Briefly about secondary education in Singapore

Until 2024, Singapore is having a specialized secondary education. Based on the PSLE ​​exam students are divided into 4 main specializations:

  • Standard academic (preparation for the university);
  • Standard technical (vocational training);
  • Express;
  • The integrated program.

In standard specializations (academic and technical), training lasts for 4 years and upon graduation, students pass the Singapore-Cambridge Exam (GCE) level "N" (Normal). They also have the opportunity to learn for an extra year and pass the GCE level “O” (Ordinary). In the technical field, preference is given to more applied areas (for example, design or technology), while in the academic field, fundamental sciences (for example, the basics of accounting).

The express specialization lasts for 4 years, followed by Singapore-Cambridge GCE "O" level. In such programs, special emphasis is placed on the in-depth study of the native or foreign languages.

Integrated programs last for 4 years. The best students with high achievements study at them. Upon completion, IB diplomas are issued or GCE level "A" (Advanced) is taken.

In Singapore, there are specialized independent schools with a focus on mathematics and science, sports, or the arts.

In universities of Singapore, there is a lot of competition for admission, so the high score for the GCE exam (from A, O to N in descending order) gives the applicant a major advantage. The scores are also taken into account when enrolling in universities around the world.

By 2025, the Singapore government plans to reform secondary education by replacing specializations with unified education. According to authorities, such a system will be more flexible and relieve students from psychological pressure associated with choosing their future at such an early age.

Singapore public schools are considered some of the best in the world. The training takes place in English as well as in native languages ​​of students, for example, Chinese. Public schools charge a fee for foreigners: an average of 1,029 USD per month. Foreign citizens can study in international schools. Their cost starts from 11,024 USD.

Thanks to the economic breakthroughs of the past 30 years, Singapore has been able to combine the cultural values ​​of the East and the high standard of living of the West. Education is the main priority in the development of the country. This is confirmed by the top places of universities in international rankings and the rapid development of research and innovation. Today, Singapore has become one of the most important economic centers in Asia and the world. The state spares no funding for universities and students, because it believes that the country's wealth lies in people. For a foreign student, Singapore is an ideal place to acquire knowledge in the fields of science, business, finance, and management. The prestige of the Singaporean diploma will allow graduates to choose a job not only in their native country, but also around the world.

