An island state, Singapore envisages becoming a “Global Schoolhouse” offering world-class universities and a reputation for educational excellence. Providing a distinctive and diverse range of educational opportunities in a cosmopolitan blend of languages and cultures, Singapore boasts leading research and innovation.
Emerging as the new study-abroad destination, specifically among Asian/Indian students, Singapore has 34 Universities of which six are national universities. Aspirants who wish to study in Singapore look forward to pursuing education at national higher education institutions like NUS and NTU. Apart from these public institutions in Singapore, there is a large pool of autonomous universities and foreign campuses offering a wide range of course choices to study in Singapore.
What attracts international students to Singapore is that the country has outpaced most other Asian countries in offering world-class education. It is also often recognized among one of the safest study destinations with low crime rates. Irrespective of the current Pandemic, Singapore has also managed to maintain a low unemployment rate of only 3.3. It can be concluded that collectively these aspects along with various other make Singapore one of the most popular Asian countries for international students.
Where to Study in Singapore?
The education system of Singapore allows you to pursue higher education from Universities, Polytechnics, or ITEs (Institute of Technical Education).
- Universities: Provide research-intensive and coursework programs as both degree and diploma. There are 6 autonomous universities in Singapore.
- Polytechnics: Provide industry-oriented programs as both degree and diploma. There are 5 polytechnic institutes in Singapore.
- ITE: They offer technical-oriented courses in subject areas like media, applied science, electronics, business, and more.
Study in Singapore: Top Universities for International Students
With two of Singapore’s National Universities boasting among the world’s top 25 universities, choosing where to study in Singapore is not very difficult. With 34 universities including both national and international universities, you have an abundance of options to choose from.
- National University of Singapore (NUS): Currently ranks #11 in the world and #1 in Asia. It is highly recognized for its civil engineering and social sciences & management programs.
- Nanyang Technological University: Ranks #12 in the world and #3 in Asia, NTU is highly regarded for material science and engineering & technology programs.
- Singapore Management University: One of the best business schools in Singapore, ranks #78 in Asia. SMU is highly regarded for its economics, business, and accounting programs.
- International Universities in Singapore: A range of collaborations with some of the world's leading education providers has brought some of the leading universities to Singapore. Some of these include MIT, Durham University, INSEAD, University of Nottingham, KCL, Zhejiang University, and more.
Choose to study among the world's distinctive and distinguished educational institutions when planning to pursue studies in Singapore. Some of the top institutes and their basic tuition fees are discussed below:
Why Study in Singapore?
Studying in Singapore offers students a whole bunch of attractive opportunities such as a wide range of courses, top universities, quality education, and high employability. Around 30,000 students study with various universities in Singapore. As recorded for the academic year of 2018, 2000 Indian students chose to study in Singapore (MoEA).
Here’s why studying in Singapore is one of the most ideal and considerable choices of international aspirants:
- Cost of Study: The tuition fees, cost of living, and other additional costs related to studying abroad are relatively lower when your choice of study destination is Singapore. As compared to other popular study destinations like the USA, Canada, UK, Singapore Universities offers you world-class education at cheaper rates.
- UG Degrees Cost: 15,000 SGD (~11,000 USD)
- PG Degrees Cost: 28,000 SGC (~21,000 USD)
- Safety: Singapore’s no tolerance towards racism and strict law enforcement policies with a politically stable environment offer a student with safer living conditions. It is globally ranked as 7th safest place in the world by QS.
- English-taught Programs: A number of courses in all universities that are exclusively available in English. Language is not a barrier for an international student looking forward to studying in Singapore.
- International University Hub: There are 16 leading foreign universities with their centers being set-up in Singapore. Along with this, Singaporean Universities offer a variety of student-exchange programs with Australian, UK, and US universities.
- Employability: Some of the top universities in Singapore enjoy employability ranking among top 50 universities in the world. Additionally, Singapore is rising as the Asian financial hub and its connectivity with other Asian countries brings in a lot of opportunities. Hence, the employability opportunities are in their prime in Singapore.
- Immigration Policies: You get your student visa as soon as you get accepted by a university.
- Funding: There are immense scholarships available for both international and domestic students. The tuition grant by the Singaporean Ministry of Education is one of the most popular grants for which you can apply as soon as you have received your acceptance letter.
