Which local university to apply for? NUS, NTU, SMU, SIT, SUTD or SUSS?

by | Aug 30, 2021

Whether you’re a poly student vying for a better GPA or a JC student aiming to excel in your A levels, if you have no idea which university to apply to, we have written this article to help you make a more informed decision!

For Polytechnic graduates who are unsure about their future career paths, here are 13 alternate post-graduate paths!

In the following, we have listed some important factors for consideration before applying to a university.

In this article, we will be covering information about the local universities (NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD, SIT, SUSS).

For more information related to private universities (SIM, Laselle, Kaplan etc), we will be addressing them in a separate article, yet to be published!

Tuition Fees

It’s important to understand the financial constraints first. Tuition fees will vary depending on which university you enrol in.

Here’s a brief overview of the Annual tuition fees of popular courses for students who were admitted in AY 2021/2022 of each university. 

Note: The fees listed are payable by Singapore citizens. 

You may refer to the following links for more information on tuition fees for the following local universities for AY2021/22.

Additionally, there are different types of financial aid and scholarships that you can apply for. Visit these links for more information!

If you want to take on small student jobs to fund some of those fees, here are 15 online jobs for students!

Make sure you adopt money-saving habits as well!

Types of Programmes offered

In this section, we will be covering the various types of programmes offered by these six universities.

National University of Singapore (NUS)

NUS offers several types of undergraduate programmes and here is the list of their faculties:

  • College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Business and Accountancy
  • Computing
  • Dentistry
  • Design & Environment
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Music

Take a look at their undergraduate programmes along with their Indicative Grade Profile for more details.

National Technological University (NTU)

Similar to NUS, NTU also offers a variety of undergraduate programmes and here is the list of their faculties:

  • Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Science
  • College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
  • Sports Science & Management

Take a look at their undergraduate programmes along with their Indicative Grade Profile for more details.

Singapore Management University (SMU)

SMU is a smaller business management school as compared to NUS and NTU. Here are all the following undergraduate programmes offered in SMU:

  • Social Sciences
  • Economics
  • Law (Yong Pung How School of Law)
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science
  • Computing and Law
  • Business Management (Lee Kong Chian School of Business)
  • Accountancy

Take a look at their undergraduate programmes along with their Indicative Grade Profile for more details.

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

SUTD has a unique curriculum and offers 5 different engineering undergraduate pathways, which are namely:

  • Computer Science and Design
  • Engineering Product Development and Design
  • Engineering Systems Development
  • Architecture and Sustainable Design
  • Design and Artificial Intelligence

In SUTD, your first year will be a common year. You are only required to make your choice of pathway at the end of your first year.

Take a look at their undergraduate programmes, and special tracks, scholarships and programmes.

As SUTD considers both academic performance and personal attributes for admissions, they do not have a formal Indicative Grade Profile.

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

SIT is a specialised university of applied learning and these are the following fields of undergraduate programmes that are offered:

  • Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering and Food Technology
  • Infocomm Technology
  • Health and Social Sciences
  • Design and Specialised Business

Take a look at their undergraduate programmes along with their Indicative Grade Profile for more details.

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

SUSS offers both full-time and part-time degrees.

Full-time undergraduate programmes

Here is a list of their full-time undergraduate programmes:

  • Accountancy
  • Early Childhood Education with Minor
  • Human Resource Management with Minor
  • Public Safety and Security MInor
  • Science in Business Analytics with Minor
  • Science in Finance with Minor
  • Science in Marketing with Minor
  • Science in Supply Chain and Management with Minor
  • Social Work with Minor

Take a look at their undergraduate programmes along with their Indicative Grade Profile for more details.

Part-time undergraduate programmes

There are 34 part-time undergraduate programmes that you may choose to pursue at SUSS

Duration of study

Are you eager to get into work-life early? Do you prefer a shorter route to a degree?

If these are ranked high in your priorities, then you could look into programmes that offer a three-year degree programme instead of four.

You may look into the following universities that allow you to complete your degree in <4 years!

National University of Singapore (NUS)

The default duration for non-law single-degree students: 4 years

Double degree students can take up to a maximum duration of 6 years

Non-law single degree students can graduate in 3 to 3.5 years via:

  • Module exemption for eligible students
  • Option to accelerate your degree by taking up more modules per semester

National Technological University (NTU)

The default duration for non-law single-degree students: 4 years

Double degree students can take up to a maximum duration of 6 years

Single degree students can graduate in 3 to 3.5 years via:

  • Module exemption for eligible students
  • Option to accelerate your degree by taking up more modules per semester
  • Direct year 2 for Polytechnic students who had pursued a relevant diploma

Singapore Management University (SMU)

The default duration of study for non-law single-degree students: 4 years

The default duration of study for non-law double-degree students: 5 years

Non-law single-degree students can graduate in 3 or 3.5 years via:

  • Modules exemption for eligible students
  • Option to accelerate your degree by taking up more modules per semester

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

Duration of study can vary depending on the course itself.

