Overview of SUTD | Singapore University of Technology and Design

Basic Information on SUTD

Established in 2009 as Singapore’s 4th public autonomous university, SUTD is currently located in the East side, next to Upper Changi MRT station.

SUTD offers 5 undergraduate programmes and you’re looking at a four year duration.

The programmes or what SUTD refers to as pillar or majors are:

  • Bachelor of Science (Architecture and Sustainable Design)
  • Bachelor of Science (Design and Artificial Intelligence)
  • Bachelor Of Engineering (Engineering Product Development)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Engineering Systems and Design)
  • Bachelor Of Engineering (Computer Science And Design) 

SUTD Curriculum

Over the 4 years, students can expect to complete a total of 8 terms and this consists of a mandatory core curriculum, a variable curriculum and an outside the classroom component focused on character building and personal growth.

What is Freshmore at SUTD?

The first 3 terms or what the university refers to as Freshmore (basically the amalgamation of the words Freshman and Sophomore) is part of a mandatory core curriculum and is common to all students.

SUTD Freshmore

SUTD Freshmore Curriculum

Here you can expect to cover topics related to humanities, arts and social sciences, digital literacy, design thinking and innovation and of course, science and mathematics.

Freshmore Subjects

During Freshmore, you’ll have to complete subjects with titles such as Modelling Space, Physical World and Technological World.

But don’t be fooled by the names. Modelling space is actually about multivariable calculus and linear algebra While Physical World as the name suggests is actually about physics and the principles of mechanics and thermodynamics and in Technological World, students will cover topics like electromagnetism, circuit analysis and product design.

Students will also be introduced to Quantum Mechanics in this subject.

Design Thinking Projects

In each of the 3 terms during Freshmore, you’ll need to complete a design thinking project which is hands-on and multi-disciplinary.

It’s only after completing Freshmore that students select their majors or pillar which will lead to one of the 5 programmes previously mentioned.

Choosing a Major

Interestingly, in the events and information sessions I’ve watched, the SUTD staff all mention that students just need to clear Freshmore and their choice of major is pretty much guaranteed. There’s no pre-requisites or special selection or bidding process.

Capstone Project

Also part of the mandatory core curriculum is a capstone project. You will be expected to spend 2 terms on this during your graduating year. The cool thing about this capstone project is that you’ll be collaborating with students from different majors to solve real-world challenges from SUTD’s industry partners.

Variable Curriculum

Moving on to the variable part of the curriculum, SUTD allows students to take on specialisations or focused tracks within a major.

On top of that, if you enrol into an engineering degree you have the option to take on a minor in addition to your major.

What is a Minor?

A minor is a collection of 5 subjects that are outside your major which contributes to your breadth of learning.

Outside the Classroom

As for the stuff outside the classroom, SUTD does not schedule classes on Wednesday and Friday afternoons so that students have time for “Fifth Row”.

That’s SUTD jargon for co-curricular activities.

Also, the university claims to offer physical and virtual overseas opportunities for 100% of their students.

Independent Activities Period

There’s also what SUTD calls the Independent Activities Period which is a 3 week period in January and the 18 week vacation periods where students can take on internships, do research or even teach!

Undergraduate Teaching Opportunities Programme

The university has an Undergraduate Teaching Opportunities Programme where students can function as an undergraduate teaching assistant or lead student-initiated workshops.

Side track. This reminds me of the student-centric peer instruction teaching method popularized by Harvard University Professor Eric Mazur and is how introductory undergraduate physics classes are taught at Harvard University. 

This Harvard Prof essentially realized that sometimes a peer who recently figured out a concept might be better at bringing another peer towards understanding better than someone who has spent decades in the field.

Academic Calendar

So anyway, here’s what the SUTD academic calendar looks like at a glance. You might notice the vacation shifts around.

SUTD Calendar

There’s quite a bit of flexibility in the way things are run from the end of Year 2 until you start your capstone project.

For example if you who embarked on an overseas exchange during the Year 2 vacation from September to December, you may opt to continue with an overseas internship in Term 6 or undertake a much longer internship in Year 3 from January to August.

Or you could embark on an exchange only in Term 6 with the possibility of a summer overseas internship during the vacation in Year 3 which is during May to August.

Then finally the last 2 terms are for the capstone.

For the latest information, do check out the official website of the Singapore of University of Technology and Design.

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