Advantages of education in Singapore

  • The best universities in the world and Asia. According to the QS rating Singapore National University and Nanyang University of Technology are considered the best in Asia. And in the THE ranking they are among the top 100 best universities, occupying places 25 and 61, respectively. This is achieved due to the fact that the state strictly controls the compliance of educational programs with international academic standards.
  • Prestige and the opportunity to improve. Singapore’s modern educational system promotes the principle of “lifelong learning”. To support this idea, universities are opening continuing education programs. Their main focus is the development of independence and a culture of self-education, so that even after graduation, students do not stop learning and developing. Diplomas obtained in Singapore are valued all over the world, so many graduates can travel abroad in search of a new professional and life experiences.
  • The English language. It is one of the official languages ​​of the country. Education at universities is conducted in English. In daily life knowing just English would be sufficient enough, despite the ethnic diversity of the inhabitants.
  • Developed campuses. Students have modern campuses at their disposal. On their territory, there are libraries, museums, and research centers. Here you can find everything you need for leisure: tennis courts, swimming pools, and gyms. For example, in Nanyang Polytechnic, an Olympic-sized swimming pool was built for students — 50 meters in length and 25 meters in width.
  • Research potential. R&D is highly developed in Singapore. The state generously finances research activities, universities are actively engaged in it, and large companies in the country hire academicians to work. If you are interested in R&D, then education in Singapore will definitely help you to get your foot in the door of that industry.
  • The independence of educational institutions. The Singapore government gives great academic freedom to universities, for example, in choosing professors to hire and their salaries[1]. Therefore, universities independently monitor the curriculum and adjust programs every year to the needs of today. And this is a guarantee that the knowledge of graduates will be relevant in the work market after their graduation.
  • University professors. The professors of Singaporean universities are specialists in their field and doctors of sciences from the best universities in the world. The requirements for obtaining a position at universities are high, so you can definitely be sure of the high competence of teachers. Moreover, in Singapore there is a National Institute of Education, which trains teachers in all levels and specialties. It is one of the best pedagogical institutes, occupying 16th place in the world and 2nd in Asia according to the QS rating.
  • Employment. The prestige of Singaporean diplomas guarantees the applicant high chances in the labor market. In 2019, 90.7% of graduates from universities in Singapore found work within 6 months of passing the final exams. The highest percentage of full-time jobs were for specialists in the fields of information and digital technologies[2].
  • A large number of clubs and events. Most universities and colleges organize interest clubs and communities. They are not necessarily associated with academic subjects and accept students on a free basis. For example, music clubs (jazz, choir, DJing), sports (fencing, chess, judo, basketball), mathematical, marketing, and other communities. In addition, universities conduct sports, charity events, theater performances, and various thematic fairs. For example, in NUS there is an annual RAG AND FLAG campaign, in 2018 students raised a record 581,000 USD by building rafts from recycled materials. The funds raised went to 21 charity organizations supported by Community Chest[3].
  • Innovation and economics. Singapore is a small state, but it is of great importance in the field of higher education and scientific research. Several international reports have recognized the country as the world leader in research and innovation over the past few decades. Singapore ranked eighth in the ranking of the Global Innovation Index 2019[4], the second place in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness 2019[5] ranking, and the first place in the ranking of the Global Competitiveness Index 2019[6].
  • Safety of the country. The percentage of crime in Singapore is minimal. No police are visible on the streets, but surveillance cameras hang everywhere. The authorities of Singapore strictly monitor the order in the country, and for violations there are large fines, both local and visitors.
  • Cosmopolitanism. Singapore is a multicultural and expatriate country with a unique flavor. For several consecutive years, the state took 1st place in the ranking of the best places of residence for expats, but in 2019 lost the championship to Switzerland[7]. Multiculturalism can be traced not only among the population, but also in architecture. Here, glass skyscrapers can coexist with houses of the colonial era and Buddhist temples. Most notable are influences from Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India.
Disadvantages of education in Singapore

  • The cost of education. Education and life in Singapore are much more expensive than in neighboring Asian countries. At top universities, tuition costs go up to 44,098 USD. And rental prices in Singapore may exceed 1,102 USD: it’s cheaper to live in student dormitories or in host families. When planning training, it is worth considering not only the cost of the educational program itself, but also the additional costs, for example, for the purchase of textbooks. You can also apply for a grant or scholarship, which will significantly reduce training costs.
  • Small selection of universities. In Singapore, there are only 6 autonomous state higher education institutions. Difficulties may arise with the search for a program in highly specialized areas — in this case, you will have to study in a program with a more general program.
  • Focus on ratings. Education is a high priority in the culture of Asian countries and Singapore is no exception. From childhood families set up their children for academic success and the race for achievement. As a result, often teachers of schools and universities put excellent marks above the learning experience itself. This affects the learning process: a tense atmosphere reigns in the classrooms. Moreover, an excessive desire for the highest result takes away the lion's share of extracurricular time.
  • High competition. It starts with admission and continues throughout your studies in Singapore, especially at top universities. Therefore, the future student needs to be prepared for pressure and stress. But this should not stop the applicant. Challenging yourself and getting out of your comfort zone is an integral part of studying abroad.
  • Singlish. In addition to classical English, the country uses its own Singaporean version of it. Singaporeans themselves call it Singlish — it is built on the basis of the English language and has elements of Chinese, Indian and Malay languages ​​mixed with American and Australian slang. Despite the popularization of standard English by the Singapore government (program Speak Good English Movement), Singaporeans still prefer to use Singlish among themselves. However, locals can easily switch to the standard language if they see that you don’t understand them.
  • And again about the language. The local accent and the aforementioned Singlish can be an obstacle to learning proper English. If your goal is to learn and improve the language, then it is better to consider some native English-speaking countries.
  • Hot weather. If you prefer cold countries, then you have to adapt to life on the equator of the planet. The climate in Singapore is hot and humid, with frequent unpredictable rains. A good thing is that all vehicles and almost all rooms are equipped with air conditioning, since even at night the outside temperature may not drop below 25 degrees. But you can save a lot of money on winter and in-between season outfits.
  • Fines and prohibitions. In Singapore, there are many rules and laws for violating which in other countries you will go unpunished, but here you have to pay hefty fines. In educational institutions and public places in Singapore, prohibition signs definitely catch the eye. So you will feel the atmosphere of prohibitions and the rule of law as soon as you set foot on the Singapore soil. However, there is a huge plus in all of this: thanks to such a strict attitude to law enforcement, Singapore is considered one of the safest countries in the world.

