FAQs

1. What is Yale-NUS College?

Yale-NUS College is Asia’s leading liberal arts and sciences college that seeks to integrate Asian and other global intellectual traditions, with the goal of educating young people for leadership in a complex, interconnected world.

A Yale-NUS education emphasises broad-based multidisciplinary learning in the full range of arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences. It encompasses a four-year, fully residential undergraduate experience in which students are immersed in a stimulating intellectual setting characterised by small classes and close interaction among students and faculty. A strong co-curricular programme complements the core liberal arts and sciences experience to develop critical inquiry and effective communication and leadership skills. It is designed to prepare students to flourish in virtually any field.

Yale-NUS College has its own Governing Board, which provides strategic direction for the College. The Board has oversight of the College’s development, management, administration and operations. It also establishes policies for the College. The Board comprises 14 members, seven from Singapore and seven nominated by Yale. It is chaired by Mdm Kay Kuok, Executive Chairman of Shangri-La Hotel Limited, Singapore.

2. What is the relationship between Yale-NUS and the National University of Singapore?

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Yale University established Yale-NUS College as an autonomous college within NUS. This allows the College the autonomy to innovate and adopt policies, curricula, systems and practices which may vary from NUS, while allowing it to tap on the facilities and resources of NUS for the benefit of its students and faculty.

3. What is the relationship between Yale-NUS and Yale University?

Yale-NUS College is independent of Yale University, but the relationship between the two institutions is collaborative, supportive and mutually enriching. Yale faculty and administrative leaders have been active in helping to conceptualise the unique emphasis of the College on reframing the liberal arts and sciences for a more global context. They have also participated directly in the recruitment of faculty and senior administrators, and been openly enthusiastic about bringing some of Yale-NUS’ curricular and extracurricular innovations back to Yale.

In addition, many Yale faculty visit the College to teach courses and give guest lectures in disciplines that cut across the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences. Yale-NUS students have opportunities to study at Yale University in New Haven and participate in a variety of creative collaborative degree programmes, such as five-year concurrent degree programmes with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Yale School of Public Health. Consulting Yale faculty continue to be involved in the further development and refinement of the Yale-NUS curriculum. A separate Faculty Advisory Committee, composed of Yale professors, advises the President of Yale on the progress of Yale-NUS.

4. What is liberal arts and sciences education?

A liberal arts and sciences education (sometimes shortened to ‘liberal arts’) emphasises broad-based, multidisciplinary learning as well as depth of study. It builds a common foundation among all students in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and physical sciences, and mathematics, while developing expertise in a student’s chosen major.

Read more about the Yale-NUS curriculum here.

5. Is a liberal arts and sciences education for me?

If you are looking for an undergraduate education that offers you breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding, encompasses a sense of community among students and faculty, builds leadership and communication skills, and promotes creativity and critical thinking, then a liberal arts and sciences education is for you.

You will grow personally and intellectually in a stimulating environment that will challenge your thinking and ignite new personal and professional passions. You will develop the habits of mind necessary to identify and solve complex problems, thrive in diverse environments, and use your experiences and perspectives to lead in your professional and personal life.

In short, if you seek an education that will prepare you to meet the global challenges of the 21st century, then a liberal arts and sciences education is for you.

6. What are the distinctive features of the Yale-NUS curriculum?

A Yale-NUS College education emphasises broad-based multidisciplinary learning in the full range of arts, humanities and social and natural sciences. Our curriculum and pedagogy, built from scratch by our inaugural faculty, draws on the strengths of established liberal arts and sciences traditions, while introducing our students to the diverse intellectual traditions and cultures of Asia and the world.

7. What majors will be offered?

Students select their majors at the end of their second year, after going through two years of the Common Curriculum. The list of majors includes:

  • Anthropology
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies
  • Global Affairs
  • History
  • Life Sciences
  • Literature
  • Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Sciences (MCS)
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Urban Studies

Some majors, such as Urban Studies, Global Affairs, and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, combine ideas and methods from a range of disciplines to create an interdisciplinary course of study. Disciplinary majors such as History, Literature, Psychology, and Economics will offer students an opportunity to study some of these fundamental disciplines.

