All about Singapore

Singapore was under colonial rule when the first academic institution was established in Singapore. The first university to be founded in Singapore was the National University of Singapore (1905). In 1938, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts was established, which served as an Arts institution in the country. An autonomous institute, National Institute of Education was founded in the interim period (1950). The next public university to be set up in Singapore was Nanyang Technological University (1981). Meanwhile, the country saw the foundation of several polytechnic colleges starting from Singapore Polytechnic (1954) to Republic Polytechnic (2002). In 2000, the first Management University was established, and that was followed by several other universities to promote higher education in the country.

Currently, there are around 150,000 international students in Singapore who are pursuing any of the thousands of courses available across various public and private universities. In fact, the polytechnic colleges in Singapore also host a good number of international students. The majority of the student population is covered by the Asians only. Chinese and Indian students are the highest in numbers. Besides, students from western countries like the USA, Canada, Brazil, Greece, Austria, and the UK are found very often among the crowd of international students in Singapore.

Average tuition fee at the institutes in Singapore:

The cost of studying in Singapore is comparatively lower than the same of other top countries like the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. And since the study in Singapore universities offers some incredible study programs at an affordable tuition fee, a lot of international student flock around these institutes each year. The tuition fees, however, can change after a year, but the change is usually of a nominal amount. Here’s the average tuition fee for various courses in Singapore at the tertiary level:
  • Non-lab based courses: SG$ 21,000 per year
  • Lab based courses: SG$ 23,000 per year
  • Dentistry and Medicine: SG$ 84,000 per year
  • Music: SG$ 40,100 per year
  • Polytechnics: SG$ 12,460 per year

The tuition fee may change with time, and it usually varies from university to another. So, students should check the official website of the respective university before choosing a study abroad program there.

Admission criteria for international students in Singapore:

The consistent economic growth, good placement options, and world-class education have put Singapore among the top destinations for higher education. Another reason why international students prefer Singapore for their tertiary education is that Singapore is an English-speaking country and it is the official language of instruction as well. So, one must understand the fact that in order to get admission at one of the colleges/universities in Singapore, an international student needs to provide a proof of English language proficiency. The TOEFL or IELTS score of the applicant can take care of that.

While applying at a Singaporean institute, the extracurricular achievements of the candidates may help them boast about themselves in the application form, but the factor, which matters the most, is the score he/she has achieved in the secondary level education. So, one must secure higher grades if the person desires to pursue higher studies in Singapore. There are few standardized tests (SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.) that are held to evaluate the aptitude of an applicant. At some institutes, these tests are optional.

Here is the list of things which are required while applying for a University/College in Singapore.
  • The proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS score)
  • The transcripts from previously attended institutes
  • A statement of purpose
  • The letters of recommendation
  • Aptitude tests (optional)
  • A CV
  • Duly filled application form
The courses in Business Management or Business Administration, Medicine, and Law may require a student to go through some entrance exams. In fact, some universities may make it compulsory to go through an entrance exam for each and every course they offer. Besides, universities can have their own set of admission requirements, so it is wiser to contact the administration of the respective university before applying for a study abroad program in that institute.

Scholarships for international students in Singapore

Thanks to the Minister of Education (MOE) tuition grant, most of the courses offered at the higher educational institutes in Singapore cost quite less to the students (both local and international). To make it easier for the international students, and to attract more of them to pursue a course in the country, the government, several universities, and some non-profit organizations have introduced few scholarship programs for the international students. Some of the popular ones are:
  •  Lee Kong Chian Graduate Scholarships at National University of Singapore:
    This scholarship is awarded to some of the brightest international students who are applying for a PhD course at the National University of Singapore. The scholarship offers SG$ 3,300 stipend per month, annual book allowance of SG$ 500, one-time laptop allowance of SG$ 1,500, travel allowance of SG$ 4,000, and a full tuition waiver.
  • INSEAD-Syngenta MBA Scholarships for Developing Country Leader:
    This scholarship is awarded to the students with excellent academic achievement, who also has an aptitude for business and financial management. Basically, the students who are pursuing MBA at INSEAD can apply for this scholarship. Only two scholarships are given away for each class, and it amounts to 22,500 EUR per year.
  • Singapore International Graduate Award:
    International students who desire to pursue PhD programs in Science and Engineering from a university in Singapore can apply for this scholarship. This scholarship offers financial support up to 4 years of the PhD studies which includes full tuition fee, monthly stipend, airfare grant, as well as settlement allowance.
  • Science & Technology Undergraduate Scholarship from NUS:
    The students from other Asian countries who are willing to pursue undergraduate degree courses in the field of Computers, Science, or Engineering from the National University of Singapore can apply for this particular scholarship. It covers the tuition fees and compulsory fees, SG$ 200 on-time settlement allowance (upon enrolment), SG$ 6,000 living allowance, and annual accommodation allowance.
  • Singapore Millennium Foundation Scholarships:
    Students, who are willing to pursue PhD in Renewable Resources & Water, Environmental Science, Engineering, Physical & Material Sciences, and Life Sciences, can apply for this scholarship. This scholarship offers SG$ 4,000 per month for up to 4 years for the PhD candidates while the candidates pursuing 2-year post doctoral courses get around SG$ 6,000 per month.

