Incoming Exchange Students

We are delighted that you are considering NUS for your student exchange programme and hope that the information provided in this section can help you make an informed decision to spend a semester or an academic year with us.

Why NUS?

A leading global university centred in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) was founded in 1905 as a modest medical college with 23 students. Today, Singapore’s flagship university spans three campuses in Kent Ridge, Bukit Timah and Outram, and is widely seen as among the best universities in Asia and the world.

NUS offers a distinctively Asian and global experience that is grounded in maximising the potential of students and their future-readiness. Incoming exchange students can take a variety of cross-disciplinary courses from Engineering & Technology to Southeast Asian languages and cultures.

Our Halls of Residence and Residential Colleges located within the main Kent Ridge campus provide an affordable and safe living environment. Festive events and cultural activities are organised throughout the year by students and staff to add vibrancy to the exchange term. From Inter-Faculty sports games to music recitals, there is a wide array of artistic, cultural and sports opportunities to pursue.


Before Applying

Before you apply to be an exchange student at NUS there are some important things you need to know. Please read and review all of the topics within this section before you apply.

Step 1: Check Eligibility

You can apply as a Non-Graduating Exchange student, if you:

  • are nominated by the exchange coordinator from one of our SEP Exchange Partners. Contact your university's study abroad or international office for application information.
  • have completed at least two semesters of undergraduate studies before enrolment at NUS and must continue to be registered as a degree-seeking students at your home university throughout your intended duration of exchange at NUS
  • have obtained at least an average 'B' grade or better in your declared major of studies at your home university for better chances of securing courses amidst the competition. No grade below “C” in the major of studies
  • are proficient in English in order to benefit from your studies at NUS. The medium of instruction at NUS is English (except for Asian or European studies, where a good command of the respective Asian or European language is a prerequisite). TOEFL or IELTS score is only required for students who are applying to take Law courses at NUS but are from non-English medium Universities
  • have prepared your Study Plan after seeking advice from academics at your home university
  • have secured sufficient funds for accommodation fees and personal living expenses for the whole exchange duration
  • possessed the aptitude, motivation and maturity, to thrive in a different academic system and cultural environment

More information on the general criteria and language requirements for attending NUS as an exchange student is available on the NUS' Registrar's Office NUS Non-Graduating Programme page.

Step 2: Academic Calendar

The standard academic calendar consists of two main semesters and a special term:

  • Semester 1: August - December
  • Semester 2: January - May
  • Special Term: May - July

Each semester normally includes 13 weeks of instruction and 2 weeks of examinations. As an exchange student you can attend NUS for one or two semesters or the special term but you must ensure that your courses are approved by your home university and fulfill the requirements of your degree programme at your home university.

Step 3: Courses for Exchange Students

Academic counselling is the responsibility of your home university before you apply for exchange. Please seek your home university's advice while preparing your Study Plan and get their approval to transfer the units for the courses which you wish to take while on exchange at NUS. NUS Registrar's Office assist in the application and registration of courses at NUS. Please see their Non-Graduating Programme page for the complete information. There you can find information on:

Please note that as part of your online application you will be asked to indicate up to 32 units worth of relevant courses to take while on exchange at NUS. As you are not guaranteed a place in any of the courses, we recommend that you select as many relevant courses to better your chances at getting the minimum number of 12 units per semester in order to be eligible for the Student’s Pass. It is recommended that you rank your compulsory courses among your top three course choices so as to increase the chances or securing them. Courses with clashing class and examination time-table will not be approved.

Economics, Psychology and Computer Science courses are extremely oversubscribed. Students majoring in Economics, Psychology and Computer Science will be given priority in the allocation of the respective courses. Students with other declared majors are advised against choosing Economics, Psychology and Computer Science courses.

Course requests will be assessed by the academics teaching the course based on availability and pre-requisites. Courses which are not offered to exchange students are automatically excluded from the online application portal.

Higher level undergraduate courses (e.g. course code starting from 4000 & above) have very limited supply and are usually NOT available to exchange students. In order to increase the chances of securing enough courses, incoming exchange students should consider taking courses with course code starting from 1000 to 3000.

Master level courses are open to students coming under master-level exchange agreement only.

Step 4: Financial Consideration

Tuition Fees

If you are a nominated Exchange (NGE) student, your tuition fee is waived but you are required to pay for the Miscellaneous Student Fees.

Miscellaneous Student Fees (MSFs) for NGE students [MSF = SSF + HSF] Amount (per semester)*
Student Services Fee (SSF) (Exchange) S$63.11
Health Service Fee (HSF) S$68.35


  • All fees shown here are inclusive of prevailing GST.
  • Fees may be subject to revision from time to time.
  • Late payment charge of S$25 will be imposed for any outstanding fees after the respective payment due date.
Living Costs

Students are responsible for the cost of their accommodation, meals, books and any other miscellaneous expenses. Please see the other sections on accommodation and cost of living for more information.

