Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Singapore

About Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Singapore

The widespread availability of the Internet around the world has transformed the manner in which many educational programs are delivered in many countries, including the country of Singapore, which offers distance learning programs leading to academic degrees—Bachelor and Master’s degrees—in a variety of disciplines, as well as diploma and certificate qualifications in a number of vocational and technical fields, training the country’s populace for employment opportunities that will help them compete in today’s global economic climate.
Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign city-state and island country located in Southeast Asia.  The nation is situated at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and is 85 miles (137 km) north of the equator.  Consisting of the lozenge-shaped main island of Pulau Ujong (Singapore Island) and over 60 much smaller islets, Singapore is separated from Peninsular Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south.  The country is highly urbanized and is one of the world’s leading commercial hubs, with the fourth largest financial center and one of world’s five busiest ports.  It also boasts one of the finest education systems in the Southeast Asian region.
Types of Schools Offering Distance Education in Singapore
For students who wish to pursue an education at the post-secondary level, the country of Singapore offers three distinct types of schools, all of which offer at least some type of distance education and online courses.  These schools include Polytechnics, ITE Colleges and Universities.
The first polytechnic institution in Singapore—Singapore Polytechnic—dates back to 1954, with the most recent polytechnic—Republic Polytechnic—opening its doors in 2003.  In total, there are now five polytechnics located in the country, with the others being Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and Nanyang Polytechnic.
Unlike polytechnics in other countries, Singapore polytechnics do not offer degree programs.  Instead they offer 3-year diploma courses in a number of disciplines, with many of those offerings now available online.  Polytechnics in Singapore accept students based on their GCE “O” level and GCE “A” level results.
ITE Colleges
Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE) accepts students based on their GCE “O” level or GCE “N” level results.  These types of institutions, of which there are 10 scattered throughout Singapore, provide two-year programs leading to a locally-recognized “National ITE Certificate.”  A few ITE graduates continue their education at polytechnics and universities, but the vast majority uses their certificate as a springboard to entry level employment.
Universities are the third type of post-secondary institution in Singapore offering online courses and degrees.  Singapore currently has six national universities, with the two largest being National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, each serving more than 30,000 students.  Both of these are established research universities with thousands of research staff and graduate students.  As of 2014, both universities are ranked among the Top 50 universities in the world.
In addition to the six national universities, Singapore is also home to several private colleges and universities, most of which cater to specific programs and fields, such as the Chicago Business School, which only offers courses and degrees in Business-related fields such as Business Management, Accounting, Economics and Business Administration.
Distance Learning Courses, Fields and Degrees
Polytechnics Online Course Offerings
The polytechnics in Singapore offer a vast range of online courses in a variety of fields, including:
  • Engineering
  • Business Studies
  • Accountancy
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management
  • Mass Communications
  • Digital Media
  • Biotechnology
  • And many more…
Courses are also available in certain specialized areas of study, such as marine engineering, nautical studies, nursing and optometry.  Students who successfully complete these three-year study programs are awarded a nationally-recognized diploma, which allows them to pursue basic entry-level employment in their chosen field of study.  About 40 percent of students who pursue post-secondary education in Singapore enroll in the country’s polytechnics.
ITE College Online Course Offerings
The colleges administered by Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education offer two-year programs in a variety of technical fields, including:
  • Computer Programming
  • Computer Science
  • Electronics
  • Database Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Repair
  • And many more…
For each course, the ITE colleges provide four main levels of certification:
  • Master National ITE Certificate (Master Nitec)
  • Higher National ITE Certificate (Higher Nitec)
  • National ITE Certificate (Nitec)
  • Technical Engineer Diploma (TED) (from 2007)
There are also other skills certification through part-time apprenticeship courses conducted jointly by the Institute of Technical Education and industrial companies throughout Singapore.

University Online Course Offerings

Each of the six national universities in Singapore offer courses leading to undergraduate (Bachelor) and graduate degrees (Master).  The larger research universities also offer doctoral programs in a variety of fields, as well as advanced specialized degrees in areas such as Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine and Law.  The course offerings at these institutions are much like you would expect at other large universities around the world, and are broken down into six main program areas, including:
  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business, Economics and Administration
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Biological and Life Sciences (including Medical Sciences)
  • Language
  • Physical Sciences and Mathematics
Courses in each of these five categories are regularly offered online to students and require little to no physical participation, save for exams, guest lectures, etc.  As mentioned briefly above, not all of the study categories are represented at every Singapore University, as the smaller private colleges and universities tend to specialize in a particular academic or professional area, such as technology, business or teaching.

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