Admissions, Funding & Awards

Admissions to the Philosophy Graduate Programme

Admission to the graduate program is highly competitive. In recent years, many more applicants are received than students admitted. Apart from the procedure and requirements of the application process itself, prospective applicants are also encouraged to review the other requirements of the Ph.D. and M.A. programs when applying.

Requirements and Process

Applicants for the Ph.D. program should possess an M.A. in Philosophy from NUS or equivalent qualifications from a recognized foreign university. Applicants for the M.A. program should (preferably) have a good honors degree in Philosophy from NUS or a recognized foreign university (the department may also admit students with a good Bachelor's degree with relevant research or working experience on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by the Board of Graduate Studies). In addition, all short-listed applicants will be interviewed.

Note: There is one intake only of new graduate students, in August of each year; the application deadline is 1 November of the preceding year.

Applicants whose native tongue and medium of university instruction is not English should submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as evidence of their proficiency in the English language. The minimum TOEFL score ranges for NUS are as follows:

  • Paper-based (PBT): 580 – 600
  • Computer-based (CBT): 237 – 250
  • Internet-based (iBT): 85

Information on graduate studies at Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences can be found at the FASS Graduate Studies website. For detailed instructions on the application process, go to the page on Graduate Admissions. Note, however, that in place of the statement of purpose and research proposal, applicants to the department's graduate program should instead submit a short Statement of Research Interest (max. 500 words) and a Writing Sample (max. 3,000 words for M.A.; max. 5,000 words for Ph.D.).

The university provides generous research scholarships and tuition waivers, as well as travel grants for conference attendance to graduate students selected on the basis of their academic performance. General information concerning application forms, closing dates, available funding and similar matters may be found at the Graduate Studies page of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences website.

Advice and Information

In reviewing the applications, the department looks primarily for evidence that applicants have the intellectual qualities and background training needed to successfully complete our graduate program. Note that while it is in principle possible for an applicant who did not major in philosophy at the undergraduate level to gain admission (on a case by case basis), applicants who lack formal training or who otherwise have not taken extensive university level courses in philosophy are unlikely to be admitted.

Apart from formal qualifications, the Writing Sample will be a crucial source of evidence for the candidate's intellectual abilities and philosophical talent, and applicants do well to submit a piece of work that displays the possession of the requisite abilities and talent by discussing in detail a compact philosophical topic within the specified word limit. Applicants should choose topics on which they have some depth of understanding, refreshing ideas and perspectives, and in which they are able to engage relevant scholarship with rigorous analyses and arguments.

For all administrative enquiries, contact Ms Melina Loo (Manager) or Tel: 6516-3892. For information about the academic side of the Philosophy graduate programme, contact A/P Ben Blumson (Graduate Co-ordinator; email only).

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