DBS Summer Course 2021 – Chemistry of Life | 11 – 31 July 2021

The DBS Summer Course 2021 – Chemistry of Life offered by Department of Biological Sciences (DBS), National University of Singapore (NUS), is a three-week intensive training course customized to expose students to a broad range of modern biological knowledge and techniques currently used in research laboratories and industries. Students have a chance to immerse themselves in the research and learning experience in one of the top universities in the world and make friends with peer students from all around the world.

Our research-led teaching is internationally-renowned which comprise of lectures, advanced academic seminars, practical classes, group discussion and scientific tour and excursions to make the Summer Course as informative and fun as possible. The DBS Summer Course will be covering major fields in modern biologies, such as cell and molecular biology, protein and proteomics, molecular genetics with direct relevance to biomedical research, pharmaceutical sciences and agriculture.

Through this intensive Summer Programme, we provide the students with the opportunities to

  • develop skills and confidence in life sciences research;
  • work in groups and engage in productive collaborations;
  • meet students from NUS and other universities all around the world while learning in a top university;
  • expose to current, cutting-edge research topics in life sciences and beyond; and
  • experience the Singapore culture.

With the uncertainty in public health guidelines in the coming year that may affect international travel and classroom teaching, the DBS Summer Course 2021 will be offered in either of two formats. We will announce the exact teaching format closer to the summer course dates based on the global pandemic situations, with the safety, health and wellbeing of our students and staff as our primary concern. 

Package A: physical classroom course. Students are required to come to the classroom to attend the class physically; and/or

Package B: virtual classroom seminar. Students are required to attend the seminar virtually online via Webinar.

The DBS Summer Course will be offered annually in July-August. Registration and application are open in early January each year.

The Summer Course for the year 2021 will run from 11 – 31 July 2021.

The application deadline is 30 April 2021. 

A module of “Chemistry in Life” is offered for the DBS Summer Course 2021.

The objective of this course is to provide the students with an understanding of basic principles and techniques in biological chemistry, biophysics and molecular genetics, with direct relevance to bio-medical research, pharmaceutical sciences, and agriculture.

DBS Summer Course is conducted in a bootcamp style, with >150 hours of lectures, tutorials, practicals, research seminars, group discussions, field trips and social activities, all scheduled within 3 weeks. The Course is approximately 40-45 hours of lecture class time and 40 – 45 hours of hands-on or field trip sessions. Lecture classes are interactive and often include lectures and group discussions; and the hands-on or field trip sessions are project-based with intensive technique-learning processes. Evaluation may include assignments, group projects, reports and examinations.

Please note that the Summer Course is not eligible for the award of NUS credit, but credit may be granted by the student’s home university at their discretion.


The class will run from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm every weekday with one hour lunch break. 50% of the time will be spent in classroom; and lab work or field trip will supplement the lectures.

Course Materials:

Students will receive hardcopy of a course-manual and lab notes with detailed contents of lectures and instructions for each of the labs. Softcopy of the course materials and manuals will also be made available to students.

Students will be registered onto NUS’s LumiNUS and library to use all teaching and e-journal resources there.


  • Presentation and communication, 10%
  • Class and lab participation, 30%
  • Final examination, 60%


Students will be awarded a Certificate by the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, upon successful completion of the Summer Course (satisfied by minimum 80% attendance of contact hours as well as satisfactory examination score as determined by the Department of Biological Sciences, NUS).

In order to enrol in the DBS Summer Course 2021, a student should

  • be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university in home country;
  • be nominated by home university ( non-nominated students may apply as well on a full fee-paying basis); and
  • be proficient in English language

Students who wish to apply for the DBS Summer Course 2021 are required to do their groundwork to ensure they meet the minimum entry requirements and have finances and prerequisites from their home university.

To register, students should contact home university’s International Office. If they are unable to assist with the registration, students can contact us directly. We encourage earlier registration as a quota is set on the class size. Registration will be closed when it is full.

Registration commences: 15 January yearly.

The registration deadline for the DBS Summer Course 2021 is 30 April 2021.


A/Prof Low Boon Chuan
Academic Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543
Tel: +65 6516 7834
Email: dbslowbc@nus.edu.sg

Mr Yan Tie
Administrative Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543
Tel: +65 6516 5200
Email: dbsyant@nus.edu.sg

Accommodation will be provided in student hostels in-campus or off-campus.

  • Shared bedrooms
  • In-suite bathroom
  • Shared living room with TV
  • Equipped laundry rooms
  • Routine room service available
  • Transport between the hostels and campus

The Course fee per student is $6,000 SGD (inclusive 7% GST) for the DBS Summer Course 2021 Package A (classroom course), which includes

  • Tuition fee
  • Registration fee
  • Administration fee
  • Course materials
  • Group airport transport and city tour, and transport service if staying off-campus hostels.
  • Shared accommodation and partial meals
  • Orientation and farewell events
  • Social activities

The course fee per student will be free of charge for the DBS Summer Course 2021 Package B (virtual seminar).

The course fee must be received before the commencement of the Course to confirm enrolment in the DBS Summer Course 2021.

Successful registration will receive confirmation of their participation along with instructions on mode of payment.