SmileTutor Blog General Others Your Guide to Top Ranking Universities in Singapore [2022]

Your Guide to Top Ranking Universities in Singapore [2022]

Whether you’re a devoted parent or student hunting for the top universities in Singapore, you’ve landed at the right spot!

Singapore is a wealthy, admired, and safe country in Southeast Asia.

It also happens to be one of the top five countries for university education.

With many great universities in Singapore, how do you find the best Singapore university for yourself?

In this article, I will break down the popular courses among Singaporeans, expenses for living, and the reasons to choose Singapore for education.

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Reasons to Study in Singapore: Why Choose Singapore for Study Purposes?

First of all, I would like to elaborate on the reasons for moving to Singapore for study. These will help you determine whether or not Singapore is the ideal place for you to pursue higher education.

Lots of Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is beneficial for students with weak financial backgrounds who wish to pursue university education. Before you move to another country to study, it’s essential to have some knowledge about the scholarship options there.

When it comes to Singapore, universities offer a lot of valuable scholarships for well-performing students. Not just that, the government of Singapore even offers an agreement where your living and educational costs are provided for in return for working in the country for three years.

Discounted education and a work permit? Some may consider this a double win. But, if you wish to return to your home country right after university, you might want to think the clause over.

To sum it up, Singapore is a great place to move to if you’re looking for cheap but high-quality education. And if you’re already living in Singapore, how lucky are you!

Reputation for World-Class Academic Excellence

The primary reason for going to Singapore revolves around its quality of education. The better education you have, the more opportunities for high-end jobs you’ll get.

Singapore has been consistently ranked as one of the best education systems worldwide, not just delivering a world-class education but producing top-performing graduates.

According to the international student survey, Singapore was pronounced #1 in the global ranking within science and mathematics.

Hats off to Singapore for managing this level of success and really standing out as Asia’s #1.

High Quality of Life

For some people, a high quality of life is a priority when planning to live in a new country – especially when you have to live there for a couple of years.

Thankfully, Singapore scores pretty well in this aspect, especially in terms of security. The country is known best for being among the safest worldwide. You get an outstanding police system that actually takes care of its citizens!

It also ensures that Singapore’s spot as the 8th safest country in the world, as the 2022 Global Patent Index indicates, only gets better.

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After all, it’s all about how safe you feel living somewhere. Isn’t it?

Thanks to the Singapore government’s initiative for a foreigner-friendly environment, foreigners are treated well with the welcoming behavior of locals. The following are some other aspects where Singapore won’t disappoint you:

Health and medical support

Leisure and social interactions

Natural and living environment

Governance and basic rights

Relatively Affordable Living Expenses Despite Being a First-World Country

Another factor that adds to Singapore’s appeal is its low living expenses. Despite promising top-grade education and an amazing quality of life, Singapore, as compared to other European countries and America, is quite cheap to live in.

The average monthly expenses for one person in Singapore fall somewhere around 800 SGD (575 USD), while the estimated cost of living in America is estimated between 700 and 1000 USD. In this aspect, too, Singapore proves to be an incredible country to move to – allowing you to enjoy a premium life without having to pay through the nose.

Transition to Working and Getting Permanent Residence

Whether you’re planning on doing a part-time job in Singapore or getting full-time employment after graduation, there will be many opportunities for you. A lot of doors to knock on.

Being an economically developed country, Singapore has many more job opportunities than some other Asian countries. Naturally, the transition to working in Singapore will be easier. Win-win. Right?

Getting a Permanent Residence (PR) in an economically developed country is everyone’s dream. More job opportunities, better education, a better quality of living and what not!

When it comes to getting one in Singapore, there aren’t many requirements to fulfill.

For example, you don’t need to be an aged parent, holder of employment pass, foreign investor, or such for getting PR in Singapore. Instead, students are encouraged to apply for permanent residence.

How much does university cost in Singapore?

When it comes to education, everyone wants to get the best education possible within their budget. Money plays a significant part in the decision-making process!

