International Creative Arts and Design Programme

Universiti Sains Malaysia

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The Most Entrepreneurial University 2018

Established in 1969, Universiti Sains Malaysia is the second institution for higher learning established in Malaysia. With a total of 32,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, it is also one of the country’s largest universities operating from 7 different locations. We are ranked among the world’s top 1% of established institutions in the world for higher learning and the only APEX (Accelerated Programme for Excellence) university in the country.


School of The Arts began as a constituent in School of Humanities and grew to spread its wings in 1999 to become an independent school within the university. Since then, the school has grown into a family of dedicated academic, administrative and support staff who bring with them their extensive knowledge that is rich in both the academic and industrial experience.  Students are trained in an artistic environment that is designed to reduce the gap between the academia and the needs of the industry. We nurture talent, develop practical skills in areas of the arts, design, media, music and performance while adopting a cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary approach to our teaching methods. We emphasise the importance of both worlds and genres, the traditional and contemporary; bridging the past to present and future.

Why choose Penang, Malaysia?

Penang is the ambassador of Malaysia, it is the door to the Asian region, Middle-Eastern and European countries, becoming the centre for trade, partnerships, networking and cultural exchange.

Penang is one of the most beautiful islands in Southeast Asia. Also known as the “Pearl of The Orient”, Penang is situated in the northeast of Peninsular Malaysia along the Straits of Malacca. About 700,000 people of multi-ethnicity inhabit this island, making it the most exciting point for cultural exchange. Penang is known for its eventful history, heritage buildings, beautiful beaches, delicious local dishes and friendly people.

Penang is a creative arts hub, bringing together the thriving art communities both local and international. The state government is at the forefront in building a hub that is the focal point in South East Asia for the arts communities to congregate and have active dialogues and events.

International  Creative Arts & Design Programme (ICAD)

The International Creative Arts & Design Programme at School of The Arts (Pusat Pengajian Seni) offers unique opportunities for students to further hone their skills and creativity in Art and Design. We offer a wide range of courses from fine arts, performance, fashion to design entrepreneurship within the settings of Penang’s multi-cultural diversity and rich traditions. Apart from their artistic values, these courses are also designed to:

  • Improve linguistic skills
  • Boost self-confidence
  • Foster creativity
  • Develop higher-order thinking skills

The courses are designed to give you an introduction to studying in an art school environment and gives you an insight into:

  • New creative processes and methods
  • Development of visual vocabulary
  • Personal evaluation and reflection
  • Group critique and evaluation
  • Communication and interaction

Dr. Mumtaz Begum Aboo Backer

Dean | School of The Arts (Pusat Pengajian Seni)

Selamat Datang!

It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to the School of The Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia (SENI USM). We are extremely excited because this is our first International Creative Arts & Design Programme and we are keen to share with you the most valuable learning experience through an artistic and creative journey. We strongly believe that this course will enable you to discover your hidden potentials, make new connections and develop new partnerships with friends from all over the world.

Your stay in Penang will give you a new sense of confidence as you experience the “melting pot of Asia” and see a new perspective in life while being within the settings of the traditional and contemporary Unesco’s Georgetown Heritage City.

The informal discussions, creative workshops, dialogues, and excursions will enhance your curiosity in the arts and stimulate your thoughts. Your studio practice combined with research projects, outdoor classes, activities and community engagement will prepare you mentally and intellectually to tackle issues, meet challenges and face problems positively.

Once again, Selamat Datang

Dr Yumi Yoshioka

Programme Coordinator | International Summer/Winter Programme

Hello Everyone!

I’m so excited to meet everyone on this very special international summer/winter programme. My colleagues and I will meet you every morning to brief you on your courses, the activities, and events of the day. It is extremely important for us to ensure that you are well informed of the day’s activities and your entire programme in order for you to have the most memorable learning experience here.

You would find that some of your courses would be engaging with artists, concert musicians, designers and curators. As such, there would also be critiques, dialogues and exchange of ideas. Workshop performances, mini art exhibitions and community engagement projects will broaden your horizon as art and design students.

So don’t wait but start applying now for an interesting artistic journey here at School of The Arts.


Drama | Movement | Music | Painting

The arts have the ability to enrich the lives they touch and can be an invaluable tool for students at all levels to enhance their English language proficiency. We understand that many of our international students enter university with multiple challenges in learning English, mastering academic content, while attempting to bridge cultural and social differences of their homeland and their new environment. By integrating the arts into English language teaching and learning, students will develop and deepen their understanding of the diverse cultures from many countries. They will be mentored by experienced instructors cum artist to refine their skills. By making connections between their art and space, students will explore and begin to develop a sense of awareness towards lines, shapes, patterns and spatial organization in the area of visual arts.

This program highlights three major learning outcomes:

  • Communicate confidently in English
  • Enhance critical thinking
  • Develop positive behavioural change

The program is divided into five main areas in the performing arts and English Language namely:

  • Drama and Movement
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • English
  • Community Engagement

Drama & Movement

Drama enhances one’s command of the English language through script reading, interaction, diction and articulation. Students will be exposed to the various elements that entail dramatic acting and how they can use these skills set to overcome anxieties about performing for an audience.  Through improvisational and script reading exercises, students will learn to adapt to various situations that require spontaneous action. They will also be presented with situations of conflict and tension whereby they need to identify conflict and resolutions. In addition, drama students are required to project their voices for a larger crowd which in turn develops self-confidence. All these exercises require students to act and react to situations using the English language in a most effective manner that is through their voice, body and creativity.


Music encourages students to listen attentively to the natural soundscape of the environment and gradually become aware of how a succession of sounds inform melodies. Students will learn to compose short melodies and perform them either vocally or on an instrument. They will then share their ideas to the rest of their friends, developing self- esteem. Techniques of voice projection and how to control the vocal apparatus are taught here whilst learning to express themselves freely. Students will learn to create their own musical identity, express sounds and musical ideas, drawing on their listening ability, imagination and personal experiences.