Cost and Structure of Education in Singapore

Type of educationAgeDurationMin. costAvg. costMin. language levelExams
Summer camp7+1-2 weeks.559 USD/wk1,029 USD/wkA1-
Language Schools9+1-12 weeks.184 USD/wk1,470 USD/monthA1-
Language courses at the university16+3 months -
12 months
735 USD/month2,205 USD/wkB1-
Secondary education12+4-5 years1,029 USD/month22,049 USD/year


Foundation16+1 academic. year2,940 USD/year7,350 USD/yearB1IELTS 5.5 / TOEFL
College17+1-3 years7,938 USD/year11,024 USD/yearB2IELTS 6.0 / TOEFL 79
Bachelor's17+3-4 years8,820 USD/year44,098 USD/yearB2IELTS 6.0 / TOEFL 85
Master's20+1-2 years22,049 USD/year66,147 USD/yearC1IELTS 6.5 / TOEFL 85
MBA20+1-2 years29,398 USD/year58,797 USD/yearC1IELTS 6.5 / TOEFL 85
Doctoral20+2-5 years10,289 USD/year26,459 USD/yearC1IELTS 6.5 / TOEFL 85
Additional expenses

ExpensesAverage cost/month
Rental housing1,102 USD
Utility expenses73 USD
Registration fees22 USD
Visa29 USD
Health insurance514 USD/year
Meals588 USD
Public transport147 USD

All prices and requirements must be specified on the websites of universities.

Options for admission to universities in Singapore

Options for admission to the universities

Admission and requirements at universities in Singapore

Admission of students to universities in Singapore is based on academic performance, exam results, achievements and the statement of purpose. It’s not easy to enter Singapore’s top universities. Motivation and exam results must be very high in order to pass fierce competition. Since the training is conducted in English, foreign applicants must provide the language certificate and translate all documents into English. Before applying, it is recommended to check the sites of universities, as each university and specialty has its own requirements.

Most programs also request the results of international exams (GRE/GMAT/SAT) and conduct interviews. For international students, application happens online: it starts in October and ends in March. The exact dates should be specified on the websites of the universities. You should carefully monitor the deadlines, as there are programs that start early, for example, in July.

Due to the multidisciplinary secondary education, students graduate with different qualifications, therefore, the rules for admission for each individual case are indicated on the websites of universities and colleges. In order not to get confused, when looking for a program, a foreign student should choose the option Direct Admissions Exercise (DAE).

Need help with admission?

Legalization and recognition of a diploma in Singapore

For entering Singapore universities it is enough to translate a certificate or a diploma and notarize it.

In turn, a diploma issued in Singapore can be used in your country only after its legalization by the Singapore authorities and the consular department of your country's embassy in Singapore[8].

Those who want to legalize documents submit an application online and are set with an appointment. You can legalize a diploma through a third party. Laminated documents are not accepted. This costs 7 USD (online payment only). Details about the legalization of documents in Singapore can be found here.

Foundation — Preparatory programs in Singapore

In the best universities, such as NUS, NTU, SMU, there are no Foundation programs. Therefore, students who do not meet the requirements, can enter these universities only after colleges, polytechnics, ITE, A-Level or IB programs. A-Level is taught in specialized schools, elementary colleges and the centralized institute[-]. There are also 28 schools in Singapore that offer International Baccalaureate (IB)[9]. Students from ages 16-19 are accepted into IB diploma programs which allow its graduates to directly enter the university.

