Established as the second university in the country in 1969, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) was first known as Universiti Pulau Pinang. In 1971, USM moved from its temporary premises at the Malayan Teachers’ Training College, Bukit Gelugor to the present 416.6-hectare site at Minden, approximately 9.7 km from Georgetown.
USM offers courses ranging from Natural Sciences, Applied Sciences, Medical and Health Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences to Building Science and Technology, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Education. These are available at undergraduate and postgraduate levels to approximately 30,000 students at its 17 Academic Schools on the main campus in the island of Penang; 6 Schools at the Engineering Campus in Nibong Tebal (approximately 50km from the main campus); and 3 at the Health Campus in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan (approximately 300km from the main campus).
USM also has 17 dedicated research centres for a wide range of specialisations which include archaeology, medicine and dentistry, molecular medicine, science and technology, business management, and policy research and international studies.
Since the beginning, USM has adopted the School system rather than the traditional Faculty system to ensure that its students are multi-disciplined from their exposure to other areas of study by other Schools. It also encourages students to be active in extra-curricular activities given the myriad of clubs and societies available.
As a Research Intensive University recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE) in 2007, USM offers educational and research opportunities to students and staff. In 2008, USM also became the first university in the country to be selected by the Malaysian government to participate in the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (APEX), a fast-track programme that helps tertiary institutions achieve world-class status.