Information on Application to Graduate Research Programmes

Important: The University has not engaged any external agencies to undertake graduate student recruitment on its behalf. Candidates interested in our graduate programmes are advised to apply directly to the University and not through any agents. Candidates who apply through agents will not have any added advantage in gaining admission and the University reserves the right to reject such applications without giving reasons.


Applications for admission to graduate research programmes, are available online as well as via paper. You are strongly advised to apply online. The online application system is available HERE. You can refer to the user guide here which we hope you will find useful in helping you complete your online application.

User Guide

It is COMPULSORY for all applicants to upload the following documents online in order for the selection committee to review your application – Research proposal, transcript(s), IELTS/TOEFL score report, Bachelors & Masters (if any) degree scroll & any other accreditation. Others like documentary evidence of financial support (for international self-financing candidates) should also be submitted if available. 

If you wish to apply for more than one research programme in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, please submit a separate application for each programme. However, should you be successful in more than one programme, you can register for only one programme of study. Unless granted approval by the University, no student may concurrently be a candidate for more than one degree or register as a candidate of NUS and of another university or institute.

Applicants to all Departments/Programmes (except Department of Economics)

You will only be required to submit your application online. There is no need for you to send anything to us by post by the application deadline. If your application is shortlisted for admission, you will be contacted by the department after the deadline and will be asked to submit your application package to them by post.  

Only for applicants to the Department of Economics

Please note that even though an application is submitted online, the printed copy of the application form and relevant supporting documents must be sent via post (or by hand). Each application (completed online application form to be generated from the application system) must be accompanied by supporting documents, and sent via post (or by hand) to the appropriate mailing address as indicated below at Point 5 Submission of Application. Your application package must reach the Department of Economics by 1 November



When submitting your application online, you will be asked to enter a password. Your password is important and can be used, together with your application number, to access the following online system related to your application:

Applicants to the Department of Economics: Please allow 4 weeks for postal delivery after you have sent your supporting documents and arranged for payment to check on your application status. 


Application (paper-based or online application) for each research programme must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of S$50 (inclusive of prevailing GST). You will only be able to submit your online application after the application fee has been paid.  

Please note that an application without the application fee payment or with insufficient application fee amount will not be processed.

The modes of payment are:

  1. Online Payment by any of the methods (available only for online application)
    • VISA, Mastercard or AMEX
    • Debit Card (applicants must have an online banking account with either of the following banks - POSB/DBS, UOB or Citibank).


  1. Complete the Application Fee Form and send it together with a cheque or bank draft made out to "National University of Singapore". Please write your name, mailing address, e-mail address, programme applying for, and contact telephone numbers (home & office) on the reverse of the cheque/bank draft. Personal cheques, crossed, are accepted only from candidates in Singapore. International applicants are requested to send only bank drafts and not personal cheques for the application fee. If you are unable to obtain a bank draft in Singapore dollar, you may submit a bank draft in US dollar of USD38.50 (for S$50 fee). The amount in USD includes bank charges which will be incurred by the University to process the bank draft;


  1. Complete the relevant Application Fee Form and make payment by NETS at the Student Service Centre (located at Level 1, Yusof Ishak House) during operating hours.


Applicants should ensure that all supporting documents are:

  1. In English or accompanied by an official translation in English. Translated copies of the documents must be certified true copies. In particular, translated copies of the transcript(s) and degree scroll(s) must be certified by the issuing institution(s).
  2. "CERTIFIED TRUE COPY" of documents photocopied from the originals. Copies of your supporting documents must be certified as true copies of the originals by a person authorised to do so. Certification of the supporting documents may be made by a responsible person e.g., school principal, commanding officer, personnel manager, etc.
  3. If you are unable to obtain certified true copies of your supporting documents, notarised documents will be accepted. However, do note that you will have to pay for notarised documents.

The following documents are required to be submitted by the prescribed deadlines for each programme that you apply.

Only applicants to the Department of Economics are required to send the supporting documents by post (or hand) to the department. 

