Study in Singapore: A Guide for Indian Students

About Singapore

The island-nation of Singapore derives its name from ‘Singapura’, meaning “the land of lions”. A highly developed country with an intriguing past, Singapore is an inspiration of the Orient in terms of progress and scientific advancement. Firmly establishing itself as the economic powerhouse of Asia, Singapore has taken significant strides towards making its presence felt on the world map. It is a densely populated country with a high rate of revenue garnered from its thriving tourism industry. Recently, Singapore has also joined the ranks with some of the most technologically developed nations in terms of technological innovation, design and scientific research.

Why choose to study in Singapore?

Singapore has gradually emerged as one of the most sought-after countries for higher education among international students. One look at the reasons stated below, and you too will know why Singapore is your ideal higher studies destination.

·         The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) consistently find a place among the top 20 in the QS University Rankings for Asia. These apart, there are other superior centres of higher education in Singapore, some of which are offsite campuses for leading Australian and American universities.

·         All the courses for international students who have come to study in Singapore across all levels of higher education are taught in English.

·         Cost effectiveness is a prime quality of higher studies in Singapore. With varied courses taught at more affordable rates than the universities in the United Kingdom or the USA, Singapore offers excellent higher education for both local and international students.

·         Singapore offers lucrative job opportunities for international students who maintain a stellar academic record during their studies in the country.

·         With a large number of Indian and Sri Lankan students enrolled at the higher education institutes of the country, Singapore also has a lively South-Asian student community.

·         Another reason to study in Singapore is the stringent policies and law enforcement system against racism, drug abuse and deviance that ensures a safe and peaceful environment in the country.

·         A well-connected country, Singapore can be reached by frequent flights from any part of the globe.

Higher education in Singapore

The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore oversees the policy-making and implementation in the educational sector and contributes about 20 percent of the GDP in the development of education in the country. If you are contemplating to study in Singapore, you should know that the country offers internationally acclaimed degrees in multiple fields. Research and innovation oriented education, as well as technical skill oriented courses, are available for international students in the higher education institutions in Singapore. A trendy choice for international students worldwide, Singapore is renowned for its dynamic curriculums and focus on industry specific training at the tertiary levels of education.

The higher education institutions in Singapore consist of vocational education institutes, polytechnics, local universities and foreign universities.

The best local institutes and universities for international students to study in Singapore are as follows.

·         Nanyang Technological University
·         National University of Singapore
·         Singapore Management University
·         Singapore University of Technology and Design
·         Singapore Institute of Technology
·         Singapore University of Social Sciences
·         Management Development Institute of Singapore
·         LASALLE College of the Arts
·         Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

The leading foreign universities with renowned off-site campuses in Singapore are also popular choices among international students. Some of the most preferred foreign universities in Singapore are as follows.

·         Chicago Business School (USA)
·         Technische Universitat Munchen (Germany)
·         James Cook University (Australia)
·         University of Adelaide (Australia)
·         University of New Brunswick (USA)
·         Temple University (USA)
·         Curtin University of Technology (Australia)

Popular courses in Singapore

Singapore offers numerous courses leading up to globally acclaimed diplomas and degrees in its higher education institutes. The courses are structured with an emphasis on providing incisive and skill oriented education suited for industries with a further focus on research and development. 
The most popular courses for Indian students to study in Singapore are in the following disciplines.
·         Engineering

·         Game development and design
·         Animation
·         Computer science and information technology
·         Hospitality and tourism
·         Business administration and management
·         Art and design
·         Law and legal studies

Eligibility criteria

The specific eligibility criteria to study in Singapore vary among courses, levels of study and the higher education institutions.
Below are the required English language proficiency scores for the higher education institutions in Singapore.

Undergraduate (Arts and Commerce)
Overall band score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each of the segments
Undergraduate (Science)
Overall band score of 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in each of the segments
Overall band score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each of the segments

The general eligibility criteria according to the respective levels of study are detailed below.
v  Undergraduate courses:

·         Successful completion of plus-two level qualification covering primary and secondary education equivalent to school-leaving certificate in Singapore
·         Requisite English language proficiency scores (IELTS/TOEFL CBT/PTE)

v  Postgraduate courses:

·         Successful completion of three-year or four-year bachelor’s level qualification
·         Requisite English language proficiency score (IELTS/TOEFL CBT/PTE)
·         Relevant work experience or research publication (depends on the specific abroad study program)

If you are an MBA aspirant wishing to study in Singapore, you will additionally have to provide the requisite GMAT scores along with the academic transcripts, proof of relevant work experience and English language proficiency scores to be eligible to apply in the reputed business schools of the country.

Cost of education in Singapore

The cost of education in Singapore is comparatively lower than those in the UK and the USA. It is, in fact, one of the primary reasons that international students flock to study in Singapore, a country replete with premier higher education institutions of global repute.

