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Study in Singapore University: A Holy Grail for Higher Education?

Singapore, a super economy powerhouse in Asia, has always been attracting talented students like a magnet. In fact, studying abroad in a Singaporean university will create opportunity to have invaluable academic, professional, and personal growth, as well as abundant career opportunities after graduation. Yet, there is more to why students worldwide think that Singapore is the Holy Grail of international higher education in Asia.


Singapore’s Education Ecosystem at One Glance

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has rated Singapore as the country one of the countries having the best education system in the world in 2015. In Singapore, education is always a priority where the strong emphasis on education began in 1823, when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (founder of the Singapore Institution, now known as the Raffles Institution) introduced the British-based education system. Today Singapore prides itself as one of the leaders in higher education in both Asia and Worldwide, maintaining high standards of teaching, learning, as well as scientific research.

What makes Singapore’s education so successful? Let us look at its education system. Like many countries across the globe, education is accessible to everyone in the country. Singapore’s education system starts with preschool – Singaporean children attend preschool up to the age of six where the preschool learning prepares Singaporean children for primary school. After the preschool period, students can continue their learning from primary up to college. Students move on to secondary school after six years’ primary school education.

Singaporean students, at this point, can decide their study path – they can choose to either study at a normal secondary school, or a specialized school, or an express school —, which leads to the “O” Level in four years rather than the regular five years, or private school that offers similar education. The Singapore’s post-secondary education usually takes between one and three years with a slew of choices of schools – junior colleges, polytechnics, and institutes of technical education.


Why Study in Singapore?

There are 34 universities in Singapore, of which six are local universities:

  1. National University of Singapore (NUS)
  2. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
  3. Singapore Management University (SMU)
  4. Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)
  5. Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
  6. Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

Six national universities in Singapore, with its two largest universities having more than 30,000 students each, have played an important role in attracting students into the country. As one of Singapore’s most prestigious universities, the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU) topped the QS Asia University Rankings and ranked 11th in the QS World University Rankings for 2017/18. Another prestigious university, National University of Singapore (NUS) grabbed the second seat as the best university in Asia and ranked 15th in the QS World University Rankings for 2017/18. Apart from the local universities, Singapore also has a wide range of private institutions and foreign universities (with campuses in Singapore), e.g. the Chicago Business School and Technische Universität München.

NTU, the Asia no.1 university in 2018, is famous for its engineering course and its engineering & technology has been ranked in the global top five in the QS World University Rankings by Subject. On the other hand, based on the recent QS world subject ranking, NUS boasts the strongest communication studies program in Singapore with its balanced academic environment. Many of its engineering programs are ranked among the global top 10. The regular collaborations between Singaporean universities with the leading universities in other countries have contributed to the overall quality of Singapore’s universities education.

Singaporean universities have a close network with top universities across the globe that led to the rise of cross-bred universities in the country like Yale-NUS (Yale-National University of Singapore), Duke-NUS, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (Imperial College London and Nanyang Technological University) and many others. In these institutions, students are given a chance to pursue degrees in Singapore with the world’s top universities’ programmes.


Simple Guide to Studying in Singapore

  1. For students who wish to study abroad in Singapore, they have to apply directly to the college or university (they are interested in). As such, they must be very sure of
    • the deadlines of application
    • minimum entry requirements/eligibility criteria
  2. Entry and visa regulations
    • Application of Student Pass
      Once accepted by a Singapore’s university, all applicants must apply for a Student’s Pass (S$90) at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) within two weeks (The process is currently done online through the Student’s Pass On-Line Application and Registration (SOLAR) system).
    • In-principle Approval (IPA) Letter
      An in-principle approval (IPA) letter will be issued to all successful applicants where applicants do not need to apply for a separate visa as it is incorporated in the IPA letter (which can be used at entry checkpoints).
    • Gather the necessary documents
      Documents needed, including passport, disembarkation/embarkation card, and a medical report in the prescribed format (available on ICA’s website), are needed, and must be ready upon arrival.
  3. Entry English Test
    Singapore’s universities accept only student with good proficiency in English. For applicants whose are not native English speakers, they are required to sit for IELTS/TOEFL test.
    Currently, international students account for around 18% of all students in Singapore. As a financial hub in South-East Asia, Singapore offers a slew of opportunities in education and career, notably in key sectors such as banking and finance, biomedical sciences, chemicals, communications and media, electronics, healthcare and information technologies. If you are thinking of getting a degree or pursuing your postgraduate study abroad, Singapore has a lot to offer.