Financial Awards for Incoming students

The NUS Global Relations Office administers limited number of awards on behalf of the sponsors. As these external awards are limited in numbers, we regret that only successful applicants will be informed. The list of financial awards available for incoming students can be found on this link.

Step 5: Options

On-campus Accommodation

To be eligible for on-campus accommodation application, you must be accepted as a full-time undergraduate exchange student.

Accommodation placement is not guaranteed given the limited supply of accommodation at NUS. The acceptance email/letter from Registrar’s Office will include instructions on how and when to apply for accommodation along with the updated instructions and deadlines.

For a range of the on-campus accommodation available at NUS, please see the Office of Student Affairs' Residential Services page.

Off-campus Accommodation

Non-graduating research students should consider staying off campus. Due to shortage of on-campus accommodation, some non-graduating exchange students will have to find and secure private accommodation outside of campus. For more information on private, off-campus accommodation, please see Other Accommodation. Find out more about exchange students' experience with staying in such accommodation here.

Step 6: Procedures

Application Procedures

Once you have reviewed all of the requirements and procedures for studying on exchange at NUS and you have obtained formal approval from your home university's student exchange coordinator, you are welcome to apply online during the stipulated application period.

Intake Submission deadline for Nomination Submission deadline for Online Application* Notification of Application Results
NUS Semester 1,(August - December) & Full year (August to May) February to March 21 March to 10 April Late May
NUS Semester 2, (January - May) August 1 to 22 September  Early November

NUS' Registrar's Office assists in the application process and therefore do refer to Non-Graduating Programme page for the complete application instructions such as:

All supporting documents have to be submitted using the same online application portal. If you wish to be considered for the semester which you have applied for exchange, please complete your online application before the deadlines!

*Dates are subject to changes. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Additional Information:

After Applying

Thank you for choosing NUS! This section highlights the necessary things to do after you have applied online.

Step 1: Application Status

After you have completed the online application for the position of a “Non-Graduating Exchange” (NGE) student, you should be checking the same email given during application regularly for important updates from NUS Registrar’s Office. Sometimes, emails from NUS get into the spam folder, therefore please check your spam folder closer to the result release date.

Alternatively, you can log in to the application portal by using your application ID and password to find out about the application status.

Intake Application results release date
NUS Semester 1 (August - December) & Full year (August to May) By mid-June
NUS Semester 2 (January - May) By end of November

After you have applied online, NUS Registrar’s Office will contact you via email for at least one of the three circumstances stated below:

  1. You have submitted incomplete supporting documents. Please note that softcopy of all supporting documents need to be uploaded onto the online application portal. Please refer to the application checklist meant for “Exchange Students”.
  2. You have failed to obtain a minimum of three pre-registered courses (or 12 units) per semester. NUS Registrar’s Office will contact you via email to select more courses. Students who do not manage to secure a minimum of 12 units will be deemed as unsuccessful applicants.

    Course requests will be assessed by the academics teaching the course based on availability and pre-requisites. Applicants are automatically barred from adding courses with clashing timetables and examination dates or choosing courses which are not offered to exchange students.

    Courses placement is not guaranteed. Business and Law courses are only available to students invited for the exchange at NUS Business School and NUS Law respectively. Economics, Psychology and Computer Science courses at NUS are extremely oversubscribed. If you did not secure any of the popular courses during the first round of course selection, please do not repeat your request for any of these courses in subsequent rounds of reselection in order to avoid delays with your application. Successful Law courses applicants will be contacted by NUS Law directly for the official Law courses registration.

    You might like to read about course selection to guide you in your courses reselection.

  3. You have successfully pre-registered for a minimum of 12 units to support the issuance of Student’s Pass. The official offer email will be sent out by mid-June for exchange that starts in August and by end of November for exchange that starts in the following January.

    The offer email contains web links to the pre-registered courses, the NUS Registration Guide and on-campus accommodation application instructions (if applicable). You are expected to follow the instructions and deadlines stated in these documents so that you do not miss out on important information related to accommodation and visa arrangement. Please note that all deadlines are set based on Singapore’s time zone.

Changes to the pre-registered courses you have secured at the point of offer should be made only during the CourseReg exercise which will be conducted in the first two weeks of each semester. Details about the CourseReg exercise are stated clearly in the NUS Registration Guide.

If you wish to update your application particulars or have any questions about your application, please fill in a request here quoting your application ID number. 

Step 2: Secure Accommodation

Non-graduating exchange students are not guaranteed on-campus accommodation.

1. Indicating Interest for On-Campus Accommodation

Students who are interested in on-campus accommodation should indicate ‘YES’ on their initial exchange application when asked if they need on-campus accommodation. Even though by indicating ‘YES’ on the initial exchange application does not guarantee placement on campus, this step helps NUS in gauging the demand for on-campus accommodation for the next semester.

2. Application for On-Campus Accommodation

All exchange students are eligible to apply for on-campus accommodation, although not guaranteed placement given the limited supply of accommodation at NUS. The acceptance email/letter from Registrar’s Office will include instructions on how and when to apply for on-campus accommodation.

