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NUS, NTU, SMU & Other Singapore University Degrees—How Much Do They Cost in 2024?

University Degrees in Singapore 2019
University Degrees in Singapore 2019

Generally speaking, Singaporeans are a privileged bunch when it comes to tertiary education. Year after year, universities like NUS and NTU emerge as top universities in Asia according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject. 2024 was no exception, with NUS and NTU ranking higher than Chinese, Japanese and Hong Kong universities when it came to the top 10 programmes.

But put the rankings aside. We know about the benefits of these degrees—what about the costs? Again, many Singaporeans are privileged. Most of us focus on getting into our school of choice—be it NUS, NTU, SMU or any other university—and hardly stop to think about the financial implications of taking a Bachelor’s degree.

Those lucky enough to have been on “parental scholarships” in university can afford to remain blissfully ignorant about the cost of higher education in any Singapore university. Myself included. 

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However, if you plan to or have to take charge of your Singapore university education, an important part of the discussion is cost. What are the options? What can you (or your parents) afford? How will you fund your studies? 

Here’s a quick glance at estimated course fees for Singaporeans.

Singapore university tuition fees (2024)

    1. Summary: Singapore university school fees

    2. NUS school fees 2024 intake

    3. NTU school fees 2024 intake

    4. SMU school fees 2024 intake

    5. SUTD school fees 2024 intake

    6. SUSS school fees 2024 intake

    7. SIT school fees 2024 intake

    8. Lasalle school fees 2024 intake

    9. NAFA school fees 2024 intake

    10. Private university school fees

    11. Other university costs to consider

    12. CPF Education Scheme

    13. Scholarships & bursaries

    14. Work study scheme

    15. Education loans in Singapore

 

1. Summary of Singapore university school fees 2023/2024

Here are the subsidised Singapore university fees at a glance (based on 2023/2024 intake fees). For digestibility’s sake, these are approximations based on courses excluding specialised ones such as medicine, law, and dentistry, which tend to be more expensive. 

Singapore university

Est. course fee for 2023 intake

Per annum fee

Total for a 3-year course

Total for a 4-year course

NUS

$8,250 to $9,650

$24,750 to $28,950

$33,000 to $38,600

NTU

$8,250 to $9,450

$24,750 to $28,350

$33,000 to $37,800

SMU

$11,500

$34,500

$46,000

SUTD

$13,500

SUTD courses are generally 4 years

$54,000

SUSS

$7,500 to $8,410 (Estimated; fees are charged per module, not per annum)

$30,000 to $33,640

SIT

$7,500 to $10,380 (Fees are paid per trimester)

$22,500 to $27,900

$30,000 to $41,520

Lasalle

$9,780

$29,340

NAFA University of the Arts

$8,600 to $10,220

$25,800 to $30,660

The prices in the table above are for Singapore Citizens—Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) and international students can expect to pay more. In particular, international students are generally looking at more than twice the fees Singaporeans pay. 

Given a choice, most of us would prefer to enrol in one of these local universities. Apart from the fact that their degrees are more recognised (at least in the Singapore workforce), the course fees are also subsidised by the Ministry of Education Tuition Grant.

The MOE Tuition Grant is automatically awarded to all Singaporean citizens, but note that you can’t use it again if you’ve already enjoyed it for a prior degree course. For Singaporeans, the grant cuts about 50% to 80% off the standard course fee.

Non-Singaporeans (PRs and foreigners) can also apply for the MOE Tuition Grant. But once it’s granted, you’ll have to work for a Singapore entity for 3 years after graduation. The subsidy for PRs is smaller, and the subsidy for foreigners is the smallest.

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2. NUS school fees 2023/2024 intake

National University of Singapore probably needs no introduction. It’s Singapore’s flagship uni and widely regarded as the best one to get into for most degrees.

As a local uni, NUS tuition fees for undergrad courses are some of the cheapest. They mostly range from $8,200 to $9,700 per year, so expect to pay roughly $24,750 to $28,950 for a 3-year course or $33,000 to $38,600 for a 4-year one.

The prices below are for Singapore Citizens only. Singapore PRs pay about 40% more at NUS.

NUS degree programme / faculty / college

Annual fee for Singapore Citizens after MOE Tuition Grant

Per annum

Total for 3 years

Total for 4 years

Business

$9,650

$28,950

$38,600

Computing

$8,250

$24,750

$33,000

Design and Engineering

$8,250

$24,750

$33,000

Humanities and Sciences

$8,250

$24,750

$33,000

Law

$12,700

$38,100

$50,800

Nursing

$8,950

$26,850

$35,800

Medicine

$30,200

$90,600

$120,800

Most NUS degrees take 4 years to complete. However, you may be able to complete it in 3 or 3.5 years if you plan your timetables wisely. Some people with related diplomas from poly also get a fast track at uni and get exempted from completing certain courses.

