Frequently Asked Questions
1. I heard that FASS is a 4-year programme. Is it true?
Students admitted into the FASS can decide if they wish to pursue the Bachelor's or Honours programme. A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree usually takes 3 years to complete, while the Honours degree will take an additional year.
2. How does the FASS system work? E.g. What is the difference between modules, departments and courses?
Departments offer courses of studies leading to degrees. A course of study is made up of many modules. A module covers a specific topic within a course of study.
3. What are the requirements I have to fulfill in order to graduate?
For B.A., students have to accumulate 120 MC (about 30 modules) over 3 years. For a Honours degree, students have to accumulate 160 MC (about 38 modules) over 4 years.
4. What is the FASS timetable like?
Lectures are usually 2 hours long. Tutorials or Discussion Groups can be 1 hour per week or 2 hours on alternative weeks. A normal workload consists of 5 modules per semester which average a total of 15 contact hours per week. The rest of the time is spent on readings and other preparatory work, as well as on assignments like term papers and project work.
5. Are there any internships/attachments within the curriculum?
In Social Work, major students are required to fulfill fieldwork placements. Other majors e.g. Political Science, Theatre Studies, Communications and New Media, and Economics, have internship/attachment arrangements on a voluntary basis.
6. I have heard about having to bid for modules? What is it about? Will I get the modules I want?
The Centralised Online Registration System (CORS) for the selection and allocation of modules was adopted to promote equity, fairness and responsibility. It allows departments to manage their resources optimally. All students are given an equal amount of points per semester to bid for modules. Unused points are carried forward to the next semester. The bidding system requires students to make careful consideration of their priorities as each decision has an impact on future choices. It is an opportunity to educate students on the need to weigh their options, make decisions and live with the consequences of their actions - a good training ground to prepare students for life after graduation.
7. What are my chances of majoring in Economics/Psychology/Communications and New Media as I heard that these are popular subjects in the FASS?
After you are admitted into the FASS, you need to bid for the exposure module of your intended major. After you have passed the exposure module, you can declare the subject as your major (you need to obtain at least a B- grade to major in Psychology or Communications & New Media). It is true that Economics and Psychology are popular subjects and that competition for Psychology modules is very keen.
8. Do we need to decide on which major to take now? How do we go about choosing our majors in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences?
No, you do not have to decide on your major now. You are strongly encouraged to take the exposure modules before deciding on your major. When you are decided, you can declare your intended major. You can change your major no later than the end of your 5th semester.
9. Can I take a double major or double degree?
Yes, you may apply to read a double degree or a double major subject to your meeting the admission criteria. There are specially designed double degrees that students can apply for direct admission or after 1 year of studies. Students can also design their own double degrees or double majors. Admission is based on academic performance.
10. Are minor programmes offered by FASS?
Yes, FASS offers disciplinary minors <link to Choices> in all its subjects, as well as multidisciplinary minors like China Studies, Cultural Studies, English Studies, Gender Studies, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Religious Studies, Science, Technology & Society (STS), and Urban Studies.
11. Can we do a major in FASS and a minor in another faculty?
Yes, you can.
12. What happens if I realise none of the courses interest me after taking the exposure modules? Can I switch to another faculty?
Do talk to an academic adviser at the Department or Dean's Office before making a decision. You can apply for a transfer through Office of Admissions. You will have to meet the cut-off point of the new Faculty. You will also need to check on your eligibility for tuition grant.
1. What are the admission requirements for 'A' –level holders?
Applicants (regardless of nationality) presenting the Singapore-Cambridge GCE 'A' Level results.
'A' Level Curriculum (H1/H2/H3 Subjects)
These are the minimum requirements needed for applicants (regardless of nationality) appearing for the new 'A' Level curriculum (1.e. H1/H2/H3 subjects) examination in November 2011 to apply for admission to NUS in 2012
If you are a candidate who has been exempted from MTL as approved by MOE, the MOE-approved subject-in-lieu will be considered as your MTL subject.
2. What are the admissions criteria for diploma holders to FASS?
FASS will consider the applications of all diploma holders from the 5 local Polytechnics (Ngee Ann Poly, Nanyang Poly, Republic Poly, Singapore Poly, Temasek Poly).
3. What are the admission requirements for IB Diploma?
Applicants who have been awarded an IB diploma will be considered for admission. Please note that this is only the minimum eligibility criteria. Entry to the various courses at NUS is very competitive and applicants who gain admission, typically, attain very good scores.
For further queries on how to application and admission matters, please refer to the Office of Admissions.
4. What is the Mother Tongue (MT) Bonus Point Scheme?
Students who have done well in their Higher MT subject or MT subject (Chinese, Malay or Tamil) at the 'A' Level examination are eligible for MT bonus points if they choose to pursue MT related subject concentrations under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The subject concentrations available are:
Applicants who used the MT bonus points for admission to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will have to sign an undertaking to read the relevant subject concentrations at the point of acceptance.
5. Must I major in Chinese Language/Chinese Studies/Malay Studies/South Asian Studies if I am admitted through the MTBP (mother-tongue bonus point) scheme?
