In Singapore, the highest university degree is called Honours. An undergraduate student can have the first degree if they pass all 3 (or 4) of their first-year courses. In an honors year, an undergraduate student may take some or all of their second-year classes (“second”/”subsequent”/H2/S2) and must at least complete their H1 subjects before proceeding to Year 2. The official undergraduate degrees in Singapore are Science with Honours, Arts with Honours, Engineer with Honours, and Business Management with Honours. Students who wish to study for a degree with honours but do not want to continue after completing it may apply for a non-honors degree.
Science with Honours is the most challenging undergraduate program in Singapore. It honors life science even more so, as it involves many subjects taught by faculty who specialize in these topics. It takes at least four years to complete since one must take a double major of two different sciences, biology and chemistry or physics and computer science. Arts with Honours, Engineering with Honours, and Business Management each take about three years to complete because they only require one major area rather than two. However, students who can excel in their H2A/B courses may be allowed to graduate earlier after only three years of study. A Bachelor’s Degree with Honours is equivalent to 120 credits.
Singapore’s most difficult degree with honours programs are the four science-based ones because they require one to choose a second major from among the physical sciences, biological sciences, or applied mathematics and statistics (AMS). Students who apply for Science with Honours are generally required to have taken at least three H2/S2 level courses from each of their two majors. Many students also take interdisciplinary courses such as computational biology, environmental science, mathematical modeling, and other relevant subjects to satisfy this requirement. It should be noted that Arts students can only obtain a Bachelor’s Degree (with Honours) if they complete a double major of two different subjects within the arts faculty: just one arts subject (e.g., English literature) alone does not qualify.
Even in the biological sciences, choosing a second major from among these three is very restrictive because many courses are only offered by one faculty. For example, there are just two applied mathematics and statistics major courses taught by AMS faculty: mathematical modeling and operations research. The choice of subjects within the single major can be quite limited, too, as many elective courses require prerequisite course(s). Some students thus take their H2/S2 level courses from more than two faculties to strengthen their degree program application if they do not have a strong background in one of them (for example, taking physics and chemistry and biology). This may mean that some students have to take more than the usual 4 years to complete their undergraduate degree.
In addition, there are several other prerequisites for Science students. They must pass a specific course (usually physical sciences) before taking any second-year class, and they must achieve at least a B3 in that subject. Further, it is also common for non-Science majors to take an interdisciplinary course such as computational biology or mathematical modeling towards their arts or other H2/S2 requirements to strengthen their Arts major application. All NUS undergraduates must be proficient in math; this could mean taking differential equations and statistics courses or even higher-level math classes if necessary. Students who wish to study quantitative finance may have to improve on this further by taking stochastic analysis and advanced statistics courses.
However, the most challenging subject for Science students is usually their H2/S2 level chemistry course because it involves many organic chemistry topics that are rarely taught at junior colleges (a necessary prerequisite). Many students find themselves pulled out of the B3 range typically; only those who have taken all honors-level science subjects in high school might attain a higher grade than this. However, even then, they may still find it very difficult without additional help or guidance.
This is especially true for candidate-selected candidates who aspire to enter top graduate schools. If one misses out on a place in chemical engineering, for example, this will not only rule out a top school in the US or Europe. Singapore universities are known for their high quality of education. If you want to be a part of this prestigious institution, then go ahead and apply!
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