Universiti Sains Malaysia (University of Science, Malaysia, acronym: USM; 马来西亚理科大学, acronym: 理大) is a public university with a main campus in Penang, Malaysia. There are two other campuses, one in Penang as well, and the other on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, in Kelantan. With around 29,789 students in 2006 , USM is one of the biggest universities in terms of enrolled students in Malaysia. The number of lecturers was about 1606, which leads to a student-lecturer ratio of around 1:23.
Established as the second university in the country in 1969, Universiti Sains Malaysia was first known as Universiti Pulau Pinang. Initially, the University operated on borrowed premises at the Malayan Teachers' Training College at Gelugor. In 1971, it moved to its present 239.4-hectare site (formerly a military barracks) at Minden, approximately 9.7 kilometres from the city of Georgetown. The site, which consists mainly of undulating land, is indeed an ideal location to house a university campus. There are now two other USM campuses as well, one at Kubang Kerian in Kelantan known as the Health Campus and the other at Seri Ampangan in Penang, known as the Engineering Campus. The former houses the School of Medical Sciences, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Dental Sciences, while the latter houses the six engineering schools.
From the outset, Universiti Sains Malaysia was given the mandate to provide, promote and develop learning in the fields of Pure Sciences, Applied Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Building Science and Technology, Social Sciences, Humanities and Education as well as to conduct research and foster the dissemination of such knowledge. To date, the University has not departed from these terms of reference and has made significant progress in meeting its academic, social, and national obligations.
The University has always been guided in its activities by the need to develop a personality and identity of its own. Since its establishment, it has adopted an innovative approach to higher education and departed significantly from the traditional faculty system of an academic organisation. In its place, the University introduced the school system that allows for a multidisciplinary approach. The policy was to combine subjects and to organise programs in such a manner that a degree of specialisation in a chosen subject was possible.
To date, 24 Academic Schools, 14 Centres and 7 Units have been established. Of the Schools, 12 are applied science and technology-based Schools, namely, the School of Civil Engineering, the School of Aerospace Engineering, the School of Chemical Engineering, the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, the School of Mechanical Engineering, the School of Housing, Building and Planning, the School of Industrial Technology, the School of Medical Sciences, the School of Dental Sciences, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The three liberal arts schools are the School of Educational Studies, the School of Humanities and the School of Social Sciences. The pure science schools comprise the School of Biological Sciences, the School of Chemical Sciences, the School of Mathematical Sciences, the School of Computer Sciences, and the School of Physics, all of which offer courses that are similar to those traditionally available in other universities.
In December 1989, the School of Management was set up, having evolved from the Management program within the School of Social Sciences. As part of its continuing expansion, the University established the School of Computer Sciences and the School of Communication as of March 1995.
The centres and ancillary services include the Centre for Languages and translation, the National Poison Centre, the Doping Control Centre, the Centre for Archaeological Research Malaysia, the Centre for Educational Technology and Multimedia, the Computer Centre, the Centre for Knowledge, Communication and Technology and the Islamic Centre. There are also various research centres, namely the Centre for Policy Research, the Centre for Drug Research and the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies. The Distance Education Program offered through the School of Distance Education is another innovative program adopted by the University in 1971. It has gained an encouraging response from working adults and is set to be developed further in this decade to cater for new directions and needs.
In the field of research, the emphasis is on function-oriented or interdisciplinary research. The main focus is on areas that integrate academic interest and practical relevance, thus directing scientific thrusts towards breakthroughs in problem areas crucial to the quality of life and national development.
USM is one of three universities in Malaysia that have been identified as research-intensive universities in Malaysia, with the other being University of Malaya and Universiti Putra Malaysia. This is in tandem with its mission and vision to be a world-class university embarking on world class research programmes via strategic planning and implementation of its R&D mechanism. The university has qualified academic staff and excellent human resource support in order to realise its mission.
From the outset, USM was given the mandate to provide, promote and develop higher education in the fields of pure sciences, applied sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, building sciences and technology, social sciences, humanities and education as well as to provide research, advancement and dissemination of such knowledge.
The establishment of USM began with an agreement reached through a resolution which was approved by the Penang State Legislative Assembly in 1962, which called for the establishment of a university college in the state. The acquisition of a piece of land in Sungai Ara for this purpose was then followed by the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Y.T.M Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj on 7 August 1967.