8. Will I be able to focus on an area within my intended major – for example, Chemistry – within the Physical Sciences?

Yes. A Yale-NUS education integrates the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, and your major. During the four years with the College, 34 percent of a typical Yale-NUS student’s classes will comprise courses leading to your major and another 35 percent on electives and prerequisites for your major. Each major is broadly conceived, and you can choose to focus in an area of your interest within your major.

9. What if the major that I intend to study is under- or over-subscribed? Will I be prevented from taking it?

No. Yale-NUS guarantees to offer classes in all the majors listed. The classes are not contingent on the number of students who have opted for the major.

10. Where will faculty come from?

The College has a full faculty team of about 120 faculty members who were recruited internationally. Besides the United States and Singapore, they hail from Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, Canada, India, Kenya, Hong Kong, Poland, Russia, Spain and Taiwan. Each of these faculty members is highly qualified in his or her area of expertise, and brings with them years of experience in undergraduate teaching.

Instead of traditional academic departments, faculty members teach in three interdisciplinary divisions, namely Science, Social Sciences, and Humanities. Complementing the permanent faculty, top Yale and NUS professors will serve as visiting professors. The student-to-faculty ratio is approximately 8:1.

11. What is Yale-NUS College’s student intake?

There are more than 900 students in Yale-NUS College in 2019, who are from over 60 countries across six continents. Each intake comprises approximately 250 students per year. The total expected student population at full capacity will be 1,000 students.

12. Will all Yale-NUS students live on campus?

Yale-NUS College is Singapore’s first liberal arts and sciences college, and the first with a full residential college model that integrates living and learning. The College comprises three residential colleges, Saga, Elm and Cendana Colleges. All students, including Singaporeans, will live in and become active members of one of the three residential colleges throughout their four years of study at Yale-NUS, except for time spent abroad.

13. What extracurricular activities will be available?

Extracurricular activity is central to the Yale-NUS College experience. Unlike Yale and NUS, where many decades of activity have built a vast array of student clubs and organisations, Yale-NUS College started with a clean extracurricular slate. Students can initiate and develop their own organisations on campus, and the list of extracurricular activities continues to grow. We work with our students to develop a lively and robust extracurricular life on campus, where students can gather freely to debate and exchange opinions on various issues.

14. Will all Yale-NUS students be able to have overseas experiences?

Yale-NUS College’s Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE) facilitates overseas and internship opportunities for students, working with them individually to guide, advise, support and help them determine which portfolio of international and professional experiences will maximise their learning. There is also a wide range of opportunities for study abroad and summer programmes that students can participate in. Learn more about these here, and read more in the CIPE FAQs below.

15. What are the career opportunities for liberal arts and sciences graduates?

Liberal arts and sciences students are exposed to multidisciplinary perspectives – a very important factor in the workplace today, where complex issues require a broad understanding of the field, the ability to be critically analytic and the capacity to make sound decisions. Liberal arts and sciences graduates go on to successful careers in every profession and industry. Leaders who have had the benefit of a liberal arts and sciences education include:

  • The founders of Apple, FedEx, and IBM;
  • The last four Presidents of the United States and scores of their cabinet members;
  • The President of the World Bank and the CEO of Goldman Sachs;
  • Hundreds of Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners,
  • Leading performers, artists and media personalities including Natalie Portman, Anderson Cooper, Yo-Yo Ma and many others.

16. What are the post-graduation prospects for Yale-NUS graduates?

According to the annual Joint Graduate Employment Survey (JGES) conducted by the five Autonomous Universities in Singapore every year, fresh graduates from Yale-NUS College are highly sought after in the marketplace. For the College’s first two cohorts, 9 in 10 graduates find employment within six months of completing their final examinations.

