How to become a Clinical Psychologist in Malaysia

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Malaysian flags at the 57th National Day celebrations at Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,

To become a Clinical Psychologist in Malaysia you need to:

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
  2. Obtain a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.

Until recently there were only two clinical psychology training courses based in Malaysia. This means it can be difficult to gain a place on one of the courses.

Some Clinical Psychologists in Malaysia have trained overseas. If you study overseas you may need to study a doctorate rather than a Masters degree. For more information about studying overseas please read my page on ‘How to become a Clinical Psychologist’. You will also find information about some of the courses available to international students on this website. The biggest challenge with training overseas is paying the high tuition fees. This means most Malaysians train in local universities.

Do I need to be registered to become a Clinical Psychologist in Malaysia?

A new law, the Allied Health Professions Act, 2016 made it illegal for someone to call themselves a ‘Clinical Psychologist’ unless they are registered. The law has not yet been enforced because the government needs time to decide how to run the register. It’s a difficult task because the register needs to cover many different professions. The list of professions ranges from Speech and Language Therapists to Nutritionists. We don’t know when the register will be ready.

Who accredits psychologists in Malaysia?

Although the register is not ready, employers and clients need to know that you are fully qualified. The Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology (MSCP) is a professional society that accredits Clinical Psychology courses and Clinical Psychologists. Becoming a full member of the MSCP helps show that you are fully qualified. You can find out more about them on their website www.malaysiaclinicalpsychology.com/ or Facebook page.

Can I train to be a Clinical Psychologist in Malaysia if I am not Malaysian?

You should check with the authorities or potential employers in your home country to find out whether a Malaysian qualification will be recognised.

Which Universities currently offer places for students to study clinical psychology?

To view Clinical Psychology Courses in Malaysia click here.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Dr. Can I ask if the BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONS) IN PSYCHOLOGY from International University Malaya Wales will be recognized if I intend to pursue a master’s in Clinical Psychology?

    • I think the Malaysian Clinical Psychology courses would probably accept a degree from the International University of Malaya Wales. You could check by contacting the courses and asking them for confirmation. If you were applying to courses in the UK you would need the UK’s Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR). I’m not sure if that course gives you it automatically.

  2. Dear Dr, May I ask you if I had Bachelor of Teaching Guidance and Counseling from Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) in Malaysia, do Australian Universities will recognize my degree if I intend to pursue a master’s in Clinical Psychology? And, can I pursue a master’s in Clinical Psychology if I’m not from a pure psychology students?

    • I’m not entirely sure so it would be best to check with the individual Australian universities. However, I think the universities will most likely require you to have done a Psychology degree or equivalent.

  3. Dear Dr.
    I need your guidance. My intention is to go for PhD in psychology. I have MS degree is clinical paychology but having difficulties in getting admission due to lack of publications. Currently I have been offered a place in research mode master in Universiti Sains Malaysia (lifestyle science) , my question is PhD from Malaysia having equal standard as most of developed countries offering? And being expat what are scopes of psychologist in Malaysia?

    • Hi, the situation for PhDs is a bit complex. In the USA you can do a PhD programme that allows you to become a practicing Clinical Psychologist. In many other countries, including the UK and Malaysia, a PhD only qualifies you for research. It does not allow you to work with clients as a Clinical Psychologist. If you already have a Masters in Clinical Psychology then you can already work as a Clinical Psychologist. If you further your studies by taking a PhD in Malaysia you would not be expanding your clinical skills. Instead you would be dedicating your time entirely to research. It’s important that you are genuinely interested in doing lots of research because a PhD requires a huge investment of time and effort in research. If you want your career to be focused on research then it probably does matter where you do your PhD. Academic employers will end to look at who your supervisor was and who you got to know during your PhD.

  4. Hello Dr, i would like to ask if I can become a clinical psychologist if i have a bachelor’s degree in Counselling? Can I pursue clinical psychology for my master’s?

    • Most university courses require a psychology degree in order to study clinical psychology. However, you could always try contacting the course that you were interested in to check if they would accept a counselling degree.

  5. Hi Dan!

    Am looking to do Masters in Psych in Malaysia. Do you have any recommendations on which are good unis and courses?

    • To become a clinical psychologist you need to do a psychology degree or a conversion course to turn your first degree into a psychology degree. If you are already a medical doctor then it might be better for you to train as a psychiatrist. Once you have become a psychiatrist you could do extra training in talking therapies. It would be great to have more psychiatrists trained in talking therapies!

  6. Hello doctor, I am interested in doing psychology degree and further my master in clinical psychology. For my degree, do I need any specific course in bachelor of psychology?
    Can you suggest the university that offer that degree? Thanks.

  7. Hi just to get my understanding right after finisn BA in psychology , we can pursue to master clinical psychology then can become a clinical psychologist. Am I right

    • You can certainly try – but the clinical psychology courses often prefer that you have done some relevant work experience before you apply. That should make it easier to get accepted onto the courses and it’s useful to have had such experience before you start the course.

    • Hi Wani, interesting question. I was always interested by the way people think and what motivates them. However, I explored other professions before I decided psychology was definitely for me. When I was 16 I was interested in working in the creative side of advertising. When I graduated I tried working as a management consultant. Fortunately, clinical psychology is a profession that really benefits from having a range of experience. So if you’re not sure what you want to do I’d encourage trying some other options. You can always come back to psychology (although you will need a psychology degree to be able to do clinical psychology courses).

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