A Level Results 2019: Our Guide to NTU

Welcome back to our series on applying to universities after the release of the GCSE A Level Results 2019. We’ve discussed Singapore’s oldest and most internationally recognizable university, NUS, but we haven’t gone through the other equally valid local universities in Singapore.


University Application Series: The Traditional Three

About forty percent of ‘A’ Level and diploma graduates from polytechnics apply and get into universities. Behind National University of Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University  and Singapore Management University are the second and third most popular universities respectively.

While both universities are very large and have a diverse set of faculties, both of them occupy specific niches that correspond to what you want to do when you graduate.

Nanyang Technological University


Known for its specialties in life sciences, geographical sciences and engineering, NTU is meant for those who are more STEM at heart. It’s actually the largest campus in Singapore, with a sprawling 200 hectares.

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                     An illustrated map that shows a snapshot of NTU and its huge campus.

Just like NUS and most local universities in Singapore, NTU follows an Indicative Grade Profile system where the eligibility and chances of success in applying to these universities depend on:

Your Grades

The minimum requirements for most courses is BCC/C (for Materials Engineering and Mechanical Engineering respectively), which indicates that your chances can be improved greatly if you get a comfortable BBB/A or ABB/B for your A Level H2 subjects.

Your standing compared to other participants

This is harder to determine, since the academic standing of people applying in your year fluctuates depending on cohort. But generally, expect the average grade to be a good benchmark for whether you can get in.

The Overall Popularity of The Course

Courses like Medicine and Computer Science tend to be the most competitive courses in Nanyang Technological University, while Engineering courses tend to be easier to get in. The popularity of the course does not depend on the academic requirements of each course, since it may just mean there is a bigger faculty of professor, classrooms sizes etc. for each faculty.

This means don’t feel turned off by the low grade requirements for NTU, as it has no reflection on the teaching ability and the prestige of the course. In fact, Engineering is one of the niche specialties of NTU, and engineering students have the research opportunity to work with MIT in the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research Technology centre.

Below is the indicative admissions grade profile for NTU for the AY 2019/20:

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Housing on campus is preferred by most students due to the relatively remote nature of the area. NTU houses over 14,000 graduates at any given time, so it’s big just like its sister university, NUS.

NTU has 24 Halls of Residence, which largely shape your experience. According to NTU Undergraduate Housing website:

Rooms are furnished with a bed, mattress, study table, chair, wardrobe, bookshelf and soft board (to pin notes on, etc.). Each room is fitted with window coverings such as venetian blinds or curtains, lighting and a fan. There are Ethernet connections in each room. Other fittings may be provided and these vary from hall to hall.

Research Centers:

NTU is actually filled with many, many different research centers. This makes sense since its a large research university, first and foremost. This means most of the professors, postdoctoral fellows and even students are focused on applying the knowledge taught in courses in new research opportunities. We’ve chosen some cool and unique research centers in NTU.

Earth Observatory

Suitable for: Environmental Science, Geography and Environmental Engineering Majors

What Does It Do?: Researching on volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and climate science. The Earth Observatory does a lot of work on Asian natural disaster regions including Indonesia and Malaysia. Those who like to do regional scientific research, this might be a good opportunity for you.

NTU Cybersecurity Research Institute

Suitable for: Computer Engineering, Engineering and Business Studies Majors

What Does It Do?: The government and private is ramping up efforts for cybersecurity defense in Singapore, especially after large privacy breaches occurring recently. This includes setting up a new government agency and investing in new scholarship opportunities for students. Cybersecurity is a lucrative and promising new career if you’re thinking of entering Computer Engineering in NTU or elsewhere.

Ageing Research Institute for Society and Education (ARISE)

Suitable for: Sociology, Anthropology, Linguistics, Computer Engineering and Business Studies Majors

What Does It Do?: For those who are more socially minded, and want to tackle one of Singapore’s largest public policy problems in the 21st Century, this is a great opportunity. ARISE investigates the economic and social impact of an increasing ageing population in Singapore, and researches potential solutions.

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