Best universities in Singapore

Explore Singapore and some of its most influential universities, using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings

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September 16 2020
Singapore temple


Singapore might not be the first country that comes to your mind when you start thinking about studying abroad, but it is definitely a destination to consider.

The only city state – formed of more than 60 islands in Southeast Asia – is a centre of innovation that successfully attracts large amounts of foreign investment each year.

It is also home to leading global universities that top the list in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings.

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The country, also known as the Lion City, prides itself on being one of the world’s leading financial centres, and it maintains strong connections with the West.

Singapore can surprise even the most cosmopolitan individual with its high quality of life and citizen-friendly policies focused on healthcare and safety.

Prospective students have the chance to immerse themselves in a rich cultural life, but also to build a successful career. The local government provides annual funding that makes it easier for graduates to start their own businesses or join start-up hubs specially designed to stimulate creativity and meet the needs of the local economy.

Studying in Singapore is a good decision for students who are willing to explore different cultures. From celebrating the Chinese New Year in a traditional setting to exploring superb regional cuisine, starting a course in Singapore is an attractive alternative to Western universities.

The country is home to four large ethnic groups: Chinese, Eurasian, Indian and Malay, which have their own mother tongues, creating opportunities for students to pick up a new language easily while studying.

International students in Singapore comprise about 20 per cent of university graduates. It is considered relatively costly to pursue a degree at Singapore in comparison with some other countries in Asia, as it remains one of the most expensive cities in the world.

In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, the country’s two main public universities are in the top 100, with the National University of Singapore coming 25th and Nanyang Technological University moving to 47th place.


1. National University of Singapore

As the oldest higher education institution in the country, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has a long history of development and reshuffling.

By focusing on students and their personal development, the university has supported the entrepreneurial endeavours of its students over the past few years. Together with its commitment to research, this has raised the university’s public profile and placed it among the world’s leading academic institutions.

With more than 370 different degrees, including bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees and graduate diplomas, the university has a lot to offer across its three campuses and 16 faculties. Its multicultural community brings together students and members of staff from over 100 countries around the world.

The NUS enables students to design their university pathway to focus on their preferred subjects. Resources include the 1.5 million titles kept in seven libraries. The NUS Overseas Programme and partnerships with other universities ensure that students can also study and travel abroad.

The NUS has particular research strength in fields including engineering, environmental studies and physical science.

The university is associated with numerous figures from the Singaporean political elite, including prime ministers Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew and President Benjamin Henry Sheares.

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2. Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University (NTU), is a highly ranked publicly funded university in Singapore. The institution was also previously named the fastest-rising young university in the world by Times Higher Education.

Founded in 1981, the institution is committed to extensive research in seven different fields including engineering, business, humanities, arts and social sciences, and medicine.

Located on the city’s periphery, its main campus, Yunnan Garden, covers 2km². Previously an Olympic village and with 16 halls of residence, the campus is considered to have the biggest on-campus residence infrastructure in Singapore.

To guarantee the best possible education for its bachelor’s and master’s students, the university has joined efforts with international partners, such as Imperial College London, to open a new medical school. The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine is now actively engaged with research aiming to bring positive changes to healthcare in Singapore.

The university’s award-winning courses help two-thirds of its graduates secure graduate employment prior to completing their courses. Some of the employers include companies such as JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Seagate.

Top universities in Singapore 2021

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2021 results

Singapore Rank 2021 World University Rank 2021 University
1 25 National University of Singapore
2 47 Nanyang Technological University

Read more: Best universities in the world

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