Law Schools and Programs in Singapore

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Law Studies in Singapore

Are you thinking about studying the law once you complete your undergraduate education?  Did you know that there are now many programs that allow you to study abroad for a semester or year while earning credits towards your law degree?  Studying abroad can be the adventure of a lifetime.  Today, there are many countries that sponsor such programs, including the beautiful and exotic country of Singapore, where students will have access to some of the finest educational facilities in Asia.

Singapore, or in official circles, the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia.  The nation lies off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, approximately 85 miles (137 km) north of the equator.  Singapore’s territory consists of the lozenge-shaped main island, commonly referred to as Singapore Island in English and Pulau Ujong in Malay, and more than 60 significantly smaller islets. Singapore is separated from Peninsular Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to the north, and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to the south. The country is highly urbanized, with very little of its original vegetation remaining, due mostly to the fact that the country's territory has consistently expanded through land reclamation. 

Singapore is organized as a unitary multiparty parliamentary republic, with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government.  Just over five million people call Singapore home, of which approximately two million are foreign-born, including thousands of international business people who come to Singapore to work in its large financial district.  While Singapore is ethnically and culturally diverse, ethnic Asians predominate: 75 percent of the population is Chinese, with significant minorities of Malays, Indians, and Eurasians. There are four official languages in Singapore, English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil, and the country promotes multiculturalism through a range of official policies.

Singapore is one of the world's prime commercial hubs, with the fourth-largest financial center and one of the globe’s five busiest ports.  The country’s globalized and diversified economy depends heavily on trade, especially manufacturing, which represented 26 percent of Singapore's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013.  In terms of purchasing power parity, Singapore has the third-highest per capita income in the world.  The nation also places highly in international rankings with regard to healthcare, government transparency, economic competitiveness, and education.

Legal Education in Singapore

Singapore is home to a number of prestigious law schools, most of which are tied directly to the country’s major public and private universities.  Students interested in studying the law in Singapore will find a number of program options, including pre-law studies at the undergraduate level, Master-level courses and, of course, the doctorate program, leading to the popular J.D. degree.

In Singapore, the J.D. program is for full-time students only.  This course of study typically spans 3 years in duration, comprising roughly 22 courses that together total 25 course units ( Each course carries one course unit unless stated otherwise). The curriculum for these J.D. programs was formulated by legal academics and practitioners after extensive discussions, and endorsed by the Singapore Institute of Legal Education and Ministry of Law.

The academic year in Singapore law schools begins in mid-August and most all programs follow the same academic calendar and grading scheme.  For some students, the program can be accelerated, leading to completion within 2 to 2.5 years subject to the approval of the J.D. Committee, which will take into consideration the student’s first term's exam grades.
While studying law in Singapore students engage in a substantial amount of pre-class preparatory reading and thinking, and they participate actively in class discussions. The philosophy of the J.D. program is that the interactive/participative learning environment at the various Schools of Law helps develop confidence and analytical and presentation skills— attributes which are essential for excelling in the legal and corporate world.

Law school class sizes are deliberately kept small in an attempt to give student the highest level of access to instructors, and a multi-faceted approach to course assessment is adopted. This includes class participation, term assignments and oral and written presentations. The end of term written examination (usually open book) typically accounts for a maximum of 50% of the final grade in a course. A significant amount of time is devoted to group presentations.

Another distinctive feature of the J.D. programs in Singapore is the presence of guest lecturers.  Each year, professional lawyers from private practice, government and the judiciary are regularly invited to participate in classroom teaching. This provides students with the opportunity to integrate practical expertise with theory and doctrine.

The J.D. course of study in Singapore is a meritorious honors program. On successful completion of the program, students will be awarded the degree accordingly, depending on their overall performance: J.D. (merit), J.D. (high merit), J.D. cum laude (with distinction), J.D. magna cum laude (with high distinction) or J.D. summa cum laude (with highest distinction).

Why Study Abroad in Singapore

As you can see, Singapore is a wonderful country for any student who wishes to study the law.  The country is home to several world-class universities and law schools, and the faculty is not only knowledgeable but also highly trained to work with international students.  Students will receive an education that is comparable to what they’d receive at their home university, and all credits they earn while participating in the J.D. program are entirely transferrable.

When students are not busy with their classroom studies they will have ample time to learn about the culture, customs and traditions of Singapore, and sample some of the country’s wide array of local and international fare.  In addition, Singapore offers hundreds of interesting sites and attractions to explore, including:

Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studio Singapore is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.  Located in the Resort World Sentosa, which includes the Integrated Resort, the theme park first opened its doors in April 2010 to wide acclaim.  The magical park, which is very similar to the original Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California in the United States, is divided into 7 themed zones, including Madagascar, the Palace of Far, Far Away, the World of Shrek, the Lost World, Ancient Egypt and Water World. Guests are treated to a number of fun-filled rides and shows, and the park also boasts over 30 restaurants and food carts, together with 20 unique retail stores strategically located around the park.

Singapore Zoo

If you are a lover of animals and animal shows, the Singapore Zoo has everything you need for a fun-filled adventure.  The zoo is home to hundreds of animals across many different species, from exotic birds to beautiful white tigers.  When the sun sets at the Singapore Zoo the night truly comes alive with the park’s “Night Safari,” where guests are shuttled around the park by a tour guide, thus allowing them to see the nighttime behavior of animals in their natural habitats.  The Singapore Zoo has an open setup, meaning that some of the different species are free to roam together throughout the park.  As they traverse the park, visitors can catch glimpses of many different species, from lions lounging in the shade of grove trees to pygmy hippos cooling off in the lakes and ponds.  More than just a place of public entertainment, the zoo is a wonderful vehicle for educating visitors about the animals, the ecosystem and the future of the tropical rain forests.

National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is the country’s oldest and most innovative museum.  Here visitors can learn about the history and culture of Singapore through hundreds of artifacts, exhibits and interactive demonstrations.  For those who love architecture, the building that houses the National Museum of Singapore is also a rare treat.  Designed in both the Neo-Palladian and Renaissance styles, the stunning building consists of two rectangular blocks connected by a large dome in the front.  A great way to beat the summer heat, the National Museum of Singapore is the perfect way to whittle away the day while learning about the country and its people.

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