Singapore is an international leader in education, as demonstrated by their position in the 2018 QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings. In 2015, Singapore had over 75,000 foreign students in higher education. Their higher education institutions consist of local, foreign, and private institutions that are managed by the Ministry of Education. There are 6 local autonomous universities that are state-funded. These universities offer a wide variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and offer degree pathways that are either more research-intensive or hands-on. There are around 9 foreign universities with local campuses. Many foreign universities offer their programmes through private education institutions which offer external degree programmes (EDPs) with undergraduate or graduate degrees granted by their partner universities. There are 16 private education institutions that offer EDPs and are regulated by the Committee for Private Education. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Education website at https://www.moe.gov.sg/.
A Bachelor’s degree in Singapore is usually 3 to 4 years, Master’s is 1 to 2 years, and Doctorate may take between 2 to 5 years. Undergraduate programmes in Medicine take up to 5 or 6 years. International students must apply directly to their chosen institution. In terms of admission into Bachelor’s programmes, public universities do not have rigid grade requirements, but evaluate applicants on a number of factors such as secondary school qualifications, language test scores, and extracurricular engagements. Private universities on the other hand have standard admission criteria that typically includes specific high school qualifications and minimum English test scores. Admission requirements for postgraduate programmes vary per institution. English is the language of instruction.
University education is free for Singaporean locals and nationals. Annual undergraduate fees for international students average around US$14,400, but this varies depending on the university and programme. For medicine and dentistry degrees, the fees are much higher. Both local and international students may apply for a government tuition grant that covers most of the costs of university tuition fees. In return for this grant, internationals are required to work for a Singapore-registered company for at least 3 years after graduating. For medicine and dentistry students, the requirement is 5 to 6 years.
Information for International Students
Once international students are accepted to a university, they will be given 2 weeks to apply for a Student’s Pass through an application system that issues an approval letter and a student visa. This will be needed to pass through security checkpoints. Upon arrival, students will have to undergo certain medical examinations and health checks. Medical degrees require Hepatitis B and C screening blood tests.