Education has always been one of the pillars of Singapore society. As a nation whose only resource is its people, education in Singapore is taken very seriously. The academic culture of Singapore aims to provide students with a holistic, broad education. Singapore has a number of universities that are publicly-funded, private, national, and branch campuses of foreign tertiary institutions. Whilst specific programs on offer vary between institutions, students are able to undertake study in post-undergraduate and postgraduate levels across most general fields of study. Teaching style in Singapore is systematic, pragmatic and instructional, based on pedagogical traditions from both East and West. Examinations are considered necessary and key parts of educational assessment, with professors placing crucial focus on preparing students for exams as thoroughly as possible. Curriculum emphasizes understanding and proficiency of specific learning procedures and worked examples to acquaint students with concepts covered in the broadest way possible. There is key cultural value placed on hard work and meritocracy, with importance placed on grades. Singapore currently has four autonomous universities. They are the National University of Singapore(NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). A graduate medical school, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, was also created through a partnership between Duke University School of Medicine and NUS to increase Singapore’s capacity to develop a vibrant biomedical hub. Within this context of global competitiveness and innovation, universities in Singapore are also gaining growing recognition, as Asian nations more generally strengthen their position in the global education market. Singapore’s two leading universities are now both ranked within the world’s top 15, and the city itself is ranked 15th in the QS Best Student Cities 2015, reflecting its combination of educational excellence, high quality of life, and diverse student community.

Top Universities

Singapore’s National University of Singapore(NUS) and Nanyang technological University(NTU) are ranked among the top 50 universities, 22nd  and 39th  respectively.

Standard of Living

Singapore stands in the top 5 student cities in Asia and is a very vibrant city to live in. It has a very urban lifestyle with abundant job opportunities.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Although the cost of living is high, a lot of students are awarded scholarships and tuition grants which eases their financial burden.

Safe City

Singapore is one of the safest urban cities in the world with a very low crime rate owing to its strict laws

Stable Economy

Singapore has a stable economy with almost no market fluctuations and no variations in work permit regulations.

Job Prospects

Singapore is home to 7500 MNCs making it a prime hub for excellent career opportunities and job prospects.

Top Universities

Jobs In Singapore

Post Study Working in Singapore

Most of the institutions in Singapore offer internships as part of their curriculum. Many of them have tie-ups with reputed corporate firms to train their students and provide them valuable hands-on experience. At the end of your course, you are likely to get absorbed by these companies. To work full time after graduation, you need to apply for either an employment pass (E Pass), work permit or a Service Pass (S Pass) based on various factors such as your level of skills, education qualifications and work experience.

Apart from the above, there is also the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) which allows you to stay in Singapore for up to one year to facilitate your job search. Successful EPEC applicants are required to apply for a one-year Visit Pass from the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) to allow them to stay in Singapore. Once you find a job, you need to acquire an Employment Pass to start working. To be eligible for an EPEC, you need to possess selected university qualifications or a skilled migrant visa.

If you have not yet graduated and want to have a taste of working life in Singapore, you may embark on an internship. Internships expose students to real-life work experiences and often present an excellent platform for companies to assess the suitability of candidates for full-time employment. To be eligible, you must be currently enrolled in a full-time degree programme. You may seek internship opportunities from job search companies, from your university via partnerships with Singapore tertiary institutions, or apply directly to Singapore companies.

Another option is to apply to the Work Holiday Programme (WHP) administered by the Ministry of Manpower. The WHP offers undergraduates and graduates the opportunity to gain living and work experience in Singapore. If your university is part of Contact Singapore’s Experience@Singapore network then this programme offers students an immersion trip of up to five days. They will get a whirlwind experience of life in Singapore, visit top corporations and meet industry leaders – to get a quick taste of working here.

Working while studying In Singapore

If you are a full-time international student pursuing a degree at a Singaporean university, you are permitted to work part-time for not more than 16 hours a week during the school year and full time during vacation. You don’t need to apply for additional permission from the Ministry of Manpower if your work hours are within the permitted limit. However, you are eligible to these work rights only if you are enrolled in any of the institutions approved by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The student’s pass you obtain before you enter Singapore for studies holds good until you finish your course there.

Job Market in Singapore

The employment market in Singapore has also sported a recent trend – employers have been hiring more foreigners, who now fill six in ten jobs (up from five in ten in 2007). There are over 900,000 foreigners, who fill everything from construction jobs to white collar and service work, accounting for a third of the 2.73 million people employed, enabling the economy to grow beyond the limits of Singapore’s indigenous workforce.

Singapore has a competitive and friendly environment for foreigners who would like to work here. The nation has ranked first for having the best labour force (Business Environment Risk Intelligence 2007 Labour Force Ranking) and being the top Asian country for its quality of life (Worldwide Quality of Living Index 2007). Other reasons that attract foreigners to work in Singapore include open recruitment policies, low personal taxations and a high standard of living, coupled with an English-speaking environment.

