Masters of Arts (MA)

A student in the Masters of Arts program will undertake a research project in the following areas which fall under the School's Research Clusters:

  1. Enterprise Governance - some typical topics include: Board composition and members' succession; CEO succession; multiple directorship; monitoring intensity; the role of watchdogs; role of institutional investors, disclosure issues - financial, non-financial, voluntary; audit committee effectiveness; ownership structure.
  2. Leadership and Work Values - some typical topics include: Leadership/managerial styles (in the broadest application); leadership behavior; work centrality; work values attitudes (job satisfaction, commitment, QWL); personal-organizational values congruence/fit; power-influence approach; organizational behavior; human resource management; strategic management; leader-member exchange (LMX) - supervisor-subordinate relationship; cross-cultural studies; gender issues; ethical decision making
  3. Technology Management - some typical topics include: Strategic/long-term issues relating to technology; process of Technological Innovations; R&D management, R&D Infrastructure & Technological change; product/process life cycles; technology transfer; technology risk analysis; quality & productivity issues; electronic organization; digital technology; knowledge management; product/process technology; information technology
  4. Financial Market-Based Research - some typical topics include: Ownership structure and firm value; derivatives pricing; behavioral finance; price reaction in IPOs and seasoned equity issue; risk measures and stock returns; market efficiency and stock performance; pricing issues and asset allocation; financial crisis and exchange rate exposure; anomalies, speculation and rationality; dividend policy and firm behavior; determinants of capital structure choice; corporate and financial restructuring; firm size and seasonal effect; Predicting financial distress and shareholder wealth; M&A and corporate change
  5. Consumer Market-Based Research - some typical topics include: Customer satisfaction with product and services, complaint behavior; green movement; Halal issues; government policies; product development and policies; Internal marketing; managing marketing relationship; philosophy of marketing management; changes in marketing and consumer taste due to technological advancement; consumer behavior in buying; selection of brand name, shopping location, lifestyle.
  6. Internationalisation some typical topic include: Strategies for entering markets; adaptation of marketing strategies; country of origin issues; strategic alliance.


Students can choose between:

  • MA (Management)
  • MA (Accounting)
  • MA (Finance)

An applicant for an MA degree should possess the followings:
  • A good bachelor's degree or equivalent
  • A foreign applicant is required to have a minimum score of 550 in TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or minimum score of 6.0 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or passed USM's Intensive English Course Level 3. Results must be attached with the application form.
  • A brief research proposal (approximately 250 words) indicating the background and objectives of the proposed topic of research
  • Applications for postgraduate studies in USM can be made online through the Intitute of Postgraduate Studies website.


Full-time: min 12 months / max 36 months
Part-time: min 24 months / max 72 months



A new candidate can register anytime throughout the year. A foreign candidate outside of the Malay Archipelago must register as a full-time student.


A candidate in both programmes will be supervised normally by one or two supervisors from the School throughout his/her candidature. The candidate is expected to discuss with the supervisors his/her plan of study and schedule regular meetings with the supervisors to discuss his/her progress.

Residency requirement

For a full-time candidate, the residency requirement is throughout his/her minimum candidature period.

For a part-time candidate, a residency requirement of 15 days a year is required.

Bahasa Malaysia requirement

A foreign candidate is required to register and pass the USM's LKM100 Bahasa Malaysia I within his/her candidature period.

Proposal/Findings Defense

A candidate in the MA program in the School of Management is required to submit and present his/her proposal and findings of study before an Examining Committee appointed by the School. The proposal defense normally takes place after six months from the date students enroll in the program for a full time student. The findings defense will take place once the student has obtained the results of study and written the discussion. Only upon satisfactory performance in both defenses can the candidate submit the final thesis to the Institute of Post-graduate Studies for the final viva-voce.


A candidate for the MA program is required to produce a thesis. As a general guideline, an MA thesis should not exceed 50,000 words. The thesis can be written in either English or Bahasa Malaysia.

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Organisational Behaviour


Frequently Asked Question