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Universities in Singapore

Whether you choose a public university or a private foreign institution, universities in Singapore enjoy an excellent reputation. Whoever manages to fulfill the competitive admission requirements and to afford the tuition fees enjoys a top-notch education. Read all about it in our guide.
Despite its small size, Singapore has many public and private universities offering an excellent education.
  • Singapore has a very well-regarded education system and has plans in place to further improve it by 2020.
  • There are various types of university such as public universities, polytechnics, and foreign university campuses. The latter are often private.
  • Alongside the standard Singaporean qualifications, a variety of equivalent foreign qualifications are accepted by universities in Singapore.
  • Foreign students have to pay higher fees compared to Singaporean nationals.
  • You will need to figure in additional miscellaneous fees on top of your tuition to cover things such as healthcare.

An Education System That Continues to Improve

Singapore has an excellent education system, which encourages students to fully develop their potential. This is also true for higher education: Singapore’s students can choose between various public universities in Singapore and many private institutions. Indeed, more than half of the Singaporean workforce has a university education.

The Committee on University Education Pathways Beyond 2015 has set out the plans for the Singaporean education system past 2015. By 2020, there will be 3,000 more places at publicly-funded universities, which would mean that the number of students who continue on to a publicly-funded university would increase by 40%.  

Public Universities in Singapore

Despite its rather small size, Singapore is the proud home of various public universities offering different disciplines and degrees. These universities are funded by the government and open to both Singaporean and foreign students. However, financial aid may only be available to citizens and permanent residents. These are the public universities in Singapore:

The Ministry of Education and the Committee on University Education Pathways might decide to establish additional universities in Singapore at some point in the future. The list of institutions in this article is by no means extensive.

Local Polytechnics Offer High-Standard Industry Training

For some students, local polytechnics are a viable alternative to universities in Singapore. They offer a three-year diploma program in various fields, including business studies, engineering, humanities, digital media, and many more. Even more specialized fields of study are available. Local polytechnics are very industry-oriented. Upon completion, students have the choice between entering the labor market or pursuing further university education. Local polytechnics in Singapore include:

Foreign and International Universities in Singapore

In addition to local universities, both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are offered by foreign universities with campuses based in Singapore and international institutions of higher education. These universities are usually private and have a smaller number of students than the local public institutions. Some of them include:

Please be aware that the Ngee Ann Adelaide Education Centre is no longer accepting students as the partnership with Australia has ended and the school is thus only finishing the courses of current students.

General Admission Requirements

Although admission requirements might vary significantly depending on the university you wish to attend, we have compiled a general overview.

Most local universities accept various alternatives to a Singaporean High School Diploma or Singapore-Cambridge GCE A level. These include the German Abitur, the US High School Diploma, as well as the IB and the French Baccalaureate Diploma. What is important is that you have completed a minimum of 12 years of general education before applying to universities in Singapore. Some foreign applicants might be required to submit additional IELTS or TOEFL test results. Don’t forget to find out which type of visa for Singapore you might need.

Pay special attention to the application deadlines as these may vary depending on your university of choice, your degree, and even the program you apply for. If you miss this deadline, you might be asked to apply again for the following academic year. If you have further questions, please contact the university of your choice.

Tuition Fees Could Quickly Add Up

Some universities are subsidized by the government and thus have the option to offer selected students admission at a reduced tuition fee. It depends on the university itself if this is possible for international students as well as for Singaporean citizens. In any case, foreign students are charged a higher tuition for attending university than Singaporeans.

In addition, students are charged additional miscellaneous fees which cover student services, health insurance, and academic expenses. As is always the case, private institutions are much more expensive than local public universities in Singapore. All this will add to your cost of living in Singapore.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Donald Moore

"I moved to Singapore to build up my own business. In fact, it was easier than expected. With InterNations I quickly got in touch with the lively expat community here."

Barbara Sciera

"Settling as an expat woman in a different culture is always hard. But with InterNations I got to know many other expat spouses that helped me."

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