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 examination, a 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 five courses. Courses are organized into four areas: Theory, Computer and Networking Systems, Information Systems, Applications and Interdisciplinary. The student has to chose a class from each area, the fifth class can be chosen from any area.
  • 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 student’s background. 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 second year of PhD study.

Other Requirements

  • To be eligible for a PhD degree a student must pass an oral qualifying examination, a preliminary exam and the thesis defence.
  • All students must attend the ISTD Seminar Series for at least 2 semesters during their course of study (attendance of 80% of the seminars for the term is required) and delivered at least two technical talks in ISTD Seminar Series during their course of study.
  • All students must meet the necessary teaching experience requirement.
  • All students must take part in the Professional Development Opportunities Programme.

Qualifying Examination (QE)

An oral Qualifying Examination (QE) would be conducted prior to the end of the second year of PhD study. The student must complete at least 4 core courses with a CGPA of 3.5 or better prior to the QE and must submit a QE Statement to the graduate committee in the semester prior to the QE. The QE will assess the research progress and knowledge related to research papers for which a student has been requested to read and understand. The QE committee would consist of at least three faculty members selected by the graduate committee and approved by the pillar head.

Students who fail the QE can take a makeup QE within two terms of failing the first one. Passing the QE or the makeup QE is a requirement to stay in the PhD programme.

Preliminary Examination (PE)

A student must pass an oral preliminary examination. This examination will be conducted by a faculty committee. The preliminary 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 QE, PE, the oral defence to be able to quality for the PhD degree.

Major Milestones

PhD Intake Qualifier (QE) before Prelim (PE) 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 2013 Completed Completed 31-Aug 2017 31-Dec 2017 28-Feb 2018 31-Aug 2018
Jan 2014 Completed Completed 31-Dec 2017 30-Apr 2018 30-Jun 2018 31-Dec 2018
Sep 2014 Completed 28-Feb 2017 31-Aug 2018 31-Dec 2018 28-Feb 2019 31-Aug 2019
Jan 2015 Completed 30-Jun 2017 31-Dec 2018 30-Apr 2019 30-Jun 2019 31-Dec 2019
Sep 2015 30-Apr 2017 28-Feb 2018 31-Aug 2019 31-Dec 2019 28-Feb 2020 31-Aug 2020
Jan 2016 31-Aug 2017 30-Jun 2018 31-Dec 2019 30-Apr 2020 30-Jun 2020 31-Dec 2020
Sep 2016 30-Apr 2018 28-Feb 2019 31-Aug 2020 31-Dec 2020 28-Feb 2021 31-Aug 2021
Jan 2017 31-Aug 2018 30-Jun 2019 31-Dec 2020 30-Apr 2021 30-Jun 2021 31-Dec 2021