Studying in Singapore
Education system in Singapore can be divided into a few stages: Pre-School Education, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Pre-University Education and Post-Secondary Education.
Admission to Post-Secondary Education
Upon completion of the 4- or 5-year secondary school education, students will participate in the annual Singaporean GCE 'O' Level, the results of which determine which pre-universities or post-secondary institutions they may apply for. Pre-university centres include junior colleges for a two-year course leading up to GCE 'A' Level. Students who wish to pursue vocational education go on to post-secondary institutions such as the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), where they receive a diploma upon successful completion of their courses.
There are four public universities in Singapore, which are the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Various private universities in which the admission is less competitive is also available.
English is the main language for communication here, affording ample opportunities for students to improve their English. Here are some of the other reasons why international students choose Singapore as their study destination:
- Safe living environment with relatively low crime rate.
- Efficient public transport network of buses, taxis and trains.
- Ranked as top Asian city for quality of living.
- Multilingual, multicultural society which facilitates communication in English as well as other languages such as Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu and Tamil.
- Vibrant arts and entertainment scene.
Intake date for private institutions generally falls on March for first semester intake while July for second semester intake. These may vary according to the policy of each institution. On the other hand, intake date for public universities normally falls on August.
Academic Entry Requirements
Generally, academic entry requirements differ according to the course a prospective student wants to apply for, as well as the institution they hope to enrol in. For a Bachelor’s Degree course in Singapore, Malaysian students must have completed the following academic qualifications:
- SPM (Form 5) or UEC with a minimum of 4 passes
- STPM with a minimum of 2 passes
- other pre-university courses such as the O-Level and A-Level (or equivalent), a minimum of 3 O-Level passes and 2 A-Level passes are required.
Some courses require students to have completed their pre-university qualification in specific subjects. For example, if you wish you study Engineering, subjects such as Maths should be taken up and completed during your pre-university.
Language Entry Requirements
As the English Language is the medium of instruction in Singaporean universities and colleges, it is required for students to have completed an English Proficiency test prior to applying for a course. Minimum grades usually depend on the course and institution, but average language entry requirements include a minimum:
- Overall 6.0 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Overall 79 in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- Overall 58 in the Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic)
- Overall 200 in the Malaysian University English Test (MUET)
Institution will apply for your student pass on your behalf. You will know of your student pass application outcome in 3-4 week time.
Student Pass (STP) holders are allowed to work in Singapore without a work pass only if they have been granted Work Pass exemption under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Pass Exemptions) Notification. Under this notification, STP holders allowed to work full-time during vacation and part-time (less than 16 hours) during the school term, or only full-time during vacation, without the need to apply for a Work Pass.
For STP holders who are not granted Work Pass exemption, they will need to apply for a Work Pass if they wish to work in Singapore. Please note that any form of industrial attachment or work training is considered as work under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.