Partial Suspension of SEP in AY2020/21 Semester 2

7 October 2020 - Webpage first published

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly impact the health and economies of communities around the globe. We were hopeful that there would be a general recovery from the pandemic, and that a vaccine would be available soon. Unfortunately, these look likely to take longer than expected. Currently, many countries are experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, and travel restrictions of various forms are still in place worldwide.

NUS students nominated for SEP to the Americas, Europe or Middle East

After much deliberation and out of consideration for your health and safety, NUS President has made the difficult decision of suspending SEP for AY2020/21 Semester 2 to the destinations stated above. We realise that you will be very disappointed in losing this particular opportunity to study abroad, but minimising health risks is a consideration that NUS must accord top priority to. We hope and trust that informing you of the decision now will allow you time to formulate alternatives. Thank you for your understanding in accommodating these difficult and uncertain circumstances.

If your academic plans are able to accommodate SEP in AY2021/22, please contact your Faculty regarding the application timeline. We are also exploring the possibility of local exchange with other universities in Singapore, and will let you know at a later date if such opportunities become available.

NUS students nominated for SEP to selected parts of Asia or Australia

Some countries in the Asia-Pacific region appear to be faring better in their control of the COVID-19 situation. Taking into consideration that many of you are very much looking forward to the possibility of an overseas exchange opportunity, NUS is not yet suspending SEP to these countries, but will wait until late-November to see if border control measures imposed by Singapore and these countries are lifted. If travel to these destinations becomes feasible, student exchange there will be allowed to proceed.

Please note that this approach is accompanied by much uncertainty, and ultimately being able to go ahead, cannot be guaranteed. Hence, if you would like to withdraw from the SEP at this point in time, please follow up with your home Faculty. Nonetheless, do be prepared to enrol for NUS modules for AY2020/21 Semester 2.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in accommodating these difficult and uncertain circumstances. The FAQs listed below will help answer some of the most pressing questions you may have. If you require any further assistance, do contact your Faculty SEP coordinators (see list of contacts further down this page). The Global Relations Office can also assist with your questions, and can be contacted via AskGRO.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am affected by this suspension as my SEP is to a destination in the Americas / Europe / Middle East. What are the alternative options available to me?

1. If your academic plans allow for a SEP in AY2021/22, please enquire with your Faculty on the application timelines.

2. We are currently working with other universities in Singapore on local exchange opportunities for AY2020/21 Semester 2. You will be notified at a later date if such opportunities become available.

My SEP is to a destination in Asia / Australia. What are the chances of SEP being suspended?

Some destinations in the Asia-Pacific (e.g. China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand) are faring better in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are hopeful in terms of the possibility of SEP proceeding. A wait-and-see approach is being adopted. If border control measures imposed by Singapore and these destinations are lifted by end-November 2020 and MOE gives the approval for overseas programmes to resume, SEP with them will proceed. If not, SEP has to be suspended.

I think some countries are “safe” or where COVID-19 is “under control”, why can’t I go there?

Your health and well-being is our highest priority. The COVID-19 situation is still very fluid and there are still no updates on when a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready. Countries will generally be very cautious about relaxing border controls (e.g. when, who to allow, whether to phase gradual opening, etc) in the months ahead for fear that an influx of foreigners would bring about increased risk of infection. Consequently, if another wave of infection does occur, then NUS SEP students would have to be recalled. If that happens, disruptions to your studies would be even greater, along with financial losses incurred. Additionally, a number of NUS' SEP partner universities have also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by suspending student exchanges for AY 2020/21 Semester 2.

Can I defer my exchange to AY2021/22 Semester 1?

SEP in AY2021/22 would correspond to a new application cycle, which begins in end-August 2020. Check with your Faculties on the application timeline.

Is exchange to local universities in Singapore available?

We are currently working with other universities in Singapore on local exchange opportunities. You will be notified at a later date if such opportunities become available.

My SEP university is offering me the option of reading their modules online. Is this allowed?

Unfortunately, no. Mapping and credit transfer for such modules would not be permitted.

Why am I not allowed to read / map online modules offered by my SEP university?

The decision to disallow students from taking online courses offered by SEP universities was arrived at by Provost’s Office after consultation with Faculties.

Virtual Exchange does not yield the same benefits as in-person exchange, whereby a student gets to experience a different academic environment, culture, and the opportunity to forge international friendships through interpersonal interactions via shared activities. Time zone differences will also be a challenge that needs to be accommodated in taking live overseas classes online.

Can I enroll in online winter and summer programmes to earn credits?

Similar to the decision on online courses offered by SEP universities, you will also not be allowed to take courses offered through online winter and summer programmes for credits. However, if you may consider taking these courses for enrichment purposes with no credit transfer.

I have already incurred some expenses in preparation for SEP next semester. Can I claim for reimbursement from NUS?

Refunds should be sought from the relevant parties:

1. If it is an expense that the SEP university mandated, please seek a refund from that university using the SEP cancellation email you received from your Faculty.

2. Other expenses such as airfare and accommodation deposits should not have been committed so early, as emphasised in an earlier email regarding SEP application. If you have incurred such expenses, please ask for a refund from the service provider.

3. For students whose SEP are to destinations in the Asia-Pacific, you are encouraged to withhold committing to any financial transactions for as long as possible. You will be notified by NUS in end-November 2020 about whether your SEP can proceed.

Will there be any changes to the assessment criteria for selection of students with regard to SEP for AY 2021/22, compared to AY 2020/21?

Faculties will adopt the same assessment criteria for selection of students for SEP in AY 2021/22.

In view of the unique circumstances we are facing, is it possible to go on SEP in my final semester before graduation?

Students are usually unable to participate in SEP during their final / graduating semester due to specific academic commitments that require them to be in NUS, e.g. FYP, Honours thesis, etc.  Also, most SEP Partner Universities can only issue students a transcript 2 to 3 months after the final exams. If students are depending on the credit transfers to graduate, then they will have to delay their graduation. We would advise students who are considering SEP in their final semester to discuss this with their home Faculties.

Your Faculty SEP Coordinators

Your Faculty and Department SEP Coordinators are there to help. Please contact them with regard to resolving specific academic issues (alternative modules/programmes/etc).

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

School of Business

Faculty of Engineering

For general enquiries:
NUS Engineering Exchange (SEP) Mailbox

For enquiries on study plans, please contact your Department coordinator:
Chen Li Hua, Melinda Loo (Biomedical Engineering)
Jasmin Lee (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)
Yap-Chong Wei Leng, Christina Lim, Sarimah (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Marsita Sairan (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Revathi Naidu D/O N Alagendran (Engineering Science Programme)
Dr Bok Shung Hwee, Steven Chiang (Industrial Systems Engineering & Mgmt)
Karen Ho (Materials Science & Engineering)
Lim Jue Yu, Sherlin (Mechanical Engineering)

Faculty of Law

Faculty of Science

School of Design and Environment

Ms Lee Si Min (Dean's Office)
Ms Ng Chin Ting Violet (Dean’s Office)
Ms Lyn Chua (Dept of Architecture)
Ms Avery Ong (Dept of Building)
Ms Susie Yeo (Dept of Industrial Design)
Ms Swamy Srividya Narayana (Dept of Real Estate)
Ms Zainab Binte Abdul Ghani (Dept of Real Estate)

School of Computing

University Scholars Programme