You are encouraged to start exploring off-campus accommodation options early if you have no intention to apply for on-campus accommodation. Please refer to information on off-campus accommodation.

3. Applying for On-Campus Accommodation

Accommodation applications are processed through NUS University Housing Management System (UHMS). A non-refundable application fee of S$26.75 is required when submitting an application through UHMS.

Each semester about 30% of exchange students are shortlisted for a particular Residential College (RC), and therefore only see a particular RC on their accommodation application. This shortlisting helps ensure that NUS is able to get as many exchange students allocated to on-campus accommodation as possible before their arrival in Singapore.

Majority of the exchange students will be able to indicate their top three (3) preferences for accommodation when submitting their accommodation application. As your preferred accommodation might not have vacancy, we encourage you to choose from whichever options appear in the drop-down list to ensure accommodation allocations are completed as quickly as possible.

If you need a certain type of room due to an existing medical conditions, please highlight your need(s) and upload an official medical documentation on your accommodation application. NUS Office of Student Affairs (OSA) will try to allocate a suitable room to you but there might not be vacancy for your preferred room even when you have declared your medical conditions.

4. Accommodation Application Results

NUS OSA tries as much as possible to allocate students to on-campus accommodation based on the preferences indicated in their accommodation applications; but students are automatically considered for other options in the event the ones they have indicated preference for are no longer available due to overwhelming demand.


Rooms with air - conditioning, en suite bathrooms and rooms within University Town Residences are regularly oversubscribed. We encourage students to be flexible with their on-campus accommodation allocation. With an open mind and some flexibility, it is possible to have a wonderful exchange semester with a room on-campus no matter your accommodation allocation.

If it is better for you to stay in a room / unit that matches your preferred criteria and standards, we strongly recommend that you source and rent a private accommodation near NUS. Singapore is a city-state connected by affordable and reliable public transport and it is possible to travel conveniently to and fro NUS even if you stay in a private, off-campus accommodation. You may scroll down to read Point 7 about off-campus accommodation.

5. Accepting Your Accommodation Offer

To accept your accommodation offer, you will be required to make advance payment for the full accommodation and meal plan fees (if applicable) by the deadline stipulated in your accommodation offer. For the current accommodation fees and meal plan rates, please refer to hostel and meal plan rates.

Upon accepting your accommodation offer, a confirmation email will be sent to you with details of the allocated room. Please print and bring the email for submission during check-in. All questions regarding check-in can be sent to the Management Office of your assigned Hall, Residence or RC. You can find the right contact details in your accommodation offer or you can refer to contact us.

6. More Information on On-Campus Accommodation

Complete information on the housing application procedure, including descriptions of NUS accommodation choices, meal plan fees, late & early check-in, and check-out information, can be found on the Office of Student Affairs’ Hostel Admission Services site.

7. Unsuccessful on-campus Accommodation Applicants. Private, off-campus Accommodation

If you indicated ‘NO’ for requiring on-campus accommodation on your initial exchange application and/or your Acceptance Letter does not include information on how and when to apply for accommodation, you are encouraged to start exploring off-campus accommodation options as soon as possible. Read about exchange students' experience with staying in off-campus accommodation here.

Even if you have indicated “YES” for on-campus accommodation, you might still be unsuccessful in obtaining on-campus accommodation. If that happens, you should review the Office of Student Affairs’ list of contacts and resource references for recommendation on off-campus accommodation providers.

Students on waiting list for on-campus accommodation will only be able to apply for accommodation at a later stage if there is vacancy. When that happens, you will receive an update from either the NUS Global Relations Office (GRO) or Office of Student Affairs (OSA). If you are not contacted by either NUS GRO or OSA, it means there is really no suitable room available on-campus for you.

8. Accommodation FAQs

If you have accommodation related enquiries you can refer to the database of Frequently Asked Questions or send an enquiry via the UHMS site.

Step 3: Health and Travel Insurance

Every international student must take up the compulsory NUS Group Medical Insurance Scheme.

The insurance premium is subject to revision from time to time.

Click here for details of the insurance coverage. Please note that not all health services are covered by the NUS Group Medical Insurance Scheme so you may wish to enrol with a private health insurance organisation that offers services not covered by the scheme.

With effect from 1 January 2016, all registered NUS students will be covered under a blanket travel insurance. This blanket travel insurance covers the official NUS approved trips during the course of exchange. More details can be found online (please note that you will have to login with your NUSNet ID to view this). If the coverage is not enough for you, it is highly recommended that you purchase an additional travel insurance on your own.

Step 4: Student's Pass Application

International students studying in Singapore are required to have their Student's Pass approved by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore. Your offer of admission to NUS is conditional upon your successful application of your Student's Pass.

All incoming international students who are applying for a Student’s Pass for 6 months and above are required to do a medical examination (details will be provided in the letter of offer).

