Prospective Students


Admissions is a centralised exercise administered directly by our Faculty's Graduate Studies Unit (GSU). If you are interested in our graduate programme, please apply directly to the GSU by submitting a formal application form and the relevant supporting documents according to given timelines.

How to Apply

There are two ways to submit an application to the GSU.

Online: We strongly encourage this mode of application. Please access the online system and complete the application, after which the form must still be printed out and mailed with supporting documents, together with the application fee payable. The main advantages of an online submission are that the fee is cheaper, and you will be saved the hassle of waiting for written references, because the system automatically sends a request to each of your indicated referees.

Hardcopy: Please download and complete the application form, after which, it must be mailed out with supporting documents and application fee. Further instructions are available in the application form itself.

In both of these two modes of submission, the GSU will process your application, and then forward to us at the Department for our consideration. After applicants have been selected by us, their names will be submitted to the graduate division for its approval. This means that offers of admission can only be made by the GSU, not by the Department.


In general, applicants without a background in Sociology or Anthropology can be considered for admission. As the Cultural Studies in Asia PhD programme is multidisciplinary, there is therefore no specific restriction on the applicant's academic subject background. However, the minimum criteria are as follows.

(1) a good first degree, usually the equivalent of a good NUS Honours degree, such as a bachelors degree earned from a four-year programme. For PhD applicants, a Masters degree from a relevant discipline would be an added bonus, but those without such postgraduate qualifications will not necessarily be disadvantaged;
(2) a deep interest in the discipline and submit relevant official documentation proving that they have adequate training and/or ability to undertake the proposed course;
(3) an original thesis research proposal.

Cultural Studies in Asia PhD
(1) a good Masters degree in a relevant discipline or an NUS Honours degree (at least a Second Class Upper division) or equivalent (e.g. a four-year Bachelors degre with an average grade above B) in a relevant discipline, subject to approval by the Faculty on a case-by-case basis;
(2) a deep interest in the Cultural Studies in Asia;
(3) an original research thesis proposal;
(4) good GRE scores (Graduate Record Examination). The Programme has not instituted any minimum requirements but the General Test has to be taken. Submission of the GRE is compulsory for all applicants, except for graduates from local universities NUS, NTU and SMU.

Please note that admission is highly competitive -- meeting the minimum criteria for admission does not imply automatic acceptance into any of the programmes hosted by the Department. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified for interviews (face-to-face or via telephone).

Research Proposal

As mentioned, a research proposal is required as a supporting document. The proposal must be of your own design and concept. You may approach any staff member for advice. However, please do not expect them to work out a proposal with/for you. After all, the primary purpose of submitting a research proposal is for us to have a better idea of your potential to succeed in our research programmes.

For general guidelines to writing a research proposal, please refer to this document: Research Proposal Guidelines for Applicants. In addition, this document provides a few tips to get you started: How to write a Research Proposal.


Prior to submitting the application, applicants may seek the consent of any staff member to be the supervisor. However, for successful Sociology applicants, the Department reserves the right to assign a supervisor(s) and will make arrangements for a mentorship programme, whereby a mentor will be assigned to guide the Sociology newcomer for the first semester. Subsequently, if the partnership works out well, the mentor will become the official supervisor. Students are expected to communicate regularly with their supervisors about their progress. CSA-PhD students are expected to seek and confirm their own supervisors by the end of their first year of candidature.

Financial Assistance

There are a variety of NUS research scholarships available to postgraduate applicants. Please visit the Faculty's website to learn more.

If you have further enquiries about the admissions process, please email the GSU at .

For other matters concerning the programme, please email our Department at .