Taking into account the need for a larger campus and a more conducive one in line with future manpower needs, in 1969 a full-fledged university was established under the name Universiti Pulau Pinang. The establishment of USM was eventually gazetted under the Corporation Act signed by His Majesty The Yang di-Pertuan Agong as provided for under the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, and published in the Government Gazette P.U. (A) 383/71.
The management of the University is carried out through the executive power of the Board of Directors, made up of members chosen from the University, representatives from government departments and those appointed by the Ministry of Higher Education. As an executive council, the Board of Directors retains the right to wield power entrusted to it by the University Constitution, Statutes, Acts and Regulations.
From its humble beginnings with an intake of 57 science students in 1969, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) had made great strides. Today, USM offers a wide range of courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels to more than 28,000 students. USM has also emerged as one of the most widely-acclaimed universities not only locally but also abroad. The success achieved in various fields especially in research, including the latest through the Asian Innovation Award in which USM emerged as the only winner from this country, has placed USM on the world map.
Started as a USM hospital in 1983, the health campus has expanded after the School of Medical Science was moved from the main campus to the present site which is 72.84 hectare in size. The School of Medical Science was moved from the main campus in June 1990. There're are now 2 other schools in the health campus - the School of Dental Science and the School of Allied Health Sciences. The engineering campus meanwhile moved to the present site from its previous site in Tronoh, Perak in 1996.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) offers excellent opportunities for research and education to both local and foreign scholars. The University's core competencies are teaching, research and consultancies, which relate directly to the advancement of human resource development and capacity building, knowledge and industrial competitiveness.
In order to develop as a teaching and research institution of international repute, and to perform its expected role both in society and in the world of learning, the University must continue to develop a broad-based research infrastructure involving the acquisition of a wide range of equipment, laboratory facilities and library holdings. University research in many ways differs from corporate R&D, and from the activities of specialised R&D institutions in that it must address a wider range of problems, be more tolerant or open minded, perform purely theoretical investigations and incorporate literary, artistic, philosophical, social and other fields of study in its research endeavours.
The route taken for the development of academic excellence at USM has been the establishment of research institutes, centres and units. A criterion for the setting up of these institutes, centres and units has always been that the areas which they cover must be the ones in which there have already been notable achievements and where the setting up of formal structures would help to mobilise more effectively research talent and expertise from different disciplines and from different parts of the University. But it has always been understood that these structures, while providing better opportunities for integration and networking, would not replace or reduce the research roles of the teaching Schools and their staff. Indeed, a cardinal rule in the University's overall planning has been that principal areas of teaching and research would overlap, as would areas of staff and postgraduate research, to the common advantage of all.
The University has always emphasised the inter-disciplinary approach in all its programmes and this is reflected in both its academic structure and research activities. The Science Fund funding is the main source of R&D for USM. However, in order to promote research, the University allocates a sum of money from its operating funds annually as incentive and for short-term research purposes. External funds, mainly in the form of research grants, awards and consultancies won by individual academic staff members, also feature prominently. There are, of course, external sources of funding as well, but these are largely of an ad hoc nature and do not as a rule result in the development of major research facilities. Some external research links have also been established thus far, both through individual and through institutional networking arrangements.
These are areas in which the University is able to contribute effectively both to the national research effort and to the advancement of knowledge in general. In other words, these are areas in which the University is already strong and enjoys a favourable reputation, or in which the required expertise and support facilities are already in place at several research clusters at the respective Schools or at the various research centres in USM
USM offers three modes of study for the graduate programmes, i.e. by research, or by a combination of coursework and research (mixed mode), or by coursework. In 2003, there were about 5,122 students in the various study programmes at the master’s and doctoral levels. Almost 11.8% of them are foreign nationals from more than 40 countries. The majority of foreign students are from other parts of Southeast Asia.
USM also has school of distance education. It was established in 1971 to provide opportunities for local working adults to obtain a tertiary qualification. These students are able to undertake undergraduate courses while still they are in full time employment. At present only four undergraduate programmes are available through distance learning, namely Bachelor of science, bachelor of social science, barchelor of arts, and bachelor of management degrees.
Liberal Arts Schools
Pure Science Schools
Health Science Schools
USM has facilities for students' accommodation, sporting and recreational activities. The university offers hostels for approximately 75% of its students. They are known as student villages or hostel (Desasiswa), and they are located inside campus area. Cafeterias with reasonable prices can be found round all around university area.
