Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am a literature major. Can I read a GEM in English Literature to satisfy my major requirement?

No, modules bearing the GEM code can only be taken to satisfy the GEM requirement.

2. I don't understand the Group A / Group B distinction.

Group A (Science & Technology) and Group B (Humanities and Social Sciences) refer to subject groups.

3. I'm a Year 1 student from Engineering Faculty. According to the requirements, I must take one Group B GEM. My questions are:

  1. Must it be in the first semester?

    It is entirely up to you when you wish to read your GEMs as you are the only one who knows how busy you will be in any given semester. You can make your own planning as we have implemented the flexible modular system. In other words, you can take your GEMs at any time during your 3 or 4 years in the Faculty.

  2. Do I need to read 8 MCs of GEMs every year, or is the 8 MCs requirement for the entire course of study?

    You need only read 8 MCs of GEMs throughout your entire course of study.

  3. Also, must the GEM I take from Group A be relevant to my course?

    As an Engineering student, you can actually read 2 GEMs from Group B, but if you choose one from Group A (Science & Technology), it should not be a GEM which is cross-listed with any module from your major/minor areas (i.e. if there happens to be a GEM which is cross-listed with the same 'prefix' as the major / minor Engineering modules you are reading as your major/minor area, (egg CNxxxx, CExxxx, EVxxxx. etc), you are not allowed to read that GEM to fulfill the GE requirement. In addition, you are not allowed to read any GEM which has preclusions that prevent you from reading it, nor are you allowed to read any GEM for which you do not satisfy the pre-requisites, if any. Other than that, you are free to read any GEM from the Science & Technology category.

4. What is meant by "Breadth: Electives Outside the Students' Faculty"? If I am a Chemistry major, can I take either a Physics or Mathematics module to satisfy this requirement?

"Breadth" is a requirement that provides students the freedom to read modules outside of their chosen area of specialization/major. As such, these are modules taken outside the student's Faculty (i.e. modules offered by Faculties other than that which hosts the student's major).

5. I did not manage to get the GEM I wanted to read this semester. Are all GEMs offered every semester?

Not necessarily. Some are offered only in Semester 1 while others may be offered only in Semester 2.

6. If the minor I take contains some modules that are cross-listed with GEMs, and I happen to take those modules; can I transfer the MCs of my minor modules to GEMs should I decide to drop the minor later?

No, you will not be allowed to transfer a minor module to satisfy the GEM requirement should you give up your minor later. Only modules bearing the GEM prefix can be used to satisfy GEM requirements.

7. Some GEMs are cross-listed in both Groups A & B. Is this an error? If not, and if I read this GEM, and I'm from Arts & Social Sciences, which Group should my second GEM come from?

It is no error - GEMs with '9' as their second digit belong to both Groups A and B. You can take your second GEM from either group. If you choose your other GEM from Group B, we will consider your GEKx9xx or GEMx9xx as a Group A GEM. You could also choose to read another GEM that has '9' as the second digit.

GEMs that are in 'both' Group A & B:

General Knowledge (GK) type:

GEK19XX (Level 1000)
GEK29XX (Level 2000)
GEK39XX (Level 3000)

Modes of Inquiry (MI) type:

GEM19XX (Level 1000)
GEM29XX (Level 2000)
GEM39XX (Level 3000)

Note: These GEMs are identified by their 2nd digit being '9'.

8. I don't quite understand what is meant by "You are not able to read GEMs that are cross-listed with your major area". Please explain.

Example – if you are a social work major student, all your major modules will have the code SWxxxx. If there is a GEM that is cross-listed with a module that has the code SWxxxx, you are not allowed to take that module and have it counted as fulfilling the GEM requirement. Also, there may be instances where a GEM offered by your major Department may not be cross-listed with any module, but instead mention preclusions against major students taking them. You will not be allowed to take such GEMs too.

9. I want to apply for a GEM. What form should I fill in?

Registration for GEMs is done online via CORS and not by using forms.

