Sunday, November 27, 2005

University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

One of the most common questions I get over the email from students and readers of this blog is whether they should pursue their further education with the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. I have not had any experience with graduates from University of Nottingham, whether from the Nottingham campus or the Malaysian one, hence I will not be able to give accurate judgements on their quality. However, I'll gather here, some available information, as well as some further pointers to help students make (hopefully) more informed decisions.

About University of Nottingham

Nottingham is ranked very credibly by both The Times Good University Guide 2006 (12th) and the Guardian University Guide (15th) for universities in the United Kingdom (UK). Hence, it is probably the best university from UK to set up either a franchise programme or a local campus in Malaysia. In accordance to my analysis of local twinning programmes with UK universities, the next best institutions are Northumbria and Oxford Brookes, ranked 48th and 53rd respectively by the Times Guide.

Nottingham describes itself as a "research-led", with work carried out at the university winning two Nobel Prizes in 2003. The university received a record GBP82 million in research contracts in 2003-4, placing it among the top four universities in terms of private funding.

In terms of the assessment of teaching quality, it is ranked best in classics and ancient history, economics, manufacturing engineering, politics and psychology. In terms courses which are popular with many Malaysian students, it is ranked:
  • 7th for Accounting & Finance
  • 4th for Architecture
  • 16th for Biological Sciences
  • 6th for Business Studies
  • 12th for Chemical Engineering
  • 4th for Civil Engineering
  • 19th for Computer Science
  • 6th for Economics
  • 19th for Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • 7th for Law
  • 7th for Mechanical Engineering
Its chancellor is physicist, Yang Fujia from China. In addition to the Malaysian campus, it has also opened a new campus in Ningbo, China. Only 4 universities in the UK has significantly higher entry requirements than Nottingham - Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and London School of Economics.

The Local Campus

The University of Nottingham is no doubt a quality institution and the only question is whether the local campus is reflective of such qualities. According to the Malaysian campus website:
The Malaysia Campus is a full and integral part of The University of Nottingham, UK and offers students the Nottingham experience in a Asean setting. It is a global institution serving an international community of students and yet is firmly rooted in all that is distinctive about UK education - innovative teaching and assessment methods, which encourage independent, creative thinking. Quality standards are also among the best in the world.
In previous replies to the emails from students and readers, I've asked them to perform further checks on the local campus, particularly on the following information to help them make their decision. I have since obtained further information on some of these questions, and I've highlighted them accordingly below.
  1. Obtain confirmation that the degree certification is from University of Nottingham itself, and not from the "Malaysia Campus".

    This, apparently is the case for certain Australian universities with a presence in Malaysia. In a written reply from the university, I've received confirmation that
    that the University of Nottingham degree certificates do not classify the student as originating from the Malaysia Campus and is exactly the same as received by students in Nottingham. However, should there be any requests for references etc, if the degree was done in Malaysia, then all references would come from the Malaysia Campus.
  2. Obtain confirmation that the entry standards to the local campus is exactly the same as that of the UK campus.

    Entry standards is typically a very accurate measure of the type of environment the university is seeking to promote. If the entry standards for the local campus is lower, you can safely deduce that the university is probably more interested in commercial returns than protecting it's quality. The degradation of entry standards have negatively affected many of the graduates from what I would regard as formerly reputable Australian universities.

    In an interview with the Sun, Professor Brian Atkins, the vice-president of the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus has confirmed and emphasised that
    [t]he main challenge is we have to develop the campus here without any negative impact on the reputation internationally. This means we can't and are not, substantially changing our courses to suit the local market. The entrance standards are the same, the level of English required to get on the course is identical. Academically, we want to maintain exactly the same standards.
  3. Find out from the University, the number of lecturers appointed from the UK campus versus locally appointed lecturers.

    With all due respect to local lecturers, a healthy ratio of UK campus lecturers will demonstrate the university's willingness to defend the quality of its teaching and courses. There are colleges which claims and advertises to have lecturers from the main campus, but these lecturers are flown in to give only 2-3 lectures a year.

    The Malaysia campus website has emphasised that "the majority of the senior academic staff are appointed from The University of Nottingham, UK. High calibre academic staff are also recruited from Malaysia and internationally."

