So I found out that starting from this September intake, one of the requirements to enter Bachelor of Engineering (Materials Eng.) at USM is to pass an interview. Now this is the first time(to my knowledge) that passing an interview is required to enter this programme so I can’t really say much on the interviewing part but I feel compel to write about Materials Eng. as a whole and Materials Eng. programme that is offered at USM.
Materials Engineers are those that uses the knowledge of structure-property correlations to design or engineer the structure of a material to produce a predetermined set of properties. This is not really a famous programme in Malaysia but I can assure you that the career opportunities is large. Some of the field that materials engineers could enter are production line, semiconductors, automotive industry, aircraft industry, rubber industry, biomaterials, polymer composites, nano materials, metallurgy and many more. But the most lucrative and famous of all is corrosion engineering. In short Corrosion Engineering is the specialist discipline of applying scientific knowledge, natural laws and physical resources in order to design and implement materials, structures, devices, systems and procedures to manage the natural phenomenon known as corrosion. For me, this programme is not that hard(no programme is hard if you study) and really interesting.
Materials Eng. at USM is a 4 years programme(minimum of 4 years but you could and may be forced to complete it in a maximum of 7 years) offered by the School of Materials and Mineral Resource Engineering, USM. Lectures mainly would be delivered in English but frankly the slides are in English but the language used to deliver the lectures would be up to the lecturers. Some lecturers delivers lectures in English while some delivers it in Malay and English (we don’t have any international students in my batch so Malay was occasionally used but if there are any international students, I’m pretty sure that the lecturers would deliver lectures only in English). Unlike some universities in Malaysia, all lectures would be held in big lecture halls (like the ones in movies except with not so comfortable chair)
During orientation, it was revealed to us by the Dean of the school that although we were given 12 options during our application to USM, only those who placed programmes offered at the school(materials,polymer and mineral resource eng.) in the top 3 option will be considered. At least that was the policy during my time of application. Now the dean is changed so there may be a few change in policies. For the record, the current dean is Prof. Dr. Zuhailawati Hussain.
The minimum MUET requirement to enter this programme is a Band 2. To graduate from a Malaysia public university, you would have to accumulate 4 credits in English Language courses. Those who obtained below Band 3, Band 5 and Band 6 would have to go through different University level English Language courses. At USM, those who obtained below Band 3 would have to take *LMT100, LSP300 and LSP404 while those who obtained Band 5 would have to take LSP404 and LHPxxx and those who obtained Band 6 have to take 4 credits of LHPxxx.
Students would also have to accumulate an extra 3 credits (credits that aren’t offered by the school) to graduate. You can choose either co-curriculum or/and international language(s). International language that is offered at the engineering campus are French, Japanese, Mandarin and Arab.
USM Engineering Campus
All engineering programmes at USM are offered at the engineering campus. It is located in Nibong Tebal, Penang (about 30-45 minutes drive from the main campus in Glugor). There’s a shuttle bus that comes and goes from the eng campus to the main campus every weekday. It is a relatively a small campus so walking about is not really a big deal. There’s no shuttle bus available to take you around campus so you either walk, cycle, ride a motorcycle or drive to class. Yes, drive. The good thing about the engineering campus is that unlike the main campus, you could easily obtain a car or motorcycle sticker with the fee of only RM1. Even first year students could get a sticker. At the main campus, only certain people could even be considered for a sticker.
First year students are compulsory to stay in a hostel. You would be placed in a room of 3 people. In the next session, you could choose to stay in either a room of 3, 2, or 1 person. Actually you have to compete for a room by collecting MyCSDs (merits). There are 3 ways of securing a room(getting an automatic placement) namely joining PALAPES, becoming a member of Majlis Penghuni Desasiswa (college residents council) or getting an APEX MARA Scholarship. There are many advantages of staying in a hostel like cheap room, you don’t have to pay for electricity and water bills, free internet and close to classes so people actually do compete to get hostel placement. Don’t worry, USM have no curfews. You could go in or out anytime you like.