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Get Admitted to Your Dream University – National University of Singapore

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is a national public research university located in Queenstown, Singapore. Established in 1905 as the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States Government Medical School, NUS is the oldest autonomous university in the country. It offers degree programmes in a wide range of disciplines at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including in the sciences, medicine and dentistry, design and environment, law, arts and social sciences, engineering, business, computing, and music. The National University of Singapore aspires to be a vital community of academics, researchers, staff, students, and alumni working together in a spirit of innovation and enterprise for a better world.

NUS is one of the most highly ranked academic institutions in the world. It has consistently featured in the top 20 of the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, and in the top 100 of the Academic Ranking of World Universities. As of 2022–2023, NUS is 11th worldwide according to QS and 19th worldwide according to THE.


NUS has three campuses: Kent Ridge, Bukit Timah, and Outram.

  • Kent Ridge Campus: This is the primary campus and is adjacent to the Kent Ridge subzone of Queenstown, accommodating an area of 170 ha (420 acres). The Yale-NUS College, a joint liberal arts college between NUS and Yale University, is located next to the NUS University Town on the main campus.

  • Bukit Timah Campus: Bukit Timah campus houses the Faculty of Law and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

  • Outram Campus: The Duke–NUS Medical School, a postgraduate medical school jointly established with Duke University, is located at the Outram campus.

Colleges and Schools:

NUS boasts of teaching 4000+ modules each semester through its 16 colleges, faculties, and schools. Some of these are listed below:

  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • NUS Business School
  • School of Continuing and Lifelong Education
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • College of Design and Engineering
  • Duke-NUS Medical School
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
  • Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
  • Faculty of Science
  • Yale-NUS College

International students targeting NUS need to have an excellent academic profile as a prerequisite to apply to most of the programs offered here. When assessing applicants, the admissions committee considers grades as the primary criterion. Students with a holistic profile can also benefit from the activities they have participated in. Let us take a look at some key application requirements.

1. Academic Requirements:

NUS has specific requirements for international students applying to different programs offered there. The requirements differ based on the boards (CBSE or IB) students complete their Grade XII from.

Course/Degree Minimum Subject Requirements (CBSE)# Minimum Subject Requirements (IB)*


Year 12 or higher level pass in Chemistry or Mathematics or Physics or Physical Science.

Pass in SL Chemistry or SL MAA or SL Physics or HL MAI.

Business Administration

Year 12 or higher level pass in Mathematics.

Pass in HL MAA or SL MAA or HL MAI.

Computer Engineering

Year 12 or higher level pass in Mathematics and Physics or Chemistry.

Pass in HL MAA; and either HL Physics or HL Chemistry or HL Computer Science.

Computer Science

Year 12 or higher level pass in Mathematics.

Pass in HL Computer Science or HL MAA or HL Physics;


Good pass in either SL MAA or HL MAI.


Year 12 or higher level pass in Chemistry and either Biology or Physics.

Pass in HL Chemistry; and either HL Biology or HL Physics.


Year 12 or higher level pass in Mathematics.

Pass in HL MAA.

Food Science and Technology

Year 12 or higher level pass in any two of the following: Biology or Chemistry or Computing or Physics or Physical Science or Mathematics/Further Mathematics.

Any two passes in HL Chemistry, HL Biology, HL Physics, HL Computer Science, and HL MAA.


A high level of proficiency in the English Language (e.g. General Paper B, IELTS 7 or TOEFL iBT 100 or SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score of 700 or AP English Language Grade 4).

At least a grading of 5 points in SL/HL English+;

OR SL Literature & Performance;

OR SAT Critical Reading/Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score of 700 accompanied by a minimum grading of 4 points for SL English or SL Literature & Performance.


Year 12 or higher level pass in Chemistry and Biology or Physics.


BMAT/UCAT is required.

Pass in HL Chemistry; and either HL Biology or HL Physics.


BMAT/UCAT is required if you are presenting predicted IB Diploma results.

Pharmaceutical Science

Strong Year 12 pass or strong higher-level pass in Chemistry and Biology or Physics or Mathematics

Very good pass in HL Chemistry; and a very good pass in HL Biology or HL MAA or HL Physics.

Real Estate

Year 12 or higher level pass in Chemistry or Mathematics or Physics.

Pass in SL Chemistry or SL MAA or SL Physics;



#While these are minimum requirements, the admissions committee at NUS also considers other academic achievements such as exceptional ranks in top university entrance examinations like JEE Advanced. Applicants can also submit SAT and AP scores to boost their chances of admission.

*MAA = Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches | MAI = Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation

Applicants considering Architecture, Dentistry, Industrial Design, Law, Medicine and Nursing are required to appear for Faculty Tests and Interviews in addition to fulfilling the minimum requirements listed above. 

2. Essays

Students applying to NUS’s undergraduate programs have the option to answer 5 short prompts and explain 1 extracurricular activity in detail. It is important to note that the students’ academic performance plays an important role during the application process. However, NUS also has a holistic approach (known as Aptitude-Based Admissions) to assess applicants for admissions into their chosen degree courses. This means that besides academic grades, other factors, such as the applicant’s interest, aptitude, and prior preparation, will also be used to admit the applicant.

