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MA in Singapore: Comprehensive Guide for International Students

Bhavya Rawal Bhavya Rawal
Study Abroad Expert

MA in Singapore takes about 1-2 years to complete. With a thriving market in Singapore, after completion of Masters in MA from Singapore an individual is expected to earn around 75,000 SGD. The salaries may vary depending upon the choice of program opted. In the initial stage the salary generally starts from 20,000 SGD. A senior manager in a creative field earns around 83,000 SGD. 

Six of the national univeristies in Singapore are well regarded as international students attractions. The education system in Singapore is known for its effective blend of American higher education system and system in the UK. This massively helps in increasing the chances of getting well paid jobs after completion of studies in countries other than Singapore. 

Why Study MA in Singapore?

  • There are 34 Universities that offer Masters in Singapore, among them there are 6 National Universities.
  • Two univeristies of Singapore rank among the top 100 across the world (QS rankings, 2020). National University of Singapore makes it to the top 25.  
  • The arts segment is one of the priority educational subjects in Singapore with a S$25 million funding in 2015 to be spent in the next 5 years to attract domestic as well as international students to study this field.
  • International Students on a Students Pass can work part-time for 16 hours per week during classes and unlimited hours during the vacation period.
  • There are more than 50000 students landing on shores of Singapore with the dream of completing their Masters in Singapore.
  • An increment of 11% every 13 months is observed in the media and arts sector in Singapore.

MA in Singapore: Course Highlights

CourseMA in Singapore
Duration2 Years
EligibilityBachelor's degree with 55% minimum score
Exam PatternSemester-wise
Tuition Fees Range20000- 36000 SGD
Entry-Level Salaries18,0000-90,000 SGD

Top Universities for MA in Singapore

With a number of universities offering masters programs in Singapore, only a handful are found to offer a masters in arts degree. Some of the top universities offering MA in Singapore are listed below along with their fees :

NameQS World University RankingProgram and DurationAnnual Fees (SGD)Eligibility
National University of Singapore11thMaster of Arts32000-40000IELTS – 6.0
National Institute of Education (NIE)11thMaster of Arts38300IELTS – 6.0, Work Experience
NYU- Tisch School of Arts39Masters Program35665Resume, work experience, Writing sample; Detailed requirements vary from field to field
SAOS Singapore309Master of Arts37555IELTS – 6.5
Raffles College of Higher Education – Master of Arts30000IELTS – 6.0
LASALLE College of Arts – Master of Arts24514IELTS – 7.0
Hyper Island Singapore – Master of Arts17000IELTS – 6.0
LSBF Singapore – Master of Arts International Business18000IELTS – 6.0 or equivalent
Age – 21 years or above

Popular Specialization Offered in MA from Singapore

Some of the popular specializations for MA in Singapore are given below along with the colleges offering the program. 

SpecializationColleges/University
MA EnglishNIE and NUS
MA EducationNIE
MA Fine ArtsLasalle College of Arts, NUS, NAFA
MA HistoryNUS, NTU
MA PhilosophyNUS, NTU

Admissions to MA in Singapore

Applying for admissions in Singaporean Universities does not require an applicant to have unrealistic scores. Though fulfillment of minimum requirements does not guarantee admissions, but comparatively less stringent requirements open doors to universities in Singapore. 

How to Apply

  • Apply directly to the university accompanied with appropriate certificates.
  • Online applications should be made for the specializations opted. 
  • Students should go through the brochure which has the course details and ensure that they fit in according to the requirements of the course. Some institutes conduct written tests and interviews before selection. 
  • After being accepted by the University students will receive a letter of acceptance from the University that needs to be signed and returned. Online applicants will check it online.
  • Selected students will receive a package from the university and should be in Singapore two weeks before the commencement of the course.

MA in Singapore: Eligibility Criteria

  • Bachelor’s Degree from a recognised University. International applicants must make sure that the previously obtained degree is in accordance with specialization opted for. 
  • More than 55% in Bachelor’s Degree
  • Work Experience (Depending on the University): For MA fine arts and similar programs, applicants must have a prior work experience or samples to produce at the time of application. 
  • TOEFL and IELTS cut off scores depend on the University's range. The Malaysian University English Test is also sometimes accepted. The scores from tests required to study in Singapore are an intricate part of the eligibility criteria. 
    • TOEFL: 80-100
    • IELTS: 6.0-7.0

Documents Required with Applications

  • Application Checklist
  • School examination Marksheet
  • University Academic transcripts
  • IELTS/TOEFL Scores
  • Passport / Birth Certificate / Identification Card
  • Medical report (if any)
  • Criminal record(s) (if any)

Singapore Study Visa

A letter of acceptance from a recognised university in Singapore is required for a Singapore student visa and a student’s pass (S pass) from your home country to be eligible to stay in Singapore while Studying. 

The university will register the student in SOLAR or Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration online portal. Once registered, a SOLAR+ application number will be provided which you will need for an S pass. An S pass is valid for the duration of the course and is provided by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). the university might themselves get you an S pass on your behalf and an in-principle approval letter will be provided once the S pass is granted by ICA.

