Research Programmes: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between a research-based and coursework-based graduate programme?
A: The research-based graduate programmes provide training in a particular subject through independent investigation, study and experimental work, culminating in the submission of a thesis on the research undertaken. A supervisor or supervisors will be appointed for each candidate. Candidates are also required to attend appropriate lectures and sit for written examinations.
Coursework-based graduate programmes involves attendance of formal classes. Degrees are awarded once the candidate pass the relevant examinations and achieve the required level of proficiency in the examinations.
Q: In what disciplines are research programmes available in the Faculty of Science?
A: The Faculty offers research programmes in the following departments and programmes:
- Department of Biological Sciences
- Department of Chemistry
- Department of Food Science and Technology
- Department of Mathematics
- Department of Pharmacy
- Department of Physics
- Department of Statistics and Applied Probability
Q: What are the admission requirements?
A: For graduate research programmes, the admission requirements are as follows:
- A good NUS Honors degree (Second Class and above) or equivalent (e.g. a four-year Bachelor degree with at least an average grade of B or equivalent) in a relevant discipline
- TOEFL/ IELTS, where applicable
- GRE/ GATE, where applicable and
- Additional department requirements, where applicable. E.g. Interview. Please refer to the respective department websites.
Q: Is there any age limit?
A: There is no age limit.
Q: Is TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) a pre-requisite for admission?
A: Applicants whose native tongue or medium of university instruction is not completely in English should submit TOEFL or IELTS score as evidence of their proficiency in the English language. Alternatively, applicants should supply a documentary proof that the medium of instruction for their first degree was conducted 100% in English.
Q: What is the minimum TOEFL/ IETLS score required?
A: A minimum TOEFL score of 85 is required for the internet-based test (with a minimum of 22 for the writing section), or 580 for the paper-based test, or 260 for the computer-based test; while a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 is required.
Q: What is the validity period of TOEFL/ IELTS score reports?
A: TOEFL/ IELTS score reports are only valid for two years after the test and the validity period should not expire before the beginning of the application period for the relevant intake for which you are applying.
Q: How do I register for TOEFL/ IELTS?
For TOEFL, please quote our University code 9087 and the specific department codes.
- Biological Sciences: 35
- Chemistry: 62
- Mathematics: 72
- Pharmacy: 47
- Physics: 76
- Statistics: 59
Q: Is GRE (Graduate Record Examination) a pre-requisite for admission?
A: Applicants (except NUS graduates) applying for disciplines in the Faculty of Science should preferably submit GRE scores.
Please quote our University code of 0677 and the specific department codes.
- Biological Sciences: 0299
- Chemistry: 0301
- Mathematics: 0703
- Pharmacy: 0613
- Physics: 0808
- Statistics: 0705
Q: How many intakes are there per year?
A: There are two intakes per academic year - one in January and the other in August.
Q: When are the deadlines for submission of application?
A: All application forms and supporting documents must reach our University by the following deadlines:
- Semester 1 (August) intake - 15 November of the previous year
- Semester 2 (January) intake - 15 May of the previous year
Q: How do I submit an application?
A: You may do so via our online application system.
Q: How do I apply for Joint Phd programmes listed in the Science website?
A: The Joint PhD programmes are offered in partnership with an institution. Interested applicants are to indicate their choice in the Graduate Admission System. The department will then assess your suitability for the Joint PhD programme.
Q: Can I apply for more than one programme at the same time? What is the maximum number of programmes I can apply to?
A: Yes, you may. You must use the "Add New Application" feature in the application system. There is no limit to the number of applications you may apply to. However, you need to submit separate sets of supporting documents for each department/ programme for which you are applying. The application fee must also be paid for each application submitted. If you are successful in more than one application, you must choose to pursue only one programme.
Q: If I intend to pursue my studies on a self-financing basis, what type of financial statement should I submit?
A: You should submit one of the following documents:
- A bank statement of your finance or
- A letter of confirmation from a sponsor and the sponsor's bank statement or
- Documentary evidence of scholarship or other award that you have obtained.
The financial statement should indicate a total of at least S$40,000 or its equivalent.
Q: How do I pay for the application fee?
A: You may pay via
- E-payment by credit card if you are applying through the NUS online application portal
- Cheque or bank draft, drawn on a bank in Singapore, should be crossed and made payable to the "National University of Singapore". The payment must be made in Singapore currency or the equivalent in US dollars. Please write your name, postal address and programme applied on the reverse side of the cheque or bank draft.
- Payment by NETS at the Student Services Centre (located at Yusof Ishak House)
Q: How do I work out a research proposal?
A: You may visit the website of any relevant Department/ Programme to check their research focus. If you have further questions on this, you may communicate directly with the Department/ Programme through the contacts indicated on their websites.
Q: (a) My referee did not receive any email to submit the referral report. (b) My referee missed the deadline the submit the referral report. What should I do?
Q: My referee made a mistake in the report and would like to rectify it. What can I do?
Q: Can I make changes to my application?
Q: I have mailed my supporting documents and the received confirmation from my courier that the package has been received. However, my application checklist is still not updated. How will I know if my application is complete?
A: The department graduate programmes administrator will update your application status to 'Physical Application Verified' in due course. If your application is incomplete, the department graduate programmes administrator will send you an email directly.
