Everything You Need to Know about Local University Transfers in Singapore

by | Nov 1, 2021

Life decisions are never easy. From deciding which university to apply to, or even which NUS hall to stay in, it can be hard making important decisions.

Even when you have decided on a major, after a while, you might be faced with the realisation that what you are studying is not what you imagined it to be. The dilemma of transferring faculties, or transferring to a new university entirely, is undoubtedly daunting.

Is it possible to change your course after university admissions? This article aims to shed light on such processes by telling you everything you need to know about local university transfers in Singapore.

We will cover intra-university course transfers and inter-university transfers.


When is the university transfer application window?

This usually changes across the semesters, but it is usually held in the middle of the semester.

When will I know the results of my transfer?

This differs across universities, and even within the university, it depends on what transfer you have applied for. We recommend regularly checking your email for updates.

Are inter-faculty transfers more difficult than intra-faculty transfers?

Possibly so, because it might be easier to map modules back (i.e. some courses under the same faculty have to take the same modules, so transferring to another course within your faculty might mean you don’t have to take that same module again).

What is the criteria for an eligible transfer?

Your high school (i.e. Poly/JC/IB) and university academic results will be assessed. They will also look at your other academic and non-academic achievements listed in the application.

Some universities might also ask you to provide a written explanation as to why you wish to transfer to a new course or transfer to a new university, or even request an interview with you. You are essentially competing against everyone who is eligible to apply for the course.

Can I transfer from a private university to a local university?

This is largely not allowed; it is recommended that you try re-applying to a local university the next year.

If I transfer to a new university, can I request for transfer of credit, waiver or module exemptions?

You may submit a request to the faculty, but this is subject to approval from the university. The subject prerequisites might change from time to time, so do check the relevant websites for updates.

What happens to my grant i.e. MOE Tuition Grant if I transfer?

Girl crying with money

Sourced from Pinterest

If you’re a Singapore Citizen withdrawing from your current university to take up another full-time undergraduate degree course in the same or another autonomous university, you will still be eligible to receive the Tuition Grant as long as you meet the criteria.

However, the tuition grant of your new course will be equal to the current total number of semesters minus the number of semesters of tuition grant you received in your previous course. This means you may have to pay non-subsidised fees for the last few semesters of your course.

For instance, if you are currently a Year 2 undergraduate in Economics who has studied Econs for 3 semesters and are transferring to Business, the tuition grant will cover you for 5 semesters. This is assuming you will study in Business for 8 semesters.

If you are a Permanent Resident (PR), you will have to apply for the Tuition Grant again.

We advise you to check the terms and conditions of both the Grant and the university just to be safe. This is especially since certain terms of the grant are different for Singaporean citizens and PRs.

Can I transfer to Medicine / Law?

Yes, but there are certain criteria to follow. For instance, you probably have to undergo an interview for both faculties.

All admissions criteria also largely remain the same; i.e. your university results will also be considered. However, if you wish to transfer from an overseas university to NUS Medicine, you have to be studying at a university that is recognised by the Singapore Medical Council.

Do also note that you are not allowed to transfer to NUS Law or Medicine in your second semester. Applicants who have started, are pursuing, or have completed an undergraduate programme are generally not considered for NTU’s MBBS programme.

Are there any application fees?

The fees usually start from $10 onwards, depending on the university. More information can be found in the section below.

What is the university transfer application process like?

This depends on the university and the course you are applying for, but you usually have to pay an admission fee, and also provide:

  • Your pre-university results
  • Your current university results
  • An essay explaining why you want to transfer

You might have to undergo an interview depending on the course you applied to.

Once your transfer is accepted, you can request for transfer of credits.

Now that we have covered the general information on university transfers, we will now provide the relevant links from the universities with more information below.

NUS Transfer Course


Sourced from Today

Undergraduates seeking intra and inter-NUS transfers will be assessed on their university and high school results, as well as their academic and non-academic achievements. Transfer applicants also have to pay the $10 application fee.

They will also be asked to provide a short write-up (up to 1,500 characters) on why they wish to make a transfer.

You can apply to transfer to Medicine or Law, but do take note of the prerequisites before applying.

NUS also has a channel for asking questions related to admissions and transfers.

NTU Transfer Course

NTU Hive

Sourced from Asia one

All information i.e. general requirements can be found via the general admission guide or the specific guide for transfer applicants. Applicants have to complete and submit an application form where they must provide their university education to date.

Application deadlines differ according to your high school qualifications. For more information, students can submit their queries via the admissions enquiry page.

There is also a separate portal for current NTU undergraduates to apply to transfer courses.

Applicants have to pay $10 and write an essay about their reason to transfer. Successful applicants can then apply for a transfer of credit.

SMU Transfer Course


Sourced from SMU

SMU has compiled all the information they have on transfer processes and applications. Applicants have to submit the admission application form and submit their university results.

Transfer applicants are assessed based on their university and pre-university results to see if they fit the new course of study. Credit transfers for courses will be decided after the transfer application has been approved.

Upon admission, transfer applicants must also complete a minimum of 20-course units that typically take up to 2 years to finish in SMU.

SIT Transfer Course


Sourced from The Straits Times

Undergraduates seeking to transfer to SIT can do so during the common application period.

The same admission requirements for the respective degrees apply, and applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Current SIT undergraduates, when considering intra-SIT transfers, have to apply through the Registrar’s Office.

They will be assessed on overall competition, the number of spaces and if they meet the minimum standards of the program.

SUSS Transfer Course


Sourced from The Straits Times

SUSS undergraduates can apply for a Transfer of Programme (TOP) through their student portal. However, their application is subject to a $214 fee.

Students are also recommended to contact the student helpdesk for more information on transferring.

There are some things transfer applicants have to take note of:

  • Do they meet the admission requirements of the course they wish to transfer to
  • Will their funding arrangements (if any) be affected by this transfer.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their TOP within 6 weeks after TOP officially ends.

SUTD Transfer Course

SUTD campus

Sourced from Wikimedia

Undergraduates wishing to transfer to SUTD from another university have to apply during the general admissions exercise just like any new student.

Their admissions page and admissions portal also lists the relevant offices to contact if you have any queries regarding applications.

Transfer applicants from other universities will have to prepare their pre-university qualifications and their current university transcripts for the application.

No module exemptions are granted for SUTD, and all transfer students are required to start from Year 1.

What’s next?

Considering university transfers can be rather overwhelming. Nonetheless, we advise those who are contemplating transferring courses, or universities, to do their due research as the situation may differ on a yearly basis.

To aid your decision-making, you should read about the different university cultures across NUS, NTU, SMU etc.

We hope that this guide has provided you with enough information about university transfers in Singapore.

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