So, before you decide to move on to Singapore, read on to find out how much studying in Singapore will cost you.

Is Singapore cheap to study?

If you’re looking for a to-the-point answer, it’s “no”. Singapore isn’t cheap to study in, especially if compared to other countries in Asia. But keeping the education quality in mind, Singapore is the best bet in Asia you can find. Studying in Singapore is also still cheaper than in its Western counterparts.

The actual tuition fees are different for each university, so we won’t get into detail. But, for an estimate, the average yearly tuition fee of top-notch universities falls somewhere between $25,000-$35,000 Singapore Dollars.

Again, education in Singapore is certainly not the cheapest but the prestige of your degree and post-graduation opportunities definitely make it worthwhile. You know what they say: education is the key to better jobs. The better the education, the better the job opportunities.

Can I work part-time while studying in Singapore?

Okay, your parents may have managed your tuition fee (if you’re not on scholarship), but the living expenses? Who’s going to pay those? In this situation, the best way around is looking for a part-time job as a student.

Is it possible to work part-time while studying in Singapore? Yes, it is!

But there’s a point to note: students cannot work more than 16 hours a week during their term time, according to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of the Singapore Government.

Concerning your earnings, the national pay rate for part-time is $8/h in Singapore – making a total of $128 a week, provided that you’ve worked 16 hours.

List of All Universities in Singapore

So, you have the basic information about the cost of living and study in Singapore. Now, what’s the next step? It’s about deciding which university to take admission into and which course to pursue.

Below is the breakdown of different Singaporean universities to choose from.

Autonomous Universities

Autonomous universities exercise independent control over their curriculum, as well as their day-to-day operations.

The top-notch autonomous universities in Singapore are listed below:

National University of Singapore

The National University of Singapore has been operational since 1905 but was formally founded in 1980. For decades, it has been serving the nation as well as foreigners. It is best known for its supreme education and for being comprehensive and research-intensive.

With a growing student population of over 42,000 students, it’s among the largest Singaporean universities and ranked 80 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The university offers many courses such as business computing, arts, science, engineering, humanities, law, and so on. Whether you’re a postgraduate or undergraduate, the university offers quality education and has been consistently ranked among the best universities around the Asia Pacific.

Nanyang Technological University

Ranked the second best option for autonomous universities in Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University is the best bet for students wanting to specialize in technology and its related fields. The university is among the best technological universities worldwide and has an enormous student population of 32,000.

Plus, the university is ranked “91” by ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities).

If you’re someone looking forward to an excellent technological university featuring top-notch education, Nanyang Technological University is the way to go.

Singapore Management University

Another excellent option for people willing to get to an autonomous university, the Singapore Management University was founded in 2000 and has been delivering a top-notch education ever since. The university is a specialized research-intensive unit and holds a student population of over 8000.

The university is highly diversified, offering a wide range of courses from accountancy to business, economics, technological systems, entrepreneurship, and what not. If you’re into business, economics, or information technology from any perspective, Singapore Management University is a viable option for you.

Foreign Universities with Local Campuses

Singapore hosts a fantastic selection of collaborative institutions from leading universities around the globe. These collaborations provide unique and exciting opportunities for prospective students. I’ve listed some of the first-rate foreign universities with local campuses in Singapore.

Newcastle Australia

The University of Newcastle stands as a research-intensive institution, securing its place among the top 175 universities globally according to the QS World University Rankings 2024. Notably, it holds a position within the top 30 worldwide for impact, as assessed by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which evaluate universities against the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Aligned with core values of equity, excellence, engagement, and sustainability, the university is steadfast in addressing global challenges.

As a wholly-owned entity of the University, Newcastle Australia Institute of Higher Education plays a crucial role in providing high-quality higher education to future-ready leaders, while actively forging partnerships and networks for students and staff, enabling them to contribute their knowledge and expertise. This commitment extends to driving multidisciplinary research to address significant global issues. Newcastle Australia remains dedicated to playing a pivotal role in leveraging the University’s excellence in research and innovation by fostering mutually beneficial relationships with industry, public and private institutions, and the wider community.