To apply for a Student’s Pass, NUS Registrar’s Office will send you an instructional email to submit the application via the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) e-Service for Student’s Pass. It is important to monitor your Student’s Pass application regularly as you will be required to upload documents and make payment at several points in the application process (notably during the submission of eForm16, and Completion of Formalities (COF)).

If your application is approved, ICA will grant the student an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter, which is available for printing via ICA STP Application system under navigation path: Student Main Menu > Print Outcome Letters. For students from a visa-required country, the IPA letter also serves as a single-entry visa to enter Singapore.

Step 5: Costs of Living

Below is a list of estimated expenditure a student may likely incur during his or her stay in Singapore. These amounts vary accordingly depending on personal needs and lifestyle pattern. This example excludes non-essentials and major items such as shopping, entertainment, computers, electronic/communication devices, travel plans, etc.

Estimated Costs (per month) On-campus Off-campus
Accommodation S$500 - S$900* S$650 - S$1,800#
Food (3 meals a day) S$250 - S$500 S$400 - S$800
Public Transport S$100 - S$150 S$200 - S$300
Personal expenses S$300 - S$500 S$300 - S$500
Total S$1,150 - S$2,050 S$1,550 - S$3,400


* Actual cost depends on type of residence and type of room. For the hostel fees you may refer to the Office of Student Affairs’ Residential Services site.

#Actual rental depends on whether there is room sharing and whether utilities are included in the rent.

Exchange students holding Student’s Pass are not allow to work in Singapore.

Step 6: Plan Your Arrival

You are advised to arrive in Singapore in time for the official registration date at NUS. The registration date differs every semester and you have to read the content in the NUS Registration Guide for detailed instructions.

The Registration Guide includes information on:

  • Pre-Departure Checklist
  • Issuance of Student’s Pass by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore
  • Official registration for NUS Student Card
  • CourseReg instructions (to add/drop/swop courses) and deadlines 
  • Pre-arrival webinar
  • Housing matters

Please read the guide and join the activities specially prepared for you in order to familiarise yourself with NUS and Singapore.

There is also a pre-arrival webinar organised by the Global Relations Office, which addresses common questions relating to modules, housing, and visa that inbound students might have. Invitation for this webinar will be sent to you via email.

You are also encouraged to participate in the activities customised for you by our Peer Advising Leaders. Some of the activities such as “Campus Tour with Networking & Information Session”, “Welcome Party” and “Row, Row, Row your Dragonboat” for exchange students are always popular and well attended.  

There are also other activities organised for international students by the Office of Student Affairs. The events are subject to change, therefore please look out for our emails for up-to-date information on our events. This list is not exhaustive as there are more events and activities happening all year round at NUS. Please also refer to the NUS Calendar of Events for more information.

If you do not wish to be on the mailing list for any of the events or activities organised by the Global Relations Office, please write to us to have your email removed from our mailing lists. However, we encourage you to stay on the mailing list and join in the fun and networking opportunities which will help to make your exchange more rewarding!

Additional Information:

While In Singapore

Welcome to Singapore! There are lots of things to learn and adjust to when first arriving in a new place. We hope this section gives you the knowledge and resources to help you settle in quickly, as well as a few things to keep in mind before you head back home.

Travel to NUS

You could take a taxi from the airport to NUS since you will likely have at least one suitcase with you. You may want to share the taxi with other fellow exchange students who are arriving in Singapore around the same time.

Here are the various ways which you can get to NUS:

  1. Taxi

    If you are heading towards the Kent Ridge campus from the airport, please direct the taxi driver to take the AYE expressway and towards the different student residences around Kent Ridge campus. Please show the address of your on-campus residence to the taxi driver. The metered taxi fare varies from S$35 to S$45 depending on the time of travel, type of taxi and any relevant surcharges.

    If you are going to the Bukit Timah campus (applicable to Law students only) from the airport, please refer to the visitor guide and direct the taxi driver accordingly.

    If you are going to NUS Registrar’s Office, the taxi has to turn into Lower Kent Ridge Road via the first NUS entrance and stop at University Hall which is opposite a football field.

  2. Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains

    From the MRT station at the Changi Airport Terminal 2, take the green line to Buona Vista MRT station and then change to the yellow line to go to Kent Ridge Station. After alighting at Kent Ridge Station, students may take the NUS free shuttle bus to go to respective student residences.

    To reach NUS Registrar’s Office, student can take NUS bus shuttle service A1 from the main bus stop outside National University Hospital and stop at the University Hall bus stop which is opposite the football field. Please note that there might not be space on the MRT or the internal shuttle bus to put your luggage.

For NUS campus map, please refer to

Moving in

Have you been assigned a room on NUS campus? If yes, please note that the check-in dates and time are available at Office of Student Affairs’ website. If you need to check-in early, please follow the instruction stated here to make arrangements. Alternatively, you may like to stay for a night or two at a nearby hotel before checking into your NUS accommodation if your required check-in date and time is not available.

