American Degree Program (ADP) provides students direct entry into undergraduate degree courses after finishing SPM, O Level or its equivalent. The programme features a credit-transfer option where students can transfer to an overseas university to finish their degree after studying in Malaysia for 1 to 2 years of the overall 4-year course. Students have the flexibility to choose their subjects of interest from applied sciences to liberal arts.

* All fees are subject to change.

Course Name & University
Sunway University

American Degree Transfer Program

  • Sunway University
  • Selangor
Intakes: Jan, Mar, May, Aug
Duration: 4 years
Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL)

American Degree Transfer Program

  • Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL)
  • Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Jan, Apr, Aug
Duration: 2 years
KDU University College

American Degree Transfer Program

  • KDU University College
  • Selangor
Intakes: Jan, May, Sep
Duration: 4 years
Taylor's University

American Degree Transfer Program

  • Taylor's University
  • Selangor
Intakes: Jan, May, Aug
Duration: 2 years
INTI International University

American University Program

  • INTI International University
  • Negeri Sembilan Selangor
Intakes: Jan, May, Aug
Duration: 4 years

Complete Guide to American Degree Program (ADP) in Malaysia

  • American-based education system
  • Flexible course
  • Credit-transfer option
  • 4-year combined duration in Malaysia and overseas

What is American Degree Program (ADP)?

The American Degree Program (ADP) in Malaysia offers direct entry into the university undergraduate level for students who have completed SPM, O Level or its equivalent. Unlike other pre-university programmes, students studying in ADP are directly enrolled into an undergraduate degree.

This programme works through the credit-transfer option in which students can transfer and graduate from overseas universities, particularly in the United States of America (USA), after studying for 1 to 2 years in Malaysia. Considered as a very liberal course, students are given the flexibility to choose their own combination of subjects ranging from applied sciences to business, engineering, computer science and liberal arts.


Difference between American Degree Program (ADP) and other Pre-University courses

A pre-university course is typically 1 to 1.5 years. They then use their pre-university program results to apply for a degree course which is typically 3 to 5 years. Thus in total, students spend 4 to 7.5 years obtaining their degree. Pre-university can be completed in Malaysia while the degree can be completed in Malaysia or abroad. 

Students who take the American Degree Program (ADP) are directly enrolled in a degree, which is 4 years Hence, they 'save' up to 3.5 years of study. Students typically spend 2 years in Malaysia and 2 years abroad in USA. However, there are some courses that require 1+3 (one year in Malaysia, three years abroad) such as engineering and some are 4+0 (all years in Malaysia) for certain non-science courses. As a rule of thumb, the cost of studying abroad for two years should be factored in when choosing ADP. 

ADP is great for anyone who wishes to study in the USA as they do not have to sit for SAT or ACT to gain entry in a US university, which is the more traditional way. Do take note that some overseas universities might not accept certain subjects for credit transfer (e.g Harvard, Yale, Princeton) and the entry requirement may differ between universities. Make sure to do your research before applying for the overseas university you wish to transfer to. 


How is American Degree Program (ADP) structured?

American Degree Program (ADP) is allows for students to do 1 to 3 years in Malaysia and 1 to 3 years abroad to a total of 4 years. Students transfer abroad via a credit-transfer option that is approved by the university abroad. 

During the first 2 years, students will take subjects from the Core Requirements courses that are related to their Major and also General Education courses which fall under the 4 following categories: 

  • Language
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Fine Arts

The next two years are dedicated to advanced courses within the student's Major.

The flexibility of the course let students take 3 to 4 subjects of their choice per semester. One subject is worth 3 to 5 credits per semester. Students have to score approximately 110 to 140 credits to graduate with an undergraduate degree. This also allows the students to obtain more credits  per semester and complete their degree faster or take things at their own pace by focusing on less subjects for better scores. 



ADP is a hands-on course based on 70% continuous assessment and 30% final examinations. Students will be assessed through assignments, coursework, presentation, tests, quizzes and extra-curricular activities outside of the classroom. This means students will have a balanced and exciting time in university as they are not only focused on examination but also active participation inside and outside of the classroom.

The final grades are in the form of CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) on the scale of 0.0 to 4.0, with 4.0 being the highest and perfect score. This is derived from the final grades for each subject scored after every semester.


Why study American Degree Program (ADP) in Malaysia?

