American Degree Programme (ADP)

If you are considering what's your next step after secondary school, here's what you need to know about American Degree Programme (ADP)!
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Jaideep Patel
Publisher for the Malaysia and Singapore offices of GTI Media Asia.


As its name suggests, the ADP is technically a degree course in its own right. Don’t worry if this seems confusing. Just remember that unlike other pre-university courses such as A levels, AUSMAT, SAM or STPM, the ADP affords you direct entry into university right after SPM or O levels.


As the ADP is a degree programme, the duration of the course is 4 years.


There are multiple intakes for the CPU course each year, depending on the college or university of your choice. Most private institutions typically offer intakes in January, March, July and/or September.

Structure & assessment

The basic structure of the ADP follows a 2+2 format:

  • Year 1 & Year 2 (General and Core courses amounting to an average of 60 credits)

  • Years 3 & Year 4 (Major courses amounting to an average of 60 credits)

As an ADP student, you will have to attain roughly 110 to 140 credits to graduate from the course.

The ADP features a grading system which is based on the commonly used cumulative grade point average (CGPA) system, where each subject is graded from 0 (fail) to 4.0 (distinction).

You will need to perform consistently throughout the duration of the course to maintain a good CGPA. You should also be aware of the credit hour accumulation system which assigns a certain number of credit hours (sometimes simply referred to as ‘credits’) to each subject. You will acquire the credit hours as and when you pass the subjects you take.


The total number of subjects that you will need to take in your ADP course largely depends on your major. Bear in mind that not all of your credit hours are transferable.

Expert tips

  • Research on the right combination of subjects to take!
  • Ask university representatives about taking subjects that will help you in your future career!
  • Explore the possibilities of credit transfer programmes as most ADP courses in Malaysia are just that!

It is RIGHT for you if…

  • You want to take a wide variety of subjects
  • You are keen on obtaining knowledge beyond your immediate area of study
  • You view interpersonal and communication skills as critical 

It is WRONG for you if…

  • You don’t want to be distracted by a larger amount of subjects to study
  • You prefer being assessed via final exams
  • You don’t find interaction with your lecturers and/or classmates particularly enticing