SUTD, established in collaboration with MIT, has a mission to advance knowledge and nurture technically grounded leaders and innovators to serve societal needs. Recognising that today's innovations are heavily driven by cultural and symbolic elements, SUTD’s curriculum is predicated on the belief that design is the key for future innovation, which places design in the central intellectual position of this new research university. SUTD’s mission is accomplished through an integrated multi-disciplinary curriculum and multi-disciplinary research as well as through its unique cohort-based learning approach.
SUTD’s unique pedagogy is built around cohort-based active and collaborative learning. In the first three terms, students are grouped into cohorts of 50. Students in a cohort take common classes in a community-learning environment and share the experience of university life together from the first moment they embark on their undergraduate studies. Since the cohort-based classroom belongs to the respective groups, students have the freedom to manage the activities in their classrooms by setting up their own management committee. This allows the classroom to be fully utilised round the clock for design projects, self-study sessions, group discussions, independent activities, etc.
Unlike a traditional fixed classroom format, the cohort classroom allows students to form work and study groups using the classroom's modular and flexible design. With portable tables and chairs, student teams can easily arrange the classroom space for optimal efficiency. The cohort classroom of about 220m² can also be partitioned into two smaller rooms of equal size for various learning activities. To further leverage this flexible classroom format, instructors working in teams circulate around the cohort classroom, readily engaging and interacting with students in small groups. Coupled with a forward-looking classroom design and use of educational technologies such as interactive projectors designed for cohort-based teaching, the innovative environment encourages collaborations amongst peers and the close interaction between students and faculty necessary for better and more active learning.
State-of-the-art real-time response systems built into the cohort-based classroom further enable faculty to better monitor the performance and learning progress of each student and their respective groups. This technology allows faculty to provide immediate advice and support during the live class rather than having to rely on post-class assessment support activities such as remedial classes and exercises.
Classes at SUTD incorporate hands-on activities, such as simulations and problem sets conducted in the format of mini-lectures, video lecturettes, small-group recitations, hands-on demos, and concept quizzes to cement the understanding of different concepts in a subject. The interactive sessions in the cohort-based environment not only better engage students and foster collaborative learning, but they also allow students to enjoy and better understand and appreciate concepts, theories and lessons that are traditionally viewed as difficult. Real-life examples are demonstrated regularly.
The time spent in the cohort classrooms serves to develop the future technically grounded leaders' foundation and interpersonal skills such as communication and teamwork. To further encourage collaboration during their pillar years, students continue to be engaged in a think-tank environment where they are presented with real-world problems and challenged to devise solutions in context.
Although the SUTD curriculum is modern, it respects, and indeed amplifies, the traditional emphasis on math and science fundamentals. The first three terms at SUTD are shared by all students and build the foundations in math and science with the equivalent of three classes in math, two in physics, and one class each in chemistry and biology.
In addition, students are introduced to "Big-D" concepts in a unique subject on architectural and engineering design in Term 2. In the third term, students learn about the world through three subjects unique to SUTD–"Modelling the Systems World," "Engineering in the Physical World," and "The Digital World" before opting for pillar specialisation. To round off the Freshmore curriculum, the inclusion of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) enable students to be cultivated and critical thinkers.
This combined approach is novel in that it provides a broad and rigorous education to students in the different disciplines. Students are thus equipped with a strong base for selecting and excelling in the pillar of choice for the remainder of their sophomore year, junior, and senior years, as well as for future employment opportunities.
Find out more about the individual Freshmore subjects
For commencing students who wish to attend bridging classes before term starts to better prepare themselves for the Freshmore curriculum, please find out more about our Integrated Learning Programme II (ILP2)
Singapore University of Technology and Design offers degrees in one of four pillars. Each respective curriculum in a pillar has been developed using an "outside-in" concept in which advice, input, and requirements from the domains of interest were actively sought from industry and other stakeholders to offer a modern engineering and architectural education that crosses traditional departments.
Learning experience and knowledge gained via the unique "outside-in" multi-disciplinary approach will be valuable for the graduates’ career development upon graduation. As such, the concept of a pillar embodies the latest thinking in the evolution of pedagogy, and prepares students for roles that involve design, technical leadership, and creative thinking. The four pillars are:
- Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD)
- Engineering Product Development (EPD)
- Engineering Systems and Design (ESD)
- Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD)
Find out more about each pillar
Within each pillar, students first take pillar core subjects that provide foundational material particular to the subject with more advanced pillar subjects offered as the student progresses. Some pillars might offer additional mathematical tools. Electives in HASS as well as technical electives and advanced pillar subjects provide the breadth across the curriculum that allows students the opportunity to arm themselves with a diversity of skill sets valued industry-wide to be well-rounded innovators and leaders.
In an actual design situation, crucial projects are too large to be completed by one person and span multiple disciplines. It is with this in mind that in the senior year, students participate in an integrative capstone project, typically involving several or all pillars, built around a larger scale integrative design project. Students from each pillar come together in focused design teams to contribute their respective expertise and skills to solving real-world challenges that culminate in a grand design project. The capstone project is a substantial activity that involves the full range of design skills, from the identification of needs and markets to concept selection to development and prototyping and finally manufacturing and operations. This "Art and Science of Design" distinguishes SUTD from other universities.
All engineering pillars have a set of elective subjects associated with different applications streams, which permit greater focus and depth in applying their knowledge and offer students an important context to promote inter-pillar interactions and synergies. Students will be able to take a pair of technical electives in one of the four focused areas: Global Issues, Transportation, Manufacturing Systems and Enterprise Systems.
Find out more about the individual TECH electives
Recognising the value of a multi-dimensional education for success in every field, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) provides all SUTD undergraduates with a grounding in the practice of inquiry, assessment and decision-making that reflects thousands of years of human experience. Regardless of the pillar, students will be required to take 7 classes in the humanities. The humanities classes will serve as a vehicle for presenting, interpreting, and understanding the material within a broad, unifying framework, and will complement the technical subjects to enhance creativity. Besides two HASS subjects in the Freshman year, from Term 4 onwards, students are required to take a HASS elective in every term. They can choose from a common pool of HASS subjects or from the pool of prescribed HASS subjects related to the pillar.
Find out more about the individual HASS subjects
At SUTD, co-curricular activities (the Fifth Row) are important offerings for each term. Fifth row, co-curricular activities add considerably to the learning experience, providing opportunities for educational tailoring and student self-expression, and enhance student knowledge and creativity. The co-curricular activities could include activities and modules for writing, machining and fabrication, public service, public speaking, business activities, clubs, and more.
Other key features of our well-balanced education include:
- Independent Activity Period (IAP), included in the month of January of the academic year, which allows students the opportunity to explore their own personal interests and activities.
- Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP), which allows students to work on cutting-edge research as junior colleagues in a faculty member's research team.
- Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Programme (UPOP), which helps students gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to effectively apply classroom learning to successful internships and careers after graduation.
In order to graduate, students must fulfil all degree requirements with a workload of four 12-unit subjects (or equivalent) per term over 3.5 years, a total of thirty-two 12-unit subjects.
Students graduate with one of the following degrees:
- Bachelor of Science with a major in Architecture and Sustainable Design (8 terms) with an option of obtaining an additional Masters of Architecture with a major in Architecture and Sustainable Design (10 terms i.e., 5 academic years)
- Bachelor of Engineering with a major in Engineering Product Development (8 terms)
- Bachelor of Engineering with a major in Engineering Systems and Design (8 terms)
- Bachelor of Engineering with a major in Information Systems Technology and Design (8 terms)