Some other universities offer Foundation programs. It should be noted that such programs, for example, in MDIS, allow students to continue education only at the same university, while courses taken at colleges are recognized by some universities and exempt students from examinations and the study of certain subjects.

Pre-university courses will help you to tighten the English language and specialized subjects. They can be found in some colleges and universities. The curriculum includes:

  • Profile subjects (depending on the chosen program and specialty);
  • Classes in writing and verbal communication;
  • Language classes.

There are also short module courses. They can be taken individually or together.

Application to preparatory courses happens online on the websites of universities and colleges. The requirements depend on the nationality of the applicant. Usually this is a school graduation certificate and proof of language proficiency (IELTS/TOEFL).

In addition, there are training programs for postgraduate education, for example, pre-MBA, pre-Law or pre-Medicine and others. Requirements for applicants and all the details can be found on the websites of universities.

College — Vocational education in Singapore

Today, vocational education is a key link in the further development of the country. Over the past 20 years, the state has spent a lot of effort and resources on its improvement and promotion. For a long time, vocational education was not considered prestigious, moreover, the public agreed that only stupid, losers and those who simply have no other choice go to such educational institutions. A large-scale rebranding campaign was launched, and competent professionals were attracted to the teaching staff. Already in 1995, the initiative bore fruit, doubling the number of students in applied specialties, and now it already attracts 65% of the total number of applicants. Schools have acquired impressive modern campuses and offer more than 150 different types of programs[10].

Foreign students need a secondary education diploma to enroll in college but diploma requirements vary. For example, NAFA requires at least 10 years of school, in Singapore Polytechnic diploma should be equivalent to the examination GCE level "O" (complete secondary education — minimum 11grades), and in Republic Polytechnic each case is considered individually if your country is not listed on the website. Some colleges also need to take entrance exams in English and specialized subjects.

Documents required for admission;

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Undergraduate — Bachelor’s in Singapore

In order to enter bachelor’s programs in Singapore, students must complete 12 years of school. Some universities, such as NUS, accept students with 11 years of education, but these students are subjected to compulsory SAT examinations and have to have an excellent secondary education certificate. In many other universities, it is necessary to contact the admission committee and specify whether your prior education is sufficient. Universities will gladly answer your questions when it comes to the application process.

If the diploma is not accepted, the foreign applicant has a few options:

  • To complete an A-Level or IB program. In Singapore, the preparation for GCE exam “A” takes place at junior colleges and the Millennia Institute. Read about admission to these educational institutions here;
  • To enter a Polytechnic or ITE;
  • Apply to a university that offers Foundation programs, for example MDIS (you can continue studying only at MDIS after finishing the foundation course).

Basic requirements for admission are as follows: an English language certificate, ACT with the writing module or SAT with specialized SAT Subject Tests, to which each university presents its own criteria. For humanitarian specialties, the requirements for language proficiencyб test writing sections and critical reading are usually higher. Whereas for technical specialties it is expected to have higher scores in math. Some specialties also include written exams and interviews. In addition to the minimum requirements, the admission committee puts great emphasis to academic and extracurricular achievements.

The submission of documents is done through the website of a selected university. There you can find all the deadlines and requirements. Universities recommend that students check the information often, as it is frequently updated. Depending on the chosen specialization, training lasts 3-4 years, except for medical specialties.

Document requirements

Universities of Singapore do not set minimum scores for standardized tests. The average score for ACT is 29 (Writing — from 2 to 12); for SAT it is 600 in writing and reading, 650 in mathematics; SAT Subject tests — 650.

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Master's in universities of Singapore

Master's programs in Singapore last for 1-2 years, and MBA programs — 1-1.5 years. However the duration may vary depending on the university. For example, the National University of Singapore is quite flexible: there is no set time frame and only the minimum number of credits for each semester is established. And at Nanyang University of Technology, a master's program in engineering lasts for a year and consists of 30 credits.

