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Tips for Admission in National University of Singapore
National University of Singapore (NUS), a government controlled central University of Singapore, is among top universities in the world. According to the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings (by subjects), NUS is ranked 8th in the world, giving a glimpse of its standards!

Now, without wasting much time on the general facts about the NUS, let's shift to the focal point-"Scope of Biotechnology in NUS". Following are the Schools/Faculties encompassing Biotechnical domain at NUS:

Department of Bioengineering
The key focuses of Bioengineering Department are Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Bionanotechnology, Biosignal Processing, Biosensors, Biomicrofluidics, Computational Biology with application in areas of Tissue Engineering, Therapeutic Delivery Systems, Biomedical Imaging and Instrumentation, and Medical Devices.

Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
As the name suggests, this department represents a nice amalgum of Chemical Engineering & Molecular Scale Biological Research. In their own words,"the Department provides the critical link between engineering and the sciences, particularly the chemical and life sciences, by bridging the gap between molecular-level, laboratory-scale studies of chemical and biological transformations and the large-scale industrial production operations". The application areas include biomedicine, protein engineering, drug-delivery systems, chemotherapeutic engineering, and smart materials (e.g., for biosensors, molecular and polymer electronics, novel smart membranes for separation processes and novel optoelectronic and photonic materials) etc.

Department of Life Sciences
This department is one of the oldest front-runner in biological research at NUS (since 1949-50). It covers broad aspects in biological field ranging from Plant Growth & Development, Biotechnology, Biodiversity & Ecology, and Structural Biology, Functional Genomics & Proteomics and Fish Biology & Aquaculture.

Where These Departments Stand in World:
These three departments represent the crust & core of Biotechnical scope at NUS. And to give you an estimate of the repute of these departments, I have enlisted their world ranks (QS Ranking):
  • Department of Bioengineering: World Rank 6
  • Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering: World Rank 6
  • Department of Life Sciences: World Rank 17

The US & Europe Paradox:
What I want to highlight here is the fact that most of the students of Biotechnical background (especially in India) follow the long-standing trend of pursuing higher education (PhD/PostDoc) at either US/Europe. For, them it's US/Europe only where biotechnology booms big and bright! And, considering the fact that the percentage of acceptance at US universities is quite low, almost all the budding bio-technologists end up either in Germany (considered the hub of biological research). This according to me is a paradox out of lack of awareness about the international repute of some of the Asian Universities, to which even US students dream of seeking admission! And, considering the rankings of these departments at NUS, the paradox must be broken!

Admission Facts About NUS:
Here I won't share details about the application process for the admission (you may easily find the same at NUS's website. I have shared the link though, below.)
Click here for NUS Admission Process

My focus would rather be on those facts which should make you feel that getting admission in NUS is rather way too easy & beneficial than US/Europe Universities:

1. Preference to Developing Countries:
They prefer students from different cultural backgrounds, especially students from developing countries. They have a special inclination towards Indian talents.

2. Easy Selection Criteria:
Their selection criteria for interview call are very simple:

**They accept GATE Score and GATE Cut-off is 90 percentile (which means even if you manage to qualify GATE just by 1 or 2 marks above the cut-off marks, still you can get a call from NUS!)

**They don't need GRE if you have GATE score!

**If you don't have GATE, you may submit GRE score, whose cut-off is also very nominal: around 320 (verbal & quantitative) and 3.5 (analytical)

3. Low Application Fee:
The application fee including the postage charges is very nominal (barely above Rs 2000/-) which is too less as compared to the grueling application process for US/European countries.

4. Simple Interview Process:
The interview process of NUS is quite general and simple. It starts with a test of English through reading, comprehension and writing, the scores of which count in your final performance score. Followed by the test, a two person panel takes the interview. Through-out the years their questions have been simple as follows:

a. Tell us about yourself.

b. Tell us about your college/university.

c. Why NUS, why not IITs?

d. What if we don't have a project of your interest? Will you still join us?

Your answers to these questions decide your fate. And the confidence with which you answer really counts a lot!

5. A-STAR Application Needs No GATE/GRE/Any Test!
The most wonderful thing about Singapore govt.'s policy is A-Star Scholarship, through which students around the globe can apply at NUS/NTU Singapore, based on their brilliant profile (they may apply even without the need of GRE/GATE!). So, if your academic and co-curricular profile has been brilliant and, some how you couldn't/can't give GRE/GATE, feel free to apply at NUS through Singapore govt.'s A-Star Scholarship scheme. There is no application fee for this mode of application!! Following is the link to A-STAR details:

So, I hope, this piece of information might have en-lighted you all up in some way, to motivate you about the scope of Biotechnology in Asia itself! NUS is indeed a World Class University and a sure way to a successful career in Biotechnology!

Sometimes, it's the road which is less travelled by, holds the key to success!
Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC

Suggested Reads:
Top Biotech Companies | Top places to work
Indian Biotech Companies and Job Openings
Aiming a PhD in Top Grad School? | These are the Important Points to Consider
Careers in Biotechnology | A list of various Options
Biotechnology Competitive Exams in India
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Messages In This Thread
Tips for Admission in National University of Singapore - by SunilNagpal - 05-25-2013, 06:29 AM
RE: Tips Admission | NUS vs NTU - by SunilNagpal - 08-18-2015, 03:59 PM
gate score and admission - by vishakha - 03-12-2015, 09:55 PM
requirement for NUS admission - by sree2529 - 10-02-2015, 03:51 PM
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