Apart from these aforementioned scholarships, there are other popular scholarships from international universities for their Singapore campus. Besides, the MOE grant helps every student in Singapore to reduce the expenses.

Loan facilities:

Since the living costs in Singapore can be little high, it can be little harder for the students to sustain if they do not have any scholarship to cover for them. In that case, bank loans can help the students support their study as well as other expenses. Interestingly, most of the recognized bank, these days, offer a great amount of loans for the students at a competitive interest rate. These banks also allow the recipient to return the amount over the period of next few years.

However, the loan application may get rejected if the bank officials feel the course of study is insignificant. In fact, the bank may deny offering a loan if a student gets into a below average foreign institution. For this reason, it is better to visit the respective bank and talk to the branch manager about the terms and conditions of the loans. Talking to the manager may help a student know about the perks and privileges one may get after taking a loan from the particular bank.

Accommodation for students in Singapore:

The students in Singapore have a plenty of options when it comes to accommodation. While the number of on-campus accommodations is limited in Singapore, a student can always look for other alternatives which are there in abundance. Since the number of international students in Singapore is quite high, the on-campus accommodation options, such as halls of residence and hostels, are very much in demand. In fact, they can be more expensive than the other off-campus accommodation options. The primary reason behind the high demand of these on-campus accommodations is that they are within reach of the university. Besides, some of them offer meal plans as well. On an average, the rental cost of an on-campus accommodation is SG$ 210 – SG$ 320 per month. These halls of residence or hostels offer shared facilities, and the rooms are also shared among the students.

In the off-campus accommodations, students have the option to choose from private hostels, public housing, private rentals and homestay. The accommodation cost of these accommodations differs from one another. While the hostels cost around SG$ 1,733.20 per semester, a public housing can cost around SG$ 1,000 – SG$ 1,500 per month. Both of these options can be shared with multiple roommates, and doing so can cut down the expenses to a great extent. The private rental residential units are one the most expensive side. Depending on the condition, facilities, and the location of the apartment or studio flat, the rent can vary. In fact, some studio flats come with swimming pool, gym, or tennis courts and they usually cost around SG$ 1,000 per month. Renting an apartment may cost somewhere between SG$ 4,000 and SG$ 5,000.

Student visa in Singapore:

If a foreign national desires to pursue higher studies in Singapore, he/she will require "student's pass". Some international students will also require a student visa to enter the country. To get the "student pass," a student may need to contact the ICA (student's pass unit), while in some cases, the host university may issue the student's pass on campus if they are authorized by the ICA. To get the pass, a student requires the following things:
  • A valid passport and its photocopy
  • The disembarkation/embarkation card, granted while entering the country
  • Recent passport size photograph
  • A duly filled eForm 16 (submitted through SOLAR)
  • A photocopy of the applicant’s IPA (In-Principal Approval)
  • A recent medical report
  • Relevant fee
Part-time job for international students in Singapore:

International students with “Student Pass” in Singapore are allowed to work 16 hours per week during the term, and during the vacation, they can work for unlimited hours. However, they need to fulfil the following clauses:
  • The student needs to get registered in full-time course at an approved institution
  • The student needs to hold a valid student pass which is issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA)
If the student is registered with an institution that hasn’t been approved yet, he/she cannot work full-time or part-time during the terms or the vacations. Also, if the institution does not have an industrial attachment program, then the student may not be eligible for a part time job.

Job opportunities in Singapore for international students:

The economic activities in Singapore continue to grow stronger, and because of that, people from different parts of the world are coming to Singapore in search of a job that guarantees growth as well as a high paying salary. This is why a lot of international students decide to settle in the country after finishing their respective courses in Singapore. Students have the option to apply for a non-renewable Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) of one year to extend their stay in Singapore while they look for relevant employment after finishing their education from a recognized and approved institute in Singapore. If the student with LTVP cannot land a job which would have made him eligible for a work permit, by the end of the year, then the student would have to leave the country.

The job market in Singapore is booming, and every year a lot of international students are finding a job and getting settled in this beautiful South East Asian country. Some of the most popular fields of profession in the country are:
  • Medicine and Healthcare
  • Business
  • Management
  • Law
  • Engineering
  • Computer science and IT
Singapore is one of wealthiest countries in the South East Asia, and there are a number of reasons to fall in love with this country. World-class zoos, historical structures, luxurious hotels, amazing food: all in a place that is 4,716 times smaller than India. Singapore definitely is one of the places that prove the statement: Size doesn't matter. In fact, the wildlife, the parks, its urban lifestyle, the cultural diversity and its delicious cuisines can make any a fan of this island country. Being the centre of the south-east Asia, it is also very convenient to go to another south-east Asian country by bus, train or air. The famous Asian city Kuala Lumpur is connected with Singapore via bus route.

Here, one may find a variety of Asian cultures. There is a mixture of Chinese, Malay and Indian (Tamil) cultures which offers a whole new cultural experience to the visitors who have come there for the first time. The fast food culture is also quite popular in Singapore. Here a person can get Malay, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Peranakan, as well as western foods in many open-air food-courts. The climate of Singapore is considered as tropical rainforest climate where one may rarely find any distinction of the seasons. The rainfall happens pretty often, and the temperature remains uniform throughout the year.