    Professor Brian Atkins also added that:
    We have senior positions from the university here, me, and in all the schools, is a senior person from the university. This is to ensure what we do here is the same as what we do in Nottingham, UK. I've worked for Nottingham University for 30 over years. A colleague who's dean of engineering has been in Nottingham for over 20 years. Now we're down here. The venture here is thought to be so important that we are sending staff out from Nottingham, UK, to head the various units here.
  4. Obtain confirmation that the examinations and the award of degrees are standardised to ensure that there are no future discrimination in terms of the campus which a student graduates from.

    In the same letter of reply from the Malaysia Campus, it was highlighted that
    The students do not sit for the same exams, however all exam papers, both form the Malaysia Campus and the UK Campuses go to the same exam council to ensure equality of standards. Further, answer scripts are also sent to the UK.
    This is fair enough, as sitting for the same examination will involve major logistical complications. However, having the examination papers marked by the same exam council will give greater confidence to the quality standards.

  5. Check the state of facilities in the local campus, to ensure that they are of sufficient standards and qualities. Compare these facilities with other colleges. The campus is located in Semeyih. I've not seen it myself, but please visit the campus yourself to get a better feel of things.

    Once again quoting Professor Atkins:
    We've just invested RM110 million in this campus. It's designed to mirror the attributes of the main campus in Nottingham which is it's got space, not a city centre office block, except that it's warmer!
    The facilities we can now offer are at least as good as those in the UK because virtually all the facilities are new. And we've got accommodation for 636 students on campus, and a kilometre down the road, for another 150.
In addition, Professor Atkins have added an attractive mobility scheme for the Malaysian campus students:
...students can go for either one or two semesters in the UK. You can't be there during the first year, and you can't be there for the graduating year. So, if you're in a three-year course, it's the second year, or if it's a four-year course, it's the second or third year. They would pay Malaysian fees.

Purely from the information that has been made available, and assuming their accuracy, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus doesn't look like a bad choice. Nevertheless, there's never harm for the student to perform additional double-checking. My recommendation is, if you are a student looking to pursue further tertiary education at private colleges without going overseas, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus will be the best bet (over say, the twinning programmes highlighted here).

However, if you are top student i.e., aggregates of less than 10 in SPM and at least 2-3As for your STPM or 'A' Levels, there's never harm doing yourself a favour by applying to the top 5 universities in the UK or the top 10 in the United States. Read blog post here on applications to Oxbridge in the UK. The worst case scenario is you get rejected and you can then evaluate the best options locally.

For more information about the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, browse their website, review their prospectus and read the full interview with Professor Brian Atkins. Also, check out this page for more information on available scholarships


S-Kay said...

I intend to do my 2nd and 3rd year there since I'll be majoring in Economics as well but its campus is just too far for me. I heard from a friend that most of their lecturers are from UK but I'm not sure whether it is true or not as I have not checked out the place myself.

chasyss said...

I highly recommend the business school (in the UK, not sure about here yet). Excellent teaching and knowledgeable lecturers. The business school is apparently one of the best in Europe.

Rajan R said...

LSE doesn't have any twinning programmes. LSE via the University of London offers External Programs and there is a distinction between degrees conferred via the External Program and campus-based programs (though the University of London can't discriminate between them...). For example, if you took Law and Accountancy from LSE nad want to migrate and take the bar at NY, they won't accept external degrees.

The key difference is that an External degree doesn't care which college you go to or whether you go college or not; all grades is based on an annual examination usually with 4 papers marked in UK. Entry is more lax than entering campus programs, but admission is decided by the U of London.

Rajan R said...

Opps, wrong thread

Anonymous said...

What experience I have with some of the foreign staff of this university is that they are simply arrogant and act like colonial masters of yesteryear. So don't be surprised if you get the cold shoulder when you are studying there, even if it is suppose to be the best.

ts86 said...

I currently study at the University of Nottingham in the UK, and am aiming to do my 3rd year (of 4) at the Malaysian campus.

The International Office's presentations appear very attractive and I can't see any reason to not go ahead. It'll be a whole new travel and culture experience, and it'll work out cheaper for me!

Anonymous said...

