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Study in Singapore

Graduate programs in Singapore

Singapore is often called the gateway between the East and West – combining global innovation and thought with ancient Asian teachings and wisdom. It is hospitable, multicultural, and full of intellectual possibilities – as well as recently being voted one of the top countries in the world for quality of life.

It is for these reasons that Singapore is now becoming one of the most popular places for international students to study for their postgraduate courses. With the Asia-Pacific region becoming a thriving hub for business and industry over the last few years, it is easy to see why students choose postgraduate courses in Singapore.

The availability for postgraduate courses in Singapore is growing all the time, with new institutions opening in order to satisfy increasing demand from students.

Population: 5,183,700

Education overview

There are four main universities in Singapore that offer postgraduate courses, some of which are public and some of which are private. They are:
  • The National University of Singapore (public)
  • Nanyang Technological University (public)
  • Singapore Management University (private)
  • SIM University (private)
Aside from the above, there are numerous institutions offering graduate programs that are affiliated to universities across the world – for example Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, Chicago Business School and S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (an autonomous school within Nanyang Technological University).

Singapore’s two main public universities, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, regularly rank in the top 100 in the world.

Postgraduate masters courses in Singapore can either be taken with a focus on coursework or on research. Coursework-led masters courses will consist of lectures and seminars, similar to undergraduate degrees, whilst research based courses will require more independent study.

Research Masters are often taken before a PhD. A PhD will require you to undertake an extensive amount of independent  research into a subject of your choice.

Masters programs in Singapore take between one and three years.

Immigration and visas in Singapore

In general, you will need to apply for a Student Pass/ visa to study in Singapore once you have been accepted onto a full time course at a higher education institution. After receiving your letter of acceptance, you should apply for a Student Pass with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). If you require a visa to enter the country you should apply at least two months before your postgraduate course is due to begin.

You will need the following documents:
  • Two copies of Form 16, Form V36 and Form V395, completed and signed by you as well as your local sponsor
  • Your Birth Certificate
  • Your education certificates and results transcripts
  • Copies of passport pages

Life in Singapore

In 2010 Singapore was ranked the best place in Asia for quality of life, due to its economy, natural environment, healthcare, public services, culture and recreation. For an international postgraduate student, it is the multicultural aspect that is a large draw.

Shopping is a popular leisure activity in Singapore, with everything from designer stores to bohemian shopping areas that allow visitors to see the county’s culture in plentiful supply.

Film is also a popular past time, with the Singapore International Film Festival being a major event on the cultural map.

Working in Singapore

Singapore’s government has released a list of industries that are currently in demand, and will be over the next few years. They are:
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Finance
  • Information Communication and Digital Media
  • Tourism and Retail
Over the last few years, Asia and the Pacific region have become hubs for technology and industry, so choosing to begin your career in this area after completion of your postgraduate course could put you in a good position for the future.


There are a number of different options for students on postgraduate courses in Singapore. The main options are:
  • Halls of residence – usually on campus, and solely for students. Whether halls of residence will be open to you depends on your university.
  • Private hostels – also usually run by universities, with the option to share.
  • Homestays – where families open up their home to international students for extended periods, so they can experience the culture whilst completing their postgraduate course.
  • Private rentals – where you rent an apartment privately from a landlord, either on your own or with other people.

Climate in Singapore

Singapore has a tropical/ equatorial climate, meaning it can be extremely hot and humid all year round. Seasons are not defined as they are in other parts of the world. There is also likely to be a small amount of rainfall almost every day.


Many of Singapore and its islands are accessible by road, and the islands that cannot be reached by road can be reached by ferry. There are also rail systems: the Mass Rapid Transit, which covers the whole country, and the Light Rail Transit, which connects various neighbourhoods.

The Distance Fares scheme means you will be charged for the total distance travelled on either bus or train. 

Students benefit from a 50% discount on adult train fares and also pay a flat fare for any distance longer than 7.2km.


The currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar.

What to do next

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