10. Can I do more than 2 GEMs and have the third or fourth ones counted towards my major or some other requirement?

You may, but please seek approval first from your home Faculty/School. If you are using extra GEMs to fulfill Breadth, in addition to checking whether you have reached your limit for taking Level 1000 modules, please note the following:

  • The GEM must be one offered by a Faculty/School OUTSIDE your own Faculty/School
  • The GEM must not be cross-listed to any module in your own Faculty/School
  • For FASS students: The GEM must NOT be one offered by CELC

11. As a first year students, am I only allowed to take Level 1000 GEMs?

No. Students in any year of study can read GEMs of any level, provided they meet any pre-requisites that GEM may have, and are not precluded from taking that module in any way. Students should of course check whether they have already exceeded their limit on Level 1000 modules prior to taking their GEMs, in which case they may have to take GEMs of Level 2000 or higher.

12. Where can I find the timetables for the GEMs?

At the GEM website or check the website of the Faculty offering that GEM.

13. I am a literature student. Am I allowed to register for GEM1001 and GEM1003, which are not EN modules but which are offered by the Department of English Language and Literature, which is the department offering all my major modules. Will these modules be considered as overlapping and therefore, won't be counted towards my GEM requirement?

If the GEMs you want to take are not cross-listed with any ENxxxx modules, and if they do not have any preclusions that prevent you from taking them, then you can do them even if they are from the Department that offers all your major modules.

14. I understand that we are not allowed to exceed a certain number of MCs per semester. If this is true, what is the maximum number of MCs I can take?

This is a matter for your Faculty to decide - please check the handbook / website of your own Faculty or contact your Dean's Office for clarification.

15. May I know if the GEMs we are supposed to take must be from our own Faculty?

Have you checked the Important Information for Students webpage? If you had, you would have noted that:

  • Students from Engineering, Science and Computing should read at least one GEM from Group B
  • Arts & Social Sciences and Business Administration students should read at least one GEM from Group A and
  • SDE students should read one GEM from Group A and another from Group B.

Further, GEMs chosen must not be cross-listed with those in a student's major.

If you are taking a minor which includes a GEM as a compulsory or elective module, it can be double counted towards your GEM requirement. The only exception is when that GEM is crosslisted with your major.

It must be noted that although a module may be double-counted, thus fulfilling two requirements, students still have to meet the minimum number of MCs required for graduation.

Certain GEMs have pre-requisites that students must satisfy before they are allowed to read them. Some GEMs also have preclusions that prevent students from taking them.

In the final analysis, if the module you wish to take is:

  • not cross-listed with any module from your major / minor areas
  • has no preclusions and
  • has no pre-requisites, or if they do and you meet them

then you are free to take it even if it is from your own Faculty.

16. I intend to take a total of 5 modules this semester, but as there are no vacancies in the GEM I wish to take, I am left with only 4 modules. Am I left with no choice but to take 4 modules and maybe have heavier workloads in future semesters? Please advice.

Please speak to the relevant administrators at your Faculty's Dean's Office for advice.

17. Can I tell whether a GEM is from Group A or B by just looking at the module code?

Yes. Group A GEMs have '5' as the second digit, while Group B modules have a '0'. So a GEM with a code of GEK1509 is from Group A, while GEK1009 is from Group B. If a GEM has '9' as its 2nd digit, then it is one that is cross-listed as both Group A and Group B (see Question 7 above).

18. I am planning to take Information Communications Management (ICM) as a shared major. Can I take GEK1511 (Introduction to Computing)?

As GEK1511 is cross-listed with IT1001, which is a module under the ICM programme, you are NOT allowed to read it as a GEM.

19. How do I know if my GEM has tutorials?

Please check the detailed GEM descriptions and Faculty websites for indications as to whether or not there are tutorials for the GEM you have chosen. Alternatively, contact the Department offering the GEM to find out.

20. I am a first year Engineering student who has chosen a GEM which is also cross listed with Singapore Studies (SS). Can I use this module to satisfy both the GEM and SS requirements?