ESSEC Business School

Founded in 1906 in Paris, ESSEC Business School is an institution of higher education with academic excellence in teaching and research. The university aims to infuse leadership to prepare leaders ready to address contemporary economic, environmental, and social challenges.

The university specializes in providing innovative and relevant knowledge to equip the next generation of leaders with the skills and know-how to make them genuinely responsible and respectful of the environment.

The significant disciplines of education in this university revolve around Master in Management, Master in Finance, Grande E’cole & Masters, Masters in Business Administration, and so on.


INSEAD is a widely spread international and private institute with locations spread across Europe, Asia, Middle East, and North America.

INSEAD intends to deliver top-notch and up-to-date education around business and management to aspiring business assistants and future entrepreneurs. The best part about the institution is its advanced educational practices. A wide range of practical courses are available online, while high-quality education is also delivered on modern campuses.

Besides the Online Programs, the university offers Master’s programs, Executive Education, Masters in Management, and much more. The institution also offers a fast-track ten months MBA program with more than 75 electives to choose from.

DigiPen Institute

DigiPen Institute is a private university in Redmond, Washington, with campuses worldwide, including Singapore and Bilbao, and Spain. The university offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in Computer Science, Animation, Video Game Development, Game Design, Sound Design, Computer Engineering, and many other disciplines.

The institute was founded in 1988 as a Technology University to conquer the Technology world and offer top-notch education on similar subjects. Also, the university was the first in the world to offer a Bachelor’s degree in video game technology and development.

The trustworthiness and eligibility of the institute can be determined by the fact that it’s still included in the top 50 computer science and engineering schools.

Private Institutions Offering Degree Programs

Some private institutions in the country offer external degree programs with undergraduate or graduate degrees granted by the institutions’ partner universities. These are regulated by the Committee for Private Education (CPE). Below are the three famous foreign institutions with local campuses in Singapore.

Auston Institute of Management

The Auston Institute of Management is a private university that specializes in producing students for IT-related future-proof careers. The university has partnered with some of the BEST project management and technology universities and offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Moreover, the university also offers diplomas with a shorter span. The most popular diplomas include Project Management, Hospitality Technology, and Business IT.

Beacon International College

As the name shows, this international college is known best for its academic excellence worldwide. This private institution has been working and registered in Singapore for over four years and aims to provide quality education to students aspiring to get a career in Information Technology, Hospitality, Business or Design.

According to the university, the management team of Beacon Institute includes highly qualified professionals with over 30 years of industrial and teaching experience. Plus, the university’s lecturers are also knowledgeable, and most holding a Master’s degree in the subject they’re teaching.

East Asia Institute of Management (EASB)

One of the leading private institutions in Singapore, the East Asia Institute of Management has been around for over 30 years and serves students with excellent educational standards. It was found in 1984 as Informatics Software providing professional and vocational training in information technology. Today, it offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across significant disciplines.

Moreover, the university collaborates with four top-notch universities from the UK to offer Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree programs. Their range of programs includes Hospitality & Tourism Management, Business Management, Accounting, Finance, Business Information Systems, Marketing, Medical Bioscience, Psychology and many more.

Best Courses Offered by Singapore Universities

Top-paying Careers

Going to schools, colleges, universities, scoring high in grades, getting supreme education from an authoritative university…

What is it all about?

To 90% of students and parents, all this effort is to get a rewarding career in return to repay all the investment on the studies and ensure a better living. What do you say? Doesn’t your ideology match this concept?

Instead of debating, let’s come straight to the list of top-paying careers in Singapore.

IT Service Manager

An IT Service Manager is responsible for managing information technology services in Singapore and can earn a gross amount of $9,390/mo. To become an IT Service Manager, you will need a graduate degree in IT or any similar field associated with Technology.

Investment Banking Director

An Investment Banking Director directs investment banking revenue and can earn a gross amount of $11,677/mo. To become an Investment Banking Director, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Economics, Business, Mathematics, or Finance is a prerequisite.

