7 Cheap Universities in Singapore

//7 Cheap Universities in Singapore

Singapore is a fast-growing Asian country that quickly became one of the best destinations for both tourists and immigrants. This country doesn’t only have an impressive infrastructure and fun places to visit. They are also known for having very clean streets, a great healthcare system, and one of the best education systems in the world, which is funded by the government. This is why Singapore is a popular and affordable destination for prospective international students.

In recent years, Singapore has stood out internationally for its education system. And we aren’t only talking about universities. Little children, teenagers and young people from primary to tertiary institutions are succeeding at tests and examinations, placing the country at the top.

In fact, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Singapore has the best performance among countries studied and is the leader of their rankings.

Regarding universities, there are six autonomous universities. These receive funds from the government and are fully accredited to grant bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees. Undergraduate programs last from three to five years depending on the field of studies. Master degree programs usually last for a year and doctoral degree programs can last from two to five years depending on the area.

However, besides universities, Singapore has other options for post-secondary education. There are Junior Colleges where students usually go before applying to universities. These have two-year preparatory programs and can be a good alternative if you aren’t admitted at any university but you’d like to study there anyways and prepare yourself more to re-apply.

There are also polytechnic and art institutions that grant diplomas after completing a three-year program. Many of these are affiliated to universities in other countries and offer bachelor degree programs in partnership with them.

Lastly, Singapore also has many branch campuses of universities overseas. You can choose to study at one of these satellite campuses at much more affordable prices than the ones you would pay at their countries of origin. In this article, we will be looking at the cheap universities in Singapore!

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Is it difficult to be admitted at a university in Singapore?

Considering that there are only six autonomous universities and that Singapore is a popular destination, admissions can be very competitive. Fortunately, these always save a certain amount of places only or international students, and all the alternatives that have emerged can make the path easier.

You can attend a Junior College if things don’t work very well at first, or you can go to a satellite campus and still get the experience of getting your degree at such an incredible country.

Universities will consider your results at examinations or tests taken after completing secondary education if they comply with international standards. At Singapore, these exams are called Singaporean GCE ‘O’ Levels. Programs at junior colleges lead to GCE ‘A’ Levels.

Do I have to learn another language to study at a Singaporean university?

Singapore was under the control of the British Empire for a long time. That’s why English is one of its official languages and is the main language used in education.

Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil are also official languages in Singapore, but most programs at universities are fully taught in English.

How cheap are universities in Singapore?

Singaporean universities are definitely not the most affordable in Asia. However, the government gives financial aid to international students. Those who receive grants pay lower tuition fees than the rest of the international students.

Along with subsidized fees, there are many scholarships available.

Do I need a big budget to live in Singapore?

The only downside of studying in Singapore is that living costs can be higher when compared to other countries in Asia. Accommodation will take the biggest part of your budget, so trying to get a place at student residences could be a good idea.

Their official currency is the Singaporean dollar (SGD). 100 SGD is 74 USD approx.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment can cost between 1,600 SGD (1,175 USD approx.) and 2,750 SGD (2,000 USD approx.), depending on the area and the size. If you use public transportation every day, you should budget around 110 SGD (80 USD).

As for groceries, you should budget between 200 and 250 USD. If you like eating out, there are very affordable prices at some local restaurants and at street markets, giving you the option of eating for less than 10 USD.  However, prices can increase significantly at other restaurants because this is a very touristic place.

Cheapest Universities in Singapore

1. National University of Singapore (NUS)

The National University of Singapore (NUS) was founded more than 100 years ago, in 1905, which makes it the oldest higher institution in the country. It also the biggest in terms of the student population, with over 40,000 students, and is considered as the best one in Singapore.

It ranked as the 11th best in the 2020 QS University World Ranking and as the 23rd best in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

NUS is divided into 17 schools and faculties. These are available in the areas of business, medicine, public policy, arts and social sciences, design and environment, music, law,      integrative sciences and engineering, public health, computing, dentistry, and science.

These schools at this cheap university in Singapore also include programs made in affiliation with universities overseas, like a medical school with Duke University, a liberal arts college with Yale University, or the research and technology alliance made with MIT.

NUS has many student residences and halls. These have places for over 6,000 students. The university also has four residential colleges with 5,100 students and researchers approx.

If you’d like to study at NUS, visit their admissions section and FAQ page to learn how to apply. We also suggest you to read their students’ handbook.

Tuition fees for international students go from 17,550 SGD (12,900 USD approx.) to 61,850 SGD (45,500 USD approx.) per year depending on the program. However, most programs cost less than 20,550 SGD (15,000 USD approx.), except for those in the areas of dentistry, law, and music. Contact them to learn more.

2. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

For a long time, Singapore only had one university, until the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was opened in 1981. This is the second biggest university in the country, with around 33,000 students, and is often considered as the second-best higher institution in Singapore.

It also ranked as the 11th best in the 2020 QS World University Ranking but got the 51st place in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

NTU is divided into several schools, colleges, and research institutes located in three different campuses. These are of medicine, humanities, arts, social sciences, business, science, and engineering, and education.  Click here to see which undergraduate programs are offered.