Please note that you cannot 'double-count' this module and use it to satisfy both GEM and Singapore Studies) requirements.

21. I was offered GEK2003 which is cross-listed as SS2209PS. I would like to convert it to an SS module. Is this possible?

Although modules may be cross-listed (e.g. GEK2003/SS2209PS), students bid under one module code only. Conversion to the cross-listed code will not normally be considered. If conversion is the only way for students to meet graduation requirements, such a conversion can only be considered after File for Graduation (FFG) and not earlier. If conversion is approved, a conversion fee of 30 bidding points will be levied from the relevant account.

22. Do all GEMs carry the same amount of Modular Credits?

No - most are 4 MCs each but there are a few (offered during the Special Term) that are 2 MCs each.

23. I was told that I can take GEK1018 (a module from the Economics Dept.) even if I am going to major in Economics since it is not cross-listed with any Economics module.

A student can be disallowed from taking a GEM to satisfy the GE requirement only if:

  1. It is cross-listed with a module of the student's subject major, or
  2. There are explicitly stated preclusions that disallow a student majoring in the subject of GEM from taking the module.

In the absence of (a) and (b), students are allowed to take the module as GEM.

24. I am a first year Arts student. Last semester, I had taken GEM2502 Modes of Invention. I believe it belongs to the Science category. This semester, I registered for GEK1514 Microelectronics Revolution. I would like to take this module but was told by a friend that we are not supposed to take 2 Science GEMs. One must be from Group B: Humanities and Social Sciences, he said. But I am an Arts student, and I think we can take both GEMs from Group A: Science & Technology, right? Please enlighten me.

You are correct. Students from FASS can read both GEMs from Group A: Science & Technology.

25. I would like to ask you about taking up this module "Microelectronics Revolution - From Sand to Integrated Circuits" as one GEM. I am a first year common engineering student and I am not sure if I can take this module as one of my GEM modules because the module description has specified that the aim of this module is to introduce the basic concepts of microelectronics to students who are not majoring in Electrical Engineering. Since I'm interested in going into EE next year, I want to ask whether this module will be valid towards the modular credit system since I will have been majoring in electrical engineering by then. I have received the offer from the department today and I am not sure of this.

You should not take this module as you would be affected by its preclusion when you major in EE next year.

26. I am from Year 1 of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. It seems that there are not many modules available that have no prerequisites. Also, I want to point out that so many modules in Science and Engineering Faculties are totally unsuitable for people like me with an Arts stream background. Many of us did not read Maths at A level, let alone Physics or Chemistry. So the choice of GEMs are really restricted.

There are a number of modules in Group A: Science & Technology which have no prerequisites. All you need to take is one of them before you graduate. You don't need to complete all your GE requirements during the first year, and there may be new modules introduced in the later years of your course of study that you may find very interesting.

One of the important considerations of General Education is to expose you to areas outside of your specialization. It is important for students in the humanities to be exposed to science and technology. Those modules in science and technology that do not have any maths / physics / chemistry prerequisites are quite suitable for you.

27. I am going for a Student Exchange Programme. Can I take modules from the overseas university and have them counted as GEMs? What is the procedure for doing so?

Please see the Guidelines for Student Exchange Programmes page.

28. Where can I find the Curriculum Structure for the University Requirements for modular Faculties?

Look no further - it is reproduced below for you!

For students admitted BEFORE AY2007/08

Requirements Bachelor's Degree Programme Bachelor with Honours Degree Programme
University Level
i. General Education 8 MCs 8 MCs
ii. Singapore Studies 4 MCs 4 MCs
Breadth 8 MCs 16 MCs
Total 20 MCs 28 MCs

For students admitted with effect FROM AY2007/08

Requirements Bachelor's Degree Programme Bachelor with Honours Degree Programme
University Level
i. General Education 8 MCs 8 MCs
ii. Singapore Studies 4 MCs 4 MCs
Breadth 8 MCs 8 MCs
Total 20 MCs 20 MCs