Curriculum Structure

The module requirements of the undergraduate curriculum provide the structure to ensure broad-based learning combined with depth of specialisation. As mentioned, they are organised around three categories of requirements: University Level Requirements, Programme Requirements, and a set of Unrestricted Elective Modules.

(A) University Level Requirements

These requirements aim to broaden a student's intellectual horizon, to develop critical and creative thinking skills for independent learning, and to promote spoken and written articulacy.


University Level Requirements comprise General Education (GE) which aims to connect disciplinary knowledge and perspectives with the skills needed for lifelong learning beyond the university.

General Education

The GE curriculum consists of modules that cut across the wide range of disciplines that a comprehensive university offers. It encourages students to explore disciplinary practices and thinking in the humanities, social sciences, sciences and engineering sciences. The GE curriculum also engages all students in discussions about the social, cultural, scientific, and historical topics that will, at the same time, lay the foundations for important life skills such as critical thinking, communication, and reasoning. In a nutshell, the NUS GE curriculum aspires to inculcate the habits or qualities of mind that define a successful graduate.

GE consists of five pillars:

  1. Human Cultures
  2. Asking Questions
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. Singapore Studies
  5. Thinking and Expression

All students (except those from the Faculties of Dentistry and Law, and the School of Medicine) are required to read and pass five GE modules, one from each pillar. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the GE modules within the first two years of their candidature.


University Level Requirements consist of General Education, Singapore Studies and Breadth modules.

General Education

General Education (GE) is concerned with the knowledge, abilities and mindset that characterise a well-educated individual. Implicit in GE at NUS is the idea that undergraduate education should go beyond its traditional focus on the understanding and application of knowledge; it should seek to empower learners to question and to critically evaluate what is presented to them as knowledge, and to engage in inquiry, discovering and constructing knowledge on their own. Accordingly, GE modules fall into two broad Subject Groups and two broad Focus Groups.

Subject Groups:

Group A – Science & Technology
Group B – Humanities & Social Sciences

The reason for the division into two subject groups is that it is valuable for students in one area of specialisation to be exposed to the knowledge and ways of thinking in the other area.

Singapore Studies

Singapore Studies aims to strengthen a student's understanding of the economy, geography, history, politics, and society of Singapore. The modules are designed to expose students to different perspectives on the critical issues confronting Singapore, and a deep appreciation of the conditions affecting decision-making in a Singapore operating within a regional and global context.

All students (except those from the Faculties of Dentistry and Law, and the School of Medicine) are required to read and pass one Singapore Studies module within the period of their candidature. Students from Dentistry, Law, and Medicine may still take a Singapore Studies module for enrichment purposes.

Students may not take Singapore Studies modules that are cross-listed with their major subjects to fulfill their Singapore Studies requirements. A set of FAQs has also been compiled with more details. Students may take Singapore Studies modules to satisfy breadth if the Singapore Studies requirement has already been satisfied and the module is outside the student's home faculty.

Breadth Modules

This requirement provides students with the opportunity to read modules outside their chosen area(s) of study, i.e., modules beyond their Faculty/School's offerings

(B) Programme Requirements

Programme Requirements comprise Faculty and Major requirements.

Faculty Requirements

These serve to introduce a student to the different disciplines in a Faculty or to certain basic areas of study that prepare a student to pursue a particular discipline.

Major Requirements

These provide specialised education in a subject and include both 'essential' and 'elective' modules. Whereas the former are concerned with the core knowledge and abilities expected of a graduate majoring in the discipline, the latter combine the flexibility of choice with further specialisation within the discipline. Major requirements may include relevant modules from other Departments.

(C) Unrestricted Elective Modules

These allow students to explore greater breadth or depth in any subject and at any level. Students may use these modules to meet the requirements for a specialisation, minor, double major, double degree, or concurrent Bachelor-Master degree.

From AY2020/2021 onward, students have another option of fulfilling up to 8 MCs of their Unrestricted Elective (UE) requirement with Design Your Own Module (DYOM). DYOM allows students to choose what they want to learn, how they wish to learn, and from whom they wish to learn.