What to Study in Singapore
Among some of the most popular courses opted while studying in Singaporean Universities and Polytechnics are given below are as per the enrollment data available for the year 2018. (Department of Singapore Statistics);
As per the given graph, it can be considered that business administration and engineering studies are among two of the most popular streams.
Degree Courses to Study in Singapore
- Undergraduate Programs: Bachelor's degrees are usually 3-4 year programs offered by most of the universities in subject areas like business, medicine, engineering, creative arts, and more. You are usually required to have a high school leaving certificate to apply for these programs.
- Various Certificates and diploma programs are also available for undergraduate applicants.
- Postgraduate Programs: Master's degrees are often one-two year programs available as both coursework and research programs. You are usually required to have a relevant bachelor’s degree and English language proficiency to pursue a master's degree in Singapore. There are no additional test requirements to study in Singapore (IELTS/TOEFL) for most of the courses.
- PhD/Doctorate Programs: A number of universities offer Ph.D. programs to international students. Alongside a master's degree, language proficiency test scores (like IELTS/TOEFL, etc), you are required to submit a research proposal which if accepted results in your admission with Singapore Universities.
- Exchange Programs: Singapore is a hub to many international universities and their center. Several exchange students study in Singapore each year. Some of the popular universities having campuses/centers in Singapore are the University of Nottingham, Durham University, MIT, Zhejiang University, and more.
Read about Popular Programs to Study in Singapore:
Application Cycle to Study in Singapore
Generally, the two Semester system is followed across Singapore universities and institutes. However, some universities observe a Trimester system as well.
- Semester 1 (August Intake)
- The August semester lasts for 18 weeks.
- The deadline for international students interested in an undergraduate program is March.
- The deadline for graduate programs extends till Mid November.
- Semester 2 (January Intake)
- January semester is completed within 17 weeks’ time.
- International students can apply till July for the undergraduate program.
- For graduate applicants, the deadline is in May.
- Semester 3 (October Intake)
- The deadline for the third-semester undergraduate program is in June.
- The deadline for the postgraduate program is in July.
Study in Singapore: Application Process
Admission to universities in Singapore must be done through the individual universities’ websites. Most public universities in Singapore have two intakes, that is one around August and the other in January. Private universities, on the other hand, have numerous intakes throughout the year.
Searching for the course you want to study in Singapore is prior most step towards making applications with Singaporean universities. With a variety of courses available at your discretion, it is very important to choose the right type. Your choice, of course, would depend upon the following factors:
- You want to do a Diploma, UG, PG, or Ph.D.
- Future employment opportunities for the course you want to choose
- University Ranking, etc
- Zero-in on the course you want to study and start by filling the application form.
- Most universities provide an Application Checklist that you can refer and submit.
- Students will be informed well in advance if they receive an admission offer, so they will have ample time to make other arrangements before the semester begins.
Study in Singapore Requirements
|Where to Apply
||Transcripts, standardized test scores
|Language Proficiency Requirements
||IELTS- 6.5, TOEFL ibt- 85
Singapore Study Visa
International students who wish to study in Singapore must note that you will need a study visa. This is issued to you along with your letter of approval or acceptance (offered by the university offering enrolment to the student).
- As your study application is recognized and accepted by the university you will receive an In-principal approval (IPA or letter of approval). Alongside this automatic issuance of student visas is made.
- Though this means that you will not have to put yourself through the hassle of obtaining Singapore’s student visa, but you will be required to apply to the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
- The Authority must be contacted for a student pass within the time period of 2 weeks after you have been accepted by a university in Singapore.
- You must apply for the same through SOLAR- Student’s pass Online Application Registration System.
- Your institution will register you with SOLAR for you to obtain a student pass
- Applicants must note that you must not apply for the student pass earlier than two months prior to the start of your course and later than one month prior to the start of your course.
Note: Your student pass will allow you to work while studying for 16 hours a week.
Cost of Studying in Singapore
The boosting economy of Singapore is accompanied by some of the highest tuition fees in Asia. Irrespective of the high cost of study in Asia, it is still one of the most in-demand study destinations. This is because when compared to other study abroad destinations, Singapore is rather cheap. Additionally, around 50% of the overall international student population studying in Singapore is awarded grants and funds to support their educational expenses.