University of Nottingham also have a Campus in China. Wouldn't that be much cheaper. To have learnt some chinese culture and the international experience must be much better! I would think that University of Nottingham in Malaysia and China will be somewhat the same from the above comment.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the passing rate for students in the Foundation program to the degree program?

Is the University teacher concern about this and try to ensure 99% passing rate?

Anonymous said...

hello mr Tony P... well this is akash here. and i am currently a student of UNMC.. to be fair to you, general public and our institute. i should request you not to bugg around if you dont know the real case. i mean that if u have never been to university or dont know any1 inside the uni then dont try to finger point its reputation.

And from the perspective of higher education in malaysia.. i think we shouldnt forget that malaysia is still a third world country so locating UNMC in broga is not a big issue? wat will u say abt kl? which was discovered by 79 chinese as a jungle? today its a world class city? so please if u wana do criticism then do it in constructive manner.

And yes there is nothing wrong with the staff members here i think lecturers here are the best you can find in the country so as there pay.. and i think b4 pointing out to any1 else.. why dont local ppl look at there favourtism? if they like britishers then they should understand there culture and behaviour.

In addition, i can assure u that NUBS at UNMC is far more better than any other business school in region may it be SMU or IIM-A, i have been visited both but i dont see much difference in quality of teaching and facilities indeed we outweigh them in some aspects. and yes i am here at NUBS-UNMC doing my econ ug.. so i should tell you that with every institute there are problems and its no one's right to degrade them without knowing reality.. dont you know the basics of Criticism? If you dont then take a class at Nubs u will find it out.

rudy l said...

akash, you command of the language, or rather the lack of it, reflects the quality of the institution that you come from.

your silence would still cast doubt over tony p's assertion but alas, your comments make it abundantly clear that unmc has lowered its standards.

i find your lack of logic and reason disturbing.

proof us wrong akash, please! by that, i do not demand a thundering metaphysical knockdown demonstration but through argument employing both logic and rationality. this is what forums such as this are for.

Anonymous said...

dear friends Akash here again...

Well honestly i accept watevr u saying abt me.... but you should keep in mind that i seriously said sorry on my words. I didnt went through Tony's profile at first... and its not my fault that my my words of penitence were not published here.. i didnt mean to degrade any1.......

And secondly blogs are mean to be a place of expressions... and i dont think its necessary for me to follow any rules or regulations of spellings or grammar.. am i rite? i think we are not writing any research paper here, such that its necessary for us to follow certain criteria????? And if u have any doubt about my english language then u contact IELTS ppl and ask them abt my band score..

In addition abt the standards of Nottingham... i think you need not to comment on the book by looking at its cover or reading comments on it from some unknown sources.. am i rite? if u cant understand the notion of writer then u dont possess the authority to criticise.. is that true?? and if u want any further logical or rational arguements then keep ur q's on blog i will reply u 1s find time.. till then enjoy...... and Happy EASTER

Anonymous said...

Happy Easter..
Just learnt from Current student studying at Foundation Program at Uni of nottingham Malaysia that entry requirement for this yr has just adjusted lower!

For the past yrs it was 65% passing for English and other subjects not lower than 60%. Current grades needed is 40% average and no subject less than 30% to be admitted to the degree program.

Standard no standard, everyone will see in the following few yrs...

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

My Views:-
The university have it's quality assurance probably only to it's academic teaching. I cannot make a comparision between the UK campus and Malaysia.

A world class campus that the community pride themselves are perhaps over rated.The management of the university seems not reflect a world class college.

The school have serious transportation problem and the food
are not suited for long term consumption. It is neither healthy nor really edible. ( I am not picky everyone in the school will agree to this even some professors are suggesting us to some possible place to have a decent meal)

The last in-take for foundation,some parents told me how bad the food is and ect.. but the only reason that they enrole is the branding of a good business management school.
Contridating to this is the management of the school is bad. Ok it is not a business but it is a organisation somehow.
Probably they should hire they own graduates.

Eran said...

I am currently considering applying to Nottingham University Business School in Malaysia. It is mostly a matter of affordability, despite the fact that I have good grades.

At this point however, I am rather confused about the nature of controversies surrounding the degree programmes taught in the Malaysia campus.

I am really hoping that some bloggers can offer me some helpful and relevant feedback asap.

