11 August 2017
Unlike the traditional university model in which entrants specify their major at the point of admission or at the point of application, students at the Singapore University of Technology and Design declare their specialisations only at the end of their first year, after taking common modules in subjects such as design, science and mathematics.
According to SUTD’s director of admissions Lim Su Fang, such an approach allows students to make more informed decisions, so that they can pursue further education in the areas for which they have shown passion and interest.
It has been found that more than three in 10 students in SUTD’s past few cohorts ended up choosing a specialisation at the end of their first year that differed from their initial preference when they applied to the school.
At Yale-NUS College, most students have to declare their majors only at the end of their second year. As a matter of policy, students are allowed to change their major up till the end of the second instructional week in their graduating year. According to Yale-NUS executive vice-president of academic affairs Steven Bernasek, requirements for graduating with a specified major make up only about a third of the Yale-NUS curriculum.
Over the last two years, several faculties at the National University of Singapore have revised their undergraduate curricula to allow students to pursue double-major or major-minor combinations, without having to push back their graduation date. The university now offers more than 90 structured double-major and major-minor combinations.
National Institute of Education don Jason Tan said that the local university system has been “gradually evolving” towards greater flexibility, but that a balance needs to be struck with practical considerations, such as making sure that degrees awarded meet the accreditation requirements of external professional bodies.