Background of Institution
Established as the second university in the country in 1969, University Sains Malaysia (USM) was first known as the University of Penang, before the University’s Act came into effect on 4th October 1971.
The university has been developing and expanding since its inception, which started with the enrolment of 57 science based students. Now, USM offers courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels to approximately 20,000 students. USM has also become a well-known university locally and internationally.USM was founded after an agreement made on a resolution approved by the Penang State Legislative Council in 1962, which suggested that a university college be established in the state. An area in Sungai Ara was identified and later the foundation stone was placed by the then Prime Minister, Y.T.M Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj on the 7th of August 1967.In 1969, the University of Penang was established in response to the need for a larger campus with a more conducive environment, appropriate to the needs of the future of the country.In April 1969, Professor Hamzah Sendut was elected the Vice-Chancellor. Two months later, a group of 57 students was accepted to begin their studies. Since the area of Sungai Ara could not be developed as fast as required, the group was placed at the Malayan Teachers’ Training College at Bukit Gelugor on loan from the Education Ministry. In 1971, the campus, which was originally planned to be situated in Sungai Ara, moved to its present site, Minden, a beautiful location with an area measuring 500 acres. The green and hilly scenery facing the sea is truly captivating.Since its beginning, USM has implemented a school system, as opposed to the traditional faculty system. What is unique about this system is that each school could fulfil the needs of a more focused degree in the chosen area of study and at the same time, students could have the opportunity to explore other areas of study offered by another school. The interdisciplinary approach ensures that USM, the first in the country to adopt this system, would produce trained, multi-skilled graduates.
What Makes Us Special?
Right from the time of its establishment USM has adopted an innovative approach to higher education and of significance is its departure from the traditional faculty system of academic organisation. In its place, USM implements the broad-based School system where related subjects are grouped into schools of study and within each school, the policy combines subjects and to organise courses in such a manner that a degree of specialization in a chosen subject was possible.
From the outset, USM was given the mandate to provide, promote, and develop higher education in the fields of Natural Sciences, Applied Sciences, Medical and Health Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Building Sciences & Technology, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Education, as well as to provide for research and advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of such knowledge in these fields of study.
As one of the four Higher Institutions of Learning recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education as a Research Intensive University, USM offers educational and research opportunities to both students and staff. One of the key elements in the development of academic excellence at USM is the establishment of its research centres and units. This is due to the fact that the University has always been aware of the need for both research and teaching to remain as receptive as possible to the demands of society, and that the centres and units would provide better opportunities for integration and networking.
In addition, USM also provides consultancy, testing, and advisory services to industry. These services come under the ambit of USAINS Holdings Sdn Bhd, the University’s commercial arm.
Program OutlineUSM offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes that are conducted by the following Schools:
The list of Research Centres, Services Centres and Units at USM are listed as follows:
Academic Facilities & ResourcesThe facilities that USM provides for its students are delineated below:
Students Support Services & Students Development Activities
USM provides various services for its students such as hostel accommodation, counseling/motivational guidance, sport and recreational amenities like soccer fields, 8-lane synthetic running track, an Astroturf hockey stadium and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Cultural events/activities are organised at the Cultural Hall to foster closer ties among students. There are also various clubs and societies that cater to a wide array of interests. These include the Political Science Society, Computer Science Club, Indian Cultural Club, Navigator Society, Astronomy Club, Debating & Public Speaking Club, and Mass Communication Club to name a few.The Counseling Unit at USM offers support services to help develop students’ potential and capabilities.
Besides contributing to the national research effort and advancement of knowledge in general, the University has also taken steps to identify and periodically assess areas of research which are deserving of special support in order to compete more effectively for external funds. In USM’s bid to provide better incentives for the development of new products and processes by its staff, it has recently drawn up specific rules governing the patenting and commercialization of research results.