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Study in Singapore

Country flag: Singapore

Universities in Singapore are a popular option given their excellent reputation. The country is a cosmopolitan playground too, making it a cultural hub for adventurous students...

The Singaporean education system

Universities in Singapore can be divided up into the following categories:

  • Local autonomous universities - government-funded and free to chart their own destiny. There are four in total; the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University are the two most popular in the country. Singapore Management University and Singapore University of Technology and Design make up the local universities roster in the county.
  • Private universities - SIM University (UniSIM) is the first and only full-fledged private university in Singapore. Established in 2005 with the approval of Singapore's Ministry of Education (MOE), UniSIM is able to award recognised degrees.
  • Polytechnics - five in total, providing three-year diploma courses in various fields including engineering, business studies, accountancy, tourism and hospitality management.

Entry requirements

Institutions in Singapore generally expect applicants to hold a 2:1 degree or above, but you should check with individual universities for their entry specifications before applying.

Applications are made directly to the university, typically by post or online. Deadlines will vary, but for the main intake in September, applications need to be received by June. There is also a smaller intake in January.

Some international applicants looking to continue their studies in Singapore may be required to provide proof they will be able to financially support themselves during their course.

If you're looking to do a research degree, this calls for two academic references.

Course fees

The cost of study in Singapore will vary considerably with each course and institution.

On average, tuition fees per year cost up to 21,000 Singaporean dollars for arts courses, which converts to around £10,400.

Science courses will usually set you back a little more.

Living costs

The standard of living in Singapore is among the highest in Asia, but it's still relatively low compared to countries in Europe. 

An international student in Singapore is said to spend an average of about 750 to 2,000 Singaporean dollars a month on living expenses, which is roughly £400 to £1,300.

Funding to study in Singapore

The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore - a department of the Government of Singapore that directs the implementation of education-related policies in the country - provides tuition grants to students accepted onto courses at universities and polytechnics.

UK students are also eligible for this funding, but it is subject to you agreeing to undertake work in the country for three years upon completion of your course.

If you have an impressive academic record, there may be international scholarship options available for you too. Check with individual universities for further information.

It's always best to discuss funding options with your chosen university before committing to study.

For more information on grants and funding your postgraduate course in Singapore, visit the Ministry of Education Singapore .

Singaporean exchanges and placements

Exchanges and placement opportunities are available to students undertaking Masters or PhD degrees.

Work experience and internships are highly sought-after in Singapore, and competition for places is fierce.

Singapore Management University and the National University of Singapore offer exchange programmes with several universities in the UK, including The University of Edinburgh.

The Singapore Work Holiday Programme  was introduced by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore and allows university students and recent graduates between 18 and 25 years of age to work for a period of six months in Singapore while on a holiday visa.

Student visas

Once you've been accepted onto a university course, international students are required to apply for a Student's Pass issued by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) .

You must submit your application at least one month before the start of your programme, which can be done through ICA's Student's Pass Online Application & Registration (SOLAR) system.

If your pass is approved, you will be granted an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter from the ICA and it will be valid for the duration of your course.

The visa process varies depending on the university you are studying at, so visit their individual websites for details.

Those holding a Dependent Pass (DP) or an Immigration Exemption Order (IEO) are exempt from applying for a Student's Pass.


Further information

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
October 2013

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