Master’s programs can be full-time and part-time. Study includes lectures, seminars, group and individual work on the final project or dissertation. Work on the dissertation can take the whole duration of study or the last semester. There are also master's programs that do not require a dissertation or a final project: it is enough to attend classes and pass exams. Upon completion of training, the average GPA is calculated — a maximum of 5 and a minimum threshold of 2.5 needed to pass.

Most educational institutions accept students twice a year: in January and in August. An applicant needs to carefully study the requirements of his program, which vary depending on a university and specialty. Most often, the commission admits applicants on the basis of a bachelor’s diploma, letters of recommendation, results exams (GRE/GMAT) and work experience. The minimum GPA is 3.0. Since English is the language of instruction, applicants must provide TOEFL/IELTS certificates. Compliance with the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission, since Singapore universities have high competition.

Document requirements

  • Application;
  • Copy of the passport;
  • Motivation letter;
  • Language certificate;
  • Bachelor's degree in a specialty (usually the minimum requirement is an average grade of B or its equivalent);
  • GRE/GMAT results;
  • Interview;
  • Letter of recommendation;
  • CV.

Average scores for GRE are 320 (verbal & quantitative) and 3.5 (analytical), GMAT — 650+.

Doctoral studies — Postgraduate in Singapore

Doctoral studies at many universities in Singapore are divided into two types:

  • Research doctorate consists of an independent study, on the basis of which students pass and verbally defend their thesis. These are done with the help of academic supervisors. Additionally, students take exams in 3–6 courses. The number of courses and curriculum depend on the university and program.
  • Coursework doctorate consists of lectures, individual lessons, seminars, laboratory work and written exams. At the coursework, design work is submitted, on the basis of which students write dissertations. Many programs allow you to choose several additional courses instead of scientific work. Classes are usually held in the evenings.

At some universities in Singapore Joint PhD programs are offered. They are based on the cooperation of Singaporean and foreign universities (Europe, Israel, India). Upon successful completion, students receive a doctorate with a seal of both partner universities. For example, NTU offers programs with full funding for medical and technical fields.

Many programs conduct PhD Qualifying Examination during their studies to confirm the student’s readiness to work on a dissertation. Its delivery takes place in two stages: the oral defense of the project and topics in the form of a presentation and the oral defense of an already written dissertation in front of the academic commission. After fulfilling all the requirements and, possibly, correcting the scientific work, the university assigns the PhD degree to the student.

The duration of doctoral studies is from two to five years. Like master’s programs, PhD does not have uniform requirements for admission, each university has its own standards.

Almost all programs are available full-time or part-time. Documents are submitted by means of the websites of universities. Some faculties require physical copies that can be mailed or delivered in person. The full list of documents must be checked on the websites of the departments and programs you are interested in. Selected candidates, especially those who applied for a research scholarship, often have to go through the interview process (if possible in the applicant’s country). The admission periods are: March/April for admission in August, and August/September for admission in January.

Document requirements

  • Application;
  • Copy of the passport;
  • Motivation letter;
  • Language certificate;
  • Master's degree in a relevant specialty (with honors in some programs);
  • GRE or GMAT results;
  • Interview;
  • Letter of recommendation;
  • Research plan (depending on the program, the applicant is permitted to not indicate a specific topic, but needs to state at least the area of ​​research);
  • CV.

Average scores for GRE are 320 (verbal & quantitative) and 3.5 (analytical), GMAT — 650+.