Yale-NUS graduates are currently employed in industries like business and management consultancy, information and communication, financial and insurance, and education. Employers of our graduates include Bain & Company, Facebook Inc, GSK, Credit Suisse, SAP Innovation Centre, Drew & Napier, and Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and National Arts Council.

Approximately 15 percent of our senior class go directly to graduate school. Alumni from our first two cohorts have pursued Master’s and PhD programmes in the world’s top institutions, including but not limited to Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, University of Chicago, Cornell University, MIT, University of Michigan, UCLA, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and Tsinghua University, as well as University of Pennsylvania and Duke University Medical School. Our graduates have also secured prestigious and highly competitive scholarships such as the Rhodes Scholarship, Schwarzman Scholarship and Yenching Scholarship.

This section will be updated after the release of the results of each year’s Joint Graduate Employment Survey.

17. What kinds of degrees will be conferred at graduation?

Every student will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree or a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree from Yale-NUS College, awarded by the National University of Singapore.

18. What are the levels of Honours at Yale-NUS College?

The levels of Honours, including Latin Honours, are below:

Honours – summa cum laude To not more than the top 5 percent of the graduating class.
Honours – magna cum laude To not more than the next 10 percent of the graduating class.
Honours – cum laude To not more than the next 20 percent of the graduating class.
Honours To the rest of the graduating class.
  • Latin Honours will go to no more than 35 percent of a graduating class.
  • The graduating class is defined as graduates who entered the College at the same time unless the student has been tagged by the College to graduate with a later cohort due to promotion rules or other official reasons.

19. Why did the College introduce an Honours system?

Yale-NUS College, similar to other institutions of higher education in Singapore and around the world, is committed to recognising the academic achievement and excellence of our students.

A system of Honours with distinct levels enables the College to offer this recognition.

Latin Honours provides recognition for a specific kind of achievement, which is academic achievement in coursework across all four years, including the Common Curriculum, electives and majors. The College has also implemented other modes of recognition, such as prizes and awards, to highlight other academic and non-academic accomplishments by students.

20. How will the College determine the levels of Latin Honours for recipients?

The Latin Honours are based on the Cumulative Average Point (CAP), which is the weighted average of individual course grades (or the sum of course grade points multiplied by the number of Modular Credits (MCs) for the corresponding course, divided by the total number of MCs).

The percentiles that Yale-NUS uses for the three levels of Latin Honours (summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude) are similar to those used by liberal arts and sciences colleges and universities in North America and other parts of the world.

No more than 60 percent or six of the students (whichever is larger) in any one major will receive honours at the cum laude level or above, and no more than 40 percent or four of the students (whichever is larger) will receive honours at the magna cum laude level or above. In cases where the number of students might exceed these limits, only the top students down to the designated limits will receive the relevant honour.

For example, a student whose CAP is within the top 5 percent of his/her graduating class and is among the top 40 percent or four students (whichever is larger) in his/her major will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts or Science (Honours) degree with summa cum laude.

The above is intended to recognise academic achievement not only with respect to the overall CAP, but also academic excellence within the major. This mechanism is also applied to help control for potential differences in grading across majors, and shifts in the average CAP from one graduating class to another.

The same cut-offs will apply to students in any given Class who graduate later because of participation in the double degree programme or other programmes, or due to delays because of a Leave of Absence.

21. How will the Latin Honours be applied to students in the double degree programme (DDP) in Law and Liberal Arts?

Students in the double degree programme (DDP) in Law and Liberal Arts will be considered for Latin Honours along with other Yale-NUS students, and their CAP and placing in their intake Class will be computed in the same way.

The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree completed by DDP Law students will be considered as a ‘major’ for the purpose of the Latin Honours system, and follows the same cut-offs.

22. How different is Yale-NUS College from the NUS University Scholars’ Programme (USP)?

Yale-NUS College is an autonomous liberal arts and sciences college within NUS, while the NUS University Scholars’ Programme is an academic programme for undergraduates enrolled in NUS.

