Special Programme in Science (SPS)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is SPS like USP?

The University Scholars’ Programme (USP) is targeted at students with wide, cross-faculty interests. SPS is designed for students with a passion in science, who have broad, cross-departmental interests. So, if you are interested in arts and science, USP might be right for you. However, if you are particularly interested in multiple scientific disciplines, say, physics, biology, and chemistry, then do consider SPS.

Q2: I am the world’s biggest biology/chemistry/physics/maths nut. Is SPS for me?

If you are passionate about a single subject in science, there are a number of other opportunities (such as the UROPS) which target your interests more specifically and still expose you to a much broader experience than the average undergraduates. If you are interested in working on multidisciplinary subjects, which cross the line between scientific subjects, then SPS is more suitable.

Q3: I have rotten grades. Do I still have a chance?

Yes. The most important thing we look for is passion for science, not grades. Several SPS students have struggled through NUS with below-average grades, but by having their research published while in NUS, they have been admitted to some of the best graduate schools in the world for their field of studies.

Q4: Would there be issues of timetable clashes between the SPS modules and our other modules?

SPS works very closely with the Science Dean’s Office and ensures that all of the SPS modules in the upcoming semester would not clash with any of your core modules regardless of the major you are taking (except pharmacy). For example, if you are a first year chemistry student, our timetables are planned such that there would not be any clashes with any of your first year core modules. The same applies when you continue to the second year. If you have other concerns with regards to timetable schedules, feel free to contact us for more information.

Q5: I intend to apply to/have successfully applied for other academic programs (Eg. UTCP or USP). Is it advisable for me to apply for SPS?

We do have several students currently under both SPS and the University Scholars Programme (USP), and under both SPS and the University Town College Programme (UTCP), which is offered at Tembusu College, the College of Alice and Peter Tan (CAPT), and RC4, as well as under both SPS and the Ridge View Residential College (RVRC). In addition, we also have many students actively involved in Halls, CCAs or other programmes like Young Educators in Science (YES), NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC)…etc. on top of their SPS workload. As such, it is certainly possible to plan your modules to fulfil both SPS and your academic program requirements. That said, you should consider your interests in greater detail, to determine if these programmes are really for you, such that the effort would be worth it. Unsurprisingly, it would be challenging to hold onto multiple commitments, but we do have many success stories, both current students and alumni, who have really tapped into their full potential and have undergone an intellectually rigorous and fulfilling undergraduate education. To talk to some of these students in person, do come down to the Faculty of Science open house (usually held in mid-May) as well as our own SPS welcome tea (around late July).

Q6: The SPS application results is released after the bidding exercise. So what do I do during the bidding exercise?

Please bid as though you are not accepted into SPS. Each student is required to take a minimum of 16MCs every semester and the common practice is to bid for 5 modules. If your SPS application is successful, the SPS modules will be allocated to you and 2 bidding points will be deducted from your programme account. We will assist you in dropping the modules which clash with SPS modules. The points used for bidding these modules will be refunded. However, if you intend to drop modules which do not clash with SPS upon acceptance into SPS, your bidding points for the modules will not be refunded.

Q7: Is it possible for me to apply to join SPS in my second year (i.e. apply as a year 1 going to year 2)?

In theory, Year 1 students, who are going to Year 2 in the following academic year, are eligible to apply for the SPS as well. Nonetheless, candidates should consider these issues in particular:

  1. There is no guarantee that the SPS timetable will be able to accommodate his/her timetable. For example, Year 2 students entering will start with SP2173 Atoms to Molecules and SP2171 Discovering Science, together with newly matriculated year 1 students. However, we only ensure there will not be any clashes between the SPS first year courses and freshmen core modules, not with year 2 modules.
  2. SPS is a two-year programme. Therefore the candidate cannot join student exchange programmes (SEP) if he/she joins in the second year.

Hence, we encourage students to apply for SPS upon entering NUS. Alternatively, there are other enhancements to the undergraduate program still available.

Q8: I would like to learn more about SPS, but the question I want to ask hasn’t been asked here.

You can get in touch with us via the Contact Us page.