3. Extra-curricular Activities

The students applying to NUS have an opportunity to take advantage of the Aptitude-Based Admissions (ABA) scheme. This takes into account students’ passions, interests, and strengths. Applicants with exceptional talents and/or outstanding achievements beyond their schools’ co-curricular activities can be considered, subject to a minimum level of academic competence. All applicants for all degree courses are required to list up to three of their achievements, or co-curricular activities, or non-academic activities (e.g. social work, competitive sports) and to answer short response questions, besides providing their grades. These may include:

  • Medals won at the International Olympiads (Biology, Chemistry, Informatics, Mathematics and Physics)

  • Participation in arts or sports competitions on state or national level

  • Active participation in community service and volunteering work

  • Internship or substantial work experience that is related to your degree choices

  • Key leadership positions in community service, or sports/arts associations, outside the school environment

  • Leading role in entrepreneurship efforts

  • Creation of a new software or app, or contribution to an open-source software, that is used by many people

Applicants must note that each College / Faculty / School considers different factors for its holistic assessment. If shortlisted, applicants may be asked to provide additional information specific to that College / Faculty / School, or be required to take a test, or to go for an interview. These will be communicated at the appropriate time.

4. Required Tests: 

Most prospective students are exempt from taking English proficiency tests like IELTS/TOEFL. However, if the applicants have studied from an Indian State Board, then taking these exams (in addition to the SAT and AP Tests) would become a prerequisite. To understand these requirements better, we highly encourage students to read this article.

5. Sessions and Deadlines

International students can apply for the August intake at NUS. Generally, students can apply for this intake from October/November of the previous year to late February of the year of the intended start date. Keeping in mind the demands of the application process, it is recommended that applicants submit their applications at least 15 days before the deadline. Students must also remember that if they wish to apply for any scholarships, they have to first apply to a relevant course at NUS. The deadlines for the application of scholarships are usually one week after the deadlines for the courses.

6. Tuition Fee and Cost of Living

For students planning to study at NUS, it is important to understand the financial aspects involved in the process. NUS has a helpful Financial Aid Calculator that lets students determine their overall cost of study per year, based on the choice of programs. For example, an international student opting for a course in Computing would end up spending around S$28,545* annually as the cost of study and accommodation (without any tuition grant). In addition, they would spend approximately S$10,000 on miscellaneous expenses throughout the year. The overall cost of studying at NUS can range from S$16,000 to S$80,000 depending on the course and type of accommodation.

*Conversion Rate as of 7th February 2023 → S$1 = INR 62.37 = USD 0.75

7. Scholarships

NUS offers deserving international students many opportunities to avail scholarships. The table below lists some prominent ones.

Scholarship Eligibility Requirements Coverage

Science & Technology (S&T) Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Be citizens of an Asian country or region, excluding Singapore

  • Have strong leadership qualities and potential

  • Present excellent co-curricular activities records

  • Possess outstanding high school results

  • Be applying for admission to a full-time undergraduate degree programme in Computing, Engineering or Science (excluding Environmental Studies and Pharmacy) at NUS.

  • Tuition fees (after MOE Tuition Grant Subsidy) and compulsory fees

  • S$6,000 annual living allowance

  • S$1,750 one-time computer allowance upon enrolment

  • S$200 one-time settling-in allowance upon enrolment

  • Annual accommodation allowance equivalent to the lowest double room rate for on-campus accommodation

  • One-way air passage from home country to Singapore at the beginning of the course of study, and return air passage from Singapore to home country at the end of the course

Dr. Goh Keng Swee Scholarship

  • Open to citizens/passport holders of Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

  • Possess strong leadership qualities, good academic and co-curricular activities (CCA) achievements.

  • Have taken the SAT or made arrangements to take the SAT.

  • Tuition and other compulsory fees;

  • Airfare (to Singapore and return to home country upon completion of study);

  • Annual maintenance allowance of S$6500;

  • Hostel allowance

  • Settling-in allowance (one-off expense) of S$200 upon arrival in Singapore.

GIC Scholarship

  • Students of all nationalities are welcome to apply

  • Good academic results in GCE ‘A’ Level, International Baccalaureate, Polytechnic Diploma or NUS High diploma

  • Good CCA/NS records or external involvement in community service

  • Candidates with strong critical thinking, creativity and leadership qualities

  • Applicable only to Pre-Tertiary students

  • All tuition and compulsory fees

  • Monthly living allowance

  • One time pre‐studies allowance for warm clothing, settling‐in, etc.

  • Return economy airfare

  • Opportunities for sponsorship of student exchange, summer programmes and foreign language studies

  • Internships during second year of study

  • Sponsorship for Masters upon approval by management

Conversion Rate as of 7th February 2023 → S$1 = INR 62.37 = USD 0.75

8. How To Apply?

All prospective students must apply to NUS through its website. Students need to sign up on this portal to initiate the application. They are then required to fill in personal and academic information, post which they can choose the faculty and course they wish to apply to.

All things considered, NUS offers a great college experience for international students. Being among the top universities in the world, NUS offers excellent academic opportunities in its state-of-the-art facilities for students to discover their true potential.


About the Author: 

Aashay Ghadge is an American TESOL Certified English Trainer. He has spent over 5 years teaching 4000+ students from varied cultural and educational backgrounds across China and Thailand. He also has certifications for teaching IELTS, TOEFL iBT, and PTE from exam-conducting bodies like Cambridge, IDP, ETS, and Pearson. He has been helping students succeed in these tests since 2018.

Scholarly helps ambitious international students locate the right universities and courses to pursue their education. We provide college credit courses and research papers to students that want to learn more and differentiate themselves. We help students develop and present their best version to their dream university. Our recommendations are based on the student’s field of interest, academic performance, financial resources and career plans. We provide test preparation classes from the best teachers to help improve scores and thus the prospects for admission. We also assist students with their visa and loan applications to reduce the anxiety associated with international education.

For additional questions about international education, choice of majors, university selection or admission strategies please visit the Questions section of our website.

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