The Department has an excellent graduate program
leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees by research. It
has a strong research culture and aspires to strengthen
it further. The infrastructure and research facilities
along with research interests in the three main focus
areas including Cell, Molecular and Developmental
Biology; Ecology, Biodiversity and Environmental
Biology; and Biophysical Sciences, Computational
and Structural Biology. Our graduate students have
the opportunity to develop sound knowledge in life
sciences and learn cutting edge techniques in several
of our state-of-the-art facilities. They also have
opportunities to interact with some of the well known
We follow the admission guidelines established by the university. The minimum requirement for admission is a B.Sc. degree (equivalent four years of undergraduate program)
GRE requirement waived for students graduating with honors degree from NUS or NTU
To provide scores of GRE (minimal requirements: verbal and quantitative abilities between the range of 310 and 320, analytical writing: 3.5) or Graduate Aptitude in Engineering (GATE) minimum 90 percentile. Applicants who do not have their earlier education in the English language need to provide Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) test of scores of minimum 85 for internet-based test or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test of scores of minimum 6.
Research Scholars will be given a monthly stipend and a tuition fee subsidy as indicated in Fees for Graduate Programmes
about research scholarships
There are two intakes to our graduate program, following the practice at the Faculty of Science. Application deadlines are:
|Intake||All Applicants||Applicants who are NUS and NTU graduates|
|Semester 1 (Aug)||15 Nov of the previous year||15 Nov of the previous year|
|Semester 2 (Jan)||15 May of the previous year||15 May of the previous year|
With effective from 1 July 2011, the applicants would be able to pay for the application fees using credit cards
Online application S$20 per application (inclusive of prevailing GST)
Paper-based application S$40 per application (inclusive of prevailing GST)
All new graduate students are required to select
two labs and spend one month in each lab. The new
students can work with a senior student or other
lab members during the attachment period. Each student
is to write a short report (2-3 pages long) on completion
of the attachment to the two labs. At the end of
this period, students are to decide to work for the
thesis research in one of the two labs to which they
All students need to meet the following course work
Three graduate modules (level 5000)
and achieve a minimum Cumulative Average Grade Point
(CAP) of 3.0 (equivalent to B- average) out of a
maximum of 5.0 points.
Six graduate modules (level 5000); and achieve a minimum CAP of 3.5 (equivalent to B average).
Ph.D. students are required to pass QE within two years. The QE consists of two parts: the written and oral QEs. The written QE, held at the beginning of every semester, is to test the fundamental knowledge in biological field and students are advised to take this test in their third semester of study. The oral portion of the QE is evaluated based on three areas, research progress, proposed research project and student’s knowledge on the proposed research topic. The students need to submit a written report comprising a research plan including background, preliminary results obtained by them and the future plan for project completion. The Department will form a QE committee for each student and the student needs to present an open seminar to the department and undergo the oral examination. The QE Committee then determines and recommends whether the student is to continue the Ph.D. program. The students who fail the QE will stay in the graduate program and complete M.Sc. theses.
Graduate students are the major work force in our
research programs in the department. Every year,
over half of the scientific papers from our department
are contributed by graduate students. Many of the
papers are published in top scientific journals
such as Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Genetics,
Nature Immunology, Nature Biotechnology, Nature
Structural Biology, Current Biology, Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences USA, EMBO
Attendance in the departmental seminars is compulsory
for graduate students. Our regular departmental seminars
are scheduled on Fridays from 4 PM to 5 PM. To improve
the skill of oral presentation and to develop the
ability of critical thinking, all students are required
to join a journal club. In the journal club, on a
rotation basis, students will present a research
paper (usually outside their fields) from a recent,
top scientific journal and discuss the paper with
fellow students and professors. Currently there are
ten journal clubs with different research focuses
in the department.
Each year, the department holds a graduate congress. This congress is run by the graduate students themselves and aims to increase communication among the students within and outside of the department (regionally as well as internationally). The graduate congresses have been conducted every year since 1996. Each congress has its own theme. The 2008 congress was held in Singapore hosted by our department, with the theme of "The Big Bang of Biological Sciences: unveiling the complexities of life". Now the congress is rotating among Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
Our graduate students may receive partial financial assistance from the department for attending international conferences depending on the availability of funds. Each student can avail one such travel support during the tenure as graduate student. The primary factor for support will be the academic merit of the paper or poster being presented along with the reputation of the conference. Additionally, priority will be given to students who actively participate in organizing the departmental activities. Students may also be able to receive funding for conference travel from
In addition to the NUS Research Scholarship, outstanding students have opportunities to receive other prestigious awards such as NUS President's Fellowship, Singapore Millennium Foundation Fellowship, Lee Kong Chian Fellowship, etc. Several awards for best theses are also available, for example, Wang Gungwu Medal, Chua Toh Hua Memorial Gold Medal, and ISPMB Gold Medal. Every year, we have several students who win these awards.
The SMA "Computation and Systems Biology" (CSB)
degree program is a partnership between the world-recognized
CSBi program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) and the visionary biology, bioengineering,
and biotechnology programs at NUS, NTU, and the A*STAR
Our students come from backgrounds in either biology (with strong math skills), physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, or engineering and are attracted to the interdisciplinary nature of the CSB degree program, with a strong interest in systems and computational approaches to stem cell and tissue biology . Students accepted into the CSB track will take a selection of modules offered in Singapore and MIT , including courses beamed live from MIT -- a signature feature of the high degree of integration between the Singapore and the MIT/CSBi PhD courses. The CSB program courses cover topics in computational biology, systems biology, genomics, proteomics and imaging theory and technology, some of which will be team-taught by faculty members from Singapore and MIT. As part of the CSB degree program, concepts emphasized in the class room are applied in research projects that are tightly linked to the education program.
CSB research projects focus on the development of advanced technologies in biological probes, imaging, and computational biology, and the application of these technologies to medically relevant problems in tissue biology, including stem cell differentiation, tissue morphogenesis, infectious disease models, and tissue physiology. Anchored at the Department of Biological Sciences since 2005, this program currently has 49 students on board.
To SMA website