The undergraduate and graduate curricula are based on a modular system1. The NUS modular system combines the rigour and depth of the British university system with the flexibility and breadth of the American system. Under this system, workloads are expressed in terms of Modular Credits (MCs)2, and academic performance is measured by grade points on a 5-point scale. Students can progress at their own pace and choose from a wide range of modules offered by different Colleges/Faculties/Schools. The modular system offers students the possibility of accelerating their programmes of study by taking more modules per semester (i.e., above the average of 20 MCs per semester), subject to the approval of their home Faculty.
1Dentistry (Undergraduate), Law, and Medicine (Undergraduate) are currently not on the modular system.
2NUS will adopt three new academic terminologies from 1 August 2023 - “Module” will be renamed “Course”, “Modular Credit (MC)” will be renamed “Unit”, and “Cumulative Average Point (CAP)” will be renamed “Grade Point Average (GPA)”. The definition of a Module/Course and MC/Unit will remain the same, and there will be no change to the computation of the CAP/GPA.
Modules (Will be renamed Course from 1 August 2023)
Each module has a unique module code consisting of a two- or three-letter prefix that generally denotes the discipline, and four digits, the first of which indicates the level of the module (e.g., 1000 indicates a Level 1 module and 2000, a Level 2 module).
Pre-requisites, Co-requisites, and Preclusions
Pre-requisites indicate the base of knowledge on which the subject matter of a particular module will be built. Before taking a module, a student should complete any pre-requisite module(s) listed for that particular module. Where pre-requisites are specified, equivalent modules will also be accepted. If in doubt, students should consult the module instructor or the Department academic advisor regarding the acceptable equivalent modules. Co-requisites are modules that are to be taken concurrently. A module may also specify certain preclusions. These are modules that have similar emphases and may not be taken together with that particular module.
The weekly workload of each module is given in the full module description. There are five workload components to each module. In the module description, these components are given in a series of five numbers. For example, NM2217 Creating Interactive Media has a workload of ‘2-2-0-3-3'. If we represent the five numbers in a workload series as ‘A-B-C-D-E', each letter would refer to:
||No. of Lecture hours
||Actual contact hours per week
||No. of Tutorial hours
||Actual contact hours per week
||No. of Laboratory hours
||Actual contact hours per week
||No. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork, etc
||This caters to assignments, independent studies, fieldwork, and other forms of continuous assessment that contribute towards the final grade of the module.
||No. of hours for preparatory work
||This refers to the number of hours a student is expected to spend each week in preparing for lectures and tutorials.
Modular Credits (Will be renamed Units from 1 August 2023)
A modular credit (MC) is a measure of the effort, stated in terms of time, expected of a typical student in managing his/her workload. The MC-value of a module is derived by dividing the estimated total number of workload hours per week for that module by the credit factor of 2.5 (i.e., one MC is equivalent to 2.5 hours of study and preparation per week). Thus, a 4-MC module would require 10 hours of work a week, including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions, assignments, and independent or group study.
Students receive letter grades for each module taken, except for the cases listed below. Each grade corresponds to a grade point as shown below:
As the above table indicates, a plus (+) or minus (-) suffix added to a grade raises or lowers the grade point value, except in the case of A+, which carries the same grade points as the A grade.
Students taking graduate-level modules from the School of Business from Sem 1, AY2021/2022 should refer to their School for more information.
Cumulative Average Point (CAP) (Will be renamed Grade Point Average or GPA from 1 August 2023)
Academic progress is tracked by the CAP, which is the weighted average grade point of all modules taken by a student. Therefore, a student's CAP is the sum of the module grade points multiplied by the number of MCs for the corresponding module, divided by the total number of MCs. This is represented as follows:
Modules with no assigned MCs or grade points are excluded from the calculation of CAP.
There are a number of situations for which no grade points are assigned:
Completed Satisfactorily/Completed Unsatisfactorily (CS/CU)
A module may be graded on a ‘CS/CU' basis, i.e., whether the module has been ‘Completed Satisfactorily' (CS) or ‘Completed Unsatisfactorily' (CU). CS/CU modules are typically industrial attachment, internship or enrichment modules. Modular credits will be given for modules that are completed satisfactorily, although no grade point will be assigned. A module is designated ‘CS/CU'; unlike modules graded on an S/U basis, it is not an option.
This grade is awarded when a student is exempted from or given credit for a module under the Advanced Placement process.
The ‘IC' grade is assigned when a student's work is of passing quality but is incomplete for good reasons (e.g., illness during the official examination period). However, even such good reasons will not warrant an ‘IC' grade if the work already completed for the module is clearly not of passing quality; instead, students should note that the ‘F' grade will be assigned in such cases. A module assigned an ‘IC' grade normally cannot be used to fulfil the pre-requisite of a higher-level module. Should a student choose to repeat the module in a subsequent semester, none of the work done previously may be carried forward for assessment purposes.
In Progress (IP)
For a module that extends beyond the examination results release date or beyond one semester, evaluation of a student's performance is deferred until the completion of the module. The provisional grade of ‘IP' is assigned prior to the completion of the module while it is being undertaken. The final grade will be assigned when the student completes the module.
When a student withdraws from a module between the first day of Week 3 of the instructional period and the last day of the Recess Week, a ‘W' grade will be recorded in the transcript. Withdrawals after this period (i.e., from the first day of Week 7 of the instructional period) will result in an ‘F' grade, which will be included in the computation of the CAP and will not be eligible for the S/U option.