Study In Singapore

Why Study in Singapore?

Despite being a small island, Singapore bears host to world-class universities. Its distinct reputation for educational excellence alludes to the high-level institutions that have campuses in the city. Discover more reasons to study degree courses in Singapore as it is one of the most vibrant locations.

This metropolitan city which mixes cultures, languages and religions – its population made up of numerous races and copious expatriates, has plenty to offer international students. Academia in Singapore comes along with a rapid, big-city lifestyle. The tropical climate ensures comfortability while various attractions offer leisure in your spare time, including theme parks, museums, cinemas and restaurants. The burgeoning arts scene provides plentiful opportunities for the more creative. While populous, it’s known for its cleanliness (chewing gum is banned to uphold hygiene) and safety (having one of the lowest crime rates in the world). Furthermore, at the centre of South-East Asia, it provides easy access and travel for exploration of other nearby countries.

Diploma and Degree courses in Singapore

All Singapore University offer undergraduate courses, lasting approximately three to four years. Popular subjects include business, creative arts, engineering, law and medicine. Some courses are limited to some universities, for example, medicine practicable in Singapore can only be studied in NUS and NTU. Entry requirements differ but most require a high school leavers certificate.

Certificates and diplomas can also be studied in institutions such as local polytechnics.


Masters degrees involve coursework programmes (equivalent to that in the UK) and research programmes.

Coursework programmes are usually taught through a series of lectures, seminars and group work and are completed by the submission of a dissertation.

Masters can be pursued part-time or full-time, with intakes during August and January. However, as each institution sets its own curriculum, the duration of the degree can differ accordingly. For example, MBA programmes can take 12 to 18 months to complete full time.

The criterion for pursuing postgraduate studies involves obtaining a good undergraduate degree in the relevant subject, proficiency in English and evidence of financial stability. Specific programmes may even require relevant work experience. You should contact the relevant universities to understand the complete requirements for your desired course.


Singapore’s top universities offering PhDs are research-led and thus provide an optimal environment for PhD study. You’ll need a Masters degree in a related subject, submit a research proposal and may have to pass entrance exams.

Research institutes provide opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in collaboration with local universities.

You can apply through the relevant faculty in the respective university. Doctorate studies can last two to five years if studied full time, with a qualifying exam after year one before you start your thesis.

Fees can range from about 22,000 to 30,000 Singaporean dollars a year.

Student exchanges

Numerous UK universities partner with Singaporean universities to create student exchange opportunities for students. For example, The University of Nottingham, Durham University and Kings College London all have agreements with the National University of Singapore (NUS). Contact your own institutions to learn more about student exchange opportunities. The Singapore Work Holiday Programme also allows university students and recent graduates between 18 and 25 years of age to work for up to six months on a holiday visa.

Course fees

Singapore has a high quality of living, which naturally comes with increased living costs, but while Singapore has some of the most expensive tuition fees in Asia, they are comparatively reasonable to most universities in the world.

Course costs vary upon the level of study, subject and institution, so check with the university that you’re applying to.

At NUS, undergraduate fees for international students during the 2018/19 academic year ranged from 17,550 to 60,800 Singaporean dollars, postgraduate fees ranged from 18,950 to 52,750.

Masters fees usually fall between 20,000 and 54,000 Singaporean dollars.

Science, engineering and medical programmes usually fall at the higher end of these ranges.

Tuition fees take up the bulk of course fees, but other costs may include application, matriculation, amenities, and exam fees.

Most applications are made online through the university website. You will have to send supporting documents, such as exam transcripts and pay an application fee. Different courses may have different application processes. For example, there may be different deadlines, need for previous qualifications, only having certain intake dates and etcetera. Admission to Singaporean universities is also increasingly competitive as the number of foreign students allowed to study in different universities is being limited by the government.

You will be issued an in-principle approval (IPA) letter upon acceptance from your university, which will include your entry visa. Within two weeks of receiving your IPA letter you will need to obtain a Student’s Pass, issued by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). The pass covers the duration of your course. You can apply for one through the Students Pass Online Application & Registration System (SOLAR), within 1 to 2 months before the start of your course. On arrival in Singapore you’ll have to produce documents including but not limited to your passport, disembarkation/embarkation card and a medical report, at a pre-booked appointment with the ICA. A Student’s Pass is unnecessary if you hold a Dependant’s Pass or an Immigration Exemption Order

Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world so it’s worth seeking out additional sources of cash to help with your finances. Over 50% of international students in Singapore receive financial aid. Contact your university to find out more about the financial aid they offer. Researching for government support is also recommended at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Singapore – Financial assistance. You may also be eligible for scholarships, for example, ASEAN scholarships are for students who originate from a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. International students without scholarships are eligible for reduced tuition fees. However, that will come with a bond to work in the country for at least three years after the course. Alternatively, repayable tuition fee loans are available to those without scholarships. These are worth up to 90% of the fees payable by Singaporean citizens for the same course. To assist with school fees, you can work part time while studying and full-time during holidays, pending your university’s approval.

Language requirements

Most courses are taught in English as it’s the official language of business and education. Some specific courses, such as language and traditional Chinese medicine may be taught in other languages. Regardless, all universities in Singapore set high standards for proficiency in English. Therefore, if English is not your first language, you’ll need a good score in English Proficiency tests such as the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) to enter Singaporean universities.

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