For dentistry and medicine, NUS course fees are now $30,200 per year. The degree would cost from $120,800 (dentistry, 4 years) to $151,000 (medicine, 5 years).

NUS students pay fixed fees based on their cohort throughout their course, so for instance, if you enrolled in 2023, you pay the same annual tuition fee every year for the duration of your course.

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3. NTU school fees 2023/2024 intake

 

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Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is the second major local university in Singapore. It may not have the 100+ year history that NUS does, but NTU is the best young university in the world (i.e. under 50 years old).

Certain colleges within NTU have stellar reputation. For instance, the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) is the place to be if you’re interested in studying communications and mass media. NTU Business School is also famous as one of the top Business schools in the world.

NTU tuition fees for undergrad courses are similar to that of NUS. They mostly cost $8,250 to $9,450 per year, which works out to about $24,750 to $28,350 for a 3-year course:

NTU degree programme / faculty / college

Annual fee for Singapore Citizens after MOE Tuition Grant

Per annum

Total for 3 years

Total for 4 years

All Programmes (except for those

listed below)

$8,250

$24,750

$33,000

Accountancy, Business, Accountancy & Business, Business & Computing, Business & Computer Engineering

$9,450 

$28,350

$37,800

Medicine

$35,000

$105,000

$140,000

Renaissance Engineering

Programme

$17,950

$53,850

$71,800

NTU has a Renaissance Engineering Programme, which is steeper at $17,950 per year, i.e. $80,775 for 4.5-year course.

As for medicine, the 5-year NTU medicine course costs $35,000 per year, making it a grand total of $175,000.

Again, these rates are for citizens. Singapore PRs pay about 40% more at NTU. As with NUS, NTU students pay fixed fees throughout their course of studies based on their cohort, and will not be subject to fee increases.

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4. SMU school fees 2023/2024 intake 

Singapore Management University (SMU) is known for grooming outspoken graduates that end up in management roles. Classes are arranged in small-sized seminars rather than large lecture halls, and you’ll be encouraged to speak up to participate in class.

One of SMU’s key selling points is that its campus is located right in the city centre. But some may feel that there’s no “campus” feel to the university, since there isn’t any semblance of hostel life or university town.

SMU is a local uni, but its fees cost a bit more than NUS and NTU. SMU tuition fees for practically all their undergrad courses cost $11,500 per year, which works out to $34,500 for a 3-year course or $46,000 for a 4-year one.

For law, the 4-year SMU Law course costs $12,700 per year, so that’s $50,800 for 4 years.

Again, Singapore PRs pay about 40% more at SMU, and students pay fixed fees throughout their course of studies based on their cohort.

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5. SUTD school fees 2023/2024 intake 

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is one of the newer unis in Singapore, and is reputed to be strong in design-thinking and technology. Its graduates are known to do well in the job market.

The SUTD campus is near Expo MRT station, or Upper Changi MRT station in the East.

SUTD tuition fees for all courses cost $13,500 per year. SUTD courses are generally 8 terms long (4 years), so the total tuition fee works out to $54,000 for a 4-year course. This excludes SUTD Special Programmes which cost more.

Again, prices stated here are for citizens; Singapore PRs pay about 40% more at SUTD.

Although SUTD tuition fees didn’t increase from 2022 to 2023, historically, these fees have increased anywhere between $250 and $500. Fees per academic year for the 2019/2020 cohort stands at $13,200, while 2020/2021 cohort pays $13,300 ($100 more) per academic year, and if you’re enrolling for the 2021/2022 cohort, you’ll be paying $13,500 .

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6. SUSS school fees 2023/2024 intake 

 

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Formerly known as UniSIM, the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) offers degrees in (you guessed it) social sciences—as well as accountancy, education, HR management, business analytics and so on.

The SUSS campus is based along Clementi Road with the nearest MRT being King Albert Park (DTL).

Unlike the other universities listed above, SUSS tuition fees are module-based rather than annual fee-based. That means the amount you pay each semester and each year depends on the number of modules you took in that period.

Most SUSS full-time courses are expected to cost around $30,000 for a 4-year course. Accountancy is the outlier—this course will set you back by about $33,640 for the full course.

