Student and Graduate Publishing

Study in Singapore

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 11:15

It’s not hard to see why Singapore is such a popular choice for any student looking at studying in Asia. Singapore offers so much - high-ranking universities, high quality of life, and diverse cosmopolitan society.

For a nation with a population of 5,399,200, of which 62% are citizens and 38% are permanent residents or foreign workers and students, Singapore has rapidly risen to become a major player for international students seeking high quality learning and facilities.

A number of global reports have recognized the high quality of Singapore’s learning establishments. It ranked eighth in the 2013 INSEAD Global Innovation Index, fifth in IMD’s 2013 World Competitiveness Rankings and second in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-13. Furthermore, Singapore gained third place in the 2013 QS Best Student Cities.


Singapore has 34 universities with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) being ranked within the top 50 in the world, according to the QS World rankings for 2013/14. Both of these universities are global superstars, with NUS being ranked at 24th in the world, and a global top ten ranking for mechanical, chemical, civil and electrical engineering; geography; computer science; materials science; politics; communication and media studies; statistics and modern languages. NTU is ranked 41st in the QS World Rankings and is in the top 50 for a large range of subjects which include accounting and finance; chemistry; computer science; communications and media studies; education; engineering; English language and literature; materials science; mathematics; psychology and statistics.

Other prestigious Singaporean Universities include the Singapore Management University which offers a specialized range of subjects and ranks very highly for subjects such as accountancy, finance, economics and law. Singapore also has a number of institutions which have formed partnerships. For example the Singapore University of Technology and Design, developed in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and Zhejiang University in China. Yale-NUS College is another example, which was launched in 2011 as the first liberal arts college in Singapore, and one of a few in the whole of Asia

There are numerous campuses located in Singapore which are directly affiliated to some of the best European and US universities. One notable example is the globally renowned ESSEC which has its Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore. This branch of ESSEC is dedicated to enhancing its influential research and providing inspiring academic and executive programs with Asian insights and European perspectives.

Tuition Fees and the Cost of Living

Singapore has relatively low tuition fees and living costs when compared to other global locations like such as the UK, USA or Australia. Average annual fees are approximately US$11,800, with 52% of international students receiving some form of financial aid.

Singapore has a strong economy and high standard of living. Rent and all of the other necessary expenses will cost an international student about US$7,500 a year.


To study in Singapore you apply directly to the institution of your choice. You will also need a student visa. This is issued to you along with your letter of approval (also known as your in-principal approval or IPA) once your application has been accepted by your chosen university.

The automatic visa has the benefit of meaning that you will not have to worry about separately applying for a VISA. However, you will need to apply to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for a Student Pass within two weeks of getting accepted. This also has to be no earlier than two months before and no later than one month prior to the start of your course. You will have to do this through the Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration System, known as SOLAR. You will be SOLAR registered by the institution at which you have been accepted.

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International students can apply to the Singaporean Ministry of Education for a tuition grant, after being offered a place on a course. This is a good proportion of the costs of tuition fees. In return for this grant, international students must sign a bond which requires them to work for a Singapore-registered company for a minimum of three years after finishing their degree. This is so that the country benefits from the skills of those it educates. The period of this bond can be longer for students of medicine and dentistry.

Life in Singapore

Singapore offers an array of lifestyle benefits. As one of the four Asian ‘Tiger Economies’ this city state benefits from the prosperity and opportunities which accompany rapid economic development. Singapore is also clean, safe, multi-cultural and exciting.

Singapore is renowned for being one of Asia’s global business and financial hubs. The country offers so much more than this and has something for every type of international student. With a vibrant arts and cultural scene and a cosmopolitan mix of people and lifestyles, Singapore really does offer an amazing study experience. 

Its colonial past means that there is a large British influence on the island, and Singapore is often described as a destination where ‘East meets West’.  Singaporean food Asian-fusion style strongly exhibits this combination of East and West and is highly regarded throughout the world.

Singapore has a high population density but is a polite and welcoming country. Its people hold strong ideals about community and social cohesion. It has a truly unique identity with its mixed Chinese, Malaysian and Indian populations adding to the city’s atmosphere and cultural melting pot.

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