USM provides varied and sufficient sporting facilities such as archery range ,football field, badminton courts, tennis courts, hockey ground, rugby field, softball, squash courts, and basketball courts. A lot of cultural activities takes place in the university too.
Throughout 2006, various activities involving the Department of Student Affairs and Development were carried out. They included sports and cultural activities, leadership programs, community service programs and excellence programs which were carried out with the cooperation of the Student Advisory and Development Unit, the Sports Unit, the Arts and Cultural Development Unit, Hostel Management and realized through societies, clubs, sports and cultural activities, motivation workshops and debate competitions.
Annual activities such as forums, workshops and programs in conjunction with the National Day celebrations such as the Ambang Merdeka Night and the Merdeka Campus Walk, and religious activities such as Qur’an Recitation and Ramadhan Appreciation Month in the holy month of Ramadhan were also has been carried out.
‘Sejahtera’ in Malay embraces peace, harmony, tranquility, wellness and health. There is no equivalent word in the English language. As a concept, ‘Kampus Sejahtera’ is meant to guide the entire USM community from administrators, to lecturers, students and support personnel to focus their commitment and responsibility to the university. Every individual has a role to play through personal initiatives, positive attributes, pro-active actions and volunteerism in nurturing the development of the campus. Team work is essential and must cut across departments and hierarchies to initiate new ideas to contribute to the growth of the university. The idea of insourcing is an important mechanism for implementation to tap academic and theoretical knowledge of inhouse expertise for practical applications. Two other aspects of the programme require all initiatives to be data-driven, informed by analysis and monitored with complete documentation. So far, more than 17 monographs and books have been published under this programme.
‘Kampus Sejahtera’ is not only limited to the projects funded by the programme. It is a framework which encompasses five underlying values. The first is to create a mindset for every individual to take responsibility for the campus. The second value seeks to create spaces, both physical and social, which are conducive for work, play and learning.
Thirdly, the practices in the campus must promote the ideals of sustainable development that is environmentally-friendly, pedestrian-friendly, work- and people-friendly as well as promote healthy lifestyles. The fourth value is provision of quality health and dental care services to students, staff and dependents of staff focusing on wellness.
Finally, ‘Kesejahteraan’ supports any activity or project which propagates the pursuit of a sustainable campus. Such activities and projects include every aspect of the University such as teaching, research, publication, training, administration, management, studentcentred activities, food and catering, transportation, waste management, construction and maintenance and anything else which could conceivably contribute to kesejahteraan, healthy living and a sustainable lifestyle. Based on those values and principles mentioned above, the secretariat in collaboration with other parties, staff and students continues to implement new and old projects/ program to improve the quality of life of the campus community and quality of the environment.
One must not confuse Healthy Campus with Health Campus.
Universiti Sains Malaysia has launch Science and Arts Innovation Space also known as sains@usm, which is dedicated towards nurturing innovation in science and arts.
The sains@usm space is created to enable entrepreneurs, investors, scientists and artists to blend their respective fields in a sustainable environment. sains@usm recognises that arts contribute to society in tandem with science and technology and together act as catalysts for a balanced society.
With sains@usm, the university hopes to retain the best talents within the university system, nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs and showcase its research achievements and academic talents. It will create high value jobs as well as boost the surrounding economy. The facility is designed to foster a closer relationship between academia and industry, fast track technology transfer, commercialisation of technology and create a springboard for new Intellectual Property creations.
sains@usm will bring forward Universiti Sains Malaysia’s research towards a sustainable future especially for the people at the bottom of the “economic pyramid” who stand to benefit from the many cutting edge research in University Sains Malaysia.
The Design Sustainability is at the heart of this concept. The architecture of the Science and Arts Innovation Space (sains@usm) embodies a contemporary design influenced by traditional indigenous architecture for the tropical climate which is respectful of nature and the ecosystem as well as local cultural values. Each habitable room will face a picturesque view of greenery and water elements, bringing nature indoors so as to ignite the creative energy.
The buildings will be highly energy efficient, with tropical microclimate features such as large overhangs and well-ventilated spaces. The facilities will be built along contour lines, creating green environments and a reduction in energy needs.
Various television shows have used USM's campus, including: