Nine in 10 Yale-NUS College graduates secured employment in 2020

20 February 2021

Higher starting salaries for Yale-NUS Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science graduates in 2020

90.9 percent of fresh graduates from Yale-NUS College’s Class of 2020 in the labour force[1] were employed[2] within six months of completing their final examinations. They also commanded higher salaries. The median gross monthly salary[3] of Yale-NUS graduates in 2020 was S$4,038, up 6.3 percent from 2019.  This is based on the Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey 2020, which was conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and other Autonomous Universities (AUs) in Singapore.

According to the survey, the median gross starting salary of full-time permanently employed Yale-NUS graduates with Bachelor of Science with Honours degrees was S$5,350 (up 7.0 percent from S$5,000 in 2019), while that for graduates with Bachelor of Arts with Honours degrees was S$3,890 (up 5.6 percent from S$3,684 in 2019). For more details on the gross starting salaries of Yale-NUS graduates, please click here.

147 out of a total of 187 fresh graduates participated in the joint survey.

Yale-NUS graduates went into diverse industries, which include information & communication technology, the public sector, consulting, financial services, education, and scientific/industrial research.

Professor Tan Tai Yong, President of Yale-NUS, said, “2020 was a challenging year for fresh graduates around the world, but it was also a year where we learnt one of life’s most important lessons –  to persevere despite the odds. The Class of 2020 has done well and I am extremely proud of them. From having their final semester at college disrupted due to COVID-19 to entering the working world at the height of the global pandemic, they have shown resilience, pressed on and found meaningful pathways to contribute to society. The pandemic has also shown us that many issues are interconnected, hence, the ability to synthesise knowledge and find solutions that cut across different disciplines has become more valuable than ever. I hope our graduates will make good use of their training in interdisciplinary work to make an impact in their fields.”

At Yale-NUS, a diversity of experiences, perspectives and disciplines come together to inform the way we approach learning. All Yale‐NUS students take prescribed courses in the Common Curriculum, which introduces them to foundational concepts and modes of inquiry across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The courses have been designed in concert with one another and students learn to draw connections between multiple fields, discover links between the humanities, social sciences, and the sciences, and connect these discoveries to topics and problems of contemporary society. Besides academic learning, our full residential programme also provides an immersive living and learning experience for our community members who come from over 70 countries.

Mr Yip Jia Qi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Physical Sciences is now working as an analyst in Singapore’s Public Service Division. He is responsible for reviewing policies pertaining to compensation and organisational design, while monitoring labour market trends and understanding the needs and challenges of agencies across the Civil Service. He is also working on applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to problems in organisational design in his free time.

While at Yale-NUS, Mr Yip split his time between physical sciences and his minor in philosophy. He discovered his passion for philosophy while taking the Yale-NUS Common Curriculum and continued his studies in philosophy throughout his four years at the College.

“Although my role in compensation is highly data driven, I find that crafting good HR policy is also an incredibly human endeavour. My interdisciplinary background was quite uniquely suited to this role. In fact, I can’t imagine myself being able to do this job without the combination of experiences I’ve had at Yale-NUS,” he said.

Mr Benedict Tan, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Environmental Studies, works as a programme coordinator and portfolio associate at HATCH, a venture capital company that invests in aquaculture and alternative seafood and offers adjunct advisory services. Mr Tan coordinates the company’s accelerator programme and workshops, while supporting portfolio management and the advisory services business unit. Mr Tan shared that his time at Yale-NUS has nurtured him to think critically and creatively when solving problems. “In addition, the interdisciplinary nature of the Environmental Studies major showed me that the worlds we inhabit are intimately entangled, whether they are corporate or academic, marine or terrestrial. This taught me to analyse issues from various angles to come up with the best possible solutions,” said Mr Tan.

Another fresh graduate, Ms Elaine Wijaya, works as a junior gameplay programmer at Ubisoft Singapore, where she engineers solutions for blockbuster-scale games. During her time at Yale-NUS, Ms Wijaya, a Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Sciences major, worked on computational geometry research and was involved in theatre production, animation and graphic design. She shared, “I am extremely grateful to my mentors in College who helped me build structure around my diverse interests. They have given me the confidence to be fearless in forging my own path, and truly realise a career from it. Yale-NUS’ approach to providing students with quality, tailored classes and interactions has been instrumental in building lasting relationships with professors, who genuinely care for us and invest in our growth.”

Graduate school continues to be a popular choice among Yale-NUS graduates. From this class, graduates have gone on to study at top universities around the world, including the National University of Singapore, Yale University, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Melbourne and more.

Mr Michael Smith, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Philosophy, is now a Juris Doctor candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. Mr Smith’s decision to pursue law stems from his concern about the ecological crisis that the world is facing. “In a time of world-historic crisis, we need to act. The liberal arts and sciences education I received at Yale-NUS equipped me with the skills to parse difficult texts, break down diagram arguments and communicate and share my ideas clearly. Given my skills and my training in philosophy, I’ll best be able to act if I study law. Studying law can translate into work doing advocacy, community organising, public policy or politics, all of which are sorely necessary if we are to endure what’s coming.”


[1] Graduates in the labour force refer to graduates who are either employed (i.e. working) or unemployed (i.e. not working but actively looking and available for a job).

[2] Employment refers to graduates working on a full-time permanent, part-time, temporary employment or freelancing basis.

[3] Gross Monthly Salary comprises basic salary, fixed allowances, over-time pay, commissions and other regular cash payments, before deduction of the employee’s CPF contributions and personal income tax. Employer’s CPF contributions, bonuses, stock options, other lump sum payments and payments-in-kind are excluded.


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