No. You only need to read and pass 7 modules from that course of study.
6. What is discretionary admission? How can I be considered for it?
Up to 10% of vacancies will be set aside for consideration of exceptional candidates for admission to FASS. For such candidates, other factors besides grades will be taken into consideration. The following are some samples of exceptional achievements that FASS may take into consideration:
In addition, applicants can provide information on awards/honours that they have won. If candidates wish to be considered under this scheme, they should provide the details in the 'Outstanding Singular Talent' section in the online application form. They should follow up by sending supporting documents to NUS.
7. Are there any entry requirements for particular subjects? If I did not read History (etc) at "O" or "A" level, can I major in that subject?
There is generally no special requirement to major in a particular subject except for Chinese Language, Chinese Studies, Communications and New Media, English Language, English Literature, Theatre Studies, Malay Studies and Psychology.
You can find out more about the entry requirements here.
Communications and New Media
1. What are the advantages of the CNM programme at NUS?
2. What are the career prospects of graduates from the CNM programme?
3. About the CNM Programme
4. Course requirements:
There are pre-requisites to be met if you wish to major in CNM eventually: In order to take NM2101 Theories of Communications and New Media (a required module for CNM majors), students must obtain a grade of B- or better in NM1101E OR do well in a placement examination OR have a creative portfolio assessed.
5. Do I have to be technically inclined to major in CNM (or interactive media)?
1. What is the difference between Economics in FASS and Business Administration?
2. What are the advantages of taking Economics at NUS?
3. What is the difference between Applied Economics and Economics?
4. Can I major in Mathematics and Economics?
1. How is English Language (EL) at NUS different from EL in school and General Paper at JC?
In school and at JC, you were learning how to use the English Language fluently and accurately.
Some of our elective modules include: Language and the Internet; Language and the Workplace; Psycholinguistics; Bilingualism; English as a World Language; Media, Discourse and Society; and, Language, Gender and Text.
2. What do I need to major in EL?
You would need to have at least one of the following:
You would then register for EL1101E The Nature of Language. This core module is the prerequisite for most other English Language modules.
3. What can I do with a Major in EL?
Any job requiring strong analytical and communication skills. Our alumni work in areas as diverse as print and broadcast journalism, education, human resources, advertising, public relations and corporate communications.
1. What are the requirements for a student who wants to major in Literature?
Exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules
2. What are the career prospects of a student of English Literature?
Students acquire sensitivity to the nuances of language and sophisticated communicative skills developed through prolonged engagement with literary texts and criticism. They will be trained to develop the critical ability and theories necessary to engage with a range of cultural texts such as film, various types of written discourse, advertising and media. A literature student is thus well equipped for a number of jobs - typical career areas of recent graduates include journalism, television, public relations in banks and other corporations, teaching and publishing.
1. What is Theatre Studies?
Theatre is an ancient art form that enjoys continuing popularity in many societies, including Singapore. In Theatre Studies, we ask why this is so by exploring theatrical events, practices and ideas. Our investigations are built on understanding the skills and approaches required to create theatre, and of the historical and cultural contexts in which people have made and watched it.
2. What can I expect from the Theatre Studies Programme?
3. What can I do with a Major in Theatre Studies?
Graduates in Theatre Studies are well-trained for a variety of arts and media careers, from creative practice and arts management, to event planning and journalism. The transferable skills developed in critical thinking, clear communication and creative problem-solving also mean that graduates are well-placed to enter a wide range of professions extending from teaching and research to entrepreneurship, marketing, and government service.
4. What are the requirements for a student who wants to major in Theatre Studies
Exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules
1. What is Psychology?
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Topics in psychology range from the biological bases of behaviour, the nature of cognition (thought), the development of behaviour and the psychology of social behaviour through to applications in such areas as mental health and the understanding of behaviour in industry, education, and other applied settings.
2. Can I be a full-fledged psychologist by completing the Honours programme in FASS?
Becoming a full-fledged psychologist requires advanced training to at least the Masters level in a programme specifically for professional psychology. Along these lines, NUS offers two Master of Psychology (Clinical) programmes that provide entry-level training for graduates who are seeking to become professional clinical psychologists. The honours programme in psychology is important preparation for entering these kinds of programmes.
3. Can I be a practising psychologist with just a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) or Bachelor of Arts? If not, what can I do with a B.Soc.Sci. (Hons) or B.A. in Psychology?
A graduate degree (i.e. a Master or Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology) is required to become a practising psychologist in Singapore. Graduates with a B.Soc.Sci. (Hons) or B.A. may be employed in settings that require individuals who can think logically, express themselves clearly in writing and speech, apply quantitative analysis to data, and apply knowledge of human behaviour to solve problems. Hence, prospective employers include various branches of the Singapore civil service, private businesses, and non-governmental organizations, among others. More information about Psychology as a career can be found here: http://www.apa.org/education/undergrad/psych-career.aspx
4. What are the advantages of the NUS Psychology programme?
The NUS Department of Psychology offers a wide range of undergraduate courses in psychology, including advanced seminar courses taught by domain specialists. In addition, students have the opportunity to conduct high-quality psychological research with leading experts through lab modules, independent study modules, and the Honours thesis. This combination of theoretical and practical training places students in an excellent position to pursue psychology at the graduate and professional level.