Once you have your room key, please check that the furniture, electrical appliances and the lock to your room are in satisfactory condition. Please alert the accommodation Management Office as soon as possible if there is any problem with your room. For hygiene purposes, you will need to purchase your own bed sheet and pillow case. You may get the necessary items from the nearest shopping mall at Clementi Shopping Center or the IKEA at Queenstown. Do make friends with the full-time students on campus and they will be more than willing to show you how to get to these places.

During your stay in on-campus residences, please do maintain a reasonable standard of cleanliness so that your immediate resting environment is pleasant. Upon checking out of the room, please dispose of all rubbish and leave all of the original furniture in the room so that the next occupant can have a pleasant stay too!

Official Registration

If you have not read the NUS Registration Guide before you arrive in Singapore, we strongly recommend you to read it now! The guide contains information on registration, language course placement tests, immigration matters and CourseReg.

Student’s Pass and NUS Student Card

If you miss the official Student’s Pass registration date that is allocated to you, you will need to notify the NUS Registrar’s Office as soon as possible, and make your own arrangements to complete registration as a Non-Graduating Exchange (NGE) student at NUS as well as contact Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore to obtain your Student’s Pass.

Once you have successfully registered as an NUS student, you will receive your personal NUS ID and password to access NUS’ various internal systems such as Canvas. Canvas contains the latest information on courses including detailed course descriptions (syllabi), class structures, and the contact information for academic coordinators. The information available on Canvas will be very useful during the CourseReg exercise if you intend to make changes to the list of approved courses given at the initial point of offer.

CourseReg Exercise

The CourseReg exercises are typically conducted during the first two weeks of each semester. These exercises provide an opportunity for you to make modifications to the initial list of approved courses given to you at the point of offer. You are allowed to drop courses which are not suitable for your academic plan due to their content, class time or level of difficulty. You are also allowed to add courses (subject to availability and pre-requisites) which better meet your needs and class schedule during this time. All requests to add courses will be reviewed by the relevant Faculty, School or Department and placement into the course will be based on satisfactory completion of any pre-requisites (if required) and the availability of the course. It is important to note that no particular course can be guaranteed by NUS.

Please take note of the following important points when making modifications to the list of approved courses from your initial point of offer:

  • You must maintain at least 12 units or three courses per semester in order to be eligible for a valid Student’s Pass.
  • You must drop any course that clashes with a course that you intend to take as attendance for classes and examinations is expected for all the courses which you are enrolled in.
  • You must seek approval from your home university if you wish to audit any courses as there is no examination for courses on audit and therefore there might not be any transfer of units. All courses given at the point of offer are examinable, unless you choose to audit them during CourseReg.
  • Transfer of units is entirely at the discretion of your home university. Please check with your home university as to whether you will receive units for the proposed courses to be taken at NUS. As NUS is not able to guarantee that you can take all the required courses while on exchange, please be flexible with your choice of courses.
  • Business, Law and Economics courses at NUS are extremely oversubscribed annually. If you are not successful in gaining placements into these popular courses at the point of offer, you are not able to add these courses during CourseReg.
  • Please follow the deadlines to drop courses as failure to comply with the deadlines could lead to a Grade “W” (Withdrawn) or a Grade “F” (Fail) printed on your transcript!

If you need to get the confirmation on the courses which you are taking at NUS, please approach the Non-Graduating Office at NUS Registrar’s Office for the signatures on your Learning Agreement or Study Plan.

For all academic and administrative processes please log in to the Education Records System (EduRec) with your Student ID and password.

Orientation and Welcome events

A variety of orientation activities are conducted for incoming exchange students to assist you in settling into life at NUS.

Orientation Briefings for International Students

If you are joining us in semester 1, you may take part in the Office of Student Affair's OSA LIVE, which is an orientation briefing for full-time international students, typically held at the end of July. More information about the programme can be found here

Global Relations Office Welcome Party

The Global Relations Office and the Peer Advising Leaders also organise a Welcome Party every semester for the new exchange students during the week before lessons begin. You can expect music, food, games and giveaways! This is a great opportunity for you to meet other exchange students and local NUS students. For a list of events organised by Peer Advising Leaders, please click here. To get the latest information, join our Facebook!

More information about the orientation activities and welcome events are shared in the “After Applying” website, Step 6: Plan your arrival date to Singapore and to NUS.

Discover Singapore

What is Singapore all about? We hope that you are going to join some of the activities organised by Office of Student Affairs and Global Relations Office to find out more about Singapore! Here is some initial information to get you started.


The island of Singapore’s total land area is just 718.3 square km!, And at just one degree above the equator, the city-state enjoys year-long temperatures that range from 24.0°C to 34.0°C (75.0°F to 93°F) and an average daily relative humidity of 61-65%. We have a population of about 5.4 million (of which approximately 3.8 million are Singapore citizens and permanent residents in 2014).

According to local legend, a Sumatran prince encountered a lion on Temasek, which was what Singapore was known as back in the 13th century. From that point, Singapura, or “Lion City” was founded. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles established a British trading station on this island. Singapore gained her independence on 9 August 1965.

