NUS Open House 2024 reaches more than 8.4m as screens and campuses buzz with action

Open House 2024 returned to an enthusiastic reception as visitors turned up in force to experience one of NUS’ largest events of the year. Held in a hybrid format from 2 to 9 March 2024 and pulled together by the efforts of 2,674 faculty, staff, students and alumni, the event achieved a reach of more than 8.4 million – up from 7.7 million in 2023 – as visitors explored the comprehensive showcase of what NUS has to offer both online and in-person.

Kicking off the eight action-packed days was a slate of engaging virtual talks, webinars, and social media sessions. NUS Business School put together an informative line-up of virtual sessions featuring an Ask-Me-Anything session with its Vice Dean Associate Prof Chng Chee Kiong, an overview of the various majors with insights from faculty and students alike, and a glimpse of its vibrant student life via the Bizad Club.

At the online showcase by NUS Computing, prospective students joined a Discord live chat to get their questions answered by professors and student ambassadors on topics such as the differences between the school’s five degree programmes. During a Zoom session by NUS Global, they heard about the University’s exciting study abroad opportunities from students who embarked on exchange programmes with universities in Scotland, Canada, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

The on-campus segment on 9 March saw crowds throng the programme booths, talks, special classes, campus tours, student life performances and residential venues, with students gaining perspectives into all aspects of a world-class education at NUS, from the comprehensive curricula and career prospects to student life and global opportunities.

“The NUS Open House was an absolute delight! It provided me with invaluable insights into campus life and academic offerings,” said prospective student Sim Wen Hao, who is currently in national service. “From informative discussions to first-hand testimonials, every interaction left me feeling more confident about my potential home away from home.”

Charting pathways in humanities and sciences

The College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS), comprising the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) and the Faculty of Science (FOS), showcased how it is equipping students with skills to integrate knowledge across these domains and the wide range of programmes they can choose from through a variety of major and minor combinations.

An FASS panel featuring a Geography major, a Political Science major with a minor in Economics, a Philosophy major pursuing a Double Degree, and a Southeast Asian Studies major taking a minor in History dispelled misconceptions about their disciplines while discussing the potential career paths. Another joint talk by Psychology and Social Work on addressing mental health challenges in the 21st century explored how the issue is approached from their respective disciplines.

The boom in big data was the focus of the Data Science and Analytics talk that highlighted how the programme offers students industry exposure through real-world projects and internships. Another talk by the Environmental Studies Cross-Disciplinary Programme discussed its mission to develop environmental sustainability advocates keen to derive creative solutions to complex problems, along with its exciting fieldwork opportunities.

Lee Sue Ning, a Hwa Chong graduate who is interested in applying to Psychology, said of the FASS student panel: “The four students were from courses that I would never have considered. Hearing their experiences opened new doors for me, making me consider these courses as possible minors that I can take,” she added.

Intersection of design and engineering

The talk on Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, held by the College of Design and Engineering (CDE) gave students valuable insights on the curriculum and disciplines, as well as showcased students’ research. In an Ask-Me-Anything panel, the professors also shared about the flexibility of the curriculum, future career prospects, intersections between the various fields of engineering, and their thoughts on the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of taking a degree in Engineering.

The talk on Architecture, Industrial Design, and Landscape Architecture gave students the inside scoop on how the programmes provide the core foundation, training, skills, and knowledge for students to become the next generation of effective and innovative architects and designers.

Over at SDE3, CDE’s Built Environment Research Tour took participants behind the scenes—from live demonstrations of how 5G robotics reduce manpower and increase efficiency, to a lab tour of NUS’ hydraulics laboratory facilities to explore wave mechanics and how natural coastal ecosystems like mangroves can protect shorelines against climate change. Students also participated in a hands-on session to design their own shoreline adaptation, choosing from models of nature-based solutions as well as traditional infrastructure.

“It was nice to be able to see the facilities and get an idea about what Singapore is currently trying to improve on—designing a world with humans and robots, and coastal protection,” Nur Annatasyia Binte Joferi, from Singapore Polytechnic, said. “It made me think about how things will progress and what comes next after those goals are met.”

Immersive learning experiences

NUS College offered prospective students a window into its extensive interdisciplinary education that blends small-group seminars with experiential learning and a rich residential immersion through special classes on topics such as love, food, and even Shakespeare’s plays. During Dr Chan Chi Wang’s class on quantifying facial attractiveness using mathematics and statistical methods, prospective students busily plotted measurements of facial features on graph paper. In Associate Professor Stuart Derbyshire’s class, they decoded mysterious sounds and intriguing illusions – sometimes with the aid of 3D glasses – understanding the science behind brain mechanisms that influence our perception.

