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  • Master and PhD Degree by Research

Master and PhD Degree by Research



The School of Humanities offers two post-graduate degrees,  Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) by research.  The areas of research are very wide covering the fields of Philosophy, Civilization Studies, Islamic Studies, Literature, Malay Linguistics Studies, Translation and Interpretation Studies,  English Language Studies, History, and Geography.  Within these sections, many kinds of research can be undertaken by the potential candidates.


Candidates for the Master of Arts must possess a good Bachelor Degree (Second Class Upper) or CGPA of above 2.75 in the related fields. Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy must have a Master of Arts in the respective fields of specialization.  

Candidates with academic backgrounds other than in the area for which they are applying may be required to complete undergraduate-level courses (courses will be identified by the sections concerned)  before embarking on their research.  Successful candidates generally work under the main supervisor.  Nevertheless,  there are provisions for a co-supervisor to be considered should the situation merit it.

Candidates must meet certain language requirements. For Malaysian citizens, the minimum qualification is a pass in Bahasa Malaysia in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. For foreigners, candidates must sit and pass the  LKM100 as a requirement for Bahasa Malaysia in Universiti Sains Malaysia. In the field of Linguistics and English Language Studies, candidates must have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 or IELTS Band 6.


Candidates are required to prepare a research proposal in consultation with the supervisor. The research proposal will then be circulated amongst Section members before presentation at a seminar. The seminar will be

chaired by the Section Chairperson or his/her representative and attended by academic staff of the Section and other post-graduate students. The presentation will be evaluated by a panel selected by the Section and must fulfill the requirements of a good research proposal.   Upon approval of the research proposal,  the candidate shall then proceed with his/her research and thesis proper after making the necessary corrections and amendments as suggested by the Section.


Candidates are required to produce a Master of Art or Doctor of Philosophy thesis. This shall be done in consultation with the supervisor. A MA thesis should not exceed 50,000 words and a Ph.D. thesis must not exceed 80,000 words.

The period of candidature for MA candidates shall not be less than 12 months and should not exceed a maximum of  36 months for full-time candidates.  For part-time candidates, the minimum period is 24  months and a maximum of 72 months. For full-time candidates, they are required to have a residential requirement of 12 months and for part-time candidates 15 days a year. Candidates are advised to complete their residential requirements at a stretch.   

The period of candidacy for a full-time Ph.D. candidate shall not be less than 24 months and should not exceed a maximum of 60 months.  For part-time candidates,  the minimum period is 36 months and a  maximum of 90 months. The residential requirement for full-time candidates is 24 months and for part-time candidates is 15 days in a calendar year.

The candidate must notify the School of Humanities in writing of their intention to submit the thesis three months prior to submission.  This can only be carried out after the supervisor and the Dean are satisfied that all the necessary requirements have been fulfilled and all work completed satisfactorily.

The thesis which has been submitted will be evaluated. For MA and Ph.D. thesis, the evaluation will be done by external and internal examiners. Upon having examined the thesis,  a viva will be called and the candidate will be required to defend his/her thesis.