Academic career

The academic community in Singapore is rapidly developing and expanding. Since the universities of Singapore have a good research base, you can find many opportunities and vacancies for academic positions. The main recruiters are National University of Singapore and Nanyang University of Technology, their affiliated research institutes and other independent research centers. The number of vacancies has increased in recent years thanks to new government research initiatives, especially in the field of biomedical sciences.
Each university offers its own positions (Lecturer / Senior Lecturer / Assistant Professor / Associate Professor / Professor), and selection of candidates takes place directly at the university. Applications are accepted online. Interviews are conducted with selected candidates.
Working conditions depend on the laboratory, the supervisor and the nature of the study. Typically, employees are assigned specific projects with one or more assistants. Work is offered on a full and part-time basis or one can be hired as a temporary employee. All positions are based on contracts, so employees do not have guarantees for direct promotions.
The salary of a researcher depends on academic education, the level and relevance of his experience. A random sample by Next Wave in Singapore shows that the annual salary ranges from 38,365 USD to 55,416 USD[11].

Scholarships and grants in Singapore

Tuition Grants. The Ministry of Education of Singapore offers grants to students. Applications are open to all nationalities. The main condition is that the student must be enrolled in a full-time bachelor’s or diploma program at a university or polytechnic institution. Singaporeans automatically receive a grant on the basis of citizenship, while foreign students and residents apply for funding upon admission to the university.

Since applications for a grant and a university are accepted simultaneously, the deadlines for submitting documents are the same. After approval by the state, the student must register in the MOE TGonline system and sign the contract. This obliges the grant recipient to work in the country for 3 years after graduation. The amount of financial assistance depends on the university, specialty and citizenship. The grant only partially covers the cost of training and accommodations. For example, in NUS, a business program without a grant costs 23,703 USD, and with a grant — 15,067 USD.

A list of universities and all application details can be found here.

Service obligation. In the Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore there is financial support for foreign master’s students and doctoral students. Here you can find information on programs that do not fall under the NUS grant. The list of subsidized programs at NTU for 2019-2020. Make sure to check the websites of universities, as the information is updated every year.

Such a grant obliges graduates to work in a Singaporean organization for 3 years after the completion of the program. Applications are submitted online through the MOE TGonline system: the submission process starts in January/February and lasts for several weeks. The detailed information can be found on the website of the Ministry.

Aid from universities. Universities offer financial assistance to international students. You can view the list of available opportunities on the official website of your chosen university. Such scholarships may partially cover tuition. Universities select scholarship holders on the basis of a transcript, knowledge of the language, motivation, achievements and personal qualities of the applicant.

In general, getting scholarships is rather difficult due to high competition and strict requirements. Meeting the minimum criteria does not guarantee the reception of a grant or scholarship. A large number of various grants and scholarships are also indicated on university sites, but they are mainly intended for residents of Singapore and Asian countries.

Other scholarships

A*STAR. Agency for Science, Technology and Research — A*STAR — provides scholarships and grants that allow novice scientists to develop in science and prepare for their upcoming careers. Financial assistance is offered at all levels of higher education in the best universities and laboratories in the country and abroad. The conditions are the adoption of Singapore citizenship for foreigners and compulsory work for Singaporean companies for two years after graduation. More information about grants and the agency can be found on the website.
Singapore international graduate award (SINGA). A*STAR Agency, together with Nanyang University of Technology (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), offers grants to PhD candidates in the field of biomedical sciences, physics, and engineering. The recipients then study in English at one of the universities or at the A*STAR Research Institute. To receive funding, an applicant needs to have interest in research and excellent academic results; good written and spoken English skills; positive reports from academic reviewers.
The grant covers the full cost of tuition for up to 4 years, gives a monthly scholarship of 1,470 USD, a one-time payment of 1,102 USD for an airplane ticket and 735 USD for accommodation. To apply for SINGA, you must create a research project and prepare a package of documents: diplomas and transcripts of a master’s/bachelor’s, 2 letters of recommendation. Optional GRE/IELTS/TOEFL/SAT I&II/GATE results. However, it is worth noting that universities may request exams as a prerequisite for admission. Applications are submitted exclusively online and there are no extra fees. Accepting documents for the winter semester ends in June. To participate in the program, you do not need to take Singaporean citizenship or work in a local company. Here you can find more detailed information.
Scholarships of external organizations. Some major local and international organizations offer scholarships to talented international students. For example, Association of commonwealth Universities, Evolve Warrior Scholarship, Singapore Airlines Open Overseas Scholarship, Her Flowers Scholarship. Lists of other organizations can be found on university websites.