A copy of the following supporting documents, if applicable:  
  • The page of your passport bearing the passport number and your particulars; if you do not have a passport, please enclose citizenship/birth certificate (for citizens of other countries)
  • Singapore NRIC or citizenship certificate (for Singaporeans)
  • Re-entry permit (for Singapore permanent residents)
A certified true (or notarised) copy of the following certificate(s) used in support of application:  
  • Bachelors and/or Masters degree scroll(s)/certificate(s).
  • Degree certificates and other diplomas or certificates.
The following supporting documents should be submitted in the prescribed manner as indicated below:  


Transcripts of academic records from each university or college attended
Applicants who are graduates from this University can submit photocopies of their result slips or official transcripts of their academic records together with their applications. Applicants who are graduates of other universities will have to request official transcripts from their university/universities.

Please ensure that the university's grading scheme is included in the scanned copy that you upload to your online application. 

Only transcripts received in the following prescribed manner will be accepted:

  1. Applicants who are graduates of other universities will have to request official transcripts from their university/universities.
  2. The transcript(s) must be enclosed in an official sealed envelope with its flap bearing the security seal of the university and the signature of the Registrar or his/her representative (with the designation indicated on the envelope).
  3. The envelope(s) containing the transcript(s) must be submitted, unopened, together with the Transcript Request Form directly to the appropriate mailing address as indicated below at Point 5 Submission of Application from the issuing university. If you have attended more than one university, you should make photocopies of the Transcript Request Form as required. Download the Transcript Request Form HERE.

Recommendation from two referees

Your recommendations from the two academic referees are to be submitted via the online admission system. You should check with your referees and obtain their institutional e-mail address. E-mail addresses from domains other than ".edu" may be subject to additional screening and filtering. Even if you have not submitted your online application, you can choose to trigger the email to your referees once you have assigned them to your application. Click on the “Send Email to Referee” link in the online application system to trigger the email notification.

If not, after your online application is submitted, an automated e-mail will be sent to your referees inviting them to complete their recommendations online. Your referee reports will be sent to us directly via the online application system so there is no need for you to send separate recommendations to us.

Referees will be given 14 days to submit his / her referee report after receiving the email notification.  You are advised to remind your referees to submit their reports when the deadline is nearing and the report status remains as “pending submission”.

Only if your referees are unable to access the online system should you ask them to complete the paper-based report. The referees' report must be forwarded to you in sealed envelopes with the flap of each envelop bearing the signature of the respective referees. These envelopes must be forwarded, unopened, with the other application materials, to the appropriate mailing address as indicated below at Point 5 Submission of Application. Download the Referee Report Form HERE

If either one of your academic referees is your potential supervisor, you are strongly encouraged to submit a third referee’s report.


Research Proposal
One set of research proposal at least two pages long on A4-size paper is required. Candidates are to visit the respective department website for the appropriate format required. Some departments may instead require a statement of purpose. If you are applying for admission to the Department of Chinese Studies please submit your proposal in both English and Chinese.

In order to facilitate easier access of faculty members’ research expertise for potential applicants to our research programmes, candidates are encouraged to make use of the Directory of Research which can be accessed here.

You can upload your statement of purpose/research proposal at the “Documents Upload” section of the Graduate Admission System. 


TOEFL or IELTS Score Report
Applicants whose native tongue and medium of university instruction is not English should submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores as evidence of their proficiency in the English language.

The minimum TOEFL score required as as follows:

  • Internet-based test (iBT): Minimum score of 85 (with minimum of 22 for the writing section)
  • Computer-based test (CBT): Minimum score of 237
  • A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 is required.

You are strongly encouraged to send an electronic copy of your TOEFL/ IELTS score report instead of a hardcopy.  Please arrange to have your report sent to us at the appropriate address indicated at the testing organisation’s website.


Please note that some Departments/Programmes may set higher requirements than those stated above.

TOEFL/IELTS score are only valid for two years after the test and the validity should not expire before the beginning of the application period for the research programmes.

Some successful candidates may still be required to take the Diagnostic English Test at our University and, where necessary, attend the Graduate English Course. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has indicated that score reports are valid only if our University receives them directly from ETS. The Faculty's TOEFL Institution code is 9081. The Department Code that you use will not affect the delivery of your report to our Faculty.

Other English language 'proficiency tests' will not be accepted for this purpose;

Tests that claim to be predictions, estimations, simulations, equivalents, practices, etc, of the TOEFL or IELTS are invalid;

The ETS has stated that their Institutional Testing Program cannot be used for admission.


Applicants (except NUS/NTU/SMU graduates) applying to the following departments are required to submit GRE score reports:

  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Social Work

The departments/programme have not instituted any minimum requirements but the General Test has to be taken.

