information for global expats

Universities for Expats in Singapore

Submitted: February 2014

If you make the decision to pursue higher education in Singpaore, you will be met with the daunting task of selecting the appropriate university for your particular academic needs and interests. Despite its small size, Singapore has many institutions that will allow you the opportunity for acquiring an advanced degree or some other type of professional qualification.

You will be pleased to know that most universities in Singapore have a stellar academic reputation and that there are many private and publicly-funded universities which offer a world-class education.



Admission requirements will ultimately vary depending upon which university you choose to attend, however see some general requirements below:

  • 12 years general education - You must have completed a minimum of 12 years of general education before applying to a Singaporean university.
  • Singaporean High School Diploma / Singapore-Cambridge GCE A level – the equivalent foreign diplomas to these are also accepted, such as the US High School Diploma, German Abitur, the IB and the French Baccalaureate Diploma.
  • IELTS or TOEFL – your results from these language examinations this may be required if English is not your first language.
  • Visa – It is important that you have the appropriate visa for your duration in Singapore



Generally, foreign students are charged higher tuition fees for attending university than those charged to Singaporeans. Some publicly-funded universities offer selected students at a reduced tuition fee. However, as to whether this applies to foreign students or not will vary between the universities.  Private universities as a result have more expensive tuition fees than public universities.



There are over 300 private universities in Singapore to choose from. Private schools offer a large variety of courses, including language and professional programmes. These universities often have a smaller number of students than their publicly-funded counterparts. When choosing a private university, it is imperative that you make sure it has proper accreditation before enrolling. Some private universities for you to consider are:



Singapore has six main national universities. This list is not by any means exhaustive as the Ministry of Education may decide to establish other universities in the future. Singaporean and foreign students may attend these universities however financial aid is only available to citizens or permanent residents of Singapore. Below are the public universities in Singapore:



In Singapore, Polytechnics offer 3-year diploma courses instead of degree courses. They accept students based on their GCE "O" level, GCE "A" level or Institute of Technical Education (ITE) results. Polytechnics offer a wide range of courses in various fields, including engineering, accountancy, humanities, business and tourism to name a few. They also offer specialized courses such as marine engineering and nursing.  Most graduates of polytechnics with good grades often continue to pursue further tertiary education at the universities. Alternatively, some choose to enter the labour market immediately.  Some local polytechnics in Singapore are:



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