  • ADP is the most flexible programme in Malaysia compared to other pre-university courses. Students are allowed to change their majors within the first 2 years of the course if they decide to focus on a different field instead. 
  • Students can choose the number of subjects per semester and study at their own pace. Some universities allow as little as 2 subjects and as many as 6 subjects per semester . This means that students can graduate faster .
  • Students have the opportunity to study subjects outside of their chosen fields. This does not only gives them a broad range of knowledge, but it also helps them to work and communicate effectively with other people outside of their field.
  • Direct pathway to an American-based education and undergraduate degree. No need to sit for the SAT or ACT examination which is the traditional way to gain entry into an American university.
  • Students can save cost for the study in Malaysia duration while getting an American degree.
  • Students graduate as all-rounders. The ADP puts emphasis on learning and acquiring knowledge rather than studying for examinations.


Is American Degree Program (ADP) your ideal choice?

This programme is definitely for you if…

  • You want to study in the US. ADP is also recognised by universities in Canada and some universities in Malaysia. 
  • You prefer continuous assessment rather than studying for examinations all the time. ADP consists of 70% coursework and 30% examinations. 

This programme might be for you if…

  • You love an interactive learning experience. In ADP, students are encouraged to be outspoken. The programme is designed for students who can speak up their minds, give ideas, debate and discuss about the topics at hand with the lecturers as well as with their classmates.
  • You want flexibility in choosing the subjects. You will be able to choose subjects depending on your interest. 

This programme might not be for you if…

  • You don’t like interacting with people. Most of your time in ADP will be spent interacting with lecturers and classmates whether it is for discussion or debate. 
  • You are not sure if you want to study in the US or won't be able to afford studying abroad.

This programme is certainly not for you if…

  • You wish to focus purely on academics. 
  • You wish to study Medicine, Pharmacy or Dentisty in Malaysia. This is because any of these courses will amount to 8 to 9 years of study under ADP.


What subjects should you take for American Degree Program (ADP)?

The subjects you will choose will be based on your interest as well as your chosen Major. The Majors often fall in the umbrella categories of Applied Sciences, Business, Engineering, Computer Science and Liberal Arts. Below are some of the more focused Majors you can expect for each category:

Applied Sciences Biological Science, Chemistry, Physics, Health & Nutrition
Business Actuarial Science, Economics, Finance, International Business, Management, Marketing
Computer Science Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), Computer Graphics, Computer Gaming, Computer Network, Software Development
Engineering Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical / Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Liberal Arts Anthropology / Archaeology, History, Mass Communication, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology


3 things to consider when choosing subjects combinations

  • What do you want to Major in? Have a clear idea of what you want to pursue in life and in your career. Your Major will depend on what future career you are considering. From there, you can choose which subjects are suitable for you.
  • What is your interest in life? Career is career, but passion in life can be a completely different thing. Maybe you want to be a psychologist, but your passion in life is history. So you can always take both psychology and history together. Taking subjects based on your personal interest will keep you excited about the course and make your day more interesting.
  • What are the exciting subjects outside of your Major? The point of ADP is to nurture a well-rounded individual through a holistic learning experience. In other programmes, once you have chosen your Major and its related subjects, you may not be able to study other subjects outside of your Major for the rest of your life. But in ADP, you can. For example, you are interested to study Political Science, so why not give something of the complete opposite, like Computer Science, a try as well? It will not only give you a wider view of life but also give you some new skills to pick up along the way.


What should you do if you are not sure what to study?

If you are still unsure talk to your ADP guidance counsellor and follow the following steps:

  1. Choose 'essential' subjects like Mathematics, Chemistry, Management Principles and Economics.
  2. Choose Biology or Physics or Accounting if you're interested in Bioscience, Engineering or Accounting respectively. 
  3. Finally, pick subjects that excites you such as Creative Writing, Film Studies or even Introduction to Music to keep yourself intrigued by learning something new.

Do you have to take Mata Pelajaran Pengajian Umum (MPU) subjects?

Effective 1st September 2013, Ministry of Education (MOE) requires all students to complete a set of Mata Pelajaran Umum (MPU) subjects. This applies to all students of Canadian Pre-University (CPU) in Malaysia. The MPU subjects are:

  • Component U1: Malaysian Studies 1 (for Malaysian students) or Bahasa Melayu Komunikasi 1 / Communicational Malay Language 1 (for International students)
  • Component U2: Personal Development 1 or Bahasa Kebangsaan A / National Language A
  • Component U3: Malaysian Arts and Cultures


Entry requirements of American Degree Program (ADP) in Malaysia

  • SPM: Minimum 5 credits (subject pre-requisites apply)
  • Equivalent qualifications as recognised by the Malaysian Government

Additional Resources

From UniDigest: