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SUTD launches premier research programme and enhances curriculum for all undergraduates

10 Jan 2019
  • New SUTD Honours and Research Programme (SHARP) for aspiring research scientists, engineers and innovators
  • Greater flexibility for all engineering students to pursue a Minor degree of their interest
  • Grade-free system for first-year students to ease transition to varsity life

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has launched an array of new programmes and initiatives to offer students greater flexibility and learning pathways. These new pathways will provide students with diverse options and greater flexibility in customising their curriculum to suit their interests.
 
SHARP
With the launch of the new premier SUTD Honours and Research Programme (SHARP), aspiring research scientists, engineers and innovators can now undertake a structured research-oriented programme right from the undergraduate level. Closely mentored by faculty in fully-funded research projects, students will be schooled in research disciplines that deepen their critical thinking and problem solving skills, allowing them to innovate and come up with original ideas or solutions to benefit industries and society at large. SHARP students will graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Science, with the option to pursue a graduate degree such as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in either Engineering or Architecture, or a Master in Engineering by research at SUTD.
 
SHARP students will each receive a research grant of $15,000, comprising a research project allowance of $7,500, and another $7,500 to cover research-related expenses, such as conference presentation, research attachments and others. This research grant is on top of any other scholarship that SHARP students may be awarded. SHARP will accept up to 20 students for its initial intake and up to 40 in future years. More information about SHARP can be found in Annex A.
 
Minor Programmes & Grade-Free System
Today, SUTD offers seven Minor programmes (Annex B). In response to a strong interest in these Minor degree programmes – more than 80% of current students had shown interest in taking up a Minor during an informal survey conducted by SUTD − SUTD has enhanced its curriculum for students entering the engineering pillar, with effect from Academic Year 2019. This is to provide students with greater flexibility to pursue a Minor degree, with the same number of subjects required for graduating.
 
Additionally, SUTD is expanding its grade-free system to de-emphasise exams and encourage students to participate in the myriad student activities available. SUTD has always had a grade-free system for the first term of undergraduate study, to help first-year students (Freshmores) transition into varsity life. As SUTD’s Freshmore curriculum spans three terms, the University has extended its grade-free system such that half of the subjects taken in the first three terms need not count towards their grade point average (GPA).
 
SUTD President, Professor Chong Tow Chong said: “Since Day 1, SUTD has encouraged a strong research culture and has always allowed students to try their hand at research through our Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme (UROP). As we see increasing interest from students to do research at the undergraduate level, it is timely to introduce SHARP, a premier research programme. SHARP aims to equip students with deep critical thinking and problem solving skills that help them ‘think out-of-the-box’, to come up with original solutions or ideas. SHARP students will not only work closely with a multi-disciplinary research group to fully experience the entire lifecycle of research, but also gain the opportunity to collaborate with international researchers and corporations.”
 
He added: “We also want to give incoming students greater flexibility and ease in pursuing their interests and broaden their knowledge and hands on experiences, be it academically, in entrepreneurship or even in the arts, while de-emphasising the focus on academic grades. We hope the new adjustments to our rigorous curriculum will further enrich students’ experiences as well as nurture them into industry- and future-ready technically-grounded leaders and innovators who can better the world by design.”

Annex A – Factsheet on SUTD Honours and Research Programme (SHARP)

The SUTD Honours and Research Programme (SHARP) is a premier programme for academically bright students who may aspire to pursue a research-related career in universities, research labs and high-tech industries. SHARP students will go through the same curriculum as regular SUTD students, as well as advanced classes during their first year, to give them exposure to the research culture. SHARP students will also get close 1:1 research supervision and mentorship with a faculty member, which will allow them to learn and to produce high quality research that will be critical for future studies in graduate schools.

Students admitted to SHARP will be eligible for SUTD and donor-sponsored scholarships. SHARP students will also receive a research grant of $15,000, where $7,500 will be used to pay them a research allowance ($1,500 per term for five terms from term 4 to term 8). The other $7,500 can be used for research related expenses, such as conference presentation, research attachment and others. This research grant is on top of any SUTD scholarship that may be awarded to SHARP students, which covers the tuition fee.

Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng) or Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), students will have the option of applying for SUTD’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Engineering or Master of Engineering (M.Eng) (Research) or applying for overseas graduate schools.

Annex B – SUTD’s Minor Programmes

Minor in Design Innovation, Ventures and Entrepreneurship (DIVE)
The minor aims to educate students in systematic design innovation and entrepreneurship theory and applications. Students will be equipped with knowledge, skills and strategies to solve real-world problems and generate ideas that may lead to their own technology-based start-ups.

Minor in Engineering Systems (ES)
The minor in Engineering Systems will allow students to combine technical depth in either Information Systems Technology and Design or Engineering Product Development with expertise in the tools of technology management (operations research and engineering systems). This fulfils a long-expressed need in industry for “T-shaped Engineers”, that is, for engineers with both technical depth in their chosen discipline and exposure to more broad-based systems and managerial viewpoints.

Minor in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI minor aims to educate students on the foundation, theory, and applications of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Students will be equipped with knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems using AI technology.

Minor in Digital Humanities (DH)
The Digital Humanities (DH) minor equips students with the skills to develop and apply digital methods in the study of the arts and humanities. The application of computational techniques in the arts and humanities makes research more efficient and facilitates research that would not be possible using traditional methods. Students will acquire three main skills, namely, archiving, analysis, and visualisation, to help enhance their core work in the arts and humanities, centred on interpretation, reasoning and communication.

Minor in Design, Technology and Society (DTS)
The DTS minor emphasises critical analysis of the social dimensions of design processes and projects. Grounded in SUTD’s design curriculum, students in the DTS minor will be able to cast the critical eye of the
social scientist and the reflective sensitivity of the humanist to inform and augment the generation of creative design outcomes that address pressing contemporary issues in a positive, productive way.

Minor in Engineering Product Development(EPD)
The minor in EPD will allow students to combine technical depth in either Information Systems Technology and Design or Engineering Systems and Design with expertise in the tools of product development.

Minor in Information Systems (IS)
The minor in IS will allow students to combine technical depth in their chosen engineering discipline with exposure to mathematical grounding and algorithmic thinking. Graduates with this Minor will become
engineers equipped with expertise in their own discipline and ability to design solutions for challenging problems that require computing as a core element.