Prospective Graduate Students

Prospective Graduate Students

The Department has an excellent graduate program leading to M.Sc. (self-funded) and Ph.D. (research scholarships) 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 visiting scientists.

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)

Local students

GRE requirement waived for students graduating with honors degree from NUS or NTU

Overseas students

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.

Singapore citizens who are studying or obtain a degree from overseas university, must submit GRE test score (General Test)

There are two intakes to our graduate program, following the practice at the Faculty of Science. Application deadlines are:

Intake Closing date
Semester 1 (August) – 15 Nov of the previous year
Semester 2 ( January) – 15 May of the previous year (the deadline has been extended to 30 Jun 2020 for Jan 2021 intake)

Applications are open all year round. Any application received after the closing date will be considered for the next relevant intake.

In the view of COVID-19 situation, please submit the required documents via online for the Jan 2021 intake when you apply.

Kindly prepare the following documents/items to upload in the application system:

1) A original/certified copy of Bachelor’s/Master’s transcript in English translation
2) A original/certified copy of Bachelor’s/Master’s degree scroll in English translation
3) A certified copy of TOEFL or IELTS scoresheet (non-English medium only)
*TOEFL/IELTS score reports are only valid for two years after the test and the validity period should not expire before the beginning of the application period for the relevant intake for which you are applying.
4) A certified copy of GRE (all candidates) or GATE scoresheet (India candidates only)
5) Recommendations from two (2) academic referees are to be submitted via the online admission system.
6) Curriculum vitae (including co-curricular activities, community service, etc.)
7) Personal statement about broad research interests, previous research accomplishments, and personal vision of future career (2 pages).
8) Copy of Financial Statement/ Sponsorship (if you are applying for MSc)
9) Copy of your NRIC/passport

Please refer to this website over here

The applicants would be able to pay for the application fees using credit cards
Online application S$50 per application (inclusive of prevailing GST)
Paper-based application S$50 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 were attached.

All students need to meet the following course work requirements:

M.Sc. program:

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.

Ph.D. program:

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 Journal, etc.

Attendance in the departmental seminars is compulsory for graduate students. Our regular departmental seminars are scheduled on Fridays from 4 PM to 5 PM.

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.  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.