Most Singaporeans are descendants of immigrants from the Malay Peninsula, China or the Indian sub-continent. While they have gradually acquired a distinct identity as Singaporeans, many still retain their customs, practices and festivals in an interesting mix of the modern and traditional ways.

To learn more about Singapore, please read the information prepared by Singapore Tourism Board.

Adjust to a New Culture

Culture Shock

All students who venture abroad in search of adventure on student exchange will inevitably have to deal with the perils of culture shock. It is a completely normal and natural condition that everyone who finds themselves in a different culture experiences. By knowing a little bit about why it happens and how it progresses, hopefully you will be more prepared when it affects you.

Moving overseas presents many challenges that take you out of your comfort zone. In order to feel comfortable again it is necessary to become familiar with the terrain and adapt to the new environment. When you are feeling the effects of culture shock such as loss of appetite, sleeplessness and frustration, it is helpful to talk to others about what you’re going through. Reach out to other students, the exchange coordinator or counsellors at NUS Counselling and Psychological Services or your home university for someone to talk to.

Understand our many languages

There are four official languages in Singapore: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. English is the language of business, education and administration, and is widely spoken and understood across the island. Most Singaporeans are bilingual, and speak their mother tongue as well as English. Malay is the national language. But did you know that Singaporeans also speak a unique hybrid of languages called “Singlish”?

This local concoction mixes English with common phrases in the Chinese dialects and some Malay. The use of Singlish continues to be a topic of public debate - some Singaporeans purport that Singlish reflects badly on the country and hurts Singaporeans in international business. Proponents of local culture say Singlish is one of the elements that give Singaporeans their distinctive identity. They add that most Singaporeans can switch seamlessly between "regular" English when necessary, and Singlish when appropriate. Either way, Singlish is thriving, especially with young Singaporeans, with one Singlish word even making it into Oxford English Dictionary!

If you wish to know more Singlish, view this video.

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe


NUS has on-campus health services available at the University Health Centre (UHC). UHC is located on the Kent Ridge campus, and is open during regular office hours Monday to Friday. Most medical services are covered under the mandatory medical insurance that all exchange students are required to subscribe to. Information about their services can be found on the UHC website.

NUS also has an on-campus counselling centre that provides assessment, counselling and crisis intervention to students. Exchange students are welcome to use these services as well and most are covered under the mandatory medical insurance mentioned above. Information about their services can be found on the Counselling and Psychological Services site.


Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, but as the Singaporean Government reminds everyone – “low crime does not mean no crime”.

In order to ensure a safe, harmonious and conducive learning environment for all students, you are reminded to read and adhere to the NUS Code of Student Conduct.

The Office of Campus Security provides 24-hour security services campus-wide and has emergency call points installed around campus that enable staff or students to communicate with security officers through an intercom during an emergency.

We recommend that you save the NUS and Singapore emergency numbers in your mobile phone so that you can get immediate assistance during an emergency.

Important emergency numbers: Health Emergency

On campus Off Campus (but still in Singapore)
Campus Security Hotline (Kent Ridge): 6874 1616 Fire/Ambulance: 995
Campus Security Hotline (Bukit Timah): 6516 3636 Non-Emergency Ambulance Services: 1777
24-hour NUS Lifeline: 6516 7777  

Important emergency numbers: Safety Emergency

On campus Off campus (but still in Singapore)
Campus Security Hotline (Kent Ridge): 6874 1616 Fire/Ambulance: 995
Campus Security Hotline (Bukit Timah): 6516 3636 Non-Emergency Ambulance Services: 1777
  Police: 999

Money Matters

You may wish to open a bank account or use banking services in Singapore during your exchange. Many banks offer a wide range of services including checking and savings accounts, ATMs (Automated Teller Machines), fixed deposits, safe deposit boxes, loans, overdraft and transfers, travellers’ cheques and foreign currency conversions.

The nearest banks to the Kent Ridge campus are located at the Clementi neighbourhood estate. These banks are the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)/Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Overseas‐Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank). To open an account, please bring along your passport and Student's Pass / NUS Letter of Offer for Admission and a minimum deposit amount of S$500 to S$1,000 (varies from bank to bank). You are reminded to check the terms and conditions needed to open a bank account at the various banks.

There is also a Frank store by OCBC Bank at the University Town, but do take note counter services are not available at this outlet.

There are several DBS, UOB, OCBC and Citibank ATM machines on campus.

Networks for Electronic Transfer (NETS) Pte Ltd

This is a special Singapore cashless method of payment. Payment can be made with your NETS card at all participating vendors advertising the NETS sign. NETS is similar to the ‘direct debit’ option offered in some other countries.

Cash card

This is a stored value card, allowing cashless payment. Participating vendors will have CASHCARD signs on display.

Transfer of Funds

Students may transfer funds using bank drafts made out in Singapore dollars and drawn from a Singapore bank. These can be credited to your accounts and drawn out in one to two days. Cheques/Checks from banks with no branches in Singapore may take about three to eight weeks to clear.