Need help with admission?

Student visa

In 99% of cases, foreigners are given visas within four weeks, but there are a number of subtleties that are described in the article about applying for a student visa to Singapore.

The cost of a visa for many countries is 30 USD. The deadline for reception is about 4 weeks.

Opportunity to work while studying

Students have the right to work without additional documents in Singapore if:

  • They study at one of the universities approved by the Ministry of Labor of Singapore;
  • They have a student ID card issued by the Immigration and Control Authority (ICA).

Also, the work must meet one of the following requirements:

  • A maximum of 16 hours per week;
  • Industrial practice conducted by the university. It may be compulsory or optional, but must fulfill the requirements of the curriculum.

Students may work during the holidays, subjected to the requirements specified above.

If a foreign student earns at least 2,866 USD/month, he/she must apply for an employment pass[12]. This rarely happens since the average hourly rate for part-time work in Singapore is 5 USD[13].

Opportunity to stay and immigrate to Singapore

If a student graduates from a state-approved university and is waiting for exam or graduation results, he has the right to work until his student visa expires. After graduating, you must obtain a work permit to stay in Singapore. It is a responsibility of an employer to apply on your behalf.

Moreover, if a student studied under the government program Tuition Grant, then its condition is a mandatory 3 years of work in Singapore. In this case, the student must also change his legal status after graduation.

Most universities in Singapore offer students various services for finding work: career fairs, career counseling offices and consultant services, online job search portals. For example, NUS has its own mobile app that automatically recognizes your academic grades and creates a list of your skills. Based on the list, the app selects open positions in the labor market suitable for you[14]. Some universities place part-time vacancies in departments of the universities themselves, so that students can gain experience in their specialty during their studies.

To work, an international student must obtain permission. At the moment of writing, the following types are available:

PermissionQualificationMin. salaryDurationRenewalRequirements
Employment PassHigh2,866 USD2 yearsYes (up to 3 years)Degree, managerial, executive, specialized work
S PassAverage1,764 USD2 yearsYesDegree/diploma, work experience
EntrePassEntrepreneurInnovative criteria[15]1 yearYes (up to 2 years)An established business no older than 6 months, or an intent to start a business.

More information can be found on the Singapore Department of Labor website in the section of work permits.

People under these categories can apply for a Permanent Resident Permit:

  • Students who have lived in Singapore for more than 2 years at the time of application and passed at least one national examination (or studied in an Integrated Programme — IP);
  • People working under the program Employment Pass or SPass.

Citizenship can be obtained by:

  • Permanent residents (PR) for at least 2 years, and at least 21 years old;
  • Permanent residents (PR) for at least 2 years, married to a citizen of Singapore for at least 2 years;
  • Permanent residents (PR) studying in Singapore and residing in the country for more than 3 years (of which 1 as a PR) and having passed at least one national exam (or studied in an Integrated Programme — IP).

The cost of both types of applications is 73 USD. Details can be found on the website of ICA.

Keep in mind that dual citizenship is not allowed in the country, so you must give up your original passport in order to obtain a Singaporean one.

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Prospects and employment opportunities

Singapore is a favorable country for expats. As of December 2019, approximately 1.5 million foreign workers are registered here, which makes up almost a quarter of the population[16]. Singapore's strong and rapidly growing economy needs a workforce. Therefore, the state attracts professionals from abroad, finances education and offers favorable working conditions for foreigners[17].

The main economic sectors are manufacturing (electronics, chemicals, biomedical sciences and transport engineering), financial, business and IT sectors[18]. Singapore is well located geographically: the waters surrounding the country and many seaports provide the development of trade and logistics in the country. The unemployment rate is very low — 2.4% for 2019[19].

The main tourists in the country are Chinese, Indonesians, Indians, Malays and Australians[20]. And the main trading partners are the USA, Japan, China and Hong Kong[21]. The graduate will need to use a good diploma, qualifications, experience and personal qualities to impress the employer.

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