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Singapore universities take steps to meet industry demand and prepare students for future economy

Singapore universities take steps to meet industry demand and prepare students for future economy

As Singapore proceeds on its smart nation journey and deals with technological disruption, equipping students with the required skills will play a critical role.

Two universities in the city-state announced new steps this week to meet industry demand and prepare their students for jobs of the future. This week, the National University of Singapore (NUS) announced that it will increase its intake of students in computing-related courses from 732 to 900, while the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is making subjects such as Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning an integral part of the undergraduate programme for all their students.

Five new minor programmes and two new Master programmes at SUTD

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is introducing five new Minor programmes and two new Master programmes. SUTD is also enhancing its current human-centric HASS subjects to inculcate high ethical standards in the design and building of new technologies for the advancement of society.

The new programmes are expected to equip students with multi-disciplinary skills for solving complex issues facing the digital world, with application to people while addressing societal imperatives.

Students graduating from STUD from 2018 onwards will actively incorporate one of the following three subjects – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics (DA), Machine Learning (ML) – into their undergraduate programmes.

The five new Minor programmes are focused on the areas of: 1) Design Innovation, Ventures and Entrepreneurship (DIVE); 2) Minor in Engineering Systems (ES); 3) Minor in Artificial Intelligence (AI); 4) Minor in Digital Humanities (DH); and 5) Minor in Design, Technology and Society (DTS).

The multi-disciplinary Minors will give students greater flexibility to pursue their broader interests, equip them with critical skills and knowledge in key strategic growth areas and provide them a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The DIVE, DTS and DH minors will be open to SUTD undergraduates from the 2018 cohort intakes onwards. To benefit current SUTD students, juniors starting Term 5 this year can opt to take up the ES and AI minors.

The two new Master degree programmes are Master of Science in Urban Science, Policy and Planning (USPP) and the SUTD-Chang Gung University (CGU) Dual Masters Programme in Nano-Electronic Engineering and Design (NEED).

Both programmes will be taught by highly qualified faculty from the universities, research centres and experienced industry professionals/leaders, giving students strong theoretical foundations along with exposure to real-world industry-relevant experiences.

The USPP is a 12-month intensive full-time programme jointly led by SUTD’s urban solutions research institute, the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities and the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) cluster. The programme aims to equip students, analysts and practitioners with skills in data analytics, policy and planning, and to enable them to develop novel solutions to urban challenges such as sustainable mobility, inclusive urban growth and new modes of governance for the 21st century. SUTD aims to have 20 students for its first intake.

The SUTD-CGU Dual Masters NEED Programme aims to provide science and engineering graduates with a high-quality education in the area of nano-electronics and Integrated Circuit (IC) design through unique, multi- disciplinary learning experience that encompasses the full value chain of the semiconductor industry.

Students will start the 18-month NEED programme by doing nine months of coursework at CGU in Taiwan, a top private university with strengths in semiconductor packaging, assembly, reliability, failure analysis and IC design. This will be followed by another nine months of intensive research at SUTD, after which students will graduate with two Master degrees.

SUTD and CGU are targeting 15 students enrolled in each university for its first intake. Applications are now open for the graduate programmes and successful applicants will begin the programme in September this year.

SUTD’s Acting President and Provost, Professor Chong Tow Chong said, “As part of SUTD’s growth plans, we are launching a suite of new programmes and enhancements to our current Sustainable mobility refers to a car‐lite society, accessible transportation for all, prevention of traffic jams, etc. education and research offerings to better prepare our graduates for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For them to be conversant in the digital economy, we are making subjects such as Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning an integral part of the undergraduate programme for the entire cohort. Thus, our students will be “Industry as well as Future Ready” to take on the challenges of the new economy.”

NUS boosting intake in computing-related courses from 732 to 900 

Credit: NUS

Meanwhile, NUS announced that it will be offering almost 900 places in computing-related courses for incoming students this coming Academic Year (AY), up from 732 places previously. This step is being taken to meet the industry demand for IT Professionals and to cater to increasing interest in computer courses.

The increased intake will apply to six courses: Business Analytics; Computer Engineering; Computer Science; Data Science and Analytics; Information Security; and Information Systems.

Currently, about 2,300 NUS undergraduates are enrolled across the six courses, with 245 students from other faculties taking them as a Second Major or Minor subject.

The press release states that NUS has constantly kept up-to-date with changing industry demands. In AY 2017/18, the Bachelor of Computing in Information Systems programme offered new specialisations in Financial Technology and Digital Innovation. In AY 2018/19, the Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics programme will offer two new specialisations — Financial Analytics and Marketing Analytics.

NUS Computing Dean Professor Mohan Kankanhalli said, “When you talk about Smart Nation, or going digital or cashless, when you talk about the underlying infrastructure, it is all computing-based. Therefore, a lot of industries are seeing a demand for computing professionals, including in sectors traditionally not considered to be computing-oriented. Fields like law are also getting transformed by computing…it’s across the board.”

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