Cancellation Of SEP In AY2020/21
Semester 1

For information about the suspension and recall for SEP in AY2019/20 Semester 2, please visit this webpage.

8 May 2020 - Webpage first published

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly impact the health and economies of communities around the world. This has also resulted in restrictions to travel and interaction between people in terms of physical proximity. It may be some time before the world can recover from COVID-19. After much deliberation and out of consideration for the health and safety of the NUS community, NUS President has made the difficult decision of suspending the Student Exchange Programme (SEP) for AY2020/21 Semester 1.

To all affected students:

We realise that you will be very disappointed in losing this particular opportunity to study abroad, but minimising health risks is the priority. Some alternative options available to you are listed in the FAQs below. Additionally, if your academic plans are able to accommodate a summer programme next year (2021), you may wish to consider pursuing this for an experience of learning overseas.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in accommodating these difficult and uncertain circumstances. 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


What are the alternative options available to me for AY2020/21 Semester 1?

For AY2020/21 Semester 1, the following options are available:

1. Continue with your studies at NUS. Affected students would have been notified to register for NUS modules as a back-up to their SEP plans.

2. Explore exchange at other universities in Singapore. We are working with other local universities on this option.

3. Some affected students may be considering deferring SEP to Semester 2. However, this is likely not possible for most of our Partner Universities. Like us, they also have capacity problems and cannot accommodate too many exchange students in one semester. The Global Relations Office is interacting with Partner Universities on possible deferral of exchange to Semester 2. If this option turns out to be viable, your Faculty SEP coordinators will certainly let you know. Hence, please do not appeal at this point in time.

Regarding COVID-19, I think some countries are “safe” or “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 a second wave of infection. Consequently, if a second 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, many of NUS' SEP partner universities have also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by suspending student exchanges for AY 2020/21 Semester 1. This list provides a reference to the partner universities who have suspended exchanges.

Why can’t I defer my SEP to Semester 2?

SEP applications and nominations have already been completed for the whole of AY2020/21. Selection of students for both Semester 1 and Semester 2 would have been made and places for Semester 2 have also been taken up. Most of NUS’ partner universities do not have the capacity to accommodate additional students from Sem 1 SEP applicants in their Sem 2 classes and accommodation. A very small number of partner universities may be able to take in a few more students and discussions are being held with them to determine the maximum number of students they can host in Sem 2. If additional places are available, your Faculty will contact you to discuss this option.

If I cannot defer my SEP to Semester 2 in the same partner university, can I “defer” to another university with places available?

Yes, you can check with your home Faculty SEP coordinator if there are any unfilled SEP places for Semester 2. (However, do set your expectations as, given the current situation, it is unlikely that any university would have unfilled places for Semester 2. Even if some become available, priority would be given to students who were nominated to go to that university in Semester 1.)

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. Look out for emails from your Faculties regarding this and then apply.

How can I apply for exchange to local universities in Singapore?

Please contact your Faculty SEP coordinator to register your interest by 15 May 2020. Please note that places for local exchange may be limited. More information on exchange to local universities can be found in this document.

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 in AY2020/21 Semester 1 was arrived at by Provost’s Office after consultation with Faculties. We are interacting with Faculties again to ascertain their current perspectives and concerns, and will inform students of the outcome of these discussions.

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.

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.

I have already received an acceptance letter from my SEP host University for Semester 1. What should I do with it?

If you have already received an acceptance letter from your SEP host university, please note that NUS has informed all Partner Universities of the cancellation of SEP for AY2020/21 Semester 1. Therefore, please take it that the offer is no longer applicable. If the Partner University has been in touch with you, feel free to let them know that you are unable to proceed with the AY2020/21 Semester 1 exchange due to the cancellation.

Can students selected / nominated for SEP in Semester 2 AY20/21 proceed as planned?  Currently, students are asked to apply for their university but to hold off on purchasing air tickets and booking accommodations.

NUS will review the feasibility of Sem 2 SEP again in October 2020, and will keep the student body notified.  Whilst selection / nomination is currently on-going, NUS will continue to keen a keen eye on the global situation, keeping in mind that the priority is the health, safety and academic progress of students.

Will there be any changes to the assessment criteria for selection of students with regard to SEP for AY21/22, compared to AY20/21?

Faculties will adopt the same assessment criteria for selection of students for SEP in AY2021/22.

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