Telegraphic transfers may also be made indirectly through another bank to your own account. Do note that some banks may charge service fees for telegraphic transfers.

Before You Leave Us

When your exchange term with NUS has come to an end, we hope it’s not the end of your connection with us! There are many ways to stay connected and we hope you’ll continue to be a part of the NUS family by signing up as NUS Student Ambassador.

  • Be sure that all of your coursework and exams have been completed and received by your instructors
  • Clean and check out of your accommodation on time
  • Settle all outstanding balances on your NUS student account by checking the Education Records System - Global Education (EduRec-GE) before you leave us
  • Surrender your Student’s Pass for cancellation within 7 days of the date of cessation or termination of studies. You can surrender your Student's Pass at the Singapore immigration checkpoints upon departure.
  • Share with us your photos and feedback. We can place them on our website.


You can print your provisional transcript from myEduRec on your own while you still have access to NUS system.

From June 2020 onwards, NUS will issue e-transcripts via OpenCerts to exchange students who have successfully completed their studies at NUS. The e-transcript will be sent to your personal email address in mid January (for students who completed their exchange in Semester 1) or late June (completion in Semester 2). Please ensure your personal email address is updated on myEduRec. Hard copy transcripts will not be sent to your home university. You may forward the e-transcript to your home university. Should your home university require the transcript to be sent directly to them, you may change your personal email to the home university's designated email. Similarly, please check with your home university for instructions about post-exchange activities.


Additional Information:

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I apply?
After being nominated by your university for exchange to NUS, you can submit your application here.

What is the application timeline?
Application timeline:
Exchange period Application submission deadline Application outcome
NUS Semester 1
(August to December)
21 March - 10 April Late May
NUS Semester 2
(January to May)
1 September to 22 September Early November

Further details can be found here.

What documents do need to prepare?
When completing your application, please prepare the following documents for submission:
  • Passport showing your particulars
  • Official academic transcripts, including grade legend
  • Record of courses taken in current semester/term
  • Course syllabus for equivalent courses that are pre-requisites to NUS courses
  • Completed declaration form (applicable to students reading Level 1000 language courses at NUS)
  • Letter from home university stating the year of design module you should be enrolled in during your exchange at NUS (applicable to students who wish to read Architecture Design courses at NUS)
  • Copy of valid TOEFL/IELTS test scores (applicable to students from non-English medium universities wishing to read Law courses at NUS)
Further details can be found here.

For more information about application process, please refer to the NG Application Guide.

When will the acceptance offer be sent?
Exchange period Application outcome
NUS Semester 1
(August to December)
Late May
NUS Semester 2
(January to May)
Early November

Academic matters

How many courses should I take?
The minimum study workload is 12 units (approximately 3 courses), not more than 20 units or pursue full-time research during the regular semester. This minimum workload is also a requirement to qualify for a Student’s Pass (student visa) issued by the Immigration Checkpoint Authority.

The average semester workload for undergraduate studies at NUS is 20 units –approximately 5 courses of 4 units each. A workload of 20 units would typically require a student to spend an average of 50 hours of study per week over 13 weeks of classes.

Where can I find the list of courses open to exchange students?

You can view the most updated list here.

Are there any restrictions on courses that can be taken by exchange students?

Yes, please refer to the document on courses restrictions.

Why am I not able to choose Business/BIZ courses?

Business courses are only available for Business major students from NUS Business School’s partner universities.

Can I make modifications to my study plan?
You can make modifications to your Study Plan after receiving your acceptance letter, during CourseReg. Please ensure that you have sought your university’s approval for your Study Plan before CourseReg.

Dates of the exercise will be regularly updated in the Registration Guide.

How will I receive my transcripts at the end of my exchange semester?

You can generate a softcopy of your unofficial transcript from the 11th calendar day after the day of results release via myEduRec. You will have up to 1 month after the end of the semester to generate this unofficial transcript.

Alternatively, NUS will send your official transcript electronically to your personal email address, as recorded on myEduRec. Please update your personal email address on myEduRec before the end of the semester to ensure that you receive your transcript.

If you have a “Hold” on our myEduRec account, you will not receive the electronic transcript. However, if you do not receive your transcript after the “Hold” on your account has been lifted, please fill this form for assistance.

The electronic transcript will be sent as a file attachment with the file extension “.opencerts”. To view the electronic transcript, drag and drop the file into the OpenCerts viewer here. NUS will not send any hardcopy transcripts or electronic official transcript to your home university. If you need a hardcopy transcript for your prospective employer or graduate school, please apply for a hardcopy transcript via the Online Transcript Application portal. Charges will apply.


Is on-campus accommodation available for incoming exchange students?
On-campus accommodation is available for exchange students, however it is not guaranteed that every exchange student will receive on-campus accommodation. Students will also only be invited to apply for on-campus housing if they have indicated that they would like housing in their application form.

What is the difference between halls, houses, residential colleges and residences?

