Universities in
-An Overview

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Key Takeaways

  • Singapore is quickly emerging as a study-abroad destination for Indian students.
  • Universities in Singapore offer an array of programs in various fields including medicine, business, engineering, and more.
  • According to international rankings, the top universities in Singapore are the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, the Singapore University of Technology and Design and Singapore Management University, in that order.
  • These Singapore universities are affiliated with various Ivy league schools in the US including Yale, MIT, and Wharton Business School.
  • Studying in Singapore allows you to live in a country with close proximity to India.


A country that is known for its progressive education system coupled with state-of-the-art facilities, Singapore should be on your short-list if you intend to go abroad for higher education. The city-state’s increasing popularity as an education hub has attracted the international students’ population for over a decade now, with more and more Indian students choosing to study here. With so much impetus on enhancing the standard of education, it is no wonder that universities in these countries are highly ranked, with some of them finding a place in the top universities worldwide. If you are inclined to study in Singapore, this article on the universities in Singapore should ease your decision-making process.

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Why study in Singapore?

Over the years, Singapore has built a reputation for academic standards and excellent courses not just in Asia but across the globe. It has further earned the title of being the best-performing country for the Programme of International Student Assessment or PISA test. Singaporean universities have won global recognition for their top-tier academic programs and their advanced research facilities. These reasons have attracted some of the most renowned literary scholars to study and teach here. As an international student here, you get the chance to attend one of the many top universities in Singapore while also building your abilities and strengths in various vocations as you continue to expand your perspectives and horizons.

For Indian students, Singapore is an especially attractive study abroad location, mainly due to its proximity to India. Furthermore, most universities in Singapore are known for their business, engineering, technical, and medical programs, which continue to remain the top programs among Indian students looking to study abroad. Moreover, the cost of living and education in Singapore is considerably lower in comparison to countries like the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Canada, which are also popular study-abroad destinations among Indian students.

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Best Universities in Singapore in International Rankings

Four of the best universities in Singapore have been featured in various international academic ranking lists. The entities that are responsible for ranking the top colleges in Singapore include:

World University Ranking, an entity by Times Higher Education

It essentially considers the reputation of research conducted by universities worldwide. It also takes into account the frequency with which papers produced by the university are quoted in magazines and academic journals worldwide.

Academic Ranking of World Universities, an entity by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University

It primarily focuses on contributions made by the scientific community, the number of award-winning scientists and how often researchers are cited from the listed universities.

QS World University Rankings, an entity by Top Universities

It mainly surveys various academic experts from across the world regarding the reputation of the universities while also measuring the teaching quality.

Best Universities Ranking, an entity by US News & World Report

It analyses the graduation rates of universities, the number of students enrolled and whether those students continue to stay enrolled in the second year of their courses. It further surveys university representations to check the performance of their universities.

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List of Universities in Singapore in Top Positions

With Singapore being a small country area-wise, only four universities are listed in international rankings. These rankings are for the academic year 2020-2021 and include the following universities:

Name of the University

Times Higher Education Ranking

Shanghai Jiao Tong University Ranking

Top Universities Ranking

US News & World Report Ranking

National University of Singapore





Nanyang Technological University





Singapore University of Technology and Design





Singapore Management University





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Best Universities in Singapore

As per the above rankings, four universities are considered among the best universities in Singapore. Let’s find out why they are deemed among the best.

  1. National University of Singapore

    The National University of Singapore was founded in 1905 and is the oldest higher education institution in the country. As per various international ranking surveys, the NUS has been ranked consistently among the top 20 universities worldwide. Besides earning the title of the best university in Singapore, the NUS is also ranked the best university in the Asia Pacific Region by the QS World University Ranking. NUS has built a reputation as a comprehensive research university and offers a wide range of academic courses across various disciplines, including medicine, dentistry, sciences, engineering, business, law, arts and social sciences, computing, design and environment, and music. You can seek admission into undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in any of these streams.

    One of the primary reasons that attract students to the NUS is its affiliation with many renowned international universities, for instance, the Yale-NUS College, which is a liberal arts college established by the NUS in collaboration with the Ivy League Yale University in the US. Similarly, the Duke-NUS Medical School is a postgraduate medical school established jointly with Duke University, USA. The National University of Singapore boasts of a state-of-the-art campus with three main campuses and an impressive faculty of teachers and professors, including the Nobel Laureate Konstantin Novoselov.

