Tuesday, February 27, 2007

USM PhD scholarships

I got this application advertisement from a friend recently. USM was and is actually making marketing trips to the US to recruit potential PhD graduates to return home to teach in our local universities and now they are offering PhDs scholarships for Malaysians who have or are going to graduate from the US at the undergraduate level. Below are the details of the scholarship as well as the relevant link where you can download the application forms.

I received another excel sheet with the full details of the sponsorship scheme and it looks like a fair deal to me. The only thing I need to clarify is whether this sponsorship scheme lasts 3 years or 5 years. A few of my sponsored friends in the US have complained that many of the Malaysian PhD scholarships still assume that one can finish a PhD in 3 years in the US (like in the UK) which is obviously not the case. If you have any more information about such PhD scholarships, please let us know.

Universiti Sains Malaysia cordially invites suitably qualified candidates to apply for the USM Academic Staff Training Scheme (ASTS) in all areas of studies with the exception of Law. Selected candidates will be sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia and USM to further their studies to the Master’s and PhD levels at an institution recognized by the Public Services Department, Malaysia. Upon completion of their PhD studies, they will serve as lecturers at USM.


Tuition Fees, Subsistence Allowance for candidate and family (if applicable), Cost of Living Allowance (depending on the place of study), Return Airfare, Relocation Allowance, Winter Apparel Allowance (if applicable), Book Allowance, Equipment Allowance, Thesis Allowance, Final Year Allowance, Accommodation Allowance


1. Bachelor’s Degree (with a CGPA of 3.0 and above), or a Master’s Degree;
2. Candidates in the final year of their Bachelor’s or Master’s programs may also apply;
3. The maximum age for candidates applying to pursue both their Master’s and PhD studies is 30, while that for PhD studies is 38;
4. Candidates and parents must be Malaysian citizens;
5. Candidates must bring along original and certified copies of academic certificates and transcripts when they attend the selection interview.

Please note that degrees must be conferred by an institution recognized by the Public Services Department, Malaysia.

For further details, please contact us at
Tel: + 604 653 3366 or +604 653 3295
Email: ramlis@notes.usm.my or salina@notes.usm.my
Web Site: http://enovate.usm.my/assist


Anonymous said...

The link to the website did not mention of any information as you reported

USM guy said...

Kian Ming, thanks for the highlight. The offer is not really that good actually, living cost allowances comes at approximately USD10-12k annually (USD668/mth + several annual allowances). Before anyone shoot me for being money-faced, perhaps Kian Ming can enlighten us with the actual living costs at Durham, if not the entire US.

As such, I have seen many top students in class (back in uni) opt for external funding or scholarships offered at host university. It is more lucrative and the best part is there's no strings attached.

btn said...

I went to BTN at Ulu Sepri recently. Quite a shock to see the ratio of malays:non-malays at 9:1. The interesting part is that majority of them can't really speak in English. Not only that, some of them had really lousy grades back in university (barely CGPA 3.00) and Grade 2 (aggregate>24) students back in SPM. These people are the so-called "selected and best students" to be future lectures in USM.

Anonymous said...

It's funny though.. I'm wondering why a candidates PARENTS have to be Malaysian citizens. Shouldn't the offer be valid to all Malaysians, regardless of their parentage?

Anonymous said...

This isn't new. For years now, USM has been coming to the UK to recruit. The offer for PhD sponsorship is that you get your full fee paid, about £600 paid into your UK bank account and RM ? as salary that is paid into your Malaysia bank account. Not such a bad deal, and the nice thing is that there is no bumi favouritism. All you need is a distinction at the bachelors or masters level.

Charis Quay said...

Agree with USM guy...this is not a bad idea for the university (except that they may want people to postdoc abroad as well before coming back), but I'm not sure this is a good deal for the students...unless maybe they are studying something generally under-funded like classics or history. Even then...

Science and engineering stipends at Stanford now are about USD25-30K a year. (On the higher end if you have a fellowship.) Humanities people generally get 3/4 of that. (No summer stipend.) It is impossible to live on USD10K here. Rent alone will come to that.

Hafiz MZ said...

I went to Ulu Speri too, and I think U made the statement, based on assumption
Im Malay, I can speak English, hv excellent grades for my dgree, master and SPM.
(In fact its not possible u know the grades of all the participants, maybe some of the scholars hs poor grades, but they hv excellent research, even hd published sc papers drg undergrad projects)
And the ratio doesnt mean USM is unfair, during the interviw for the scholarship itself, the proportion of Malay to non Malay is similar. Well, mayb it is not a pop job prospect among nonMalay, who knows

Hafiz MZ said...

I think the parents should be Malaysian too,
and USM pay a monthly allowance of about RM1.7k into yr Malaysian bank account in addition to the monthly allowance according to the country rate.
Yes, no bumi fav, I think nonBumi should apply, cause I see there are only fews during my interview.

btn said...

I said SOME, not MOST or ALL

btn said...

and I did not say those who can't speak proper English and having low grades are Malays. Some Chinese school students have poor command of English too. I highlighted the deficiency found among the BTN participants, not some unfounded personal attacks on Malays.

Hafiz MZ said...

Thx for making yr comments clear. Im sorry, I misunderstood

Thing Thing said...

i accidently spotted this page. I was wondering is that a bright choice to fly over from Seattle to Chicago just for the interview!

JukeBox said...

hey guys, i spotted this page while being lost in the cyber streets of blogger. anyway, I went to the interview the other day. I got an offer from them, the conditions are pretty good.

After a lot of thinking, and discussing with friends and family, i made a quick sum of the money i am going to get (since this is almost everyone was talking to me about, except for my parents, since they already spent so much on me, they probably don't mind spending a bit more), and money i am going to spend (without me knowing). It is around 80k USD for 5 years. the annual wage around the region for a entry level prof. here should be close to 40-50k USD. in other words. I already earned 2 years worth of wages in advance when i am studying. The money I spend, on the other hand, goes to close to 200k USD? which means that the govt is spending a lot on this program. I would say it's a good way to attract potential applicants.

The main hurdle of the program is having to beat the attraction of the host universities giving assistantships, which are tuition waver and with stipend. nevertheless, if I am on this fellowship, it means that i lose 7 years of eligibility of working somewhere else, but at the same time it means securing a job position, and getting a foot on the ground. anyway, the main attraction of the scheme, after all, as a candidate, i quote my friend who went with me the other day "this path is a risk free path, since it'll see you through your education". taking other conditional fellowships/working as teaching assistants/reseach assistants may sometimes be too demanding, and you might lose eligibility as your grades fluctuate. therefore, having a scholarship like this would make graduate studies a lot more relaxing.

so i am glad i got an offer, and i am sure there are a lot of people out there who wishes to have this opportunity and couldn't make the cut.

p.s. btw if you guys are wondering about the living costs here in ann arbor, well, i guess it's not so cheap. since the scheme covers housing, i'll leave that part out. before winter comes, i usually buy more clothings, because you know, it's winter, so it costs about 200 dollars per year (winter) or some where close to that range. well living costs like food, electric bills, football tickets and so forth should come around 2000-3000 usd per year. nevertheless, most graduate students would work part time at some research labs to earn probably more than enough to cover the costs.