- The average cost of pursuing bachelor's or undergraduate degrees in Singapore is around 19,000 SGD (~14,400 USD).
- Masters Programs in Singapore cost around 20,000 SGD to 54,000 SGD.
- The cost for some of the popular programs are:
Cost of Living in Singapore
The average cost of living in Singapore is around 10,000 SGD a year. Given below is a detailed bifurcation of various costs involved in studying in Singapore:
||Costs (in SGD)
|Monthly rent (900sqft) in normal area
|Basic meal (lunch and dinner)
||12 for lunch and $54 for dinner
|Food (cafe or bar)
|Internet 8mbps for a month
|1 min of prepaid tariff (without any plans)
|Monthly ticket for public transport
|Utilities like electricity, gas, etc (monthly cost)
Life in Singapore is a true melting point of cultures, with a mixture of authentic Asian, Asian-fusion, and western worlds. With a booming financial services sector, you can expect to live in one of the Asian Tiger economies with prosperity, scenic beauty, and safety.
Study in Singapore with Scholarships
As mentioned earlier, Singapore offers 50% of its international students scholarships to afford their educational expenses. Scholarships in Singapore are usually offered on the basis of academic merit, home country, and other factors. Some of the popular scholarships for international students are:
- Singapore International Graduate Awards: Available for international students with excellent academic records at the undergraduate level, and who are also interested in research work. Offers financial support for up to 4 years of Ph.D. studies including full tuition fees waiver, monthly stipend, settlement allowance, and airfare grant.
- INSEAD-Syngenta MBA Scholarships for Developing Country Leaders: Available for students from an emerging economy pursuing MBA. Offers award money of 32,000 SGD
- ADB-Japan Scholarship Program for Developing Countries in Asia and Pacific: Offered to international students from ADB borrowing member country pursuing masters or doctoral program in a university at Singapore. Waivers full tuition fees, a monthly subsistence and housing allowance, allowance for books, medical insurance, and travel expenses for a period of one year.
- Singapore Government Scholarships for Southeast Asians: Offered to meritorious students from ASEAN countries enrolled in undergraduate programs at a University in Singapore. Awards full tuition fees waiver, a living allowance of 43000 SGD per annum, and accommodation fee.
- SIA Youth Scholarship: Offered to students from ASEAN countries pursuing their pre-university degrees. SIA Youth Scholarships offer hostel allowance, medical cover expenses, airfare, and school fees.
- NUS Science and Technology Scholarships: Offered to Asian freshmen at NUS, wavering full-tuition, 6000 SGD for living allowance, and 2000 SGD one-time allowance. NUS Science and Technology Scholarship is limited in number.
- Tuition Grant by the Ministry of Education: The grant covers complete tuition fees. However, one of the major conditions on this grant is, the graduating student has to sign a bond that they will work in Singapore for three years.
Jobs after Studying in Singapore
The average income in Singapore is 8450 SGD/month. The annual salaries offered in Singapore range from 25,600 to 453,000 SGD. The salary distribution in Singapore is:
- 25% of employees earn less than 59,000 SGD
- 50% of employees earn less than 105,000 SGD
- 75% of employees earn less than 290,000 SGD
- 100% of employees earn less than 453,000 SGD
Additionally, the male-female wage gap is 5%, where men earn an annual average salary of 104,000 SGD while women earn around 99,200 SGD. A similar gap is seen between the government and private sectors where you can earn 5% more in private sectors when compared with public sectors.
Also Read: MBA Jobs in Singapore
Top Recruiters in Singapore
Some of the popular job roles and the salaries offered at those are:
Singapore has a thriving art and culture, is a food-lovers paradise, and an efficient business city. Raising the bar of Asian education and getting it recognized across the world, Singapore has stepped up the ladder of study-abroad destinations and is becoming a new home to Indian students. Singapore is also popular for its transfer programs where students are offered an opportunity to study abroad with institutions in Australia, UK, China, USA, etc. Apart from acing the education sector, Singapore is home to over 7000 MNCs offering a huge employment market to fresh graduates from Singaporean Universities.