Studying in Singapore

Studying in Singapore

Singapore has a strong education system, recognised around the world. There is an ethos of continuous learning and high quality adult education is available.

Singapore’s university education system consists of public universities, private universities, specialist private universities and polytechnics. Public universities receive substantial government funding but have control over their own operations.

What courses can you study?

There is a wide range of postgraduate courses available and you should check with the individual institution for more details. Postgraduate taught and research masters courses usually take between one and three years to obtain. PhD programmes should be completed within two to five years. MBA courses are also on offer and are usually taken full time over one or two years.

Courses are usually conducted in English, with the exception of language classes.

Public universities

Private universities

Private universities/institutions (specialised)


Further details are available on the Singapore Education website.

Institute of Technical Education (ITE)

How do you apply for postgraduate study?

It is getting more competitive to gain a place at a higher education institution (HEI) in Singapore, as the numbers of foreign students are being capped. 

Institutions generally require applicants to have a 2.1 degree or above. Check with individual institutions for full details.

Application deadlines vary for each university, but are usually closed by February in the year of entry so start researching and applying early. Some courses offer intakes at the beginning of semester 1 and semester 2. Check with the institution you are interested in.

Applications are made directly to the university, usually online. Some universities will ask international candidates to provide proof that they can financially support themselves during the course of study, for example, a recent bank statement that displays sufficient funds. If you apply for a research degree you will have to provide two academic references and will probably be required to submit a personal statement.

Fees and scholarships

The Ministry of Education Singapore provides tuition grants to students who are admitted to the local universities and polytechnics. UK/EU students are eligible for the same grant, subject to the signing of an agreement with the Singaporean government undertaking to work in Singapore for three years (or more for medicine and dentistry) after completing their studies.

With the bonus of the tuition grant, fees are substantially reduced. University course fees do not include exam fees, student union fees or sports fees.

Some scholarships are available to international candidates with outstanding academic records. See individual university websites for details.

Contact Singapore has detailed information about the cost of living for students in Singapore.

Are there any exchange programmes?

Both the National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University offer exchange programmes with partner universities, including several universities in the UK.

Will your qualifications be recognised in the UK?

Check with the university or higher education institution where you are hoping to study to see if their qualification is recognised or has an equivalent in the UK.

Do you need a visa to study in Singapore?

When an institution accepts a student’s application, it will issue an in-principle approval (IPA) letter. The entry visa is incorporated in the IPA letter.

Within two weeks of receipt of the IPA letter, students are required to apply online to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for a Student Pass.

On arrival in Singapore, students must produce their passport, disembarkation/embarkation card and a medical report in the prescribed format (available on ICA’s website).

More information and online application forms can be found on the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website.

Written by AGCAS editors, October 2016