P.S. I am mostly concerned about the quality of teaching and assessment.

elegant lily said...

hiya everyone. i've written on this topic before. you can view the article here:

i was a student of nottingham uk...and i've recently become a student in nottingham malaysia.

my view is, i dont see a good future for any foreign universities setting up campuses over here in malaysia. good universities need good students too. nevertheless, of the 24 million odd people in the country, there is barely 1% of the lot who are real university students. most graduate without having read any book. the most they have read are textbooks. the majority of students do not know how to learn independently,are not resourceful, lack critical thinking and possess a very narrow world view.

The lack of essence and substance that being a uni student demands, is a direct result of the shortage of intelligent life in the country. period. intelligent minds cannot survive here, only those who "keep one eye closed", can

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was one of the students in the business foundation programme offered by the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. Recently, I just visited this blog. Based on the information in it, especially the below one:
“For the past yrs it was 65% passing for English and other subjects not lower than 60%. Current grades needed is 40% average and no subject less than 30% to be admitted to the degree program.”
I would like to add my comment. I was one of the students studied for business foundation when the University decided to change the admission criteria from Foundation to UG following the change in the Foundation course structure in Business as shown below:
Semester 1 (Qualifying Stage)
English Language and Study Skills I
Introduction to Economics
Introduction to Business
Introduction to Social Science
Introduction to Information Technology
Introduction to Mathematical Techniques for Business
Semester 2
English Language and Study Skills A
Principles of Business Economics
Principles of Management A
Principles of Accounting A
Statistical Techniques for Business
Information Technology for Business
Semester 3
English Language and Study Skills B
Principles of Macroeconomics
The World Economy
Principles of Management B
Principles of Accounting B
Mathematical Techniques for Business
Please note that, students in this foundation programme have to obtain average of at least 40 in each subject group. They are Economics, Mathematics and Information Technology, and Accounting and Business Management. They should not have any subject below 40. Further, for Malaysian, those without SPM English of at least A2 must have scored at least 65 % in English Language and study Skills A and B. In each semester, we have to study 6 subjects over 10 weeks. This is not easy.

This admission to UG criteria may seem easy. Do note that many of my friends were not able to proceed to the UG courses.

Further, I heard from my juniors that now to be accepted in the business foundation of Nottingham, students must have at least B3 in English and Mathematics and also at least 4 B4 in academic related subjects. Which private institutions in Malaysia have such a strict entry requirements? In fact, I heard that many of them did badly in semester 2 examination which subsequently leads to failure to progress to UG course.

Before you make a comment please try to understand the level of difficulty of this programme. High percentage of students are removed every year even with the mentioned entry requirements.

Further, do you think that a 40 marks of Nottingham the same as 40 marks of other foundation?

Iqmal said...

Having studied overseas myself,in a way I do agree with elegant lily as I do noticed that most(if not all)universities in Malaysia like to spoon feed their students .However,i strongly disagree with her statistics that claims that"of the 24 million odd people in the country, there is barely 1% of the lot who are real university students." This is clearly inaccurate and insulting.It simply shows her lack of knowledge on this particular matter.If only a person would do a thorough research(based on facts and figures instead of self-assessment or estimation)
one would be surprised to find out that nowadays there are so many local students who eventually went to study abroad and became the top-scorers of the universities and won many prestigious awards.Many of our local students are admitted into ivy-league universities worldwide such as MIT,Harvard,Yale etc.It shows only one thing,although the lecturers can spoon feed their students,but that does not mean that everybody can and like to be spoon fed!
Who says foreign universities in Malaysia have bad future?Oh they have bright future alright,they are making money out of the students.It's the students who will suffer not them!Ok fine.Their tuition fees are slightly lower than their country of origin,but one must also take into consideration that their teaching staff are at least 90% locals.Hence ,it became a win-lose situation as a person has to pay higher for a local education.What?with 90% local teaching staff makes a university a foreign university?Says who?

How do I know all these one might ask..well I have been to both Monash Sunway and Nottingham Malaysia and based on my experience
I would conclude that Monash at Sunway is a phony Monash University
solely relying on the reputation of their main branches in Australia.(You have no idea how much these people will charge you just to study at their high-school like campus in malaysia).