Foo Jun Wei, a Hwa Chong Institution graduate who will be joining Computer Science and NUS College, came away with useful information on what to expect as an incoming NUS student. “I enjoyed taking part in the guided tour where I got to see first-hand the facilities and accommodations that NUS College provides, as well as the immersive sample lesson on quantifying facial attractiveness. Above all, I was glad to be able to clarify my existing doubts and seek advice from the friendly student ambassadors on the ground,” he added.

Over at Bukit Timah Campus, visitors to NUS Law had the choice of two masterclasses on criminal justice and conflict resolution approaches. At its mock moot sessions, visitors sat attentively in the gallery witnessing a simulation of a court case.

Mastering the ‘heart’ and science of healthcare

Prospective students interested in Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy had the chance to find out about the new Common Curriculum for Healthcare Professional Education, which has been designed to align with Singapore’s shift towards preventive healthcare. Aside from touching on the Common Curriculum, talks by NUS Medicine offered an overview of its academic journey, highlighting features such as its strong mentorship support and Pathway programmes aimed at broadening their skill sets. During a special class by NUS Nursing, visitors tried out basic nursing skills like using a stethoscope and learnt the importance of collaboration between healthcare professionals.

The interactive Pharmacy masterclass, titled “Unveiling the Pillars of Pharmacy: The Science and Art of Medication Therapy”, saw prospective students participate in the decision-making process of a real-life clinical case study. They also gained insight into how NUS Pharmacy structures its curriculum to incorporate live interactive classes, science practicals, skills labs, and collaborative learning workshops, to help students apply concepts in real case studies.

Prospective student Wong Hon Wei from Anderson Serangoon Junior College said, “The Pharmacy masterclass was quite enjoyable yet unique, as the way the collaborative learning workshop was structured was engaging, incorporating the Biology and Chemistry concepts learnt in classrooms into real-world medical applications.”

Innovating solutions for society and the world

Another popular feature at this year’s Open House was the Innovation and Impact Hub, which showcased groundbreaking projects by students from CDE, Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Centre, NUS College, and FOS that are making a tangible impact on society and the world.

Visitors caught the interactive projects in action, from The Moving Farm, a movable modular tower system for hydroponics farming that increases crop yield sustainably, to TinkerThings, a project on AI-based gamified activities innovated to improve seniors’ mental wellbeing and cognitive faculties.

Aside from exploring academic pathways, visitors also discovered NUS Enterprise’s suite of entrepreneurship initiatives, including the NUS Overseas Colleges, NUS Enterprise Summer and Winter Programmes in Entrepreneurship, and incubation hub THE HANGAR.

At a panel session on student entrepreneurship, prospective students heard from NUS alumni who founded three start-ups – Pitchspot, Wateroam and Skilio. The founders shared how their involvement in Enterprise’s entrepreneurship programmes and the support they received through the HANGAR enabled them to nurture their business ideas.

Exciting array of student and residential life activities

Over at the Student Village, a smorgasbord of vibrant student performances took Town Plaza by storm throughout the day, treating visitors to an exhilarating kaleidoscope of talent from student clubs and interest groups.

Getting a glimpse of the diverse student life opportunities that await, visitors were hyped up by the energetic cheerleading displays of King Edward VII Hall’s KE Titans, the snazzy beats of NUS Rappers, and the slick dance moves of the NUS Korean Cultural Interest Group. They were also serenaded with catchy tunes from the Sheares Hall band, a capella group NUS Resonance, and NUS Fingerstyle Guitar.

On top of A-Day-in-the-Life videos and 360° virtual tours of the various Residential Colleges, Halls, and Houses, Masters and student representatives from the residences mingled with prospective students at the booths, talks, and Ask-Me-Anything panels, where they shared their insights and anecdotes on the on-campus experience, as well as the distinct culture of each residential unit.

Along with offering guided in-person tours and simulated classes, the residential units also showcased the interest groups available. Other engaging activities, such as Tembusu College’s live performances and Ridge View Residential College’s sports experience zones, coffee pour demonstrations, and warli art making gave prospective students a taste of the many facets of holistic residential life.

Prospective students Inez Ang from National Junior College and Vishnu Raj from Millennia Institute said the residential showcase gave them a better picture of living on campus.

Runyi Zhang, a graduate of St Andrew's Junior College who is applying to Business, said she had an enlightening experience sampling both the academic and extracurricular options. “Through the Open House, I’ve managed to capture a glimpse of student life in NUS… allowing me to have a clearer and more vivid image of what my future could be like here,” she added.