A student in the Scholars Programme must read and pass:

  • 3 compulsory foundation-tier modules worth 12 MCs
  • 8 Inquiry-tier modules worth 32 MCs
  • 1 reflection-tier module worth 4 MCs

Foundation Tier -- Level 2000 -- contains three modules. The first of these, Writing and Critical Thinking, has long been a mainstay of the USP curriculum, encouraging students to engage in a complex and sophisticated way with the texts that they read, and to produce complex and inflected texts of their own. While the module has relevance to all students, its focus on the academic essay means that it develops verbal reasoning skills most often associated with the humanities and social sciences but nonetheless of broad relevance and importance. The second module, Quantitative Reasoning, is a parallel module which uses seminar-style discussion in applying quantitative methodologies to a central problem such as climate change or epidemics. The third foundation module is the University Scholars Seminar, which runs for a full academic year, has students interact with experts and public figures, and promotes a less formal learning environment in which cross-disciplinary questions are explored. The goal of the module is to get students to engage with a topic of broad interest, and to identify an important set of questions or issues that are unresolved and worthy of further research. Response papers and term papers are assigned towards this end. Students who complete the first tier will have a solid series of skills that will equip them for the interdisciplinary work of the second tier.

Inquiry Tier -- Level 2000 & 3000 -- consists of eight modules. Students take interdisciplinary modules, with a small class size, in two domains, Humanities & Social Sciences (H&SS), and Sciences & Technologies (S&T). The overall goal of the second tier, as its name suggests, is to promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary inquiry, so that students can make intellectual connections outside of their majors. The curriculum is thus designed to encourage students in broad intellectual inquiry beyond their chosen majors, and incorporates the requirement to take at least one (and maximum of three) independent study modules on topics of their choice. This part of the curriculum comprises most of our existing modules, and preserves something of the progressive movement towards the Major which has always characterised our structure. While modules are categorised into domains, and indeed into sub-categories within the domains, they differ from the kinds of module that students might take in their major by being based around a concept or an issue, rather than aiming to cover content. Each module will be taken by students from a variety of faculties, and thus will inevitably acquire an interdisciplinary perspective through interactive pedagogy.

All USP students will take four modules in the H&SS and four modules in the S&T domains, including one ISM but no more than three.

We encourage students to have international experience, and indeed we aim to have all of our students undergo some form of study, whether formal or informal, outside Singapore. We thus allow the substitution of modules in a number of cases. Students going on USP and their faculties’ Student Exchange Programmes, subject to approval, can substitute two modules per semester. Those on a Double Degree Programme, our own Cultural Immersion Programmes in Japan, China, and India, and on NOC or iLEAD, can gain exemptions up to four modules in total. In each case, we consider that the intellectual experiences the students undergo, whether broadening across disciplines, cultural facility in a new academic environment entrepreneurship, partially fulfil the goals of the second tier of modules in stimulating broad-based inquiry. In order to preserve the sense of the Scholars Programme as a learning community, however, we impose an overall requirement of eight modules across the three tiers.

Reflection Tier -- Level 4000 -- consists of one module, the senior seminar. The seminar addresses a suitable general topic, such as “Symmetry,” “Evidence” or “On Being Human”, using these topics as a platform to develop intellectual capacity at the meta-analytical level. In each module, the issues in the topic are developed, through seminar discussions, readings, and paper assignments, in such a way as to allow students to reflect on the conditions of their own disciplinary knowledge, the assumptions fostered in disciplinary training, and to develop their own theoretical framework the nature of intellectual discourse in general rather than just within their own disciplines. The third tier thus builds both on the broadening of inquiry in the second tier, and upon the disciplinary knowledge that students have gained within their major.

Singapore Studies Requirement

Students in the Scholars Programme must also fulfill one Singapore Studies (SS) requirement during his/her duration in the Programme. This requirement may be satisfied by a choice of modules designated as fulfilling the Singapore Studies requirement in the Inquiry Tier. Students are advised to plan ahead the SS module to read, and to ensure that they fulfil the SS requirement at an early stage of their studies in NUS. You may refer here for this list of designated modules.

S/U Options

Students may exercise the S/U option for up to 32MCs towards their degree requirements, of which 20MCs may be exercised during the first semester and the remaining 12MCs any time during the candidature. The S/U option will apply to Level 1000 modules and Level 2000 modules offered without other NUS modules as pre-requisites, unless otherwise stipulated by the Faculties/Departments.

USP modules (Level 2000, with the exception of WCT and QRF modules) will be eligible for S/U for USP students matriculated in AY2014/15 and onwards. USP students enrolled in either the writing and critical thinking (WCT) or the quantitative reasoning foundation (QRF) module in Semester 1 will be allowed to carry forward 4 MCs to Semester 2. Only unused S/U MCs from the 20 S/U MCs may be carried forward from the first semester. The number of S/U MCs carried forward varies for each faculty/programme. Up to 8 S/U MCs may be carried forward, regardless of any other additional faculty/programme provision. The carried forward S/U MCs are to be used only in the student’s second active semester (not including the Special Terms) and not beyond. Please refer to general guidelines of the respective faculties (School of Business, Faculty of Science).

The University Scholars Seminar (USS) is read on a Completed Satisfactory/Completed Unsatisfactory (CS/CU) basis, and does not count towards the MCs limit of S/U options.

Continuation Requirements

At the end of their second year, students are required to have completed at least three USP modules. Those who have not will be asked to produce justification, and a study plan on how they aim to complete the programme.

Graduation Requirement

A student in the Scholars Programme must read and pass:

  • 3 compulsory foundation-tier modules worth 12 MCs
  • 8 Inquiry-tier modules worth 32 MCs
  • 1 reflection-tier module worth 4 MCs

Of the twelve USP modules, USP students must read a minimum of eight USP modules (the 8 USP modules exclude substituted modules and directly recognised non-USP modules). They must also ensure that they have at least six USP modules which are letter-graded, and obtained at least an Honours (Merit) degree.

USP Dismissal Policy

To graduate with a USP certificate, an undergraduate student must achieve at least an Honours (Merit) degree, i.e. have a minimum CAP of 3.5. USP students should note the following:

  • should a student’s CAP fall below 3.0 (but ≥ 2.5) for three consecutive semesters, the student will be dismissed from USP in the next semester of study; and
  • should a student’s CAP fall below 2.5 for two consecutive semesters, the student will be dismissed from USP in the next semester of study.