MA in Singapore: Comprehensive Guide for International Students

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    MA in Singapore takes about 1-2 years to complete. A master’s in arts in Singapore can cost you anywhere around 93,000 to 20,00,000 INR. One of the major concerns for students planning to study MA in Singapore is the high tuition fees. What makes it worth consideration is the number of scholarships available in Singapore. With a thriving market in Singapore, after completion of Masters in arts from Singapore an individual is expected to earn around 75,000 SGD. The salaries may vary depending upon the choice of program opted for. 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 the 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 universities of Singapore rank among the top 100 across the world (QS rankings, 2020). The National University of Singapore makes it to the top 25.
    • The art 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 the shores of Singapore with the dream of completing their Master in Singapore.
    • An increment of 11% every 13 months is observed in the media and arts sector in Singapore.

    Top Universities for MA in Singapore

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

    Name Program and Duration Annual Fees (SGD)
    National University of Singapore Master of Arts 32000-40000
    National Institute of Education (NIE) Master of Arts 38300
    NYU- Tisch School of Arts Masters Program 35665
    SAOS Singapore Master of Arts 37555
    Raffles College of Higher Education Master of Arts 30000
    LASALLE College of Arts Master of Arts 24514
    Hyper Island Singapore Master of Arts 17000
    LSBF Singapore Master of Arts International Business 18000

    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.

    Specialization Colleges/University
    MA English NIE and NUS
    MA Education NIE
    MA Fine Arts Lasalle College of Arts, NUS, NAFA
    MA History NUS, NTU
    MA Philosophy NUS, 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.

    MA in Singapore: Course Highlights

    Course MA in Singapore
    Duration 2 Years
    Eligibility Bachelor's degree with 55% minimum score
    Exam Pattern Semester-wise
    Tuition Fees Range 20000- 36000 SGD
    Entry-Level Salaries 18,0000-90,000 SGD

    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 recognized University. International applicants must make sure that the previously obtained degree is in accordance with the 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 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

    University-specific eligibility criteria for language proficiency and other requirements is given below:

    Name Eligibility
    National University of Singapore IELTS – 6.0
    National Institute of Education (NIE) IELTS – 6.0, Work Experience
    NYU- Tisch School of Arts Resume, work experience, Writing sample; Detailed requirements vary from field to field
    SAOS Singapore IELTS – 6.5
    Raffles College of Higher Education IELTS – 6.0
    LASALLE College of Arts IELTS – 7.0
    Hyper Island Singapore IELTS – 6.0
    LSBF Singapore IELTS – 6.0 or equivalent
    Age – 21 years or above

    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 recognized 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.

    Categories Cost in SGD
    VISA application 30: VISA processing fee 6: Service Fee
    IELTS Fee 365
    TOEFL Fee 90
    Total 555.50

    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.

    The tuition fees for pursuing MA in Singapore for Indian students from popular universities are detailed below (as per the currency exchange rate of December 2020):

    Name ~Annual Fees (INR)
    National University of Singapore 22 lakhs
    National Institute of Education (NIE) 21 lakhs
    NYU- Tisch School of Arts 19 lakhs
    SAOS Singapore 20 lakhs
    Raffles College of Higher Education 16 lakhs
    LASALLE College of Arts 13 lakhs
    Hyper Island Singapore 93,000
    LSBF Singapore 99,000

    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 expenses Estimated costs
    Transport 100
    Personal phone bill 50
    Food 400
    Enjoyment- 200
    Utilities 50
    Groceries 90
    Books 150

    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 Name Eligibility Awards
    Central Sector Scheme of National Overseas Scholarship Applicants 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 studies Max scholarship per student: USD 33,800
    Lee Kong Chian Graduate Scholarships at National University of Singapore Student applying to National University of Singapore S$41500
    Education Future International Scholarship Indian national with a valid passport; 60% score in 10th and 12th & The inability of the applicant to fund his/her studies abroad 2 lac to 10 lac Indian Rupees
    Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program Students must be under 30 years of age. Depends on the applicant

    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 individual is paid at least the minimum wage for pursuing any part-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:

    Profession Annual Average Salary(S$)
    Head of School 107000
    Professor 91000
    Lecturer 59000
    Senior Librarian 91000
    School Teacher 45000
    Graphic Designer 50000
    Actor 90000

    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. A degree with returns like this MA from Singapore can be considered a lucrative program to pursue.


    Ques. Where can I pursue MA in Singapore?

    Ans. Some of the popular universities for pursuing MA in Singapore are NUS, Hyper Island Singapore, National Institute of Education (NIE), Raffles College of Higher Education, SAOS Singapore, etc.

    Ques. Is it worth pursuing MA in Singapore?

    Ans. With the amount of investment an international student makes on their masters in arts degree in Singapore, the returns in terms of career options and salaries are relatively poor. Hence, pursuing MA in Singapore may not be first and foremost preference.

    Ques. Can I study for free in Singapore?

    Ans. No, international students are requried to pay the tuition fees and additional expenses. University education in Singapore is free only for the local or national students.

    Ques. What is the cost of pursuing MA in Singapore?

    Ans. The tuition fees for Masters in Arts in Singapore ranges from 17,000 to 40,000 SGD a year. For an Indian student it goes up to 20 lakh INR.

    Ques. What do I need to get into MA courses in Singapore?

    Ans. The basic admission requirements for Singapore universities offering masters in arts courses is not very competitive. International applicants need relevant bachelors degree, .

    Ques. Is Studying in Singapore a costly affair?

    Ans. Though many universities offer subsidized rates, but most universities ask for high tuition from international students.