Singapore Prime Minister launches Yale-NUS College

11 April 2011

Distinctive campus design unveiled for the country’s first liberal arts college; College receives strong internship support from Singapore and global partners

Singapore’s first liberal arts college, the Yale-NUS College, was officially launched today at the National University of Singapore (NUS) by the country’s Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong. A collaboration between NUS and Yale University, the Yale-NUS College, an autonomous college of NUS, brings together two universities with distinctive strengths to create a model of residential liberal arts education that is unique in Asia.

Prime Minister Lee and Dr Ng Eng Hen, Singapore’s Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, witnessed the official signing of the agreement on the College between NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan and Yale President Professor Richard C. Levin. Prime Minister Lee also unveiled an architectural model of the Yale-NUS College as part of the launch event.

The Yale-NUS College is Singapore’s first liberal arts college, and the first with a full residential college model, integrating living and learning. It is also the first campus outside New Haven, Connecticut, that Yale University has developed.

Said Dr Ng Eng Hen, “The idea of a liberal arts education in Asia’s context is highly intriguing. The melding of ways of thinking, of approaches to problems, governance and life in general from perspectives of East and West may throw up new solutions to the issues that confront society today. The Yale-NUS College will provide fertile ground for the testing and creation of ideas and in that process hopefully enrich all involved.”

Said Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, NUS President, “We believe that the Yale-NUS College will attract some of the highest potential students from Singapore and other parts of the world, and provide these students with the type of education that will enable them to become leaders as well as engaged citizens, contributing to the advancement of society, the growth of Singapore and the exciting development of Asia.”

Said Professor Richard C. Levin, Yale President, “The Yale-NUS partnership allows us to re-imagine liberal education for a new century and build a college literally ‘from the ground up.’ We expect that the curricular and extracurricular innovations introduced in the college will spread back to Yale and other campuses. We also believe the new college can have a profound impact on the advances now being made in higher education throughout Asia.”

Living and Learning at Yale-NUS College

Located to the north of NUS main campus at Kent Ridge, the Yale-NUS College campus is designed jointly by award-winning architects KieranTimberlake, and Pfeiffer Partners, in the U.S., and Forum Architects in Singapore. Stephen Kieran has been responsible for the renovation of six of Yale’s residential colleges while Tan Kok Hiang of Forum Architects, an NUS alumnus, has won accolades for the conservation of one of NUS’ historic campuses.

The College will comprise three residential colleges, with each residential college housing 330 students. Students will live in and become active members of one of the three residential colleges throughout their four years of study at the College. Each residential college will be led by a senior faculty member who will be the Rector, and he or she will be assisted by a Vice Rector. A number of faculty will also live with their families in each residential college, ensuring abundant opportunities for informal interactions among professors and students.

Facilities at the residential colleges include dining halls that will be the hub for residential life for students and faculty, as well as classrooms and seminar rooms with state-of-the-art technology. Each residential college will have student meeting spaces, a Common Room, a student-run buttery and spaces where student enterprises can be developed.

These residential colleges will be distinctive buildings, specially designed to foster the kind of community life and student engagement that are characteristic of the residential college experience in the U.S.. Students staying in these residential colleges will form living and learning communities, and will experience personal and intellectual growth while cultivating citizenship and leadership qualities. They will also have many opportunities to interact with the larger NUS community in University Town and the main campus, including sports facilities, performing venues and eating places.

World-Class Facilities and Services at Yale-NUS College

All Yale-NUS students will enjoy an impressive range of facilities and services associated with the best liberal arts colleges around the world. Some of these facilities include:

  • A Performing Arts Center which will include a major Performance Hall supporting recitals, a black box theater, music practice rooms, and adjacent art studios;
  • A Science Center with wet and dry labs and with spaces for students to conduct independent research in collaboration with their teachers;
  • A Learning Commons which will house a library, multi-media design labs, recording studios, virtual classrooms, and a 24-hour study space.
  • A Center for International and Experiential Learning to provide guidance to students on global learning, research, internship and career opportunities.
  • A Gymnasium with a fitness center and dance studio, as well as a student café and dedicated spaces for student organizations.

In addition, students at the College will have access to extensive NUS facilities, including the NUS libraries, sports and cultural facilities and student services at the main NUS campus at Kent Ridge. They will also be able to enrol in specialized courses that are not offered at the College.

The President of the Yale-NUS College will live within the College premises and there will be opportunities for students to interact with the President in his or her residence.

Global Opportunities for all at Yale-NUS College

Students at the Yale-NUS College can also look forward to a rich, diverse co-curriculum, which is an integral part of a liberal arts education. A unique feature of the program is that all students at the College will have the opportunity to go abroad at least once during their four year experience. There will be opportunities to spend time overseas in academic exchange programs, internships, research attachments, and community service activities. Some students will be able to spend a year at Yale, while others will attend summer programs there. The Yale-NUS College has been privileged to receive strong support from numerous partners over the last few months. To date, an impressive list of Singapore and global partners has already committed to providing local and global internship opportunities to students when the College opens its doors in 2013. The full list of partners can be found in the Annex.

The Yale-NUS College expects to admit its first students in 2013. For more information Yale-NUS College in Brief, please visit the Yale-NUS College website at