Students can graduate earlier via:

  • Modules exemption for eligible students

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

The default duration of study is 3 years, or an honours degree for 4 years.

Students can graduate earlier via:

  • Option to accelerate degree by taking up more modules per semester
  • Modules exemption for eligible students.

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

All undergraduate programmes offered in SUTD will take at least 4.5 years to graduate.

Generally, no exemptions are given for any course subjects for diploma holders

Curriculum design

Some schools will operate by semesters (2 semesters per academic year), while some others may go by trimesters (3 terms per academic year).

Curriculum design of each university

Schools that operate by trimesters will mean that students would have shorter breaks and holidays.

As compared to schools that go by semesters, students will have longer breaks and could look for temporary jobs to earn some cash in the meantime.

Teaching style

University lecture

National University of Singapore (NUS)

NUS is known to offer a global approach to education, research and entrepreneurship. It focuses on Asian perspectives and expertise.

They follow the conventional methods of education where lectures and tutorials are given.

National Technological University (NTU)

Similarly to NUS, NTU follows the conventional methods of lectures and tutorials as well.

Apart from that, the school aims to support effective evidence-based learning and teaching by encouraging an innovative educational culture.

Singapore Management University (SMU)

SMU takes on a transformative approach, innovative curriculum and equips students well in communication and presentation skills.

The school adopts interactive learning in small-sized classes and seminar-style teaching pedagogy.

More emphasis is placed on class participation which is why SMU is also known to produce students with strong oratorical skills.

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

SUTD is a specialised engineering university, which focuses on all elements of technology-based design.

The school aims to groom innovators and nurture technically grounded leaders.

Furthermore, their hands-on approach to learning emphasizes their focus on projects.

Similar to SMU, they follow a seminar approach, cultivate interactive learning and group discussions.

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

Following the conventional method of lectures and tutorials, SIT is a university of applied learning that integrates learning, industry and community.

They are known for their Integrated Work Study programme (ISP), where students undergo 8-12 months of full-time work immersion. As such, students gain insights and emerge as deep specialists in their chosen fields.

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

SUSS follows a unique pedagogy ‘PAR’, which stands for (P)reparation, (A)ctivity and (R)eflection. This pedagogy aims to cultivate habits that enable self-directed and lifelong learning.

Study material are given to students to complete before classes. These classes follow a seminar format where emphasis is placed on group discussions, interactive learning and presentations. Finally, online group discussions are held to reflect on what students have learnt.

Hall fees

The only universities that offer student residences are NUS, NTU, SMU and SUTD.

National University of Singapore (NUS)

NUS has 6 halls and offers 11,000 spots per year.

They also have 5 residential colleges that offer a total of 1030 spots per year.

Here are the latest hostel rates for students who matriculated from AY 2020/2021:

NUS hostel rates

Sourced from NUS

National Technological University (NTU) hall

NTU has 23 halls, offers 14,200 places per year and a guaranteed 2 years stay.

Here are the latest hostel rates for students who matriculated from AY 2020/2021:

Sourced from NTU

Singapore Management University (SMU) hall

SMU has 2 halls (Prinsep Street Residences and Yo:HA Hostel @ Pearl Hill).

Prinsep Street Residences can house up to 255 students per year.

Here are the latest hostel rates for Prinsep Street residences for students who matriculated from AY 2020/2021:

Sourced from SMU

 

Here are the latest hostel rates for Yo:HA hostel for students who matriculated from AY 2020/2021:

SMU hostel at pearl hill fees for one semester
Here are the latest hostel rates for Yo:HA hostel for students who matriculated from AY 2020/2021:

Sourced from SMU

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) hall

In the first 2 terms, first-year (Freshmore) students are obligated to stay in hall.

Here are the housing rates for Freshmore students:

Hall life

Hall life will probably be one of the highlights of your university life. You get to join various hall events and make new friends.

Since NTU and NUS have a bigger community, they have a larger variety of CCAs and events.

But in light of COVID-19, events and CCAs are constrained and most classes are held online. As such, it’s difficult to make new friends.

Staying in hall might be your best bet to meet new people and socialise!

Adding on, if you’re keen to stay in hall in your last few years, you will have to accumulate enough hall points (That’s if you’re in NTU or NUS) to earn a spot.

