Master in Pathology: Which University to choose?
Once you have decided to do master in pathology, one thing will comes into your mind before anything else. Before you even bother to choose which specialty you want to do, or which book you want to buy, you will have to decide which university you would like to enroll to.
It seems like an easy task, it was not. Your choice will affect your life for the next 4 years. You should remember that you cannot change it after you have accepted to that university. It was the same like how you choose your university during your undergraduate time. Only now, there were only a few universities which offer postgraduate study in pathology. Leave the overseas universities behind(Government won't sponsor you to go oversea nowadays in this economy). Local universities are not that bad. We are actually pretty good in producing a competent pathologist.
In Malaysia, there are only 5 universities that offer pathology for postgraduate study. Here are the list
If you were offered by other than this university, means that their computer system is making a mistake, which happen to us year 2016 batches as we are all offered to UNIMAS. It was a funny story better kept to be told at other time.
Here I will not talk on which University is the best, I do not know (even though I heard rumor and people talking in discretion). I will not talk on which one is the best. Because in the end, its not because which one is the best, it's all about logistic issue. How you want your life to be in the next 4 years of study.
Let's go one by one. As you can see, all of those Universities, only USM located in Kelantan. The rest would be around KL and Selangor. For those who want to choose UM, it's good. Located in KL Near to midvalley. Your place of study would be UMMC. Don't expect you would be studying in the university like undergrads. No. For post graduate study, all of your time will be spend in Hospital. So UM means UMMC. If you choose UM, most of us unofficially will labeled you as an elite. it's funny but those who came from UM deserves to be call an elite. Trust me, from the story I heard from our colleague there, stress is their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, the programmed structured a little bit like "do whatever you want, you fail not my problem". All this factor make UM master need to put a little more effort. Respect them. What to say, you are studying in one the best University in this country. What do you expect? Apply UM if you want to be in KL, and you want to be the best of the best among all. Don't apply if you are the one who need a proper guidance in your study.
Let's go to UKM. My place. I do not know how to compare UKM to other, but I enjoyed here. They said that UKM is a little bit like UM and a little bit like USM. On a pain scale, UM would be 10, USM would be 1, UKM would be 5 then. The programmed in UKM is well structured but as a postgraduate student, you do not expect to be guided everywhere. UKM postgraduate student still would be throw away into the jungle of knowledge, and if you fail to find your way outside, you will die inside. In UM, they just throw you out, didn't gave you anything. In UKM, they throw you out there but they give you a knife, a lighter, and a compass...metaphorically. Go for UKM if you want to be in KL but you do not want to be in UM. Do not apply UKM if you want to be in UM. Simple. UKM hospital would be HUKM or Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhkriz.... HUKM much easier. This hospital located in Cheras. Near to Bandar Sri Permaisuri. Do not expect to be in UKM bangi. You won't be in UKM main campus at all.
UPM... as usual, I do not know about UPM much. I have a few friends there. From their saying, the only downside about UPM is, it does not have its own hospital. They will be using Hospital Serdang as their teaching hospital. Hospital Serdang is under MOH. Well, even though this could be unreal, but MOH and MOE does not really go along well. It's better to have your own hospital. Maybe it does not matter if you are applying for out campus program. Still, your first year and 4th year of study would be strictly in campus. So having own teaching hospital would be nicer. Otherwise, UPM is good. Apply UPM if you are living near hospital Serdang or UPM. Do not apply if you are not from that area.
UITM. New..idiopathic. I really do not know much about this one. I think they just started their master program in pathology there... apply perhaps if you are living near that place. I do not know which hospital they use for teaching. I believe it will be the same like UPM, they will use other hospital under MOH.
USM. This is a legendary University for pathology master. Why? You enter the program first then you will know. Haha. Some people say, without USM, they will be no pathologist in Malaysia. Haha. Too much I think but you got the idea. This is the most popular place for pathology. They offer Genetic pathology too. That field are not offered at other University at the time of this writing. They also have Transfusion medicine master program, which is not under pathology. But as you know, in pathology, you will also learn about transfusion medicine. So, you will learn much better in USM because they have perhaps the best Transfusion Medicine teacher there. USM also good for those who want to go out from the city like KL, live a simple life and study. Its located in Kelantan, I am not saying Kelantan is a bit left behind, but...you got the idea. If you still did not get my point, count how many cinemas and shopping malls are there in KL, compare the number to Kelantan. Less number of that would mean more reading and more study. I guess.
Apply USM if you do not want the city life of KL, or you are from Kelantan. Do not apply if you want to have a city life. One thing though, if you are from Sabah or Sarawak, if you apply USM, you will then have to be committed to not go back to Sabah and Sarawak for a very long time. If you apply the other 5 University, you can pretty much go back home at least once in a month because the air ticket is cheaper from KL. It's up to you. For people like me who need to visit my wife and daughters quite frequently, I need to be near KLIA. I need the cheap airline ticket.
One of my friend who study in USM and has a wife and daughter in Sabah, only went back to Sabah once every 5-6 months. Ticket price would be normally around Rm600+ return trip from Kelantan. Choose wisely. If you do not need to go back to Sabah or Sarawak that frequent (single), USM should be fine.
That's about it. If you ask me which University offer the best in term of teaching, all of them are good. This is not about undergraduate study. This is postgraduate study. Even if you are put in an island with no one around, no electricity or anything else other than you, you will still be a master if you study there. It's all up to you and not the University anymore. So, it does not matter which University you choose, if you pass the 4 years program, you will still be a master no matter what.
The criteria to choose which one now will depend on the logistic issue and a few factor that I mentioned above. Please choose with cautions.