Study in Singapore
Updated 2 years ago

Singapore is home to some of the best universities in the world. In addition to the homegrown National University of Singapore, many international universities have set up branch institutions in the country, offering a wide range of courses both at the graduate and postgraduate levels.

Singapore is a great destination in which to pursue further studies. In addition to being home to institutions of repute, the country offers a great student experience in an environment which combines the influences of the west to a thoroughly Asian mindset. Even though the rules and discipline which have made Singapore so successful can be stifling in the long run, it is never too difficult to plan weekend escapes to neighbouring countries. In fact, a student experience in Singapore does not limit itself to the tiny nation state but extends to a host of fascinating destinations which are easily accessed through low-cost flights.

A wide range of institutions to pick from

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University are the most prominent homebred institutions. The NUS enjoys a healthy international reputation and regularly ranks among the top universities in the world. The NUS comprises 17 faculties offering a wide spectrum of courses, including Medicine, Engineering, Music and Business. The school has also established partnerships with the American universities Yale and Duke. The Government of Singapore also oversees other public institutions such as the Singapore Management University, the Singapore University of Technology and Design and Singapore Institution of Technology. On top of these local entities, Singapore has also attracted many foreign institutions, including Curtin University, James Cook University and ESSEC, the French business school. Singapore also houses one of the campuses of INSEAD, which has recently been chosen as the best MBA in the world by the Financial Times.

Financing your studies in Singapore

Tuition fees vary significantly between universities and courses. However, it is interesting to note that international students can apply for tuition grants allocated by the Ministry of Education of Singapore. These grants can substantially reduce the fees that need to be disbursed and recipients are required to work in Singapore after graduation. Other avenues include specialized institutions such as Prodigy Finance, which offer loans to international students. Prodigy offers competitive interest rates, does not require a collateral or co-signer, and has the added advantage of not imposing any penalties for early repayments.

International students in Singapore

English is the main language of instruction in Singapore, and most institutions will require TOEFL or IELTS scores prior to admission, although exceptions might exist for students having completed their studies in a predominantly English-speaking educational system. The educational system in Singapore is modelled on the British A-level system, and Singapore is well-known for its high educational standards. It is therefore very important to ensure that prospective students arrive well-prepared prior to their courses, and in many instances it is highly recommended that students follow pre-university courses or acquaint themselves with the topics that have been covered by their Singaporean counterparts in order to facilitate their transition into university. In certain instances, students might also be required to take additional tests.

All foreign students need to apply for a student pass. The process is surprisingly smooth and efficient and universities generally provide extensive guidance. Students will be registered on an online system called Student's Pass Online Application & Registration (SOLAR), which caters for the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs) in Singapore, including local universities. Once the application is approved, students will need to book an appointment online and then visit the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building in Kallang Road to pick up their physical student cards. The cards are generally delivered the same day.

Useful links:

Immigration and Checkpoint Authority
Singapore Ministry of Education
Singapore National University

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