All Yale-NUS students study the Common Curriculum for the first two years of college. This is a set of courses which all Yale-NUS students study in their first two years, which introduces them to foundational concepts and modes of inquiry across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. After that, students will pursue a major, which comprises about a third of the whole curriculum. In comparison, the four-year NUS University Scholars’ Programme has a different emphasis, with the major comprising two-thirds or more of the course of study.

Yale-NUS College is Singapore’s first liberal arts and sciences college, and the first with a full residential college model integrating living and learning. The College has three residential colleges. All students, including Singaporeans, will live in and become active members of one of the three residential colleges throughout their four years of study at the College. In contrast, USP is a partially residential programme, where the residential commitment for students is two years.

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Centre for International & Professional Experience FAQs

1. What is Yale-NUS’ Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE) and what function does it serve?

The Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE) was established to create a portfolio of global opportunities that will enhance students’ academic learning, broaden their perspectives and hone the skills and character they need to succeed as students today and leaders tomorrow. CIPE integrates traditionally separate (and often siloed or competitive) components of experience-based learning (such as study abroad, summer sessions, internships, career services, leadership and service programming, and research attachments) under one roof. This allows for a student-centred and holistic approach to personal, professional and intellectual development.

CIPE was a product of the College’s firm belief that the experiences students have outside of the classroom can be just as formative and important in their career and life path as what is taught inside the classroom. Co-curricular and extracurricular experiences are foundational pillars of the College’s pedagogy. CIPE is therefore committed to supporting every Yale-NUS student in having an international and/or an internship experience.

CIPE has a team of dedicated counsellors who work with every Yale-NUS student to craft an individualised portfolio of learning opportunities. CIPE counsellors help students navigate available opportunities and identify areas for improvement, connecting them with the best matches for maximising their growth.

2. What kinds of internships are available?

CIPE coordinates internships with employers across Asia, the United States and Europe with a wide array of leading companies, public sector organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the fields of the arts, health, community advocacy, information technology, consulting, finance, journalism, and law. At the same time, it also encourages and supports students to search for opportunities on their own.

Students have interned with leading organisations like Goldman Sachs, the Singapore Economic Development Board, Facebook, Microsoft, and the United Nations. These organisations have taken on Yale-NUS students because they value the breadth and rigour of analytical thinking that a liberal arts and sciences education provides, considering it essential for leadership in today’s world, where the ambiguity and complexity of problems demand interdisciplinary and innovative approaches.

3. What are the benefits of an international experience?

International experiences are essential in teaching adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to see things from another person’s or culture’s perspective. International immersion experiences, in particular, often take you out of your comfort zone and require you to cast aside traditional assumptions of how to do things, honing your ability to adapt to different norms. Not only can you learn self-awareness from these kinds of experiences, you can also become more adept at thinking outside of the box – skills important both for personal growth and in your future workplace.

4. How will a liberal arts and sciences degree help me get a job?

In today’s competitive and dynamic world, employers look at more than just your degree. What makes someone marketable is not a particular degree from a particular place, but how they distinguish themselves among the plethora of graduates out there: the experiences that make them different, and how well they are able to communicate these to potential employers. One of the leading weaknesses CEOs and business leaders cite in today’s graduates is in the area of ‘soft skills’: the ability to manage a diverse workforce, to think across disciplines, to make connections that are not intuitive, and to work on cross-cultural teams.

A liberal arts and sciences degree has the potential to help you learn all these things in a unique way. First, the experiences that a Yale-NUS education provides, where every student has an international and/or an internship experience, will be key competitive advantages as you seek to distinguish yourself in a crowded marketplace. CIPE’s emphasis on communication and presentation skills, and its programmes to prepare students for the world beyond Yale-NUS, will help hone your abilities to communicate and show potential employers and graduate or professional schools what you are passionate about and excel in.

Yale-NUS graduates have found employment in industries like business and management consultancy, information and communication, financial and insurance, and education. Employers of our graduates include Bain & Company, Facebook Inc, GSK, Credit Suisse, SAP Innovation Centre, Drew & Napier, and Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and National Arts Council.