This cheap university in Singapore also has student residences with places for around 14,000 students.      

To learn how to apply and the documents you must submit, visit their admissions page. You can also read their student prospectus and their FAQ section there.

Subsidized tuition fees for international students go from 17,550 SGD (12,900 USD approx.) to 38,300 SGD (28,130 USD approx.). Non-subsidized tuition fees go from 31,970 SGD (23,500 USD approx.) to 36,830 SGD (around 27,000 USD). The only exception is for medicine, which costs 74,250 SGD (54,550 USD approx.) per year. If you have more questions, get in touch with them.

3. Singapore Management University (SMU)

Established almost 20 years ago, in 2000, Singapore Management University (SMU) is a specialized university with around 10,000 students. It got the 477th place in the 2020 QS World University Ranking and ranked as the 6th best business school in Asia, according to the Financial Times Ranking.

SMU consists of six schools of social sciences, information systems, economics, law, accountancy, and business. Check the undergraduate and postgraduate programs offered at SMU here.

The university has more than 30 centers of excellence and research institutes. It is accredited by international business associations, like the Association of MBAs (AMBA).

SMU is known for focusing on employability. They have internship programs in affiliation with companies to help students gain work experience.

If you’d like to pursue a degree in the field of management, visit their admissions section. There you can check their FAQ page, download their prospectus and brochures, and learn more about the SMU experience.

Subsidized tuition fees for international students go from 24,500 SGD (18,000 USD approx.) to 27,050 SGD (19,870 USD approx,). Non-subsidized tuition fees go from 44,510 SGD (around 32,700 USD) to 46,760 SGD (34,350 USD approx.). 

4. Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (STUD) was established ten years ago and is a specialized institution. It offers programs in the fields o design, humanities, arts, social sciences, data science, and artificial intelligence. It is a small institution with around 1,500 students.

This cheap university in Singapore has different programs with universities in the U.S. like MIT or Duke University. It also has several innovative, infrastructure, research and design centers.

For those international students who receive grants from the Singaporean government, subsidized tuition fees are of 28,250 SGD (20,750 USD approx.) per year. Non-subsidized tuition fees are of 60,615 SDG (44,500 USD approx.) per year. They have a fixed fee model, so the cost of your studies will be the same for each academic year of your program.

Visit their admissions section for international students to discover how to study at STUD. They offer student residences and scholarships in case you need financial aid. Send them an email, call them, or chat with them online to learn more.

5. Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

Originally opened in 2005, Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) received full accreditation in 2017. It has grown fast, as it already receives around 15,000 students each year.

This university is affiliated with polytechnics to offer accelerated pathways through the validation of credits and has partnerships with universities overseas in countries like China, the U.S., Canada, the U.K., or Malaysia.

SUSS has five schools of humanities and behavioral sciences, science and technology, law, business, and human development. These schools offer more than 70 part-time and full-time programs. They are actually well known for their wide variety of flexible part-time programs.  

Tuition fees are calculated per course taken and not per year. Depending on the number of credit units (2.5 to 10 credit units), subsidized fees for international students go from 1,019 SGD (747 USD approx.) to 4,076 SGD (2,990 USD approx.) per course, and non-subsidized fees go from 1,704 SGD (1,250 USD approx.) to 6,816 SGD (5,000 USD approx.).

Explore their website and read all the info carefully to learn how to apply and the specific requirements for international students. The admissions process includes interviews, group discussions, and the writing of essays.

6. Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT or Singaporetech)

The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) was founded ten years ago and focuses on having a teaching model of applied learning. They also focus on employability and the development of skills for the job market of today.

With around 6,000 students, this cheap university in Singapore offers programs in the areas of health and social sciences, chemical engineering and food technology, information and communications technology, design and specialized businesses, and engineering.

Subsidized tuition fees for the complete degree programs (between 180 and 240 credit units) go from 63,558 SGD (46,625 USD approx.) to 96,300 SGD (70,650 approx.). Non-subsidized tuition fees for the complete degree programs go form 96,878 SGD (71,070 USD approx.) to 145,606 SGD (114,150 USD approx.). You’ll just have to divide these amounts according to the number of credits taken each academic year.

Check their admissions page to earn about the application process, requirements, FAQs, scholarships available, and financial aid.

7. James Cook University Singapore (JCU Singapore)

James Cook University Singapore (JCU Singapore) was established in the country in 2003, as a branch of JCU, which is located in Australia. All the programs and degrees are administered and granted by JCU in Australia.

JCU Singapore offers undergraduate degree programs, courses, and higher education diplomas in the areas of arts, business, information technology, education, and psychology. Although their campus doesn’t have student residences, they offer accommodation assistance for international students.

Tuition fees for international students go from 26,001 SGD (19,075 USD approx.) to 62,916 SGD (46,155 USD approx.), in the case of undergraduate degree programs.

Visit their website to learn more about the prices of courses, graduate and post-graduate degree programs. Don’t forget to check their admissions section to learn more about applications, requirements, and academic calendars.  

I hope that this article on the cheap university in Singapore was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Cheap Tuition Category!