PhD Programme

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The ISTD PhD programme is a 4-year programme with course requirements and strong research components with one of the ISTD faculty members. As part of the PhD degree requirements, the following examinations must be passed: an oral qualifying and preliminary exam and the thesis defence. Are you interested? Find out about our application requirements here.

Course Requirement

  • A student with a Bachelor’s degree is required to take four courses. The student can choose any graduate courses offered by ISTD. For graduate courses offered by other pillars, the student would need to seek advice from the advisor.
  • A student with a Master’s degree may apply for waiver of specific course requirements by submitting the request form. The graduate committee shall decide on the application based on the graduate courses taken by the student. The approval will be on a case by case basis.

All students are recommended to complete the required coursework prior to the end of the first year of PhD study.

Other Requirements

  • To be eligible for a PhD degree a student must pass an oral qualifying and preliminary exam and the thesis defence.
  • All students must meet the necessary teaching experience requirement.

Qualifying and Preliminary Examination (QPE)

A student must pass an oral qualifying and preliminary examination. This examination will be conducted by a faculty committee. The examination is to assess a student’s understanding of the research topic; progress towards solving the research problem; and plan to achieve the goal of the thesis research. The student will propose a committee consisting of at least three faculty members to be approved by the ISTD graduate committee chair or pillar head to examine the student. The student’s advisor will be a member of the committee. At least half of the chosen committee members should be research ISTD faculty. The graduate committee chair or pillar head will appoint the Chair to the committee. At the end of a student’s oral exam the committee could make one of the following three recommendations: Pass (with minor), Fail with one additional chance, and Fail. In the event a second chance is available, the student must re-appear for the exam before the end of the following term. A student failing the oral exam may not continue the PhD programme.

Thesis Defence

The student will propose a committee consisting of at least three faculty members to be approved by the ISTD graduate committee chair or pillar head to examine the thesis. The graduate committee chair or pillar head will appoint the Chair to the committee. The student will be required to defend her/his work in an oral examination. The committee will consist of the student’s advisor. At least half of the chosen committee members should be research ISTD faculty. The committee may include an optional addition of up to two external qualified faculty. A student must have met SUTD’s PhD requirements, completed the course requirement with a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 out of 5, passed the QPE, the oral defence to be able to quality for the PhD degree.

Major Milestones

PhD Intake Qualifier and Prelim (QPE) before 4-year scholarships (Non-MOE funded: A*STAR SINGA, EDB-IPP, SMART) 5-year scholarships
(MOE funded)
Oral Defence before TEC-approved Thesis Submission to OGS before Oral Defence before TEC-approved Thesis Submission to OGS before
Sep End Year 2 End-Aug Year 4 1 semester beyond Year 4 End-Feb Year 5 End-Aug Year 5
Jan End Year 2 End-Dec Year 4 1 semester beyond Year 4 End-Jun Year 5 End-Dec Year 5