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Last Updated: 18 October 2021


Frequently asked questions about accreditation of overseas universities and foreign students in universities and polytechnics.

Accreditation of overseas universities

1. Does the Ministry of Education have a list of accredited overseas universities? How do we find out if the degree qualifications awarded by these universities are recognised in Singapore?

The Ministry of Education does not have a list of accredited overseas universities. There is also no central authority in Singapore that assesses or grants recognition for degrees obtained from overseas universities. The reason is that the employer should be the one deciding whether a degree-holder has the qualities desired for the job and the qualification most relevant to his needs. The employer is in the best position to decide how much value he will assign to a person’s qualification.

However, in selecting an overseas institution for undergraduate degree studies, it is advisable that students establish whether the institution is a bona fide educational establishment. Such enquiries may be made at the Embassy/High Commission of the country where the university is located.

Professional degrees such as those in engineering, medicine, law, and accountancy should be those recognised by the respective professional bodies. For example, a person with an engineering degree from an overseas university who intends to seek registration as a professional engineer in Singapore will have to check whether the institution that awards the qualification is recognised by the Professional Engineers Board.

In the case of overseas universities offering courses here through local agents, the institutions concerned and their agents are responsible for all aspects of the programmes. It is advisable for students interested in enrolling for such courses to find out as much as possible about the programmes from the institutions or agents, before enrolling in them.

If you need information on acceptance of overseas universities for employment in the Civil Service, please read the FAQs available on the Careers@Gov portal.

Foreign students in the universities and polytechnics

2. I am a foreign student and do not possess the “O” or “A” level qualification. How do I know if I am eligible for the universities or polytechnics in Singapore?

You may approach the Admissions Office of the institution you are interested to gain entry to. The staff there will assess your qualifications and advise you accordingly. In some cases, you may need to undergo bridging courses, take entrance tests or general ability tests.

3. Must I obtain a student visa and how do I go about doing that?

Once you are accepted by the University or the Polytechnic, they will advise you on the procedure.

4. How much are the tuition fees and are there any financial assistance schemes for foreign students?

The tuition fees for foreign students are 10% above local rate. Foreign students can apply for whatever schemes open to local students. However, the conditions in some instances are slightly different eg. foreign students who apply for tuition grants will be required to work for at least 3 years in Singapore. The exact details can be found in the admission prospectus of the university or polytechnic.

5. As a foreign student at the local universities or polytechnics with a student visa, can I do part-time work during term time? Do I apply to the Ministry of Education or the Immigration Department for permission to seek part-time employment?

Yes, you can do part-time work under certain conditions and it is also subject to approval by the university or polytechnic that you are studying in. Before you look for part time employment, please approach the respective institutions for further details.

6. I am an employer and would like to employ students from the universities and polytechnics to do some part-time work. Am I allowed to employ foreign students? What is the procedure?

Yes, you are allowed to employ foreign students from our local universities or polytechnics. These foreign students should possess a letter of authorisation from their respective institutions, which allows them to pursue part time employment.