These rates are for Singaporeans. Singapore PRs pay approximately double the course fees at SUSS.

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7. SIT school fees 2023/2024 intake 

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is one of Singapore’s newer universities, offering degrees in aircraft systems, infrastructure, aerospace and other fields of engineering. They also have degrees such as naval architecture and mechatronics.

SIT’s campus is located near NUS, along Dover Road. The nearest MRT is One North.

Generally, SIT tuition fees are on the affordable side. Most courses cost from $22,500 to $27,900 in total for the entire course.

Their ICT, pharmaceutical engineering, food technology, and healthcare courses are more expensive at $30,000 to $$41,520 for the full course.

At SIT, tuition fees are paid per trimester—once every 3 months. Most degree programmes take 3 years (180 credits), but the following take 4 years (240 credits) to complete:

  • Chemical Engineering

  • Computer Science in Interactive Media and Game Development

  • Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation

  • Dietetics and Nutrition

  • Digital Art and Animation

  • User Experience and Game Design

  • Electronics and Data Engineering

  • Information and Communications Technology

  • Pharmaceutical Engineering

  • Food Technology

  • Degrees under Systems Engineering: Mechatronics Systems, Robotics Systems

  • Degrees under Allied Health, such as Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy

  • Nursing (Pre-registration and Specialty Training)—4 years and 8 months

Additionally, Food Business Management takes only 2 years.

SIT also offers courses in collaboration with overseas partner universities, but they are more expensive; prices vary.

Similar to SUSS, Singapore PRs pay approximately double the course fees at SIT.

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8. Lasalle school fees 2023/2024 intake 

If you’re more inclined towards the arts, you may have considered joining Lasalle. You can find diplomas in areas such as dance, design communication, fine arts and interior design as well as degrees acting, animation art, fashion and film.

Take note that degrees at Lasalle will cost more than degrees at NUS or NTU, but cheaper than technology degrees at SUTD or SIT. The Lasalle campus is based downtown, the nearest MRT being Rochor (DTL).

Lasalle tuition fees for all BA degree courses cost $9,780 per year, so that’s $29,340 for a 3-year course. Courses at Lasalle are generally 3-years long.

Singapore PRs pay $13,845 per year at Lasalle, which comes up to a total of $41,535 for the entire degree.

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9. NAFA / University of the Arts school fees 2023/2024 intake

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) / University of the Arts offers 5 arts and music degrees:

  • In collaboration with University of the Arts London: Design Practice, Fine Art, and Performance Making

  • In collaboration with the Royal College of Music, London: Music and Instrumental & Vocal Teaching

NAFA tuition fees are from $8,600 to $10,220 a year, so expect to pay about $25,800 to $30,660 for a 3-year course if you’re Singaporean. PRs pay about 40% more.

NAFA also offers a wide range of diplomas, most of which cost about $15,000 – $17,000 for a 3-year course. You can then “top up” an additional year to get a degree. Top up degrees are awarded by overseas partner unis and start from $21,000—so that’s $36,000 at least for 4 years of study.

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10. Private university school fees in Singapore

Even though private universities historically aren’t as coveted as public universities, their numbers seem to keep growing every year with no signs of slowing down. Popular ones are KaplanMDISPSB AcademySIM GE and James Cook University.

School fees at private universities vary wildly. You can enrol in a full-time Bachelor’s degree course for $20,000 in one school, yet be charged closer to $60,000 at the next.

That’s because they usually work with external degree providers, which all have different rates and “market value”. Course fees usually depend on the course provider.

If you’re looking at a popular course such as psychology, the sheer choices out there can be pretty staggering.

However, don’t just go for the cheapest one, because there can be a lot of variation between how courses are run. Do a bit of digging on student forums and check out any published data & rankings (the SkillsFuture website has a good compilation).

Yes, the cost of your studies matters, but you also want to make sure that the degree is recognised enough to get you a job with decent pay in the future—otherwise you’ll just be shortchanging yourself.

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11. Other university costs to consider

Tuition fees may form the bulk of your expenses, but other costs of studying are significant enough that you should budget for them too. These include:

  • Course application fees

  • Miscellaneous fees—lab, admin, health insurance fees (yes, you will be billed for these!)

  • Study materials—textbooks, laptop and anything else you might need to get for school

  • Exchange programmes

  • Some private uni courses require you to spend a term or semester abroad at the partner university

Then, of course, there are the living expenses that you might incur:

  • Accommodatione.g. staying in hall or renting a shared flat near school

  • Lifestyle—meals, socialising, day-to-day costs if you stay in hall

  • Transport

  • Travel—during vacations, grad trip

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12. Funding your education: CPF Education Scheme

$25,000 or $30,000 isn’t a sum that most people can cough up easily. Many parents in Singapore do their best to set aside a university education fund for their kids, but sometimes life happens and it is no longer an option.

