Brief Programme Requirements
Duration of Candidature
University education at NUS is demanding, intensive, and rigorous, and thus requires a high degree of commitment.
Research candidates pursuing full-time studies are expected to commit themselves to at least 40 hours per week of study. The University does not encourage full-time students from taking up employment during term time that might interfere with their studies.
Candidates may be admitted as full-time or part-time* students. However, foreign students pursuing studies on a Student's Pass must pursue their studies on a full-time basis. All candidates should note that commitments from employment will not be accepted as valid reasons for absence, uncompleted work, late submission of work, or poor performance, and may lead to exclusion from certain full-time programme.
The maximum periods of candidature for both full-time and part-time candidates are:
72 months for the Comparative Asian Studies Programme
60 months for other programmes
Candidates must spend a period of residence in Singapore for a minimum of six months for the Masters degree and 18 months for the PhD degree during their candidature.
Please note that candidates who are awarded NUS scholarships must reside in Singapore throughout the duration of the scholarship award.
The following provides a synopsis of the main curricular requirements for both the Masters and PhD programmes. For details, please visit the websites of the individual Departments/Programmes.
- A minimum of four modules (Some Departments may require more than four. Please consult website of relevant Department/Programme for the number and level of modules required);
- Masters thesis (max. 30,000 words; except for thesis in Chinese/Japanese);
- English course (intermediate level), where applicable.
- A minimum of six modules (Some Departments may require more than six. Please consult website of relevant Department/Programme for the number and level of modules required.);
- PhD thesis (max. 80,000 words; except for thesis in Chinese/Japanese);
- English course (advanced level), where applicable.
Successful applicants may be required to take the Diagnostic English Test. They will be placed on a graduate English module or be exempted from the module, depending on their performance in the proficiency test. A Masters student is required to achieve an intermediate level of proficiency (at least grade C) in the English modules and a PhD student is required to achieve an advanced level of proficiency (at least grade C), with the exception of students from the Department of Chinese Studies who are required to achieve an intermediate level of proficiency.
To continue in a Masters programme, a student must not have:
- CAP, i.e., Cumulative Average Point, below 3.0 (but ≥ 2.5) for three consecutive semesters; or
- CAP below 2.5 for two consecutive semesters.
For any semester in which the student’s CAP falls below 3.0 (but ≥ 2.5), that student will be issued an academic warning. If, in the following semester, the student’s CAP again falls below 3.0, he/she will be placed on probation. If the student’s CAP remains below 3.0 for the third consecutive semester, the student will be issued a letter of dismissal and denied re-admission.
For students whose CAP fall below 2.5 for two consecutive semesters, they will be placed on probation for the first semester, followed by dismissal in the second semester.
To continue in a PhD programme, a student must not have:
- CAP, i.e., Cumulative Average Point, below 3.5 (but ≥ 3.0) for three consecutive semesters; or
- CAP below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters.
For any semester in which the student's CAP falls below 3.5 (but ≥ 3.0), that student will be issued an academic warning. If, in the following semester, the student's CAP again falls below 3.5, he/she will be placed on probation. If the student's CAP remains below 3.5 for the third consecutive semester, the student will be issued a letter of dismissal and denied re-admission.
For students whose CAP fall below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, they will be placed on probation for the first semester, followed by dismissal in the second semester.
A student may also be issued a warning or placed on probation or be issued a letter of termination of candidature for poor performance in the PhD qualifying examination, research thesis, or other programme requirements.
PhD Qualifying Examination
All PhD candidates are required to pass the Qualifying Examination (QE) within the first two years of their candidature. They must satisfy the conditions set by the Faculty before proceeding to the PhD QE which comprises:
- Comprehensive examinations (formats differ among Departments/Programmes); and
- An oral defence of the PhD thesis proposal (for which a 30- to 50-page thesis proposal is expected).
The comprehensive examinations test the general competence of the candidate in his/her discipline(s) or field(s), whereas the oral defence of the PhD thesis proposal ensures that the candidate is prepared to embark on his/her thesis research.
Thesis & PhD Oral Examination
Both Masters and PhD candidates must also pass their theses at the end of the course of study before they can be considered for the award of degree.
Masters and PhD theses should not exceed 30,000 words and 80,000 words respectively.
After submitting the thesis, the PhD candidate must present himself/herself for an oral examination on the subject matter of the thesis and related subjects.
A candidate will be recommended for award of degree once he/she has met the requirements stated above. A candidate may read more than the minimum necessary modules (comprising all required modules within the curricular requirements and in the subject/related disciplines). Generally, only the grades for the minimum necessary modules shall be considered in assessing whether the student has met the degree requirement.