The average tuition fees in the universities of Singapore are around S$ 14,000 per year, but the fee structure is variable upon the type of institution (public or private) and the course of choice. For example, the yearly tuition fees for dentistry and medicine programs range between S$ 15,900 to S$ 50,800.

The government of Singapore also offers tuition fee subsidies for more than fifty percent of the international students among all the new entrants into the higher education system of the country.

Scholarships and financial aid to study in Singapore

The government of Singapore allows international students to apply for tuition fee subsidies for studying in public higher education institutions of the country. Many Indian students avail this financial aid to study in Singapore. In return for the subsidies received, the international students have to sign a bond with the government of Singapore that requires them to work in a government service on completion of their studies as a form of repayment.

The Ministry of Education (MOE), charitable organisations and universities of Singapore offer a wide range of scholarships and fellowships for international students. Indian students can benefit significantly from these scholarships as most of these are focused on students coming from the developing nations of the world.

The following are a list of scholarships that can be applied for by Indian students for pursuing higher education in Singapore.

·         The Singapore Scholarship of the Republic of Singapore
·         INSEAD Syngenta Endowed Scholarships for  Emerging Country Leadership
·         ASEAN Foundation Research Scholarship
·         Asian Development Bank – Japan Scholarship programs
·         Science and Education for Agriculture and Development (SEARCA) Graduate Program
·         United World Colleges (UWC) International Youth Scholarships

Student visa for Singapore

The student visa process to study in Singapore is simple and devoid of too many hassles. It starts with you receiving your acceptance letter and in-principle approval letter for the desired course at a Singaporean university after which you will have to apply for your Student Pass to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) within two weeks of being accepted. Usually, the university will register you with the online portal named Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration System (also known as SOLAR) after which you need to fill and submit the eForm 16 to register your student visa application.

On arrival in Singapore, you will receive a disembarkation/ embarkation card from the immigration authorities and have to book an appointment with the ICA to collect your Student Pass. The documents required for collecting the Student Pass from ICA on arrival in Singapore are as follows.

·         A copy of duly filled-in eForm 16
·         A valid passport or similar travel document
·         One passport-sized photograph
·         A copy of the in-principle approval letter
·         A medical report as per the immigration requirements

You will also have to submit S$ 60 as visa fees to the ICA when you collect your Student Pass required for international students to study in Singapore.

Accommodation for international students in Singapore

The international students in Singapore can either opt for on-campus or off-campus accommodation. Most universities have on-campus accommodation arrangement with special preference given to the first-years.

·         On-campus student residence:

The universities or a private agency on behalf of a higher education institution manages the student hostels in Singapore. The monthly rent for a single or twin-sharing fully furnished room at a private student hostel is around S$ 500 to S$ 700. The rent includes utility services like water, electricity, Internet connectivity as well as laundry and cleaning services, security management and meal plans.

·         Homestays:

International students can also opt to live in homestays during their study in Singapore. You will be provided with a fully furnished room at the home of a Singaporean family, and you can experience the daily life and culture of the country from close quarters. The monthly rent for homestays in Singapore range from S$ 1000 to S$ 1600 and include all the utility costs and meals.

·         Private apartments:

If you prefer solitude and privacy, then renting private apartments is the ideal option for you. These apartments are available for a monthly rent starting from S$ 600 up to S$ 1800, depending mostly on the location of the apartment complex. These are minimally furnished with a bed, sofa and cupboards and you might have to arrange for other furniture as per your need if you rent a private apartment in Singapore. Also, be careful to note whether the utility costs of water, electricity and Internet connection are included in the monthly rent as you might have to pay for these separately in most cases.

Part-time jobs for international students in Singapore

The Student Pass allows you to be employed in part-time work while enrolled at a public university or polytechnic during your study in Singapore. This option is not available for international students enrolled in the private higher education institutes.
The Student Pass from the ICA allows international students to engage in 16 hours of part-time work per week in sectors like data-entry and operations, hospitality and tourism, and interpretation and translation jobs.

Job opportunities for international students in Singapore

If you apply for a tuition grant or tuition fee subsidy from the Ministry of Education for your overseas education in Singapore, you are contract-bound to serve the country in a company based in the country at a job of your specialised sector for at least three years as repayment. For students of medicine and dentistry, this contract can extend up to five years. In case you have not applied for
Most higher education institutions in the country have a career guidance as part of the facilities they offer to international students during your study in Singapore, so you are accustomed to the legal obligations and job search on completion of their studies. Many courses in Singapore have intensive internships integrated into their curriculum, and this helps you to be incorporated into those companies after the completion of the courses.

The most promising jobs in Singapore are in the following sectors.

·         Software development
·         Game design
·         Animation
·         Computer science and IT
·         Medicine
·         Finance and accounting
·         Marketing and management

With this comprehensive guide, planning your study in Singapore will now be an easy breeze.


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