5. Does NUS offer graduate degrees in Psychology?
The Department of Psychology offers a Master of Social Sciences degree in Psychology by research and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology by research. This means that a graduate student will undertake training through independent study and empirical work under a supervisor. It will result in submission of a thesis or dissertation. The Department also offers two two-year full-time coursework Master of Psychology (Clinical) programmes. These programmes are based on the scientist-practitioner model and include the building of both theoretical knowledge and core competencies for clinical practice.
6. What is clinical psychology and how is it different from psychiatry?
Clinical psychologists are specialists in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological problems and mental illnesses. Most clinical psychology programmes use a scientist-practitioner approach, with rigorous academic and research training at academic institutions as well as extensive supervised clinical training in clinical settings. Psychiatrists are medical doctors with specialised postgraduate training in the study and treatment of mental illnesses, emotional disturbances, and abnormal behaviour. In Singapore, clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medications, whereas psychiatrists can.
7. What are the career prospects for Psychology graduates?
Psychology graduates are employed in various settings which include MINDEF, MCYS, MOE, MOH, ITE, SPRING Singapore, a number of voluntary social service organisations, as well as in consultancy firms and research organisations.
1. What is the difference between Social Work and Sociology?
While Sociology studies the conditions of the social lives of humans, groups and societies, Social Work seeks to address the social, emotional, cognitive, psychological and economic conditions that affect individuals, families, and groups. It strives to enhance the well being of individuals, families and community groups by active interventions as well as advocating for positive changes in social policies and at societal levels.
Another way of looking at it, is that while Sociology deals with understanding society, Social Work focuses on making positive social changes and problem solving interventions in society.
2. What is the difference between Social Work and Psychology?
Psychology is the study of human mental processes and behavior.
Social Work, on the other hand, is dedicated to helping people resolve problems in their daily lives. This may include direct help in the form of case work, group work, counseling and referral to resources or advocacy to improve social, psychological, emotional or economic conditions.
3. What is the difference between Social Work and Counselling?
Counselling focuses on helping people with personal, family, educational, career issues through individual, couples, family, or group therapy.
Social Work is a profession dedicated to helping people resolve problems in their daily lives. This may include direct help in the form of case/group work counselling and referral to resources or advocacy to improve social or economic conditions.
4. Is there any core emphasis in Social Work absent in the other disciplines?
The social work profession emphasises social justice and advocacy issues and works to change both individuals and the systems that affect them.
5. Can I be a counsellor after obtaining a basic degree in Social Work?
With a basic degree in Social Work, one can expect to find work in various capacities, generally in the area of social services, health services, correctional services, family services, child and youth work. Positions will inevitably involve some aspects of counselling. However, a social worker does not call him/herself a counsellor. For example, clinical counselling is generally not performed by social workers with only a bachelor's degree. The basic degree instead equips social work graduates to be a generalist practitioner.
1. What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups and societies, sometimes defined as the study of social interactions.
2. How is Sociology different from Psychology?
Psychology deals with individual perception, cognition, attitudes and behaviors, whereas Sociology focuses on groups, institutions (such as family and religion), society, culture (including language and values) and how these impact individual and group behaviours. Sociology therefore covers a wide spectrum of topics and issues ranging from youth, emotions, food, religion, family, deviance, law, and ethnic identity, to work and organisations. However, you may choose to specialise in one or two module clusters in Sociology.
3. How is Sociology different from Social Work?
Social Work uses different disciplines to help solve individual or social problems. Not surprisingly, one of the main disciplines it borrows from is Sociology. Indeed, Sociology provides a good understanding of the social and cultural context that explains the problems handled by social workers. A parallel would be to think of Sociology as like Physics or Mathematics, while Social Work is like Engineering. However, I would like to emphasise that the applications of Sociology extend far beyond Social Work. This is reflected in the fact that our graduates can be found and are doing well in a wide range of careers: media and communications specialists, journalism, human resource management, survey or marketing consultants, and policy research and planning.
4. What are the plus points of taking Sociology as a major?
Sociology has been given the title "queen of the social sciences" for good reasons. It provides a solid foundation and comprehensive framework for understanding the social world we live in. The term "social" includes the cultural, political, and economic dimensions as well. Anyone who plans to work with people and in organisational contexts would therefore find Sociology rather useful. You would also discover that Sociology as a major goes well with most of the other disciplines and minors offered by FASS.
5. What are the advantages of Sociology@NUS?
We are an established brand name. We have been around since 1965, the year of Singapore's independence. We have continued to attract good quality professors and students. We have more than 30 staff in different areas of expertise. Correspondingly, we are able to offer a wide range of modules. This cannot be matched elsewhere in Singapore. One more thing, we work hard on our curriculum to make it always fresh and relevant. We are serious about training, but our approach is fun, and encourages hands-on, participative learning. We also mobilise our industry connections and alumni networks to make available more internships to students. And yes, we have produced many cohorts of alumni who are making a difference in Singapore or elsewhere in the world.