apply universities Singapore

How to Apply to Universities in Singapore (6 Steps)

Scholarships in Asia

Singapore may be a small country, but it’s big in educational opportunities. With its high standard of teaching, it has been heralded as the smartest country in the world (average IQ of 107.1 points).

Like its local students, you can also take advantage of the educational advancements that Singapore has to offer. All you need to do is apply to any of its top-ranked universities – with tips on how you could do so explained below. Let’s talk about how to apply to universities in Singapore.

1. Know what subjects you are going to study at universities in Singapore

Although there are many degrees to choose from in Singapore, the following fields prove to be highly-popular to applicants:

  • Business

Singaporean universities are just as prestigious as western institutions, with some of them being ranked as one of the 50 best business schools in the world. This is why Business graduates from Singapore are well sought-after across the globe.

  • IT

Singaporean schools are outfitted with the latest technologies, making them great options for those who wish to pursue the computing sciences.

  • Engineering

Similar to IT, Singapore offers great Engineering facilities that put its students at a technical advantage.

  • Tourism

Because Singapore is a popular tourism destination, it proves to be a great place to study this lucrative field.

  • Arts & Design

Although Singaporean universities are known for their more technical courses, their arts & design degrees are widely popular amongst creative international students.

2. Meet the English Requirements to Apply to Universities in Singapore

Most Singaporean university programs are taught in English even though the country is predominantly Chinese-speaking. As with most countries, it is required for international students to be proficient with English in order to apply to universities in Singapore.

At the National University of Singapore, foreign students are required to meet the following test scores:

  • IELTS – band 6.5
  • TOEFL CBT – 92-93
  • TOEFL PBT – 580
  • PTE – 62
  • MUET – 200
  • Cambridge – 180

At the Singapore University of Social Science, Masters students must meet the prescribed exam scores:

  • IELTS band 6.5
  • TOEFL PBT – 580
  • PTE – 58
  • Cambridge – 180

However, this proficiency requirement may be waived if your degree was awarded by an English-medium institution. This is also applicable to graduates of non-English medium schools whose degree was taught in English.

While proficiency scores are similar in most universities, make sure to refer to your school’s website for its required test grades.

3. Meet Application Requirements to Apply to Universities in Singapore

Singaporean universities have rather strict entry requirements. At the National University of Singapore, undergraduate applicants are required to submit any of the following:

  • Singapore-Cambridge GCE A level
  • Singapore Polytechnic diploma
  • International Baccalaureate
  • NUS High School diploma

Additional documentation may also be required depending on your high school diploma. For example, if you have graduated from an American high school, you will be asked to submit a copy of your SAT or ACT scores. The minimum required at NUS for the SAT is 600 for Evidence-based reading and writing, and 650 for Math. You will be meet the test score requirements to apply to universities in Singapore.

NUS also requires its applicants to take an entrance exam to be considered for admission.

Those who wish to take their Master’s in Singapore will need to accomplish a long list of requirements. At the Singapore University of Technology and Design, applicants must prepare the following documents:

  • Undergraduate degree certificate and transcript of records
  • Supporting documents such as awards, publications, or work portfolio
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Statement of objectives – 3,000 words
  • List of 3 recommenders – name, titles, and e-mail addresses

Submitting your graduate record exam results, although not required, is encouraged as it may help increase one’s chances of admission.

Admission requirements vary greatly across universities, so it’s always best to the school’s official website for application details.

4. Make a List of Singaporean Universities to Apply

Although there are only 2 Singaporean universities that have entered the Times Higher Education World Rankings, they are placed within the top 50. Leading the list is the National University of Singapore (25) followed by Nanyang Technological University (47).

As for the Shanghai World University Rankings, another Singaporean school is included in the list – the Singapore University of Technology & Design.

Expectedly so, these 3 schools are your best choices for a variety of degrees, and you should consider applying to these universities in Singapore. The National University of Singapore, for one, is one of the top 50 schools in the world in the fields of arts & humanities, business & economics, clinical/health science, computer science, engineering, law, life science, physical science, and social science. It’s also ranked 57th in the world in the area of psychology.

While Nanyang Technological University often comes second-best to NUS, it is the only Singaporean institute to be ranked in education. It is currently ranked the 37th best in the world.

Although the Singapore University of Technology & Design is not included in the World Rankings, it is a worthwhile consideration for any foreign applicant who wants to study Engineering, Architecture, Artificial Intelligence, or Information Technology. After all, it was recently named as onea of the emerging Engineering schools in the world.

5. Apply to Affordable Universities in Singapore

With its high quality of education, Singapore is quite an expensive place for studying. After all, international students need to pay about $22,500 a year – to as much as $37,640 annually in private schools. The cost of living, on the other hand, starts at about $600 a month.

If high tuition fees stand to get in the way of your education, you can still make your dreams come true by applying at affordable institutions in Singapore. The cheapest choices are Republic Polytechnic and Nanyang Polytechnic, which cost about $7,500 a year. Second-ranked Nanyang Technological University, on the other hand, costs about $12,800 a year. Singapore Management University costs a little higher at $13,174 a year.

Although most of these schools (except Nanyang) are not ranked internationally, they are all known to produce globally-competitive graduates.

6. Look for Scholarships in Singaore if Finances are important

Since Singaporean universities can be quite expensive for the common person, a good way to reduce costs is to apply for universities in Singapore with good scholarship program.

Nanyang Technological University, for one, offers a bursary to freshmen who demonstrate academic excellence, great leadership potential, and outstanding extra-curricular records.

While bursaries for undergraduates are limited, there are more scholarship opportunities for those who wish to take their post-graduate studies in Singapore. A good example is the Commonwealth Scholarship at the NUS, which is open to applicants from Commonwealth countries. This covers tuition and includes a stipend of $1,130 a month.

Another option is the Asian Development Bank-JSP Scholarship in the Asia Pacific. There are 140 slots open to students of certain nationalities who wish to take an MBA, MA in Public Policy, MA Social Science-Applied Economics, or MS Environmental Management at the National University of Singapore. This covers tuition, housing, book fees, medical insurance, and travel costs.

Scholarships for Ph.D. candidates are available as well.

I hope that this article on how to apply to universities in Singapore was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Asia Scholarships Page!