The Higher Education landscape
Singapore has 6 autonomous universities (AU) i.e. universities that receive funding from the Singapore government, yet given flexibility to strategise, innovate, and differentiate themselves. There are two types of AUs - research-intensive and applied learning.
All students who enter the AUs are eligible for the MOE Tuition Grant (with conditions for non-Singaporeans).
where are our AUs?
Reasons to pursue Higher Education
1/ Prepare you to be work-ready and future-ready
Higher education not only trains you in your chosen field, it also teaches you to understand complex subjects, think analytically, and communicate your ideas effectively. A quality education will not only equip you with skills that is in demand in today's economy, it should also promote life-long learning and allow you to remain competitive in the changing world of work.
2/ Create more opportunities for a rewarding career
Nowadays, many of the universities have established career centres which also equip you with work-related skills and work closely with industry partners to prepare you for graduation. Moreover, the connections you make in university will be an important part of the network you create for a sustained and fulfilling career life.
Anatomy of a Degree
1/ Basics of higher education
Most universities practice a modular system and students need to complete a certain number of modules per semester.
Universities largely adopt the lecture-tutorial style that you are familiar with and you can expect most modules to follow a lecture-tutorial system followed by an assessment at the end of every semester in university.
Each module carries a certain number of credits and the total number of credits you get depends on your attendance and grade.
Your total credit score at the end of your university education will constitute what is called the Grade Point Average (GPA). NUS calls it Cumulative Average Point (CAP)
Your GPA will determine the degree class that you get, with Honours (Highest Distinction) being the highest class of degree you can get. and Pass being the lowest (subject to a minimum GPA).
Typically, a student who takes a 3 year course will achieve either Pass or Pass (with Merit).
To attain a higher class, students will typically need to take an extra year (Honours year), subject to a minimum GPA requirement.
There are many courses that practice direct-honours e.g. 4 year courses. However, note that your GPA must still meet a minimum standard for you to achieve an Honours degree.
Yale-NUS, SMU and SUTD only have direct-honours courses. This is also the reason why the graduates from these universities typically command higher salaries.
For more information, you can read
3/ Overview of Local Higher Education
Find out more
Comprehensive, with 17 faculties including Duke-NUS, Yale-NUS and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory
Varied, mostly traditional lecture-style
(NUS USP is not tied to any scholarships)
Comprehensive, with a focus on engineering, science and tech
Varied, mostly traditional lecture-style
Specialist, with focus on Business, IT, Social Sciences and Law
Specialist, with focus on Design-focused engineering and IT
Hands-on and collaborative
Specialist, with focus on Engineering, IT and Health Sciences
Specialist, with focus on Business and Social Sciences
Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal arts and sciences
Teacher preparation college
Graduate-entry medical school
1/ Why study abroad
You will stand out from your peers
Experience of living internationally goes down well with employers, showing you have experience dealing with people from different cultures, plus a higher level of adaptability.
In fact, according to the biggest-ever survey on the subject, the QS Global Employer Survey Report, 6 out of 10 employers around the world give extra credit for an international student experience, and more than 80% said they actively sought graduates who had studied abroad.
You will also have more degree options not available locally. By pursuing such degrees overseas, you make yourself extremely attractive to employers who are looking for individuals with these specialised skills and expertise.
By living in non-English speaking countries like China, Japan, Europe etc, you will learn and hone a new language. Being effectively tri-lingual is definitely a plus point on your CV. This is also why scholarships for non-English speaking countries have a shorter bond. Scholarships providers prefer students who are able to put themselves out of their comfort zone.
You will also make new connections and work in internships that your peers in local universities will not have the chance to. Your valuable network will definitely increase your employability.
You will become a global citizen, rooted in Singapore
You get to immerse in a whole new culture and experience new food, sights and adventures. Your world-view will broaden.
The world is now your oyster. You may come back to Singapore to work or you may stay in the country of your university and work. You becomes an employee highly favored by global companies.
At the same time, you will get to appreciate home and friends more, rooting yourself in Singapore even more.
You will grow into an adult, independent and self-reliant
You will be living on your own. You will have to clean your own room, wash your clothes and settle your food options. By the time you return home, your mother will be amazed at how mature and self-sufficient you have become.
Surprisingly, it may not be prohibitively expensive
The misconception that overseas education is very expensive is due to the large numbers of Singaporean students going to US and UK destinations (which IS expensive). In fact, education costs in some countries can be comparable to Singapore, or even lower.
While we are NOT advocating overseas studies in particular countries, here are some links for you to start exploring
2/ Overseas exposure options