Here are some ways to fund your studies that you can look into:

A T M Ways to Fund Your Uni Studies A Quick Overview of Your Options Parents’ CPF CPF Education Scheme Jobs Part Time Jobs Work-Study Schemes Loans MOE Tuition Fee Loan Bank Education Loan Scholarships and Bursaries Government Scholarships Private Scholarships Bursaries for the needy

We’ll start with the CPF Education Loan Scheme, which is a widely-known scheme for tapping into your parents’ CPF funds.

If your parents have funds locked up in their CPF accounts, you might be able to use their Ordinary Account savings to fund your studies. However, it’s only for the local universities, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it.

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13. Funding your education: Scholarships & bursaries

If you are unable to unlock the CPF Education Scheme for whatever reason, the next step is to head to your university’s financial aid unit, e.g. the Office of Financial Aid at NUS.

University scholarships, grants and bursaries are forms of financial aid that don’t require repayment, unlike the CPF Education Scheme or education loans. However, they may have educational or income requirements, and some come with a work placement bond. View the MOE’s list of institutions’ financial aid schemes to get a start.

If you’re unfazed by the idea of serving a work bond and relatives fawning over you at every gathering (“Wah, Girl Girl scholar leh!”)—and if your grades are top notch—then consider a government scholarship.

Apart from the well-known ones like the PSC Scholarship (difficult to get) and MOE Teaching Scholarship (only relevant if you want to be a teacher), check the agencies relevant to your area of study to see if they offer anything. For example, if you’re interested in tech you can investigate IMDA’s scholarships, while social work majors can try MSF’s scholarships.

There are also tons of non-government options out there, too, especially from non-profit organisations like Ngee Ann Kongsi, Sinda and Mendaki.

The non-exhaustive lists on university websites like the the NUS website and the PSB Academy website should give you an idea of what’s out there, but you don’t have to approach them directly. The best way to find a private scholarship is through your school’s financial aid office.

If you are from a lower-income family, you may be eligible for a government bursary, which subsidises up to 95% of subsidised tuition fees at the highest bursary tier. Either ask your school’s financial aid office about them, or make an appointment with NCSS to find out if your family qualifies for government assistance.

Obtaining financial aid can be a lengthy administrative process, so start enquiring at least 4 to 6 months before the semester commences.

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14. Funding your education: Get a job

Whether you qualify for a grant or not, if your schedule allows, there’s always that old fallback — getting a part-time job while you’re in uni to help pay some of your school fees. 

Do enquire if your university offers a work-study scheme like NUS or NTU do. You might not even have to leave campus to find a part-time job!

Otherwise, you can take advantage of weird university schedules, like 3-hour school days and 4-day school weeks, to find a part-time gig. Pro tip: Plan your timetable such that you free up 1 or 2 days in the week. It’s like giving yourself a long weekend, which you won’t be able to enjoy once you graduate and start working. *cries in 5-day work week*

Being a private tutor is one of the best-paying jobs you can get as an undergrad. But if you’re not keen on forcing someone’s brat to do his homework, there are other options to consider, from advertising yourself as a freelancer on Fiverr to the more common low-barrier part-time gigs at F&B establishments and retail stores. Plus, it’s 2024. Don’t write off more unusual ways to make a bit of cash too—dog walker, anyone?

As long as it doesn’t detract from your studies, working part-time as a student can give you a head start over your peers in terms of real life working experience, which is valuable in and of itself.

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15. Funding your education: Take up an education loan

Finally, if you are unable or unwilling to get any other form of financial aid, your school’s financial aid office would usually recommend an education loan.

For those planning to study in a local university, the cheapest loan to fund your education is the MOE Tuition Fee Loan, which loans up to 90% of your tuition fees. Note that you have to pay at least 10% of the course fee out of pocket, so that’s a few thousand bucks at least.

If you’re not eligible for the MOE loan, like if you’re planning to enrol in a private uni, you might have to go to a bank to get an education loan.

Whichever you choose, think carefully before you take on a loan, because repaying your education loan will have a big impact on the first few years of your working life. 

It’s worthwhile to shop around for the lowest interest rate for such a big commitment, and you can easily compare interest rates with MoneySmart’s education loan wizard.

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