Application and Visa Process

  1. Eligibility for the courses – Required percentage, certificate, etc.

For UG courses – both degree and diploma courses from the universities and polytechnics, the student must have completed the Class 12 or equivalent exam. The top universities of Singapore have a high cut off percentage requirement and give preference to some boards – like CBSE and ISE as compared to many state boards. This varies from university to university and it would be wise to check the minimum eligibility percentage before you start the process.

For PG courses, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent is required. Depending on the course applied to, the university might also require you to have a work experience of 2 years or more.

  1. Writing the Language and any other Exams required by the programs

This is a basic step for applying to any study abroad destination. Hence, before you start the application process, check the exams required by universities in Singapore for UG and PG courses. Accordingly, write the exams in time so that when the time comes, you are ready with all the required scores. Again, it is important to check the exams required as per your university and your present qualifications. For instance, for a bachelors program, if you have completed your class 12 from a CBSE board, you can be exempt from writing the SAT and even the IELTS/ TOEFL for English proficiency.

  1. Keep your academic transcripts ready along with its certified English translations (if required)

The official medium of instruction in Singapore is English. Hence, while you prepare your documents and collect the necessary transcripts, in case the same are not in English, get a certified translated copy of the transcripts as they would be required. Ideally, for bachelors you would require your 10th, 11th and 12th score cards and for masters you would require your bachelor degree and necessary school level certificates.

  1. Ensure you have a Valid Passport

You should have a valid passport with no less than 6 months of validity when you apply to a university in Singapore. So, before you start filling the forms, pick up your passport and check the column where it says Valid till…

  1. Select the course/ college/ program you are interested in.
  2. Understand the program requirement and eligibility criterion from the respective university website. You can also reach out to the Admissions Office for International Students.
  3. Enrol with the University for the Application. Note, there is no centralized agency for admission to higher education in Singapore and a student needs to apply directly to the university he/she is interested in.
  4. Fill out the application form and submit the essays and letters of recommendations as required; again, the course determines the kind of essays required but this would be mandatory for both bachelor level as well as master programs.
  5. Provide Letters of Recommendation and proof of funds.
  6. Apply for Scholarship and provide the scholarship essays. Singapore offers a variety of Scholarships for International Students and as such every student is eligible to apply for one. So if you are planning to, you would be required to submit an additional essay for scholarship purposes.

The university would individually process the application. Once you receive an approval (called the In Principal Approval), you can start applying for a Student Visa for Singapore.

Sessions in Singapore usually start in the month of August and the applications open as early as October of the previous year or by January. The last date usually for undergraduate degrees is around mid of June. For postgraduate courses, like the undergraduate courses, the admissions open in October of the previous years and go on till about April or May of the same year for admission in the August/ September intake.

To study in Singapore you will need something that is called a Student’s Pass. Some students will need a visa to enter the country as well as a Student’s Pass.

The application process for a Student’s Pass is the same for students who require and visa and those who don’t: the only difference is that if you need a visa, you’ll have to complete your Student’s Pass application from your home country. Students who do not require a visa to enter Singapore may apply for a Student’s Pass once already in the country.

Students from some nationalities will need a visa to enter Singapore. These students may apply for a visa using the Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration (SOLAR+) online system after their host institution has registered them with it. If your visa application is successful, you will be issued a new SOLAR+ application number that you can use to apply for a Student Pass from your home country. You’ll also need to pay an additional visa fee when you collect your Student’s Pass from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in Singapore.

Singapore Institutes of Higher Learning

All foreign students accepted into a full-time study program in a Singapore Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) must apply for a Student Pass online through the SOLAR+ system. Once you complete the forms in the online application system, your host institution will lodge your application to the ICA for you. If your application is successful, you’ll need to complete the formality of going to an ICA office and collecting your Student Pass yourself.

Institutions not included on this list will provide you with specific information about your immigration requirements when you are accepted into one of their study programmes.

Online Application SOLAR+

Applications for a Student’s pass done via SOLAR+ need to be submitted at least one month, but not more than two months before the commencement of your study program. Before you can submit your application with SOLAR+, your IHL will register you with the system using your personal details as they appear in your passport, course details (including dates of commencement and finish), and your SOLAR+ application reference number. Your host will notify you once this is done, and you must then log onto SOLAR+ to complete the eForm 16.

eForm 16

Before you log onto SOLAR+ to complete the eForm 16, you will need to have the following documents and information handy:

  • A registration acknowledgement notice from your host, acknowledging and confirming that they have successfully registered you with the SOLAR+ system
  • Passport details: passport number, nationality, date of expiry
  • NRIC/ FIN of parents if your parents are either Singaporean or are living or working in Singapore
  • Your address in Singapore if applicable. If you haven’t sorted out accommodation yet then you can put your university’s registered address
  • Your e-mail address
  • One recent passport-sized colour photograph that has been taken within the last 3 months. This will be pasted on the top-right hand corner of the form once it has been printed out.

