Ever wondered what it would be like to live and study in a place where modernity meets traditions, high economic growth meets exceptional living standards, and the values of the West meet the cultures of the East? Well, that place does exist, and we know it by the name of Singapore, also known as the Lion City. Over the past few decades, Singapore has trodden a path of unprecedented modernization and economic prosperity.

Today, it is the third biggest financial hub of the world, praised for being the most open economy across the globe, and brags the third highest per-capita GDP in the world. With such credentials, it is no wonder that the young bright minds of today look out toward Singapore as one of the most desirable places for studying; growing; and learning, especially about the various fascinating cultures, values, and languages that make up Singapore. 

As an attempt to help you get an idea of the toughest universities to get into in Singapore, we’ve created a list of some of the universities in Singapore that have the lowest acceptance rates. We hope that this will help you make a better assessment of the universities you might want to target as your next alma matter. 

Universities in Singapore with Low Rates of Acceptance

1. National University of Singapore 

Hailed as one of the most iconic universities in Asia, ranked 11th in the world, and 1st in Asia by QS World Rankings in 2019, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is the first autonomous research university of Singapore. Founded in 1905 as a small medical school, today, the National University of Singapore is the pioneer in research and innovation, making incredible contributions toward Singaporean society and beyond. Moreover, today the National University of Singapore offers extraordinary educational, research, and entrepreneurial opportunities in a wide array of disciplines including engineering, business studies, social sciences and humanities, biomedical sciences, and science and technology.

Besides, the National University of Singapore ranks spectacularly well in terms of the student experience. Spanning over 150 hectares in the heart of Singapore, this university in Singapore with a low acceptance rate offers state-of-the-art research facilities, academic and learning opportunities, student residences, and perhaps most interestingly, a chance to live the bustling life of the melting pot of cultures called Singapore.  

2. Nanyang Technological University 

The next university in Singapore with low acceptance rates is Nanyang Technological University. With a student body exceeding 33000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and a campus spanning over 200 hectares, Nanyang Technological University is the second-largest university in Singapore. Acclaimed as the world’s fastest-rising young university by Times Higher Education, it consistently ranks among the top 15 global universities. In 2019, it shared the coveted 11th spot with the National University of Singapore on the list of the top global universities by QS World Rankings.

Nanyang Technological University comprises eight world-class schools including schools of business, medicine, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and sciences. NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine was established in association with Imperial College London. In the realms of engineering and technology, Nanyang Technological University ranked 4th in the world in the 2017 QS World Rankings by subjects. Moreover, Nanyang Business School has consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in Asia, while its MBA program has been touted as the best in Singapore by the Economist.

3. Yale-NUS College 

Making it to the headlines last year as a college more difficult to get into than the Ivies, including Harvard and Yale itself, Yale-NUS College is a liberal arts college in Singapore. The college was founded just eight years ago, in 2011, as a joint venture of Yale University and the National University of Singapore. Yale-NUS College is the pioneer liberal arts college in Singapore and one of the few existing liberal arts colleges in the whole of Asia. 

Yale-NUS is primarily a four-year undergraduate institution with its most coveted programs, as per students’ choices, being Arts and Humanities, Politics, Philosophy, Economy, Psychology, and Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. Since its inception, it has consistently grown in reputation, receiving more than 8000 applications annually. Almost 60% of students who study at Yale-NUS are Singaporeans while the remaining 40% are international students. 

4. NUS Business School

NUS Business School is the business school of the National University of Singapore. Founded in 1965, NUS Business School was ranked as the 17th best business school in the world by Financial Times in 2019. Also, in 2019, Forbes recognized NUS Business School as the 6th best on its list of ‘Best International 2-Year Business Schools 2019.’ 

As part of the National University of Singapore, NUS Business School offers a spectacular student experience; well established academic and research facilities, including a teaching staff that comes from some of the top business schools around the world such as Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton; and an opportunity to experience the culturally rich and modern life of Singapore. 

5. Nanyang Business School

The final university in the list of universities in Singapore with the lowest acceptance rates is Nanyang Business School, the business school of Nanyang Technological University. It is the oldest business in Singapore founded in 1956. Today, it has a student body that primarily comprises almost 3900 undergraduate and 500 postgraduate students. Besides, Nanyang Business School has almost 45000 alumni hailing from 89 countries. Nanyang Business School has consistently ranked among the top business schools in the world. In 2019, Financial Times ranked Nanyang Business School as the 30th best business school globally. 

Being an integral part of Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Business School draws on the coveted resources of its parent university, including intensive research facilities, a purpose-built campus, and a rich history. Consequently, Nanyang Business School boasts a unique e-commerce laboratory as well as financial trading rooms that allow its students to acquire real-time financial and commercial information from across the world markets. 

As a final world, our research has shown us that Singapore boasts some of the best universities in the world that, coupled with Singapore’s status as the financial hub of the world and its exceptional living standard, make Singapore an excellent place to pursue higher education


*There is no published estimated acceptance of Singapore universities for international students available. We’ve estimated the acceptance rates of Singapore universities by their rankings, by the number of international students, and through third-party sources like ranking sites.*


We hope that you found this article on universities in Singapore with the lowest acceptance rates informative. If you are interested in studying abroad, please sample these Available Programs for International Students for more 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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