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 units2, 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 courses2 offered by different Colleges/Faculties/Schools. The modular system offers students the possibility of accelerating their programmes of study by taking more courses2 per semester (i.e., above the average of 20 units2 per semester), subject to the approval of their home Faculty.
1 Dentistry (Undergraduate), Law, and Medicine (Undergraduate) are currently not on the modular system.
2 NUS has adopted three new academic terminologies from 1 August 2023 - “Module” has been renamed “Course”, “Modular Credit (MC)” has been renamed “Unit”, and “Cumulative Average Point (CAP)” has been renamed “Grade Point Average (GPA)”. The definition of a Course/Module and Unit/MC will remain the same, and there will be no change to the computation of the GPA/CAP.
Each course has a unique Course 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 course (e.g., 1000 indicates a Level 1 course and 2000, a Level 2 course).
3 Previously named “Modules” prior to 1 August 2023.
Pre-requisites, Co-requisites, and Preclusions
Pre-requisites indicate the base of knowledge on which the subject matter of a particular course will be built. Before taking a course, a student should complete any pre-requisite course(s) listed for that particular course. Where pre-requisites are specified, equivalent courses will also be accepted. If in doubt, students should consult the course instructor or the Department academic advisor regarding the acceptable equivalent courses. Co-requisites are courses that are to be taken concurrently. A course may also specify certain preclusions. These are courses that have similar emphases and may not be taken together with that particular course.
The weekly workload of each course is given in the full course description. There are five workload components to each course. In the course 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 course.
||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.
A unit is a measure of the effort, stated in terms of time, expected of a typical student in managing his/her workload. The unit-value of a course is derived by dividing the estimated total number of workload hours per week for that course by the credit factor of 2.5 (i.e., one unit is equivalent to 2.5 hours of study and preparation per week). Thus, a 4-unit course would require 10 hours of work a week, including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions, assignments, and independent or group study.
Previously named “Modular Credits (MCs)” prior to 1 August 2023.
Students receive letter grades for each course 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 courses from the School of Business from Sem 1, AY2021/2022 should refer to their School for more information.
Grade Point Average (GPA)5
(not applicable to Non-Graduating students)
Academic progress is tracked by the GPA, which is the weighted average grade point of all courses taken by a student. Therefore, a student's GPA is the sum of the course grade points multiplied by the number of units for the corresponding course, divided by the total number of units. This is represented as follows:
Courses with no assigned units or grade points are excluded from the calculation of GPA.
Previously named “Cumulative Average Point (CAP)” prior to 1 August 2023.
There are a number of situations for which no grade points are assigned:
Completed Satisfactorily/Completed Unsatisfactorily (CS/CU)
A course may be graded on a ‘CS/CU' basis, i.e., whether the course has been ‘Completed Satisfactorily' (CS) or ‘Completed Unsatisfactorily' (CU). CS/CU courses are typically industrial attachment, internship or enrichment courses. Units will be given for courses that are completed satisfactorily, although no grade point will be assigned. A course is designated ‘CS/CU'; unlike courses 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 course 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 course is clearly not of passing quality; instead, students should note that the ‘F' grade will be assigned in such cases. A course assigned an ‘IC' grade normally cannot be used to fulfil the pre-requisite of a higher-level course. Should a student choose to repeat the course in a subsequent semester, none of the work done previously may be carried forward for assessment purposes.
In Progress (IP)
For a course 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 course. The provisional grade of ‘IP' is assigned prior to the completion of the course while it is being undertaken. The final grade will be assigned when the student completes the course.
When a student withdraws from a course 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 GPA and will not be eligible for the S/U option.