Head of Human Resources

A Head of Human Resources helps identify problems in the corporation and plans for the workforce’s future needs. An experienced professional in this field can earn a gross amount of $8,609/mo. An HR head holds a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Human Resources or any similar field.

Head of IT

A Head of IT oversees the infrastructure of technical operations, manages the workforce, looks after different IT projects. An experienced leader of Information Technology can easily earn a gross of $10,000/mo. To become head of IT, you’ll require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, or any similar field.

Policy Manager

A policy manager oversees the implementation of policies and long-term plans. An experienced policy manager can make up to $10,193/mo. To build a career in Policy Management, you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Public Policy Management and Analysis.

University Lecturer

A university lecturer is more than just a teacher. They conduct scholarly research, teach, and present his findings in conferences or journals, etc. After such struggling tasks for academic excellence of the institute, a university lecturer in Singapore can make up to $12,845/mo. To teach at a university level, you need to have a master’s degree in your field of expertise. Any additional degree is a plus.

General Practitioner/Physician

A Physician examines diseases, prescribes medicines, and orders, performs, and interprets diagnostic tests. He also counsels patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Such a professional earns a gross salary of $17,119/mo. To become a General Physician, you’ll require a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Math, Physics, or Biology.

Most Popular Courses Among Singaporeans

What leads to a successful and well-rewarded career is the degree course you choose to study.

Naturally, when studying in Singapore you’ll opt for one of the famous (or available at least) courses there. Thankfully, Singapore isn’t a place of limitations in educational advancement. All the popular courses for rewarding careers such as business, law, IT, teaching, science, are available there.

However, I will lay down a list of the most popular courses among Singaporeans below.


Business management teaches you and trains you for managing a business. By studying MBA, you can either invest and create your own business or manage someone else’s. Either way, MBA is a precious and in-demand degree these days.

IT/Computing – IT Profession

Gone are the days when European countries were the only hub for producing Information Technology professionals. Today, Singapore is also considered a top-level country concerning advancement in technology and science. Naturally, there are more career opportunities for IT computing students as well.

Engineering & Science

Since Singapore has been ranked #1 for mathematics and science globally, engineering & science become a considerable line of study there. Most universities presented above offer Engineering & Science education.

Tourism/Travel/Hotel Management

What beats next-level management skills? One way or another, if you’re able to WOW the tourists, you can get a lot in return. Since the Singaporean tourism industry is booming in recent years, tourism, travel, and hotel management are in-demand skills with many opportunities in world-class hotels and tourist attraction spots.

Creative Arts/Design Courses (especially in Australia)

If you’re into creativity and designing, there are many design and creative arts courses available for you in Singapore. The different courses offer various skills to learn and can turn into a rewarding career if you’re able to master any specific skill.

Some other Singaporean courses in demand are:





If we come to the duration of different types of courses, here it is:

Duration of Courses in Singapore

Polytechnic Diplomas: 3 years

University Degrees: 3-5 years

Private Sector Degrees: 2-3 years

Postgraduate Degrees: 1-2 years

Final Words

Singapore is doubtlessly an elegant yet safe place to move to. Plus, the availability of top-notch education at different types of universities in Singapore levels up the versatility of the country.

Low living cost, welcoming students, supreme education, and a broad range of career opportunities are what magnetically attract students towards Singapore – making it a famous country for excellent education on a budget.

But since there are dozens – if not hundreds – of potential options in Singapore, it becomes challenging to research each and narrow down the BEST ones. But that’s where this guide comes in.

Choosing a university for higher education isn’t simple – especially when you have to relocate to a whole new country for it. I’ve laid down various top-notch Singaporean universities and managed to include all the essential information you might be looking for. This information includes:

Reasons for choosing Singapore for study

Cost of living and study in Singapore

Popular courses & careers among Singaporeans

All that’s left to say now is good luck for your search! And don’t worry, by choosing Singaporean universities, you’ve already taken a step in the right direction.

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.