Please note that the GRE scores are valid for five (5) years from the test date.

Please quote our University's code (0677) and the specific Department codes. You are strongly encouraged to send an electronic copy of your GRE score report instead of a hardcopy.  Please arrange to have your report sent to us at the appropriate address indicated at the testing organisation’s website.

For more details, please visit


Documentary Evidence of Financial Support

International applicants who are not applying for our scholarship or who have indicated that you would still like to be considered for admission in the event that you are unsuccessful for our scholarship, must submit documentary evidence of the ability to support your study, e.g., a bank statement.  The financial statement should indicate a minimum sum as indicated in the table below:

Programme Minimum sum required for fully self-financing candidates
Master of Arts / Master of Social Sciences S$40,000
Doctor of Philosophy S$90,000

The minimum sum, which has been rounded off to the nearest ten thousand, takes into account the following, for 50% of the normal duration of the programme:

  1. Living expenses of S$18,000;
  2. Tuition fees; and
  3. Miscellaneous Student Fees

Those who are recipients of the NUS Tuition Fee Allowance will be required to submit a financial statement which should reflect a minimum sum of S$18,000 (Masters programme) or S$36,000 (PhD programme).

Please note that the normal duration of the programme is two and four years respectively for the Masters and PhD programme.  Some candidates may and will take a longer time.  If you are granted admission on a self-financing basis, you will have to be prepared to finance yourself for the entire duration of the programme.  You can expect the total cost of the programme to be approximately S$70,000 (Masters) to S$130,000 (PhD) if you are on the service obligation scheme.  If you are not on the service obligation scheme, the total cost of the programme is approximately S$80,000 (Masters) to S$180,000 (PhD).   

Those who are sponsored by an individual or organisation will need to submit a letter of confirmation from the sponsor and other documentary proof like a bank statement, evidence of scholarship or other award obtained. Those who are working in Singapore and applying for admission to our part-time programme may submit a copy of your recent payslip.

You can upload these documents at the “Documents Upload” section of the Graduate Admission System. 


Other documents like the application form for the Joint PhD programmes, HYI-NUS Joint Doctoral Scholarship, FASS Scholarship in Buddhist Studies, etc. You can upload these documents at the “Documents Upload” section of the Graduate Admission System


All applicants should consult the website of relevant Departments/Programmes for specific departmental requirements.


Click here for the checklist of supporting documents

5. SUBMISSION OF APPLICATION (Only for applicants to the Department of Economics) 

The application form/printed copy of your online application, supporting documents and all other application materials must reach the Department of Economics by post/hand as indicated below, by 1 November. All documents (including the original transcript) submitted in support of your application will not be returned to you. Please state the programme applied for on the top left hand corner of the envelope.

Attention: The Administrator (Graduate RSH Studies)
Department of Economics
National University of Singapore
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
AS2 Level 6, 1 Arts Link
Singapore 117570

*Note: It is important that you inform us if there are any changes/updates to your application after your submission.


The deadline for receipt of application packages is 1 November (in the year preceding the intake) for the August intake and 15 May (in the year preceding the intake) for the January intake.

The outcome of applications will be made known by late May (in the same year as the intake) for the August intake and late October (in the year preceding the intake) for the January intake via email. Applicants who had submitted their application online can check the status of their application HERE.

Due to the large number of applicants seeking admission, we are sorry we will not be able to attend to enquiries on the status of applications or receipt of documents. If you are concerned about the delivery of your documents, you may wish to consider sending them via registered mail or courier.

Completed/Incomplete application received after the respective application deadline (i.e. received on 2 November/16 May) will be considered for the next available intake.


The respective department will correspond with you primarily using e-mail during the application process to convey messages such as requesting for outstanding documents, interview notification etc. Hence, it is very important that you provide a valid and correct e-mail address and maintain your e-mail account regularly. The University will not be responsible for undeliverable e-mails and their consequences.


Inaccurate or false information or omission of material information or no application fee payment will render your application invalid. The University has not engaged any external agencies to undertake graduate student recruitment on its behalf and it reserves the right to reject without giving reasons, applications submitted through any external agencies, and applications that are incomplete or inaccurate. Persons admitted on the basis of inaccurate or false information may be expelled.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore

  • Add: The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 5
  • 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
  • Level 5 (Undergraduate) & Level 6 (Graduate)
  • Fax: +65 6777 0751
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