Once you have completed the form online through SOLAR+, you need to print a copy of it that you will need to submit in person to the Student’s Pass Unit (ICA) when you go to pick up your pass. You’ll also need to paste a passport-sized photo of yourself onto the top right-hand corner of the form before you do so.

The visa application processing time for students that do NOT require a visa to enter Singapore is five days. For students that do require a visa, the processing time is ten days.

IPA and Additional Requirements

If your application is successful, you will be issued an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter by your host institution. If you require a visa to enter Singapore, it will be attached to this letter. Your IPA letter will act as a provisional Student’s Pass until you go to collect it from an ICA office, and if applicable you can use it to enter the country.

Some universities, such as the Nanyang Technological University will require that you complete a medical examination before the commencement of your study programme. If your programme is longer than six months, you must undergo a compulsory medical examination given by the university. Upon successful completion of this examination, you will be issued a medical report that you will need to present to the ICA when you go to collect your Student’s Pass. You may also complete the medical examination in your home country, provided the report is given in the ICA-approved format.

Collecting your Student’s Pass

In some cases, your host university may be authorised by the ICA to issue your Student’s Pass on campus. If not, you will need to contact the ICA and make an appointment to pick up your pass and submit additional documents. You will need to make this appointment within the time frame indicated on your IPA letter. A Student’s Pass will be issued no earlier than a month before the start of your study programme.

When you arrive to collect your pass, you will need to bring the following:

  • A valid passport and a photocopy of the passport photo page
  • The Disembarkation/Embarkation card granted upon entry into Singapore
  • One recent colour, passport-sized photograph taken against a white background
  • A printout of the eForm 16 submitted through SOLAR that has been signed by you
  • A photocopy of your IPA
  • A medical report no older than three months
  • Relevant fees


The ICA takes a SGD 30 (US$ 24) non-refundable fee for every application submitted to them. This fee is payable by credit card or internet banking.

There is a SGD 60 (US$ 47) issuance fee for A Student’s Pass, and students requiring a visa will need to pay a further SGD 30 visa fee. In both instances, fees are payable to the ICA when students go in person to collect their student pass.

Tuition and Living cost

Cost of Living

Accommodation (rent and utilities) 800 – 1800
Food 300 – 500
Travel (public transport) 50 – 120
Books and stationery 50 – 100
Other 200 – 300
Total per month 1400 – 2820
Total per year 16800 – 33840

Cost of Education

The education in Singapore is quite low as compared to other study abroad destinations like UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. The cost of study in Singapore varies according to the institute, course and duration of the course.

You might end up paying S$5000 to S$ 20000 approximately for 6 months to 2 years Diploma course, S$ 24000 to S$55000 approximately for 2 to 4 years Bachelor Degree course and S$ 18,500 to S$ 30000 approximately for 1 to 1.5 years Master Degree Course.

If you are studying 5 years Medical and Dental courses in Singapore, you might end up paying subsidised tuition fee with an obligation to work for 3 years in Singapore under The Tuition Grant Bond.

Living and Culture in Singapore

Live and study in one of the most cosmopolitan and picturesque cities in the world. Experience a vibrant arts culture, stunning scenery, superb shopping and a pleasant climate while you gain an internationally recognised university education. Because of its size, Singapore is sometimes nicknamed “The Little Red Dot”. Despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, Singapore is a major force on the economic stage. Singapore is essentially a city-island, well known to be cosmopolitan with a multi-cultural heritage made up of 4 ethnic groups, Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians, all with a strong unified Singaporean identity. Over the years, this multi-cultural environment has been added to by expatriates living and working in Singapore, each bringing their own traditions and culture.

Singapore’s excellent geographical position makes it an ideal base to visit Asia and it is easy to explore Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, China or India (all no more than a 5-6 hour flight away).Singapore is highly urbanised due to the lack of landspace. Its skyscrapers make up the famous skyline. Despite this, Singapore also boasts a thriving ecosystem of nature and wildlife, rainforests, wetlands and nature reserves are all easily accessible. A good way to discover Singapore history is through the heritage trails on the island, taking you to historical monuments and sites.

You can choose from many of its shopping malls, museums and dining, along a thriving arts and cultural scene. The nightlife is varied with themed nightclubs, clubs, live music bars, pubs and beach bars. Singapore is also a food-lover paradise.If sports are what you enjoy, there is plenty to suit all students. World-class facilities cater for all kinds of sports, even winter sports. The sunny and hot climate means that outdoor pursuits such as wakeboarding, windsurfing, and dragon boat racing can be done year-round (except during monsoon seasons).

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