Visual Arts

Visual arts especially painting and batik canting aims to help the participants make connections between the imaginative life and the real world. Students will learn to organise and express their ideas, feelings and experiences in a cohesive manner through tangible and intangible forms of art.  They are required to present their artwork and describe the inspiration and message behind their works, identifying a variety of visual arts media while describing some of the creative processes involved.  Exploring atmosphere, content, purpose, value and impact of their work, students will learn to create their creative work as responsible artists. Responding to objects, focusing on their visual attributes, speaking with colours, tone and texture, students will express ideas, feelings and experiences regarding concepts of visual arts. This will create exciting opportunities and networking through the arts.


These sessions look at how students can use what is around them to inform their written works. It covers general topics that are relevant to Song writing, Poetry and Script-writing. Students are taught to explore and write on any topic of their choice while giving special attention to details in their writing. Students will demonstrate their understanding of how details inform a setting and how one can read the world via sensual descriptions. They will create detailed characters and will distinguish the various elements that make up unique and interesting voices for their characters.

Students will identify the use of sound in stories and will create their own stories in which sound (of the words) is the most noticeable element in affecting the mood and meaning.  Students are also introduced to common perceptions and perspectives about cultural norms. They will learn to understand and appreciate multiple and contrasting points of view on a single topic.

The Community Engagement: Outdoor Activity

These sessions address spontaneous action of empathy and relatability by the students within a specified environment.  We will look at how the arts domain can function as a medium for negotiating cultural differences. An understanding of the community’s local culture and way of life are addressed through these sessions. Students will learn to identify issues in their community, define their “Present States” and their “Desired States”. They will then learn to understand issues and concerns surrounding people they associate with. Students will learn to appreciate and understand different perspectives and opinions of others. Engaging in creative problem solving using their art to address community issues is an added advantage in this programme. Students will discuss persistence in addressing issues and learn from setbacks. They will appreciate their value and that of others, with regards to their personal and interpersonal relationships.


This is a series of exercises on communicating confidently at different events, platforms and for an audience. This area is spread out throughout the 5 areas of this program. These exercises will address:

  • How We Communicate
  • Language Barriers
  • The Power of Pitch
  • Interpreting Gestures (Charades)
  • Active Listening
  • Open and Close Questions
  • Networking Tips

Who should join this course?

Anyone who is interested in exploring the arts and improving your English language. If you are awaiting to go to college to further your studies in the Arts, you may join this 2 weeks course to get an insight into Art and Design. University students are also encouraged to take this course during semester breaks to gain additional knowledge, make new connections, develop strong leadership skills and build friendships.

Take away:

Upon completion of this course, students will be awarded with a certificate of participation in International Creative Arts and Design Programme (Exploring English Through The Arts) by School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia. We believe that the cultivation of creative work, development of critical-thinking skills and effective communication skills are key skills for survival and capacity building.  There will also be an opportunity for students to experience Malaysian culture, food, and the arts by using the English Language in a multitude of indoor and outdoor activities assisted through the university’s established buddy system. Students will be presented with an exciting platform to have hands-on experience to the fundamentals of Malaysian Culture and Heritage.

Programme Fee: USD 750

Programme Period

Session Period Application Deadline
Session 1 (Winter) 1st February – 14th February 2020 31st December 2019
Session 2 (Summer) 19th July – 2nd August 2020 30th May  2020


Campus hostels are available during summer/winter sessions. Participants can apply to School of The Arts, USM to stay on campus hostels. Hostel rooms are twin sharing with fan and a nice view of green scenery.  Payment of programme fee is exclusive of accommodation. For hostel in campus, an additional fee of USD 40 for 2 weeks is required. If participants wish to stay in nearby hotels, they are allowed to book by themselves or a request can be made to School of The Arts, USM to help facilitate the bookings.

Application Process

Step 1: Apply through your Home University International Office OR

Just write in to the Programme Coordinator of ICAD Programme at School of The Arts (for those who are not university or college students).

Step 2: Submit the following supporting documents:

  • Passport details
  • Nomination Letter from Home University
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Student Identity card
  • Letter of Indemnity & Undertaking
  • Health Information form
  • Travel insurance cover note
  • Payment of Fee

Step 3: Offer Letter

School of The Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia will provide an offer letter once application has been approved

Payment Method

EETA Programme

Programme Fee: USD 750

Bank Account Beneficiary: USAINS Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Bank Name & Address: AmBank (M) Berhad, Level 21. Menara Dion, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur.

Account Number: 888-100-985-0380

Swift Code: ARBKMYKL

Cancellation Policy

If you wish to cancel your participation, please email/ contact directly to the dean or the programme coordinator your personal details and state your valid reason (s). No cancellation will be entertained three weeks prior to commencement of the programme.

Email 1:

Email 2:

Additional Information

1. Visa – For a short stay (2 weeks), a tourist visa is applicable. An invitation/offer letter from School of The Arts (Pusat Pengajian Seni) will be provided to applicant to ease immigration process.

2. Insurance- Travel insurance is required during the whole duration of the programme.

3. Certificate of Health is required from applicant.

4. Attire- Casual/smart (Slacks/pants/Jeans/blouses/shirts & T-shirts). Do pack sports attire (track pants, shorts and T-shirts) for outdoor activities.

5. The programme will be cancelled if the number of applicants does not meet minimum requirement.

A minimum number of participants for each programme is 10 and maximum is 30 per session.

For enquiries contact:

Dr Yumi Yoshioka

Programme Coordinator

School of The Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Contact number: (+6) 04 6533415)