Top 7 Universities in Singapore for International Students

Singapore, a city-state located in the southern tip of the Malay peninsula, was a sovereign of the British empire until it joined the Malaysian federation in 1963 and finally became fully independent in 1954. Although the country is known for its massively dense population, Singapore is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, with the second-highest GDP per capita. It also has the largest global port and is considered a tax haven, making it a highly recommended place for business investors.

The country is also known for its high cost of living and lack of natural resources. Still, the country managed to become one of Asia’s four tigers and was recognized by many economic award-giving bodies for its consistently progressive performance. The city-state itself is a favorite destination for the first-time overseas travelers. It is home to several attractions such as the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, and the Sentosa.

Aside from its business and tourism prowess, Singapore is also home to prestigious universities in the world. International students are finding the country comparable to studying in Western countries while exploring the Eastern cultures and all the great things it has to offer. In this article, we will be going over the best universities in Singapore for international students.

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How satisfied are international students studying in Singapore?

Singapore’s reputation on cleanliness, the rule of law and spearheading infrastructures, and lively cosmopolitan ambiance provide greater satisfaction to its international students. Its universities are more often chosen as compared to other universities in Asia. One of Singapore’s finest when it comes to education, Nanyang Technological University, has an impressive list of world rankings from different academic survey and ranking institutions. It placed 17th in QS World University Ranking and 8th in Times Higher Education ranking in Asia and 48th in the world ranking. In addition, it is tagged as one of the fastest improving young universities globally, with its accelerated rise to academic stardom and impressively surpassing its contemporary educational organizations.

What are the most popular programs in Singapore for International Students?

While it is common to hear of pursuing postgraduate studies abroad, international students in Singapore are taking undergraduate courses in various subjects. Among the most popular programs are creative arts, engineering and science, and business management.

Tourism is a significant contributor to Singapore’s economy. It only makes sense for international students to study tourism and hotel management in the country as well. The city-state’s knack for keeping tourists well entertained provides an excellent practical illustration for international tourism students.

Architecture is also a favorite among international students. Singapore’s lack of green resources resulted in the modern contemporary architecture style that shows vegetation landscapes in high-rise buildings. International students look forward to learning more about green architecture that promotes sustainability in heavy-congested urban areas.

How many international students study in Singapore?

In 2018, Singapore attracted approximately 65,000 international students. Despite the astounding numbers, the Singapore government assured that none of the local students were stripped off of their place in the universities, further supporting the premise of its internationally-driven educational system.

What is the most prestigious university in Singapore?

The oldest university in the country, established in 1905, the National University of Singapore, is also the most prestigious. According to Times Higher Education, it is now ranked 3rd in Asia, 24th in World Reputation, and 25th in World University Rankings. Moreover, it ranked 11th on Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings of 2020.

The university is known for its exemplary academic, research, and global reputation, crowning it the best choice in Singapore.

Below are the top seven universities in Singapore

Best Universities in Singapore for International Students

1. National University of Singapore (NUS)

The National University of Singapore was established as a public research university. Considered as Singapore’s ace player and Asia’s best in education, the university is known for its transformative instructional model and a strong focus on multidisciplinary research. As a consistent producer of global professionals, the National University of Singapore invites international students from many parts of the world. It has 17 faculties in three campuses, giving more options to prospective students. With its top-caliber research facilities and centers of excellence, the National University of Singapore is undoubtedly Singapore’s best university for international students.

2. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Nanyang Technological University was formed after merging the National Technological Institute with the National Institute of Education in 1991. Considered as the second oldest university in the country, NTU also follows NUS as its top universities. The notable rankings of NTU are further highlighted by the fact that it is known as within the top 15 of the world’s most beautiful campuses. International students have excellent options from the NTU’s wide selection of programs in Arts, Business, Humanities, Science, and Engineering. Furthermore, the university is famous for its modern approach in instruction that caters to the millennials’ digital lifestyles.

3. Singapore Management University (SMU)

Singapore Management University, founded in 2000, is another top university in Singapore for international students. Its location in the downtown core of Singapore provides international students the opportunity to explore the country through its historic and commercial districts. As an education game-changer, the Singapore Management University prided itself on giving new teaching approaches, which paved the way for innovative research. The six schools and its extensive range of programs on top of the extraordinary facilities make it one of the country’s international students’ preferences.

4. Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS)

The Management Development Institute of Singapore was established in 1956 as a not-for-profit professional academic institute. It offers a vast array of programs such as Business and Management, Fashion and Design, Engineering, and Safety and Environmental Management. With its collaboration with prestigious universities in the United States and the United Kingdom, the Management Development Institute is a practical choice for international students.

5. Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Founded in 2009, the Singapore University of Technology and Design was the result of the collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Unlike the other universities in Singapore, SUTD aims to achieve higher education through its innovation in curriculum design. International students seeking a faster yet more hands-on means of completing their education fit better in SUTD. This is why SUTD is one of the top universities in Singapore for international students.

6. Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

The Lee Kuan Yew School was established in 2004 as an independent postgraduate school of the National University of Singapore, and it was named after the late former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. International students can choose over its five master’s degrees and two Ph.D. programs. Despite its limited choices, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy is much preferred for its highly specific academic offerings and research expertise. Its affiliation with the most prestigious university and well-known names in the industry are a sure advantage for international students.

7. Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

We end our list of best universities in Singapore for international students with SUSS. In 2005, the Singapore University of Social Sciences was established in its former name, SIM University. It was renamed in 2017 to Singapore University of Social Sciences and was given autonomous status, indicating the government’s support for its endeavors. Its unique philosophy, the 3H’s education philosophy, attracts international students to participate in its more than 70 undergraduate and postgraduate programs.


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