PhD in Singapore for Indian Students

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PhD in Singapore

Singapore is becoming a hot destination that you should consider for studying abroad. A whole series of global reports have recognized Singapore as a world leader in research and innovation over the past few years. According to the last QS Best Student Cities ranking 2024, Singapore is in the 15th overall position, which means that it remains one of the most desirable student destinations in Asia and indeed the world. Through this blog, we aim to provide all that you need to know about PhD in Singapore for Indian students.

ProgramPhD in Singapore
Program TypeCoursework | Research-only | Part-time | Full-time
Program duration3-5 years
Eligibility criteriaA Master’s degree or equivalent qualification from a recognized institution with prior research experience
GPA3.0 on a 4.0 scale (83-86%)
English proficiency requirementsIELTS : 6.5-7.0 | TOEFL-iBT : 85 – 100
Tuition fee rangeSGD 28,000 – SGD 50,000
Average SalarySGD 101,000

Why Study PhD in Singapore?

There are various reasons why students choose to study in Singapore, some of the major reasons are listed below:

  • Prestigious universities: Universities ranking within the world’s top 100 institutions and high-impact research.
  • Study in English: PhD and research in Singapore is conducted in English. 
  • Fully funded scholarships: There are various scholarships covering tuition and living expenses open to international students for those who have excellent academic records
  • Quality of life: Singapore is one of the safest and cleanest countries in the world and is a great place to live as a postgraduate.

Also Read: Exploring Student Life in Singapore

Eligibility Criteria

The entry requirements for international students seeking a PhD vary by university. However, the usual prerequisites for admission to a PhD program are as follows:

  • A Master’s degree or equivalent qualification in a related discipline from a recognized institution is required.
  • Minimum GPA- 3.0 out of 4.0
  • GRE or GMAT Score- A competitive GRE or GMAT score is necessary
  • Score on the English Proficiency Test (IELTS): 6.5-7.0 | TOEFL-iBT: 85-100
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)– A 1-2 page essay outlining your reasons for applying to the program and your plans.
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation
  • Coursework varies according to the topic of study and the program’s research focus.
  • Experience- Two years of professional job experience is often required.

Applying for PhD in Singapore

If you have selected the programme that you want to apply for, you’ll need to be sure that you meet the following criteria to be considered:

  • A degree in a relevant field
  • GRE score should be high
  • Proficiency in English Language such as IELTS, TOEFL, etc.

Meeting the application criteria does not guarantee acceptance into the respective program. Your qualifying exam, GRE will play a big role in the application.

Also Read: Masters In Singapore: All You Need To Know

PhD Structure

A PhD in Singapore can take between two and five years to complete, depending on the subject studied, but it usually takes approximately four years. The structure of a PhD in Singapore differs from that found in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.

Graduate research studies

Rather than applying for a specific project, you will apply for a position in a PhD program within a faculty of your choice. This curriculum will be known as “graduate study by research” and will often begin with a broad focus.

The first year contains a taught component, and you will be expected to complete qualifying courses to earn a set amount of credits.

Qualification Test

Following your first year of study, and if you have completed the programme’s taught component, you will be able to choose a specific research topic. Your supervisor will then arrange for you to take the Qualifying Examination (QE).

The QE consists of an oral and written examination designed to measure your ability to interpret and critique literature as well as test specific knowledge about your selected research project.

After passing this exam, you will be confirmed as a PhD candidate and will begin working on your thesis. If you fail this examination (which you can retake before the end of the second year), you can continue to study for a Masters degree in your chosen field.

Thesis response

To acquire your PhD, you must first submit your thesis and then defend it in a formal thesis defence. The procedure is similar to that used in the United Kingdom and other nations, but it includes a public examination in addition to the traditional closed-door test.

Two or more academic experts will question you on your thesis to ensure that your research is original and that you have adequate subject knowledge to be awarded a doctorate.

Top Universities for PhD in Singapore

Let’s see the top universities for PhD in Singapore for Indian students and their QS World University Rankings for 2024:

Universities for PhD in Singapore Location QS World University Rankings 2024
National University of SingaporeLower Kent Ridge8
Nanyang Technological University50 Nanyang Ave=26
Singapore University of Technology and DesignSomapah =429
Singapore Management UniversityVictoria St=545
Singapore Institute of TechnologyDover 
Singapore University of Technology and DesignSomapah
Singapore University of Social SciencesClementi

As we have seen the top colleges, let’s dig deeper into the top universities.

National University of Singapore

Source: Scholarly

The National University of Singapore is one of Asia’s topmost and world-leading research universities, offering a global approach to its education and research programmes. It focuses on the Asian context. The university offers a lot of training from sciences to music at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. NUS currently has 12 faculties and schools across three main campuses – Kent Ridge, Outram, and Bukit Timah. 