Q: The application deadline was yesterday. Can my application still be accepted if I send all documents to you within 2 days?
A: You will not be able to submit your application online after the system closes. Late applications will not be processed and extensions of deadline will not be granted.
Q: When will I know the outcome of my application?
A: All applicants will be informed by 31 May (for the August intake) or 31 October (for the January intake).
Q: If I am successful in my application, can I defer admission?
A: Deferment of admission is not encouraged. You are advised to apply when you are ready. Should an unforeseen situation arise that requires you to defer your admission, you may forward your request, with reasons, to the Vice Dean (Graduate Programmes) through the supervisor and the Head of Department.
Q: Do I need to purchase medical insurance policy?
A: All full-time graduate students, including research scholars (local and international) and international self-financing students, must subscribe to a medical insurance policy which helps you to pay (in part or full) medical expenses incurred as a result of hospitalisation/ accident/ mental health treatment.
For research scholars, we will deduct the premium from the stipend on a semestral basis. Self-financing local students who have similar coverage (for hospitalisation and personal accident) bought elsewhere and do not wish to subscribe to our scheme may choose to opt out. However, students must submit documentary proof and sign an undertaking that they have the essential coverage. Details on the insurance scheme are available here.
Q: How do I apply for entry visa?
A: For international students who require an entry visa, please refer to the website of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at http://www.ica.gov.sg for the list of countries. Our Registrar's Office will assist to apply for a single-journey visa cum in-principle Student Pass approval on your behalf. The original approval letter issued by the ICA and your valid passport must be presented to the Duty Officer at the Immigration checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore. No deposit is required by the Immigration office.
Q: How do I apply for a Student's Pass?
A: Upon offer of admission by our Faculty to our graduate programme, the Registrar's Office (RO) will initiate an online application for you with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). RO will then email you instructions to submit an application online. ICA will then process the application. Upon arrival, RO will email you an in-principle approval letter for you to enter Singapore.
On your arrival in Singapore, you will be given a Social Visit Pass valid for two weeks to a month. During this period, you must complete the Student Pass application process with ICA. All foreigners applying for a Student's Pass of six months or more will have to undergo a medical examination. Issuance of the Student's Pass will be subject to the outcome of your medical report.
Q: Is a medical check-up required before I enter Singapore?
A: All international students applying for Student's Pass of six months or more will have to undergo a medical examination. Issuance of the Student's Pass will be subject to the outcome of the medical report. Those who are found to have active Tuberculosis or HIV infection will not be granted the Student's Pass, and as such, will have to return to their country at their own expense. In view of this, international students may wish to undergo a similar health examination before coming to Singapore.
Q: How do I apply for scholarship?
A: You should indicate on the application that you would like to apply for research scholarship by selecting the appropriate scholarship in the data entry field, "Source of Finance".
Q: Who is eligible to apply for a Research Scholarship?
A: The Research Scholarship is awarded to outstanding candidates to pursue a full-time graduate research degree at NUS.
Applicants should be university graduates with at least second class honors (upper division) degree or equivalent and at the time of the award of the Research Scholarship, must have applied for, and been assured of admission as a candidate for a graduate research degree programme at this University. There is no restriction on the nationality of applicants.
A limited amount of funds is available each academic year. They are therefore awarded on a very competitive basis.
Q: What is the emolument of the Research Scholarship?
A: Each Ph.D. scholarship carries a monthly stipend of S$2,000 (international students), S$2,200 (Singapore Permanent Resident) or S$2,700 (Singapore Citizen) and a full tuition/ research fee subsidy. No travel or other allowances are provided. Ph.D. candidates who have passed their PhD Qualifying Examination are eligible for a Ph.D. top-up of S$500 per month.
Q: What is the tenure of the Research Scholarship?
A: The Research Scholarship is initially awarded for one year. It may be renewed annually on the basis of a scholar's performance in the previous year. The scholarship is generally awarded to Ph.D. candidates only. The maximum period of award is four years for Ph.D. candidates.
Q: What is the tenure of the Ph.D. top-up?
A: The Ph.D. top-up will expire at the earliest of the following dates:
- Two years from the date of award of the top-up; or
- At the end of the fourth year of the graduate candidature; or
- At the expiry of the Research Scholarship
Q: What are the tuition/ research fees for part-time and full-time students?
A: The tuition fees are the same for both part-time and full-time research students. The fee rates change every academic year. For the most updated tuition fee rates, please refer here.
Q: Is there a bond tied to the Research Scholarship?
A: There is no bond. However, students are required to fulfil the requirements of the Graduate Assistantship Programme during the tenure period of the scholarship.
Q: Is there an application fee for research programmes?
A: Yes, the fee is S$50 (for both online and paper application) inclusive of GST per application.
Q: What is the estimated cost of living in Singapore?
A: The monthly living expenses for a single international graduate student is approximately S$2,000 to S$3,000. For more information, please refer to the Global Relations Office website.
Q: In addition to the tuition/ research fees, do I need to make other payments?
A: The other fees are:
- Student Service Fee
- Health Service Fee
To find out more, please refer here.
Q: Who can I contact if I would like to find out more about the application procedure for admission to research programmes?
Q: Who can I contact if I would like to find out more about the research programmes of the individual departments?
A: The relevant email addresses are indicated below: