Study in Singapore

The developed country of Singapore holds the title of being the most modern South Asian country for over a decade. This country-city- Island is the only of its kind globally and is often confused by its status. Singapore is a diverse country with a generous mix of Chinese, Malays, and Indians, among other ethnic groups. English, Tamil, Mandarin, and Malay are four recognized languages in Singapore. Malay is the national language of Singapore; and is as widely used as English.

Why Study in Singapore?

The rich diversity, safe environment, world-class education, and affordable fees have compelled international students to consider study in Singapore. Singapore welcomed 78,000 international students in the year 2019, and the number is only growing.

The proximity of Singapore to India has made it a popular destination for Indian students. Singapore has one of the best systems of education in the world, made evident in the standing of its universities globally.

Education System in Singapore

Singapore’s education system comprises preschool, primary school, secondary school, pre-university education, and university education. Education in the country is controlled and scrutinized by The Ministry of Education (MOE). The constant effort of the MOE has put Singapore on the list of the best education systems in the world.

A student must climb up the education ladder from – Preschool to University education to further up their career aspirations.

Pre-University Education 

Pre-university education is offered to students in Humanities, Arts and Languages, Science and Mathematics. Institutions issuing degrees at the Pre-university levels are –

  • Junior colleges – junior colleges aim at making their students university-ready through structured curriculums that hone their skills and knowledge. Students can choose from two-year junior colleges or three-year centralized pre-university courses.
  • Polytechnics – Polytechnic institutions offer students the choice to pursue diploma degrees over 3 years along with a breadth of subjects – tourism, biotechnology, digital media, engineering, business studies, etc. Students with interests in professional skills enroll in polytechnic offerings.
  • Institutes of Technical Education – The Institutes of Technical Educations or commonly abbreviated – ITEs, represent the vocational and technical training provided in Singapore. ITEs see a significant enrolment of students passing from secondary levels. Students can graduate with National ITE Certificate (NITEC), Higher NITEC, Master NITEC, and diplomas.

 University Education and Top Universities in Singapore

Singapore has 34 Universities, including six national universities.

  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
  • Singapore Management University (SMU)
  • Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD)
  • Singapore Institute of Technology and SIM University (SIT)

The two public universities of Singapore- National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University are placed in the top 20 of the best universities in the world in 2021, occupying positions 11 and 13, respectively.

These public universities offer students the opportunity to pursue programs at levels of undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees.

The SMU is the first autonomous institution in Singapore to be government-funded. Programs range from Business Management, Economics, Law and the Social Science, Information Systems Management, and Accountancy. Students graduate from the SMU with undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees.

Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD) offers engineering design courses along with bachelor’s, Masters and Ph.D. degrees.  Singapore Institute of Technology and SIM University (SIT) provides degrees in Engineering and Applied sciences, Health Sciences, Design, Interactive Digital Media, Education & Social Sciences.

Standing abreast with its public universities are Singapore’s private academic bodies –

  • The Singapore Institute of Management (SIM)
  • Kaplan Singapore
  • MDIS
  • PSB
  • London School of Business & Finance, Singapore
  • East Asia Institute of Management
  • TMC Academy
  • Dimensions International College

Private Universities of Singapore

The Committee for Private Education (CPE) governs private institutions of Singapore. The CPE operates under the SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) Board as a part of Private Education Act, it requires private education to be registered under the CPE.

List of the private universities of Singapore is –

  • Curtin Education Centre
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Asia
  • At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy
  • James Cook University Singapore
  • Kaplan Singapore
  • Management Development Institute of Singapore
  • PSB Academy
  • SDH Institute
  • Singapore Institute of Management
  • Singapore Raffles Music College
  • Tum Asia
  • University of New South Wales Asia

Bachelor’s or undergraduate programs are 3 to 4 year long. Many private institutions also offer their students fast-track degree courses of 2 to 2.5 years. Master programs are for durations of 1 year to 1.5 or 2 years. Satellite campuses – James Cook University and Curtin University offer master programmes of 1 to 2 years.

Quality of Education

A young Singapore has emerged as the best performing Asian country over the years, and this owes to the quality of the education it imparts. The PISA (Programme for International Students Assessment) has accessed Singaporeans to be high achievers. Singaporeans possess proficiency in Math and Science.

Education is kept at focus and the Ministry of Education (MOE) has made learning an eco-system. The curriculum is designed to make students creative thinkers and doers. Students are actively encouraged to part-take in projects, thus, boosting practical knowledge and involvement.

All teachers are trained at the National Institute of Education (NIE), thus, guaranteeing that all teachers are sufficiently capable of handling new-age classrooms.

Top Courses for Indian Students in Singapore

Singapore is quickly emerging as the best destination for international students. Indian students flock to Singapore to receive globally recognized education. Some of the top courses Indian students Study in academic institutions of Singapore include:

  • MBA
  • Hotel Management
  • Banking and Finance
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science and IT
  • Law

Four Universities of Singapore are bestowed with ranks for the subjects of Engineering and Technology. Globally the NTU and NUS are placed 4th and 9th respectively.

NUS, NTU, and Singapore Management University are placed at ranks 12, 20, and 38, respectively in subjects of Business and Management Studies; and 13, 25, 52 in subjects of Accounting and Finance.

NUS and NTU are in the top 20 in the subjects of Computer science and Information Technology.