  2. Nanyang Technological University

    The Nanyang Technological University was established in 1981 is considered the second best university in Singapore, despite being one of the youngest higher-education institutions in the country. It is also the second oldest public autonomous university, with approximately 24,000 students and a full-time teaching staff of over 3,840 teachers. NTU emerged as one of the top universities in Singapore due to its ground-breaking graduate and undergraduate programs in disciplines like business, engineering, science, medicine, humanities, arts, and social sciences. In recent years, this university has added several additional schools on its campus, including schools for Biological Sciences, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and Art, Design and Media. It also established the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in collaboration with the Imperial College London.

    Besides its excellent academic courses, the Nanyang Technological University is renowned for its student organisations and its hundred-plus clubs. These include the Constituent and Non-Constituent Clubs, the Academic Club, the Cultural Club, the Sports Club, the Welfare Club and the Arts Club, among others, which you can select as per your interests.

  3. Singapore University of Technology and Design

    Another relatively new university to have found a place in the list of the top 10 universities in Singapore, the Singapore University of Technology and Design, was established in 2009. This autonomous university offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Soon after it was established, the SUTD signed a collaboration deal with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA to develop an undergraduate curriculum suited to the local context. The university provides a standard curriculum for the first three terms, which is a foundation curriculum. As per this curriculum, students must take mandatory classes in subjects like sciences, mathematics, programming, design thinking and Humanities, Arts and Sciences or HASS.

    Furthermore, students get to study a modern engineering and architecture course and finish eight terms within three and a half years instead of traditional four-year programs. Students can choose their specialisation subject in one of the four fields of study in their fourth year. Courses offered include Architecture And Sustainable Design, Engineering Systems and Design, Engineering Product Development or Information Systems and Design. Students can also complete a full-time MIT-SUTD Dual Master’s degree, a two-year program designed for students interested in research in disciplines like Engineering in Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management, and Civil and Environmental Engineering.

  4. Singapore Management University

    Located in the Downtown area, the Singapore Management University was founded in 2000. The SMU is the third autonomous university in the country. It is ranked among the top colleges in Singapore primarily due to its first school, i.e. the School of Business that provides business programmes modelled after the prestigious Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, USA. With over 10,000 students enrolled in various undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs, SMU is among the preferred study-abroad schools among Indian students intending to attend business courses.

    You can enroll in various programs, including bachelor and master’s degrees in business administration, financial services, business analytics, economics, accountancy, law, social sciences, and information systems management. The SMU is organised into six schools with more than 30 research institutes and excellence centres. With a 350 member faculty that includes industry experts and trainers, the Singapore Management University offers professional executive development programmes and customised corporate training.

    Like most universities abroad, overseas students intending to attend graduate or postgraduate programs in Singapore have to appear for the TOEFL, IELTS, or GMAT exam before beginning the admission process.

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A degree from any of the above-mentioned universities in Singapore is recognised all over the world. Singapore is one of the few countries that offer subsidies on fees on the condition that students spend at least three years in the country upon graduating from its universities. This is an excellent proposition as it not only allows you to get your degree in Singapore but also relative work experience in a foreign land. If you aim to study abroad but stay close to India so that you can travel back home anytime, Singapore is an excellent study-abroad destination that you should certainly consider.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the criteria to get admission into a public or private university in Singapore as an international student?

To get admission to any university in Singapore, you should show exemplary academic records as most universities admit students based on merit. Some schools also prioritise extra-curricular activities, sports, and social contributions (for instance, volunteering activities) while shortlisting students for admissions.

As an international student, can I take up part-time work in Singapore while studying at a university in Singapore? Do I need to obtain any documentation for the same?

Yes, you can work part-time during your school term if you are a registered student in any public institutions approved by the Ministry of Manpower. This benefit is not extended to international students studying in Private Education Institutes. While you do not have to obtain a special work pass, you have to show your student pass and visa issued by the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority.

Is there any restriction on the number of working hours and work profile?

You may only work for up to 16 hours a week. The employment should be under an industrial attachment programme conducted by your university, which may be elective or compulsory. The core requirement for working part-time is that it should contribute towards your graduation requirements.