Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which draws top students to its science and engineering courses, now wants top arts and social science students, too.
The university is expanding its double-major offerings to attract such students. Those going to NTU this year can choose from seven double majors, which combine arts, social science subjects and business.
These courses have a strong inter-disciplinary theme and are designed for high achievers. They lead to a Bachelor of Arts with honours in both majors.
Among the seven double majors is one with economics as a major, paired with media analytics, psychology or public policy as the other major. Psychology can be combined with media analytics, linguistics and multilingual studies.
English literature students can take art history, and mass communication students can take business.
The university, with an annual intake of 6,000 students, will offer between 30 and 50 places for each of these programmes.
Employers today look for graduates who demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills... We expect these new interdisciplinary programmes to give students the extra edge.
PROFESSOR KAM CHAN HIN, NTU's senior associate provost of undergraduate education.
NTU's senior associate provost of undergraduate education, Professor Kam Chan Hin, said combining different fields of study will improve the job prospects for NTU arts and social science graduates.
He said: "Employers today look for graduates who demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as intellectual curiosity.
"These qualities are necessary to tackle problems creatively from new perspectives across different disciplines. We expect these new interdisciplinary programmes to give students the extra edge that will boost their careers."
Professor Alan Chan, dean of NTU's College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said the new combinations provide students with good depth in two academic disciplines. He said: "They can be assured of wider career options, as they will possess the flexibility and versatility to take on dual roles."
Mass communication students taking business as a second major will study accounting, finance, marketing and business analytics.
He added that graduates with specialisations in public relations and advertising often work with business executives. They will benefit from in-depth knowledge in areas like marketing and finance.
Those combining economics or psychology with media analytics will be trained to understand complex data, and engage the shifting social and digital media landscape.
The double major in English literature and art history will help professionals in their visual and critical awareness so they can contribute to Singapore's expanding arts and culture environment.
Associate Professor Neil Murphy, associate dean (undergraduate) of NTU's College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said: "The new double major and the collaboration with the Wee Kim Wee School and Nanyang Business School, show, yet again, how innovative the college has become in the humanities, arts and social sciences. These are exciting times for students in our disciplines."
On NTU widening its offerings in the arts, Prof Kam said, just like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, NTU intends to keep the "T" in its name and focus on science and engineering.
"But students should not study these disciplines in silos. They are all interconnected and it is at these disciplinary interstices that many new discoveries are being made."
With the seven new offerings, NTU will offer 110 undergraduate degree courses for the new academic year, which starts in August, he added. He invited students to attend the university's open house today to find out how to tailor the curriculum to suit their interests.