Career Outlook

The efforts of the MOE have resulted in the emergence of a highly knowledgeable and skilled workforce. Emerging graduates from educational institutions of Singapore have out taken Japan in PISA scores for readability and science. Singapore has the presence of many MNC big heads like Unilever, IBM, General Motors, and their likes.

Data scientists, IT professionals, HR professionals, and marketing professionals are most sought after in the Singapore employment space.

Working In Singapore as a Student

An Indian student with a valid Student Pass issued by the Immigration Checkpoint Authority (ICA) is permitted to work for 16 hours a week during a term and full-time during vacations. The criterion for a part-time employment opportunity is also that the university enrolled into must be approved by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

To work in Singapore a student is required to possess either of the three –

  • Training work permit – This permit is mandatory for international students undergoing practical training in Singapore. This pass is valid for a period of 6 months.
  • The Training Employment Pass – An international student being trained practically for professional posts and with an earning capacity of SGD 3,000 a month is eligible for a Training Employment Pass
  • Work Holiday Pass – Issued to graduate international students between ages 18 to 25 with the intent to work and holiday in Singapore. This pass is valid for a period of 6 months.

Source: Ministry of Manpower, Government of Singapore (

Cost of Studying and Living in Singapore

Studying abroad carries with it a major cost. The predominant cost for the obvious is the cost of education. Education in Singapore can be affordable in comparison to countries like the UK, USA, and Australia. The fee an International student is charged varies on whether they choose to study at a public or a private institution. Without a doubt, the cost for pursuing programs with public institutions is more economical as compared to their private counterparts.

The public institutions of Singapore see a steady intake of both Singaporeans and international students.

However, across private and public bodies – the cost of education varies among – Singaporeans, Singapore PR, ASEAN residents, and non-ASEAN residents. Non-ASEAN residents pay the highest fees. Indian students fall in the category of Non-ASEAN.

Per year fees for Indian students studying in Singapore

Pre-University$21,000Approx INR 11,65,000
Independent Pre-University$18,000 – $28,800Approx INR 9,99,000 – INR 15,54,000
Polytechnic$10,400Approx INR 5,77,000
Institutes of Technical Education (ITE)$14,370 – $20,480Approx INR 7,98,000 – INR 11,37,000

Public University fees per year for Indian students studying in Singapore

International students$17,500$17,500$24,500
INR 9,71,000INR 9,71,000INR 13,59,000

Cost of living in Singapore as an Indian student

Accommodating is the next big expense after college fees. An Indian student can choose among hostels, rentals, government accommodations, or homestays. Mentioned below are accommodations options and the cost they entail –

University hostels$200 – $700Approx INR 11,200  INR 39,050
Rental apartments$800 – $2,000Approx INR 44,600 – INR 1,11,500
Off-campus hostels$400Approx INR 22,300
Housing & Development Board (HDB) Flats$200 – $1,000Approx INR 11,200 – INR 55,800
Home stay$900 – $2000Approx INR 50,200 – INR 1,11,500

Transportation – Singapore is well connected by an efficient public transport system. An Indian student in Singapore would need $100 to $250 as monthly conveyance.

Scholarships for Indian student 

Scholarships are awarded to Indian students from both private and public education bodies. The government of Singapore recognizes the efforts of meritorious students and awards them in gratitude for scholarships.

Mentioned are some of the scholarships a student from India can apply to –

  • Lee Kong Chian Graduate Scholarships at the National University of Singapore – Awarded to Ph.D. students studying in Singapore.
  • INSEAD-Syngenta MBA Scholarships for Developing Country Leaders – pursuing Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at INSEAD
  • Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA)– Student with exceptional graduate and postgraduate record and showing a willingness to pursue Ph.D.
  • Science & Technology Undergraduate Scholarship from NUS – Asian students pursuing under graduation at NSU
  • Singapore Millennium Foundation Scholarships – post-doctoral or Ph.D. students admitted into NUS and NTU.

Visa Application 

An Indian student accepted into the Singapore education system on a full-time program is eligible for a Student Pass or Student Visa.

The process of application and requirement differs depending on the type of institution intended for study.

To attain a Student Pass – a student to be accepted into a full-time course approved in Singapore. Students pursuing part-time courses, courses conducted on weekends, and courses offered in the evenings are not eligible for a Student Pass.

Post Study Work Permit  

An Indian student in Singapore, after completing their graduation is issued a Short-Term Visit Pass. This short-term pass is issued to a student on the expiry of their Student Pass. The pass allows students to stay back in Singapore for 90 days in search of a job. However, while on a short-term pass a student is not permitted to be employed.

Long-term Social Visit Pass (LTVP) – A student graduating from a university enlisted on the Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) can stay back and work in Singapore for a period of 1 year on an LTVP. LTVP cannot be renewed.

Employment Pass – A minimum remuneration of SGD 4,500 per month and employment to managerial, specialized, and executive jobs grants the international student an Employment Pass. Additionally, the student should have graduated with professional degrees from the good universities of Singapore. The employer sponsors this work visa.

S Pass – A minimum remuneration of SGD 3000 per month and employment as specialist or technicians, grants, and international candidate an S Pass. Additionally, the candidate must have a degree or diploma with acceptable educational qualifications to qualify for an S Pass. The employer sponsors this work visa.

Entry Pass – Issued to graduate international students that set up business in Singapore, and are registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). The business must be a private establishment or must be intended towards the same. There is a list of other criteria a candidate needs to comply with.

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