Ph.D. is a significant step in one’s academic career and requires considerable commitment to complete; after all, by studying for a Ph.D., students not only gain in-depth knowledge of their subjects but also improve their research skills and practical experience, which will eventually be necessary for their career. When this is the case, where to study for a Ph.D. is of extreme importance for students since each university and country has its own merits and opportunities awaiting skillful students from all around the world.

Studying for a Ph.D. in Singapore has unique advantages for international students for various reasons, such as a multicultural study environment, international faculty staff with notable experience, the number of Ph.D. programs available at Singaporean universities for international students, the strategic position of Singapore for international networks, and many more. In this article, we will cover an overview of what it’s like to study for a Ph.D. in Singapore with its requirements and application process. Read more to find tips for studying for a Ph.D. in Singapore.

Is it Expensive to Study Ph.D. in Singapore?

Studying for a Ph.D. in Singapore has many great benefits, yet one of the important things every international student should know about is that, in fact, studying and living in Singapore can be costly compared to other regions in Asia. Singapore is a highly developed city-state in maritime Southeast Asia, known for being one of the world’s most important business centers. From tuition fees to everyday expenses, living in Singapore can be expensive for some students.

Tuition fees for doctoral programs in Singapore depend on the type of university or program; to exemplify, the National University of Singapore offers Ph.D. programs with an average annual tuition fee of SGD 21,500 ($16,000) or SGD 38,950 ($29,000), depending on whether they receive the Ministry of Education (MOE) Subsidy. As for Newcastle University Singapore, the annual tuition fees can go up to SDG 84,000 ($63,000) for international students.

Admission Requirements for Doctoral Degree in Singapore

Once you decide to study for a Ph.D. in Singapore, you need to carefully examine the application process and admission requirements for the doctoral program in which you wish to enroll. The admission requirements can change depending on the university or program, yet below, we have covered the general requirements for applying for a doctoral degree in Singapore.

1. Proof of master’s degree

The first and most important requirement for doctoral applicants in Singapore is, without a doubt, holding a master’s degree in the relevant discipline. Without solid and official proof of your master’s degree and published dissertation (if required), you won’t be eligible to apply to any doctoral program in Singapore.

2. GRE Exam

Another requirement for doctoral candidates in Singapore is GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) exam scores. Many universities in Singapore, such as the National University of Singapore, require the GRE for graduate applicants similar to the US universities, so it’s wise to practice for the GRE and obtain a valid score before starting your doctoral program application in Singapore.

3. Curriculum Vitae

Another requirement for a doctoral program application in Singapore is an academic CV including the academic and research activities, completed degrees and their GPAs, additional projects, and so on. An academic CV will provide a strong background about the applicant and heighten his or her application.

When preparing for your application, kindly keep in mind that each university has its own criteria and expectations for its students, so it’s best to visit the program page or contact the admission office at the Singaporean university for details.

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Doctoral Programs

The majority of the degree programs in Singapore are taught in English, including Ph.D. programs. Hence, one of the essential requirements when applying for a doctoral program in Singapore is proof of English language proficiency.

There are several methods to prove your English skills; most Singaporean universities require and recognize IELTS Academic and TOEFL iBT scores for admissions. The minimum score depends on the type of university; to give some examples, Nanyang Technological University requires a minimum score of 6.5 in IELTS and 100 in TOEFL iBT. In addition, Singapore Management University requires 7.0 for IELTS and 93 in TOEFL iBT.

Application Process for Doctoral Degree in Singapore

The application process for universities in Singapore requires certain steps. Below, we provided the basic steps to apply for a doctoral program in Singapore.

Step 1. Choose your doctoral program

The first step is choosing the university and program in Singapore. When selecting the doctoral program, you must make sure that it is relevant to your master’s program in discipline and equivalence. Selecting a suitable program is also necessary to check the program-specific requirements and ensure that you are eligible to apply. Thus, when choosing your doctoral program, read the requirements and course structure carefully.

Step 2. Obtain the necessary documents

Once you select your doctoral program, you need to start with preparing the documents needed for your application; this includes certain examination scores to obtain, such as a language proficiency score or GRE, and reference letters from your academic advisors. Such documents may take time to obtain, especially if you don’t have a valid score in any exam requirements. The best you can do is to check the application deadlines and start gathering all the documents as early as possible.

Step 3. Pay the application fee

Once you collected the documents required for your admission to a doctoral program in Singapore, you need to finalize your application by paying the application fee. The amount of the fees for application can change for each Singapore university, yet, to exemplify, the National University of Singapore requires SGD 20 ($15) for international applicants. For details, visit the admission requirements of the Singaporean university to which you apply.


Studying for a Ph.D. in Singapore is surely an important decision in one’s academic and professional life; that’s why it’s crucial to recognize all the necessary procedures when applying for the program of your choice to experience a smooth application process and get your admission. If you’ve decided where and what to study, start your Ph.D. application for Singaporean universities today.


We hope that you found this article on how to apply for a Ph.D. program in Singapore helpful. Make sure to also check out the Singapore Page for more educational opportunities, and sample some of the Available Programs for International Students to explore your study options.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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