Nottingham University Malaysia on the otherhand,although they may not
be as prestigious as their main campus in UK(yet),it still feels and looks like a decent university with excellent on campus facilities.In my opinion,the price that they charge is reasonable for what they have to offer.Look at this way:
not many people in this country can afford to send their children to study abroad so at least this move would give these people a fair chance of getting a decent education without having to spend so much and by setting up foreign campuses here in Malaysia,it will also pump millions of ringgit into our economy as foreign universities attracts foreign students as well.So,it's not really a bad thing isn't it?

Anonymous said...

i am enrolling to the university of nottingham malaysia campus this july. i'm taking engineering, but reading all your comments made me feel like the university of nottingham is only good in business courses. wat about the engineering courses? should i just go to a public university instead?

Anonymous said...

So you got accepted by public university as well as nottingham? That's good news.From what I understand,nottingham degrees,regardless of the degree programs that they offer,all of them are highly marketable, meaning that their graduates are highly sought after by employers.

But the thing that I want to stress here is that,since you got options,you have to ask yourself what exactly do you want from a university?I mean studying at a university isn't just about getting
a good degree,but it's also about whether or not you would be having a good time there.Of course in terms of reputation,nottingham has better reputation.But you must understand that studying at a university means you will be spending years there.So in this sense,studying at a public university would be a better idea because public universities usually
have better facilities and their environment is usually more conducive for learning.Just take a look at the size of their campuses,the lake, their nice buildings and so on,immediately when you go into the campus, you would feel impress and happy.On the other hand,with private universities,you just don't get the same feeling.Private universities are usually concern about making money.Bear in mind that,that's their only objective.

Also,not to say that,just because you study at a reputable university you'll get better jobs.Actually,most of my friends who studied at public universities are doing well too,they get high paying jobs too.It all depends on you and sometimes your luck.But one thing for sure is that,studying at a reputable university is expensive while studying at a public university is way cheaper.Taking this into consideration,you must realize that,the starting pay for fresh grads,regardless from which university they are from,is more less the same.But if you study at a public university,the amount of money that you have to pay back for your monthly study loan installment,would obviously be very little and it works way the opposite if you study at universities such as nottingham.So they are many things to consider.

But if you ask me,I would choose public university because it's well balanced.

Anonymous said...

I want to know if UNMC has M.A in Applied Lingiustics and ELT and also its cost.

sally said...

i'm a student of the university of nottingham malaysia campus. i've been studying there for more than a year and i must say that it is a great place to study at.

despite the bad food, the facilities provided over there by the university are excellent compared to many other universities and colleges in malaysia.

the lecturers are good too and no, i don't think i've been spoon-fed by them all these while.

it's also great to have myself mixing up with many people from other races and countries and having the opportunities to actually learn from them.

basically, yeah it's a great experience to be learning over there.

and regarding the bad food, i've heard that the student committee is taking actions to actually get the people to improve on that. i guess it will get better, so yeah.

Anonymous said...

i want to ask the UNMC people who are studying there if the social and night life malaysia good?
and is the future of Nottingham malaysia graduates good enough to work in malaysia and uk or any other part of the world?

Anonymous said...

I need some help, I'm trying to gather more information on a certain programme. I want to know more about the Bed Education in Tesol. I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me some opinion/comment regarding that programme in UNMC.

Thank you. -LilRedRose

ross said...

Hello there, I have a nephew received an offer to study in Nottingham Uni but she hasn't decide yet whether or not to accept the offer. This is due to the following reasons. Appreciate also if you could respond to my request below so that we can have a better idea about studying there.
1) The course she will enroll is on clinical psychology but her main interest is doing medicine.
2) Have no idea about the student facilities, lecturers teaching/research expertise?
3) The fees for studying is quite high, 170K++ for 4 yrs program. She got a MARA offer but it is a loan and she may have to pay for some amount upon completion.
4) She is a bright MARA Junior Science College (MRSM) and will enter the express course, without using her SPM result, but not sure whether this course is worth to be taken.
5) Is there many overseas students studying in the Uni. What about the lecturers?
6) If given a chance, is it better to study in the local uni (established i.e. UIA, UM, UKM etc) or private uni like nottingham?
7) Any chances to get an exchange program to the UK campus?
Thank you. Regards, Rose