As for SMU, they don’t have a ‘hall-life’ or any hall events. But you could still join the school’s CCAs to experience an equivalent exciting student life!

For SUTD, hall points don’t exist and they will only look at the following criteria to decide whether you get a spot in hall, after your compulsory stay:

  • Attended at least 1 hall event during your stay within 1 Term
  • Did not breach any hostel rules
  • Location of residence

Double degrees and majors

GPA grading system

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

SIT offers a variety of degree programmes that are joint with various universities worldwide. Hence, depending on the programme that you pursue, the GPA system will vary.

Employability

Man in a suit

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

We all know it’s important to recognise the types of work that will be in high demand in the future, so you can choose the right major with high employability rates.

But does your choice of university affect your employability rates?

Here’re the employability rates of graduates from each university.

National University of Singapore (NUS)

As of November 2020, 78.5% of 6,894 NUS fresh graduates were employed.

National Technological University (NTU)

As of November 2020, 79.1% of 5,755 NTU fresh graduates were employed.

Singapore Management University (SMU)

As of November 2020, 78.4% of 1,833 SMU fresh graduates were employed.

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

As of November 2020, 81.2% of 372 SUTD fresh graduates were employed.

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

As of November 2020, 83.3% of 1,809 SIT fresh graduates were employed

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

As of November 2020, 88.6% of 370 SUSS fresh graduates were employed

Exchange programmes

Take note that due to Covid-19, many of these programmes have been discontinued.

But in the near future, with more people vaccinated, the local universities are likely to continue these programmes again.

National University of Singapore (NUS)

In NUS, there are plenty of opportunities to study abroad! Thanks to NUS’ global connections, NUS students have access to 300 universities in 50 countries like the UK, France and Germany.

They offer the student-exchange programme (SEP), where students spend one or two semesters studying at a partner university and the International summer/winter programme (i-SP), which is shorter in duration but allows students to explore non-traditional countries during vacation periods.

Here’s a list of countries you can expect to visit!

National Technological University (NTU)

Similar to NUS, NTU offers several opportunities for you to study abroad!

NTU has partnered up with more than 350 universities in close to 40 countries worldwide, through its Global Education and Mobility (GEM) initiatives.

You may even travel abroad for an internship and do a semester exchange! NTU also offers the Overseas Entrepreneur Programme (OEP) for students to gain entrepreneurial experience outside the classroom.

Another notable programme is the Overseas Community Engagement Programme (OCEP). OCEP provides the opportunity for students to engage in community service and volunteer abroad.

Singapore Management University (SMU)

SMU has partnered up with 240 universities worldwide and offers several types of overseas education programmes.

With 177 cities in 46 countries, the International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP) is expected to take 16 to 24 weeks. You can earn up to 5 academic credits to your degree programme.

Their Short-term study programme is expected to last 2 to 4 weeks. Some of the countries you can travel to include Switzerland, Indonesia and China

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Despite being a smaller school, SUTD offers quite a number of overseas programmes as well. SUTD has partnered up with 44 universities worldwide in Asia, Oceania, America and Europe.

With their Inbound Exchange programme, you get to study abroad in the period of Spring, Summer or fall term for academic exchange.

Also, their Global Leadership Programme (GLP) is an 8-week Summer Programme that allows you to travel to and study in places that include the University of California, Zhejiang University, Stanford University and Berlin institute of technology.

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

In SIT, there are 5 types of global opportunities!

The most notable feature of SIT’s global programmes is the Overseas Integrated Work Study Programme (OIWSP). This programme allows students to be exposed to an international work industry for an extended period from 8 months to a year!

Another exciting fact about SIT is that the Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) is compulsory for all undergraduates pursuing a joint-degree undergraduate programme in SIT.

These programmes are designed to provide hands-on project work, workshops, and industry visits. Students will get to interact with their university professors and mentors too!

Here’s a table stating the cost and duration for each partnering university.

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

SUSS has 8 different types of global programmes.

In SUSS, you will be given global opportunities to travel abroad and even engage in community-centric activities!

One notable programme is the Overseas Experiential Teambuilding (ETB) programme. This programme is a 5-day trip, which aims to develop students’ foundational aptitudes in community-mindedness.

Decided which university to apply for?

Most people may think that well-known universities like NUS, NTU and/or SMU offer more opportunities for success. Although that may be true to a certain extent, the competition for those opportunities is also higher.

With so many factors to consider, we hope this article has been beneficial in keeping you informed.

If you require more time to consider your options, you could always take a gap year to discover your interests!

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