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Academic And Training Programmes For Traditional And Complementary Medicine Practices In Malaysia


The use of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) is becoming more popular in Malaysia. A study in 2004 showed that 55.6% of the population in Malaysia used traditional medicine within a 12 month period of the study1. However, the knowledge and skills possessed by practitioners differ from each other as it is mostly passed down from one generation to the next. As a result, the services provided to the public are non-standardised and this has affected the confidence of the public regarding T&CM. As such, there is a need for formal education in T&CM to ensure the quality and safety of T&CM delivered to the public.

The T&CM Division, as a regulatory agency in the Ministry of Health, plays a role in providing technical support in the development of T&CM academic and skills programmes. With reference to the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) [Figure1], two pathways have been identified in developing T&CM programmes, namely skills training and higher education (academic pathway).

Development of T&CM Higher Education in Malaysia

As shown in Figure 2 for the development of programmes through the academic pathway, 12 standards for diploma (5) and degree (7) level programmes in T&CM have been developed in collaboration with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). A number of these programmes have been offered by local private higher education institutions (PHEIs) [Figure 3].

Development of Skills Training in Malaysia

For development of T&CM programmes through the skills pathway, the T&CM Division has collaborated with the Department of Skills Development (DSD) in developing related National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS). NOSS is a document that outlines the skills needed by skilled workers who are working in Malaysia for a particular sector, (the level of employment) and the path to achieve these skills. Up to 2014, 16 NOSS for 10 T&CM modalities have been developed. The Malaysian Skills Certificate (MSC), will be awarded to those who are qualified. MSC may be awarded via three routes, namely:

  1. Training in accredited centres
    Accredited centres refer to the skills training providers which have been approved by the DSD to manage skills training and offer Malaysian Skills Certification for certain sectors and skill levels according to NOSS.
  2. Industry oriented training
    Through apprenticeship training in the National Dual Training System (SLDN) conducted in industrial and skills training institutes.
  3. Accreditation of prior achievement
    A candidate qualifies for MSC based on past experience (work or training) without the need for examination. However, candidates are required to submit evidence of the skills that have been acquired to be reviewed by officers appointed by the DSD.

Recognition of foreign higher education institutions

Up to May 2015, traditional Chinese medicine undergraduate programmes offered by the following five (5) universities from the People’s Republic of China are recognised by the Public Service Department (PSD) of Malaysia:

  • Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM)
  • Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NUCM)
  • Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SHUTCM)
  • Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TUTCM)
  • Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine (GUCM)

Malaysian Qualifications Framework: Qualifications and Levels

MQF Levels


Lifelong Learning


Vocational and Technical

Higher Education


Doctoral Degree

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning  (APEL)


Masters Degree

Postgraduate Certificate & Diploma


Bachelors Degree

Graduate Certificate & Diploma


Advanced Diploma

Advanced Diploma

Advanced Diploma






Skills Certificate 3

Vocational and Technical Certificate



Skills Certificate 2


Skills Certificate 1

Figure 1: There are 8 levels of qualifications and 3 sectors (pathways) identified in the Malaysian Qualification Framework (MQF), supported by lifelong learning, in the development of education programmes in Malaysia.

Bachelor Degree Programmes Diploma Programmes
  • Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture)
  • Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Bachelor of Complementary Medicine (Natural Medicine)
  • Bachelor of Homeopathy
  • Bachelor of Malay Medicine
  • Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine
  • Bachelor of Chiropractic
  • Diploma in Malay Massage
  • Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture)
  • Diploma in Natural Medicine
  • Diploma in Aromatherapy
  • Diploma in Islamic Medicine

Figure 2: Programme standards: traditional and complementary medicine was published by MQA and consists of programme standard of 7 degree programmes and 5 diploma programmes.



Name of Programmes

1. Southern University College Bachelor Degree of Traditional Chinese Medicine 3+2
University Foundation for Degree Program (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
2. Tunku Abdul Rahman University Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Hons)
3. INTI International University Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Hons)
4. Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences Bachelor of Homeopathic Medical Science (Hons)
Diploma  in Islamic Medical Practice
5. Management and Science University Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Hons)
Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine
6. International Medical University Bachelor of Science (Hons) Chinese Medicine
Bachelor of Science (Hons) Chiropractic
7. Malacca College of Science and Management Diploma in Natural Medicine
8. Lincoln University College Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Figure 3: T&CM Programmes offered by 8 local PHEIs. The programmes include Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Chiropractic, Natural Medicine and Islamic Medical Practice.


  1. Siti, A. Tahir, A. Ida Farah, S.M. Ami Fazlin, S. Sondi, A.H. Azman, A.H. Maimunah, M.A. Haniza, M.D. Siti Haslinda, A.K. Zulkarnain, I. Zakiah, W.C. Wan Zaleha (2009) Use of traditional and complementary medicine in Malaysia: a baseline study’, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp. 292-299.
  2. Malaysian Qualification Framework; Ministry of Education Malaysia; 2011
  3. Malaysian Qualification Agency; www.mqa.gov.my
  4. Department of Skill Development; www.dsd.gov.my
  5. Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division; www.tcm.moh.gov.my


Last Reviewed : 20 June 2015
Writer/Translator : Cik Tan Hooi Tien
Accreditor : Cik Wong Wei Chyi