Best PhD courses:

  • PhD of Engineering – Industrial Postgraduate Programme
  • Business School PhD Programme
  • PhD in Medicine 
  • PhD in Public health 
  • PhD in Social Sciences 

Nanyang Technological University

Source: Nature

Nanyang Technological University was established in 1955 with its campus in Yunnan Garden. The university collaborated with the University of Singapore to form a National University in 1980. Singapore University included three engineering schools on the campus of Nanyang University along with the Department of Applied Sciences. In 2004, the University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University became two independent universities. 

Best PhD courses:

Singapore University of Technology and Design

Source: Wikipedia

Singapore University of Technology and Design was established in 2009, it is a private institution that is associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The collaboration of the university with MIT covers Student Exchange Programmes, the development of the undergraduate curriculum, faculty visits for guest lectures and the establishment of the International Design Centre. Over the years, the university has won various awards, prizes, and championships.

Best PhD courses:

  • PhD Economic Development Board Industrial Postgraduate Programme
  • SUTD-NUS Joint Programme
  • PhD SUTD Programme

Duration of PhD in Singapore

The duration of PhD in Singapore is around 4 years. It also can be of 2 years or 5 years depending on the certain courses of Ph.D.

Also Read: Singapore Education System: Unique Features

Cost of Education in Singapore

On average, SGD 1200 per month (INR 66246) for living costs. Tuition fees would range between SGD 22000 (INR 1214511)–and SGD 30000 (INR 1656152) but it can vary from subject to subject. For the students who pursue PhD degrees which are related to medical and nursing their tuition fees tend to be higher. 

UniversityTotal Tuition Fees (SGD)
National University of Singapore45,000
Nanyang Technological university42,300
Singapore Management university35,300
Singapore Institute of Technology31,000
Singapore University of Technology and Design51,628
Singapore University of Social Sciences36,000
NUS Business school33,712
Newcastle university84,000
James Cook university140,940

Scholarships for PhD in Singapore 

Here is the list of scholarships for PhD in Singapore for Indian students who wish to pursue PhD in Singapore.

Student Visa for Singapore

If you plan to pursue your PhD in Singapore and have been accepted as a student at a Singaporean university, you must apply for a Student’s Pass from the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). A tourist visa is insufficient to study in Singapore.

The process is largely completed online using the Student’s Pass On-Line Application and Registration (SOLAR) system, which is used by both universities and students to submit the necessary documentation.

You will be required to provide:

  • Proof of university enrollment
  • Proof of financial assistance
  • Your Singapore residence address

ICA will give an in-principle approval (IPA) letter to successful applicants, which your university will forward to you.

You must apply at least one month before the start of the course, which costs S$30 (USD 22). During peak seasons (July and August), the process may take longer. In such cases, you should submit your application as soon as feasible.

PhD in Singapore: Job Opportunities

Graduates can expect to be placed in top managerial positions after completing a PhD. The table below displays the average annual pay for PhD graduates for various jobs in Singapore for international students:

ProfessionAverage Salary (SGD)
University professors140,000
Research Scientist71,386
Government Researcher75,000
Data scientist70,617
Senior Consultant91,863
Biomedical Scientist62,500


A PhD in Singapore combines organized study with independent research to generate capable graduates who are prepared for a variety of professional prospects.

Foreigners looking for highly skilled work would be hard-pressed to find a better destination than Singapore. The garden city is a magnet for business and high-tech industries in Southeast Asia, offering a diverse range of opportunities, particularly in banking, biomedical sciences, communications and media, and information technology.

Remember that if you got a tuition fee subsidy through the Service Obligation (SO) Scheme, you would be expected to work for a Singapore-based company for three years. The good news is that there are numerous intriguing job opportunities in this thriving city-state!


Q1. Is GRE required for PhD in Singapore?

Ans. Yes, candidates must submit test scores for the GRE (Aggregate of 320 for verbal reasoning & quantitative reasoning whereas 3.5 for analytical writing.

Q2. How much does it cost to live in Singapore as a PhD student?

Ans. The average cost of living in Singapore for a PhD student is $10,400.

Q3. Which PhD has the highest salary?

Ans. PhD in Chemical Engineering has the highest salary.

Related Reads:

Study in Singapore for Indian Students: Cost, RequirementsTop 20 Universities and Colleges in Singapore
Singapore Education System: Unique FeaturesStudy in Singapore Without IELTS [Step-by-Step Guide]
Study in Singapore after 12th: Cost of Studying, CoursesPart-Time Jobs in Singapore for International Students

We hope that we have provided you with all the essential information about the best universities for pursuing PhD in Singapore for Indian students. Are you planning to pursue a PhD in Singapore or any other country? Then, take the help of our Leverage Edu experts today. Sign up for a 30-minute free career counselling session today itself.

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