Universities in Singapore

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About universities in Singapore

Singapore, known officially as the Republic of Singapore, is a city-state in Southeast Asia, located 85 miles north of the Equator off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.  Singapore is an island nation, consisting of 63 islands, and is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south.  Once a part of the United Kingdom, the country claimed independence in 1963 and is now a parliamentary republic, with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government.  The capital, Singapore, is located in the downtown center or core of the nation-state, and the official languages, English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil, are all used to some extent in government, commerce and media.  Only English, however, is used as the language of instruction and printed materials at Singaporean schools and universities.
Higher Education in Singapore
Higher education in Singapore is overseen and regulated by the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for the development and implementation of educational policy and curriculum.  All schools, whether public or private, must be registered with the Ministry of Education, and most of the instruction at the institutions of higher learning is in English.  Unlike in most countries, higher education in Singapore does not immediately follow primary and secondary school.  A third level, a two-year program known as pre-university education must first be taken and passed before a student can pursue an education at the tertiary level.  This system of education is very similar to that of the United Kingdom prior to the reforms that were implemented earlier this decade as the result of the Bologna Process.
The Higher Education Division oversees the tertiary and technical education in Singapore, as well as the registration of private schools.  The higher education system consists of four autonomous universities, five polytechnics, and several private institutes offering various technical, vocational and specialty programs. 
At the universities and polytechnics in Singapore the credit and degree structure is very similar to that of the United States, Canada and Europe.  Undergraduate or Bachelor degrees (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science) are offered in a variety of academic and professional fields.  All students who have completed the secondary and pre-university stages of education, earning a certificate for each, are eligible to apply, but they must first take and pass an entrance examination that varies in content from university to university.  Individuals who have earned a Bachelor degree, which usually requires 4-5 years of study, can either pursue a career position in their chosen field of study or opt to advance their education in a graduate program, with the goal of earning a Master’s of Arts or Master’s of Science degree.  Certain universities, including the four autonomous institutions, offer doctorate or PhD programs for those who have first earned their Master’s Degree.  Eligibility requirements for these programs vary depending on the institution and field of study, as does the time required to complete the degree.
According to statistics, Singaporean students consistently rank in the top 5 in the world in the two major international assessments of mathematics and science knowledge.
Approximately 14%-15% of the adult population in Singapore holds at least an undergraduate degree.

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