Post-secondary education in Singapore is of a high standard and tertiary students – both local and international – can choose from a wide range of high-calibre options.
The four universities in Singapore are the National University of Singapore (NUT), Nanyang Technical University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Although they are substantially funded by the government, these universities are largely autonomous and as a result are free to create their own identities and specialisms.
The government is also set to open the Yale-NUS Liberal Arts College and the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a partnership between NTU and Imperial College, London.
There are also five polytechnics in Singapore who provide training and education that is more industry orientated. They are: Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP); Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP); Republic Polytechnic (RP); Singapore Polytechnic (SP); and Temasek Polytechnic (TP).
Further specialist institutions include the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), LASALLE College of the Arts and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).
Singapore also has a large number of private universities and they offer a wide range of specialisms and educational programmes.
There is a very large international student population in Singapore (upwards of 80,000 students from over 120 different countries). All international students are required hold a valid Student’s Pass (SP) issued by the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). An application for a SP needs to be submitted at least one month and not more than two months before the commencement of your course, through ICA’s Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration (SOLAR) system. This should only be done once you have been accepted on to your course and there is a charge of SGD$90.
Children of expatriates who are Dependent Pass holders are also required to obtain a Student Pass. However, if the duration of your course is shorter than the duration of your Dependent Pass, you may only require a Letter of Consent (LOC). Your university or polytechnic will provide you with details on how to apply.
For foreign students in Singapore whose educational background means that they do not have the relevant ‘O’ or ‘A’ level qualifications that are required for entrance into Singapore’s universities and polytechnics, you should approach the Admissions Office of the institution to which you intend to apply, and they will make an assessment of your suitability for your programme of study.
Tuition fees for foreign students are 10% higher than those for local students, although international students are able to apply to the Singaporean Ministry of Education for a Tuition Grant. However, it should be noted that these may come with conditions attached, such as being required to work in Singapore for a minimum set period of time (generally 3 years) after graduation.