Visa Costs

The basic costs involved are: 

Processing Fee – S$30

Issuance Fee – S$60 

Documents Required for Student Visa: Valid passport, Student Visa Application Forms – ICA form 16 & Form V36, Application fee payment receipt, The offer letter from the University, Passport-size photographs, Bank Statements, Bank loan sanction letter (if any), Diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools that you attended, and Test scores of TOEFL or GRE

Costs of Studying MA in Singapore

The cost of studying in Singapore for international students includes all the expenses they face prior to leaving for the study destination and after reaching the destination. It is important that an international aspirant must be aware of the expenses they will suffer when planning to explore Singapore as study destination. Given below are the details of these expenses:

Pre-Arrival Cost

Students' pre-arrival cost constitutes expenses like visa application and different entrance examinations fees, which are mentioned below. 

CategoriesCost in SGD
VISA application30: VISA processing fee 6: Service Fee
IELTS Fee365
TOEFL Fee90
Total555.50

The application fee which varies among universities has not been included in the table. Though it is an important aspect of pre-arrival expenses. 

Tuition Fees for MA in Singapore

The tuition fees in Singapore for Masters in Arts is quite high ranging from 18000 SGD to 45000 SGD depending on the course the student has applied for. It is expected for the international student to be able to pay the entire course fee. But still there is a subsidy scheme in state funded universities on the course fee but it is not applicable to students who have any kind of scholarship. In case the cost seems high, you can always look for scholarships available for studying in Singapore

Cost of living in Singapore

The cost of living in Singapore can get costly depending on the person. With proper planning, living in Singapore should not be a problem as Singapore is way cheaper than other top student destination: 

Types of expensesEstimated costs
Transport100
Personal phone bill50
Food400
Enjoyment-200
Utilities50
Groceries90
Books150

Given below is an image comparing the costs of living in Singapore with other popular student destinations: 

Cost of Living by Country Wise

It can be clearly concluded that among the top destinations for study, Singapore lies third when compared with its contemporary locations.

MA in Singapore with Scholarships

International student-specific scholarships are available for studying in Singapore. There are specific scholarships available for pursuing masters from Singapore. Some of the popular scholarships, you can avail while planning your MA from Singapore are as follows:

Scholarship NameEligibilityAwardsSpecial Note
Central Sector Scheme of National Overseas ScholarshipApplicants must be below 35 years, Applicants must have 55%marks in the relevant field, The student must return to India after completion of his/her studiesMax scholarship per student: USD 33,800Amount can be used for tuition fees, living expenses, air travel expenses and health cover.
Lee Kong Chian Graduate Scholarships at National University of SingaporeStudent applying to National University of SingaporeS$41500S$39600 is the annual amount which will be divided into S$3300 per month, The rest of the money is for book allowance, laptop allowance and travel allowance.
Education Future International ScholarshipIndian national with a valid passport; 60% score in 10th and 12th & The inability of the applicant to fund his/her studies abroad2 lac to 10 lac Indian RupeesApplication deadline : 15th March; This provides patial funding to the applicant
Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship ProgramStudents must be under 30 years of age.Depends on the applicantDeadline- 31st March
Half of the scholarship amount is given as a loan that must be reimbursed with an annual service charge of 5%.

Additionally scholarships like Bhajan Lal Scholarship, Brokerfish Scholarship, etc are also offered to international students studying in Singapore. In case a student does not receive any scholarships for studying, they can also opt for loans available for studying abroad. However, another way of funding yourself is to work while study.  

Part-time Work while Studying in Singapore

Getting an opportunity to work part-time while studying is an additional way of funding your education. Part time work is not available to students studying in private universities. For students studying in Government Universities students 16 hours of part-time work is available for international students in a week. But still students must enquire about their part time work hours from their prospective universities. Wages are set by the government an an individual is paid at least the mnimum wage for pursuing any pat-time work while studying. 

MA in Singapore: Scope

The scope post completion of your MA will highly depend on the choice of specialization. Post study Work visa or extension for finding work is being discussed below:

Private Universities: Students studying in Singapore, who want to work after completing their degrees get a visa extension of 1–3 months depending on the institution. Once employed they get an S pass from the ICA. 

Government Universities: Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) is issued which is valid for 1 year to students who want to stay back in search of jobs in Singapore.

Jobs and Salaries post the degree in various sectors are discussed below:

ProfessionAnnual Average Salary(S$)
Head of School107000
Professor91000
Lecturer59000
Senior Librarian91000
School Teacher45000
Graphic Designer50000
Actor90000

Singapore is a hub of economic prosperity with a GDP of more $500Billion. The unemployment rate is about 2% making it one of the best places to search for jobs. In 2019 it was the second most economically free country in the world with an average tariff of 0.1 %. 

Singapore is a beautiful place with beautiful beaches and beautiful people. It is a haven in Asia to complete your masters and the job prospects are encouraging. The degrees provided here have good value in the world and the work culture is amazing. This place is way cheaper as compared to living conditions in New York or London and can provide job opportunities in countries like the USA or in Europe. 

Apart from an encouraging scope of life after studies, with a low crime rate the stay during the studies is very encouraging as well. Singapore has been topping the law and order index for some time now. Singapore has dealt with people of multicultural origins and didn't let it come in the way of its safe environment. This has made foreign students feel at home in the new environment. The average annual salaries offered in the sector are around 96,6000 SGD, this turns to be 50,06,301 INR. For a degree with returns like this MA from Singapore can be considered as a lucrative program to pursue. 

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