Two new colleges at NUS to deliver flexible, interdisciplinary education more accessibly, and at greater scale

Two new interdisciplinary colleges have been announced at NUS, marking a new milestone in educational innovations by establishing interdisciplinary education at Singapore’s flagship university more strongly than before.

Firstly, the University Scholars Programme (USP) and Yale-NUS College (Yale-NUS) will be combined into a single New College. Secondly, the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Design and Environment will merge to form the College of Design and Engineering.

The formation of these two new colleges builds on the earlier launch of the College of Humanities and Sciences in December 2020, and is the latest move in NUS’ efforts to transform the educational experience and redefine interdisciplinary learning based on four key pillars – common curriculum, greater flexibility, an interdisciplinary approach and lifelong learning.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said: “A world-class university education must evolve quickly to prepare students for a world marked by ever greater volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Graduates need to be highly curious problem-chasers and innovative problem solvers, flexible and adept at connecting the dots across diverse disciplines to succeed in a future of rapid change and unpredictability.”

“The establishment of these two new colleges is part of our roadmap of educational innovations and curricular reforms to keep up with the needs and challenges of the global economy,” President Tan added.

The New College

Bringing together the best features and extensive experience of USP and Yale-NUS, the New College seeks to continue their legacy of world renowned interdisciplinary liberal arts education. The College will offer broader and more specialised offerings through a deeper integration with NUS. It will address the evolving needs and challenges of the modern world by focusing on interdisciplinary education, through an innovative new common curriculum designed to enhance and complement learning, rigorous intellectual engagement and vibrant residential living.

The New College will admit its first intake in Academic Year 2022/23 and be open to all students applying for undergraduate degree programmes at NUS.

Yale President Professor Peter Salovey said, “Yale takes great pride in the accomplishments of Yale-NUS College — a pioneering partnership between two leading universities to create a residentially based liberal arts college… I want to offer my best wishes for the new college and express our gratitude for the generous support of the Government of Singapore in making it possible for us to partner in the creation of a model of liberal arts education that is regarded as one of the most innovative in the world — one whose DNA will live on, we trust, in new and exciting ways.”

Yale-NUS President Professor Tan Tai Yong said, “Yale-NUS College has greatly demonstrated the value of an interdisciplinary, immersive liberal arts and sciences model for Singapore, producing many cohorts of outstanding graduates. Yale has been a visionary partner of NUS, and we have enjoyed a strong friendship and bond since 2001. Yale is supportive of NUS’ ambitions to build on these strong foundations for the New College and will continue to play an advisory role in the New College as a member of its international advisory panel and planning committee”.

“Welcoming its first intake in 2001, the University Scholars Programme is a highly competitive and sought-after educational experience characterised by its distinctive core curriculum and residential living, as well as international academic and community programmes and projects. These unique features will be sustained in the New College, and will be combined with the best of Yale-NUS College. The New College will maintain the strongest attributes of both its predecessors in an exciting new way,” said University Scholars Programme Director Associate Professor Kang Hway Chuan.

Please refer to Prof Salovey’s full message and the Yale News story. Also refer to frequently asked questions about the New College; more frequently asked questions can be found at the Yale-NUS website and USP website.

College of Design and Engineering

The Faculty of Engineering and the School of Design and Environment will merge to form the College of Design and Engineering (CDE) to offer a new model of interdisciplinary education that leverages the synergy between the two converging fields.

Professor Aaron Thean, current Dean of NUS Faculty of Engineering, has been appointed the Dean-Designate of CDE. He will lead the merger of the two schools to form the new CDE, which is expected to be officially launched in November 2021. Students who are currently enrolled in the two schools will seamlessly transit into the CDE with effect from 1 January 2022.

NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost Professor Ho Teck Hua said, “In the converging fields of engineering and design, professionals must be able to frame problems, innovate, build and realise their ideas into solutions that are practical, functional and appealing. This requires thinking and behaviour that reflect adaptability, empathy, creativity, and resourcefulness. We see a great opportunity to bring together two world-class NUS schools – the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Design and Environment – to pioneer a unique model of interdisciplinary undergraduate education that takes advantage of the natural synergies between these fields.”

See press release