Beyond A levels

What's new at local unis this year

Local universities are offering new academic programmes aplenty this year, with opportunities for students to head overseas for study stints and internships as well

National University of Singapore


There is a new double-degree programme with the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), a prestigious school which counts several of France's most recent presidents as its alumni.

The course by the University Scholars Programme at NUS combines the French school's liberal arts curriculum with a major from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences here. Students spend two years in France with another two at NUS, and no prior study of French is needed.


Taking flight this year is Roots and Wings - a life skills programme that teaches students how to build a personal brand and enhance their resilience. The initiative comes under NUS' Centre for Future-ready Graduates.


For the first time, NUS is extending its study trip programme to include Costa Rica. There are also new international internships in Kazakhstan, Ghana, Uganda and Hungary in a range of fields, from international affairs to agri-business.

Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University. PHOTO: ST FILE


Sixteen new undergraduate degree programmes in six different academic fields, such as business, science, engineering, the humanities and social sciences, will be introduced, with six of them being double majors which offer a more rigorous programme than having a second major. Among them are the Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Media Analytics to allow students to make sense of complex data in the shifting media landscape, and the Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Art History - a first for universities here.


A three-storey sports hall with retractable seating and three residential halls at North Hill (Nanyang Crescent), with BBQ pits and rooftop gardens, are set to open by the end of this year at a cost of $230 million.

And they were all built with nature in mind. For instance, each room in the new residential halls will use ventilation louvres to reduce stuffiness without using air-conditioning. The rooms themselves were assembled in units in a Jurong factory, then transported to NTU and stacked on top of one another, container-style.

SIM University

SIM University. PHOTO: ST FILE


Those who find social work a calling will have the option of taking up the Bachelor of Social Work with Minor degree.

Like other UniSIM degree courses, this programme will emphasise practice-based learning.

All students enrolled in the four-year direct honours programme must complete and pass 1,000 hours of supervised social work in volunteer welfare organisations to graduate. They will also be required to go abroad to undertake a service-learning project.

UniSIM will also launch a full- time degree course dedicated to a comprehensive study of logistics and supply chain management.

Under the Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management with Minor, which was developed in collaboration with the Singapore Logistics Association, students will get plenty of hands-on experience.

There will be work-based assignments, case studies, industry talks, local and overseas site visits, and a compulsory applied project.

Singapore Institute of Technology

Singapore Institute of Technology. PHOTO: ST FILE


Some courses at SIT require students to hold relevant diplomas, but A-level students can apply to six new direct honours degrees in engineering, food technology and science.

Among them are two courses that are joint degrees with well-known universities overseas. The Bachelor of Food Technology is offered in partnership with Massey University in New Zealand, while the Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy is offered together with Trinity College Dublin in Ireland - the country's oldest university.

The Bachelor of Engineering in Telematics (Intelligent Transportation Systems Engineering) is also the first of its kind here, combining computer science and electrical engineering with know-how on enhancing public transport systems.

There are also Bachelor of Science degrees in Occupational Therapy, Diagnostic Radiography and Radiation Therapy.

Singapore Management University

Singapore Management University. PHOTO: ST FILE


This year, SMU will be offering a politics, law and economics (PLE) course. Students will take all three subjects in the first year, before specialising in one of four areas - global studies, distribution and justice, public policy and governance, or choice and behaviour. It will also offer entrepreneurship as a major, and the quantitative finance major has been revamped to provide a more hands-on approach.


The School of Law building at the junction of Armenian Street and Canning Rise, which includes the Kwa Geok Choo Law Library, will be ready by mid-2017.

As part of a $20 million development project, students can also look forward to a centralised Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) space, an expanded three-storey fitness centre and a new amphitheatre in the school's campus in the city by early 2017.

Singapore University of Technology and Design

Singapore University of Technology and Design. PHOTO: ST FILE


More than 70 per cent of SUTD students will have the chance to go on overseas exchange and summer programmes by next year.

The university has partnered universities in Sweden, Taiwan, Canada and South Korea for study- abroad programmes that last for a term.

They include the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea and the National Taiwan University.

Students will also have summer stints at places such as Stanford University in the United States and the European Innovation Academy (EIA) in France or Italy.

They also have the option of attending classes at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and University of California, Berkeley

Some of these programmes will focus on engineering design and entrepreneurship, in line with the SUTD curriculum. Students will also be mentored by faculty and industry leaders in research work.

Yale-NUS College

Yale-NUS College. PHOTO: ST FILE


Three new five-year programmes for liberal arts and science students who have set their sights on working in the fields of public health, public policy and the environment have been introduced. Students will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree, and also a masters degree.

Students taking the Concurrent Degree with Yale School of Public Health and the Concurrent Degree with Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies will spend a semester overseas at Yale's US campus in New Haven. Those in the public health course will join a summer internship, while those in the environment course will do a one-year internship.

There is also a Concurrent Degree with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.


Students looking to understand the working world will be able to consult professionals from a range of industries under the university's new External Adviser Programme (EAP)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'What's new at local unis this year'. Subscribe