minutes outside of Kuala Lumpur, the Sultan Idris Education University offers a wonderful opportunity for immersion in Malaysian culture while still providing access to the big city. As a teacher-training university, UPSI offers a broad range of courses in English and the surrounding geographical area makes it ideal for outdoor sports such as mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing and white water rafting on local rivers and reservoirs.

Read a story by an ISEP student who studied abroad at Sultan Idris Education University.

UPSI is situationed in the state of Perak, also known as the Land of Grace. The state itself is renowned for its ageless architectural splendor and holiday getaways. It is an ideal location for both study and travel. UPSI is located within Tanjong Malim, a suburban district of Perak which is situated about 80 km, or 45 minutes, from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Tanjong Malim is known for its tranquility and splendid natural views of the Titiwangsa Mountain Range.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate programs available for an academic year or semester

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
Very Good chance of placement on ISEP Exchange for US and I-to-I students.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for US Applications / Sites Open for I-to-I Applications.

Program Dates
Academic year: September to June
Semester 1: September to January
Semester 2: February to June

Fast Facts
Perak, Malaysia (pop. 2.2 million)
Student Enrollment: 13,640
Language of instruction: English, Malay Language
University Home Page
ISEP Student Blog!

UPSI offers a broad range of programs in the following faculties: Faculty of Science and Mathematics (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Science, Mathematics), Faculty of Languages and Communication (Malay, TESL, Chinese, Arabic, Tamil), Faculty of Education and Human Development(Early Childhood Education, Guidance and Counseling Education, Special Education, Psychology), Faculty of Management and Economics (Accountancy, Economics, Business Management, Education Management, Entrepreneurship and Commerce), Faculty of Music and Performing Arts (Music, Dance, Theater), Faculty of Human Science (History, Geography, Islamic Education, Malaysian Studies, Moral Education), Faculty of Sports Science and Coaching(Sports Science, Coaching Science, Sport Psychology, Physical Education, Sports Rehabilitation), Faculty of Art, Computing, and Creative Industry (Information Technology, Multimedia, Arts, Computer Aided Design Technology, Advertising, Animation), Faculty of Technical and Vocational Education(Agricultural Science, Living Skills, Home Economics).

Courses taught in English
Most of the department offer lecture series and seminars in English. Independent study and examinations can be arranged in most fields when no classes are offered in English. Some classes may be taught in Malay with English support from the faculty.

Masters Level Study Information
Graduate-level courses are typically research based with weekend classes. Therefore, they are not recommended for ISEP students.

Academic Notes
UPSI is particularly strong in Education, Agricultural Science, Arts, Music and Performing Arts, Science, Languages, and Sports.

UPSI offers many unique courses including: Batik, Pottery, Islamic Studies, Whitewater Rafting, Traditional Dance.

Students typically enroll in 5-8 classes per term which averages to 15-18 hours in class per week. A term runs for 17 weeks.

Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the student's home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations. Transcripts are issued four weeks after the examination period.

Language Notes
ISEP Language Proficiency Report may be substituted for official score? Yes
TOEFL: Helpful, but not required.
Institutional TOEFL accepted? Yes

Note: The host institution ultimately determines your proficiency level and course eligibility.

Special ISEP Application Instructions
Audition / Test might be required for Music and Arts applicants.

Hints for Researching Courses
  1. Go to www.upsi.edu.my/exchange for course listing information (must use Internet Explorer).
  2. In the “Search by Field of Study” drop down menu chose the field that you want to study.  

Housing and Meals
ISEP Exchange students are housed in shared apartments. Each apartment has three single rooms. Internet connection is available in each room. Married student housing is NOT available. ISEP Exchange students receive a monthly meal stipend which they can use to prepare meals and/or purchase food in the cafeteria and campus restaurants.

ESTIMATED PERSONAL EXPENSES You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: fees not required of all participants (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at: USD$200.

The orientation for ISEP participants will be held in collaboration by various departments in UPSI. The ISEP participants will join the incoming international students on certain general briefings. There will be separate sessions for the ISEP participants focusing on academics, stipends, and channels of communication. Generally, the orientation includes information about campus life, an introduction to the university and Malaysia, student's card session, banking, health care, and more.

ARRIVAL INFORMATION Airport pickup is offered. Please contact the ISEP Coordinator at UPSI for more information.

Student Activities
International students are welcome to participate in extracurricular activities through various student clubs and societies. The university offers a wide range of extracurricular activities for all students, from indoor to outdoor activities as well as cultural exposure.

The university is excellent for kayaking. The surrounding geographical area makes it ideal for outdoor sports such as mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing and white water rafting on local rivers and reservoirs.

Community Engagement (Internships, Service-Learning, Volunteering, etc.)
The student representative council often organizes “Bakti Siswa”, volunteering activities focusing on ‘community and care’ as well as ‘save and rescue’. This is how the students show their social responsibility plus the opportunity to be a part of the community.

UPSI has a long distinguished history, commencing with its establishment in 1922 as the Sultan Idris Training College (SITC). It was set up by the British government and designed to provide teacher training and education. In 1957, when Malaysia gained its independence, the college was renamed Maktab Perguruan Sultan Idris (MPSI) which later become Institut Perguruan Sultan Idris (IPSI).

A decade later, it became the first university of education in the country. Established on May 1, 1997, the university has become a niche centre for excellence in education and producing secondary school graduate teachers majoring in various fields of science, mathematics, language and arts.

Quietly rooted in the friendly town of Tanjong Malim, UPSI is nestled in a tranquil grove of knowledge 45 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur.

Nazar Mohd Zahidi Mohd Azahar is a Malaysian and has served various customers from all walks of life on behalf of the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) since 2005. Since appointed as the ISEP coordinator for the institution, he continues to serve the students with dedication while bridging the gap between the west and the Muslim world for a better understanding between each other. Nazar holds a Bachelor of Banking degree from Universiti Utara Malaysia. He's committed to progress his passion in education services and is enthusiastic about doing a job well done.

What Past Students have to Say
"Malaysia is a wonderful country and UPSI has so many friendly people who are eager to help you feel right at home...My host coordinatior was perfect. He was there to pick me up from the airport and took me out for meals and shopping for the first few days until I was perfectly settled in. Throughout the semester he was always there to help and solve any problem we were having. We would also drop by his office for a friendly chat every week." --Haley DeLoach, Agnes Scott College

"Saw amazing places, began learning Malay, felt welcome everywhere, became close with students and professors both – seriously just everything about it was positive! Studying abroad was the best decision of my life so far." --Jennifer Gotrik, University of Nebraska, Lincoln