NUS Bulletin AY2020/21

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Provost's Welcome Message

Learning at a Time of Great Change

On behalf of the National University of Singapore, I welcome you as a member of our community. We are large – more than 40,000 students and 6,500 faculty and researchers spread across 17 faculties and schools. Yet each of you is special, because together, you create a diverse and vibrant community that is a microcosm of Singapore and the world.

You are starting at NUS in the middle of a global public health crisis – the Covid-19 pandemic is changing our lives and raising fundamental questions of how we relate and interact with one another. The tectonic plates of the global economy are also shifting. Jobs are changing, and so must you. NUS will prepare you to be digitally-savvy, expose you to cross-disciplinary pursuits, and equip you to be future-ready, with the full range of skills needed to solve the complex problems confronting our communities.

NUS is a university with a long, distinguished history, older than independent Singapore, and growing in strength after each new crisis. This is our moment to re-imagine your education together.

The Magic of NUS

The Covid-19 pandemic seems overwhelming now, but it will abate. And you will, like generations before you, experience the magic that is NUS. You will tap into all the rich opportunities NUS offers, including staying at one of our many halls and residential colleges, joining a fun co-curricular activity, studying abroad, taking an internship, or experiencing a work-study programme at one of our 15 NUS Overseas Colleges in some of the most exciting cities in Asia and the world. Most of all, you will make lifelong friends.

One distinctive aspect of our curriculum is the General Education framework, which serves as a specially curated common university experience in which all students are exposed to fundamental approaches to knowledge. After that, you can choose from a variety of majors and minors, or double, joint, and concurrent degrees, some of which are offered in collaboration with overseas universities.

As a new student matriculating in Academic Year 2020/2021, you will begin your educational journey at NUS under a grade-free scheme. Take risks. Enrol in a class you never thought you would. My picks are GET1029, “Life, the Universe, and Everything”, and GET1018, “The Mathematics of Games”. If I were a student again, I would also join the NUS Lion Dance (I have always been fascinated by these dances) or NUS Enablers, to build a better, more inclusive campus. Be bold, but remember to be kind – to yourself, and to those around you.

At NUS, we also embrace lifelong learning. In 2018, we introduced the NUS Lifelong Learners (L3) programme, which allows you to return to the NUS community to continue learning for 20 years. What this means is that we will always be here for you – as you start your first year with us, grow in your career, and pursue different passions.

Stay Safe

This is a period of great change and a time when we must recognise our social responsibility to one another. We have put in place a set of precautionary measures. Please adhere to them. You can go to for NUS circulars, FAQs, and emergency contact numbers relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Your educational journey at NUS has just begun. From membranes that deliver clean water to fire-quick tests for Covid-19, to poetry and music that shape our world, an NUS education is transformative.

You will have many opportunities here – inside and outside the classroom – to be the person you have always wanted to be, or more excitingly perhaps, someone you never quite imagined. In either instance, I wish you every success.

Professor Ho Teck Hua
Senior Deputy President & Provost