Halls are known for their vibrant activities, while houses are spaces for co-creation, peer mentorship, with a strong focus on wellbeing. Residential colleges focus more on integrating learning and living environment, and residences may be more suited for students who value more privacy and independent living.
There are also compulsory meal plans for halls and residential colleges and none for residences and houses. Different rates apply for the different accommodations.
Further details are available here: Can exchange students check into accommodations before the official check-in date?
Yes. Exchange students are to submit early/late check-in application at least 5 working days before the intended check-in date here.

Further details about early check-in can be found here.

Where can I find more information about looking for private accommodation?
More information about short-term/long-term private accommodation could be found here.

Arriving in Singapore

How do I apply for student visa?
All students will need to obtain a Student's Pass (student visa) to study at NUS. NUS Registrar's Office will email instructions on applying for your Student's Pass at least one month before the start of the semester. Students will collect their Student's Pass after arriving in Singapore, but will need to complete some online steps prior to arrival to ensure that the Student's Pass is issued smoothly.

Students who need a visa to enter Singapore can print the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter via the SOLAR system. They can use this letter as a single-trip entry visa. All other students will enter on a tourist visa, and convert this visa to a Student’s Pass during Registration. More information can be found in the Registration Guide.

What if I miss the registration date due to examination at my home university?
If you are unable to arrive on time for Registration, please inform the Registrar’s Office via this form. Registrar’s Office will only provide this special arrangement to students with valid reasons. Students must fill this form up at least 2 weeks prior to the registration date with the following details:
  • Full name
  • Application number
  • Arrival date in Singapore
  • Valid reason for your absence on the official registration date

Further details can be found here

When should I arrive in Singapore?
Students are advised to arrive in Singapore in time for the official registration date at NUS. The registration date differs every semester and you have to read the content in the NUS Registration Guide for detailed instructions.

Arriving earlier will also allow exchange students to take part in orientation activities, which typically take place 1-2 weeks before the start of semester.

Financial matters

What is the cost of living in Singapore?
The table below is a rough guide to the cost of living in Singapore, in Singapore dollars:
On-campus Off-campus
(August to December)
$500 - $900
(depending on room type)
$650 - $1,500
Food (3 meals a day) $250 - $500 $400 - $800
Public transport $100 - $150 $200 - $300
Personal expenses $300 - $500 $300 - $500
Total $1,150 - $2,050 $1,550 - $3,400

Can I work during my exchange semester in Singapore?
Exchange students are not allowed to work or intern in Singapore while holding a Student’s Pass.

Are there any scholarships for exchange students?
Yes, please refer to the various awards and scholarships available at

How do I open a bank account in Singapore?
To open an account, please bring along your passport and Student's Pass / NUS Letter of Offer for Admission and a minimum deposit amount of S$500 to S$1,000 (varies from bank to bank). You are reminded to check the terms and conditions needed to open a bank account at the various banks.

The nearest banks to the Kent Ridge campus are located at the Clementi neighbourhood estate. These banks are the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)/Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Overseas‐Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank). There is also a Frank store by OCBC Bank at the University Town, but do take note counter services are not available at this outlet.

Health and Wellbeing

How will exchange students be supported through their exchange semester?
If you fall sick, you may also visit the university clinic, University Health Centre. All international students are enrolled in the compulsory NUS Health and Insurance Scheme; you can check the scheme’s coverage here

Students may visit the University Counselling Services for free counselling and psychological services should they be feeling stressed. PitStop@YIH is also a great place to destress; Peer Student supporters and OSA staff are ready to support the needs of students and direct them to relevant resources if needed.

You can also write to the Disability Support Office to enquire about the range of services and facilities available.

Do I need to get my own health insurance?
All international students are enrolled in the compulsory NUS Health and Insurance Scheme; you can check the scheme’s coverage here.

Depending on your preference, you can consider additional coverage. 

Student Experiences at NUS

A survey which the student exchange team conducted for AY2015/16 revealed that 93% of incoming students were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with their exchange at NUS. In fact, 90% of incoming students would recommend NUS to their peers. Why? Scroll down to read what some of the students said about their experience at NUS.

Individual Student Testimonials

I am reminded that a painful goodbye is a good one. It means that time has been well spent, relationships forged have been meaningful, places visited have left an impression, and of course that I have every reason to come back.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my exchange at NUS. It's been amazing to meet and study with people from all around the world... My exchange has definitely been an enriching experience and I can't wait to come back.

Studying at NUS was a whirlwind of a year. Making new friends from all over the world, the ease of leap-frogging into Southeast Asia and yes, of course, the food, meant for an incredibly stimulating, 'horizon broadening' experience.

Coming away, and coming somewhere so different and far away from your home, means you are learning so much on so many different levels, all the time. There is so much that you learn without even realizing.

Before I came, I heard and I had friends who told me all about the tropical climate and that it would rain everyday so I was pretty prepared for rain. And they told me it was a very pretty place and that if I came there and didn’t enjoy myself then I was doing something wrong.