Singapore Higher Education

After first being British colonial rule, and later part of present-day Malaysia, Singapore became independent in 1965. Since independence, a focused focus on economic growth has been the key word for politics in Singapore.

As one of countries starting with letter S listed on, Singapore is today one of the world’s most competitive economies and one of the most important trading cities in Asia. As a result, companies from all over the world have offices in the country.

In addition to having a competitive economy, Singapore is a multicultural country, as also indicated by the country’s several official languages. The largest ethnic groups in the country are of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian / Tamil origin, respectively, and different areas of Singapore are particularly characterized by these cultures. English is the official working language and the English level in Singapore is very high.

Along with the country’s growing importance as an international trade center, Singapore has also become an important training center in Asia. Singapore annually attracts a large number of international students, especially from other Asian countries such as China and India, but increasingly also from the West. Singapore universities are relatively high on international rankings.

The Singaporean education system is divided into primary, secondary, pre-university and post-secondary education. You can read more about the Singaporean education system on the website of the Singaporean Ministry of Education.

Worth knowing

Vocational training in Singapore

Vocational training in Singapore is administered by the Singapore Ministry of Education and is part of post-secondary education.

Vocational training is offered at the following institutions:

  • Junior Colleges (JCs) and Centralized Institutes (CI). The duration of the educations is two years at JCs and three years at CI.
  • Polytechnics. Education at Polytechnics is of three years duration and includes education for young people who want to pursue a particularly specialized and practically oriented education. Graduates of Polytechnics subsequently have the opportunity to further their education at a university.
  • Institute of Technical Education (ITE). The educations from here are of one to two years duration.


If you are thinking of taking all or part of your own internship in Singapore or elsewhere abroad, read the section on internships abroad for vocational education under the section Primary and Secondary Education.

Higher education in Singapore

Higher education in Singapore is administered by the Singapore Ministry of Education and includes:

4 “autonomous universities”, which are partly privately-publicly funded, require tuition fees and have great freedom to organize the form of teaching:

  • National University of Singapore – Singapore’s oldest and largest university, with broad academic opportunities.
  • Nanyang Technical University – Singapore’s second largest university, with five different schools and more than 35,000 students.
  • Singapore Management University-offers education in business, business management, economics and social sciences. SMU as an educational institution is particularly inspired by the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States.
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design – is the newest university in Singapore, opened in 2008. SUTD primarily focuses on technology and innovation and was created in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA and Zhejiang University in China.

The university educations are divided into two levels: undergraduate and graduate / postgraduate, of 4 years and 1 year duration respectively (the exact duration may, however, vary from university to university and from program to program).

You can read about the terms and general info about Singapore’s autonomous universities at the Ministry of Education in Singapore through

Other institutions:

  • Publicly funded institutions: The Singapore Institute of Technology
  • Private universities – adult learning: SUSS University:

Admission requirements and application:

To be admitted to a Singaporean university at the undergraduate level, it is a requirement that you possess an entrance high school diploma. The specific admission requirements and deadlines may vary between universities, so the best starting point is to go to the specific university’s website and read about admission requirements for international students (see links above). The same applies to admission at graduate level – where the requirement is that you possess an entry-level education, equivalent to a Singaporean undergraduate degree.

If you are applying for admission to a Singaporean university as a free-mover (ie arranged by yourself, but as part of your Danish education), you are also referred to the individual universities’ specific rules and admission requirements.

If you apply for a place at a Singaporean university through an exchange agreement with your Danish university, access is usually limited to a certain number of places. Check with the international office of your education whether specific conditions apply to admission to a university in Singapore.

Language proficiency

Most universities in Singapore require international students to have proof of English proficiency, as English is the language of instruction. It will typically be a requirement for a minimum score on either a TOEFL or IELTS test, which you can take at selected educational institutions in Denmark. However, it varies between individual universities which test is preferred and how high a score you should have. Therefore, go to information for international students on the specific universities’ website for specific information.

Recognition of foreign educations in Denmark

If you have completed a publicly recognized education in Singapore or elsewhere abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education

Singapore Higher Education