SUTD to Start Academic Year in September 2020, to Preserve Fuller Educational Experience for Incoming Cohort

17 Apr 2020

SUTD will be pushing back the start of its Academic Year (AY) from 18 May to 14 September this year for the AY2020 intake cohort. This change to start the AY in September will be a permanent one, and will extend to subsequent intake cohorts as well.

In accordance with the national efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, SUTD has put in place heightened safe distancing measures, including full Home-Based Learning (HBL). Given the uncertainty of the restrictions to on-campus activities and lessons in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation, SUTD has decided to push back the start of its academic year for the incoming AY2020 cohort from May to September this year. By starting later, there is a higher possibility of students being able to experience SUTD’s signature hands-on and design-centric curriculum, as well as its unique cohort-based first-year curriculum that emphasises peer learning. Students will still take the required eight terms of undergraduate coursework, and will graduate in May 2024 instead of September 2023. This change in the academic calendar, which will align with the academic calendars of the other Autonomous Universities, will also enable SUTD to better cater to the Operationally Ready Date (ORD) schedules of polytechnic graduates.
Existing students from the AY2019 intake and earlier will continue with their original academic calendar to minimise disruption to their studies (please see Annex A for the new and original academic calendars).
SUTD President, Professor Chong Tow Chong said: "We regularly review our undergraduate programme and structure to optimise our students’ learning experiences. This initiative of shifting the academic calendar has been in the works for over a year. We had hoped to have a few years to make the transition, but the COVID-19 situation made it necessary for us to bring our plans forward. There are many advantages to the new academic calendar – it will cater for more and longer breaks, with opportunities for SUTD students to take up more or longer internships and participate in multiple overseas experiences, immersion programmes, and much more.”
In view of the later start in the academic year for the AY2020 cohort, SUTD will offer these students the opportunity to take up Special Summer Programme (SSP) before the start of the academic year in September 2020. The SSP comprises e-learning classes, bridging programmes and research activities. Students can take up the programme at no additional cost.
SUTD will also extend the admissions exercise this year and reopen the applications portal from 4 to 17 May 2020. Students who were considering applying to SUTD but missed the earlier application window will now have another opportunity to apply.


Annex A - SUTD Academic Calendars

Academic Calendar starting 2020


Original Academic Calendar


When is the new start of Academic Year for SUTD?

For AY2020, the new Academic Year (AY) will start on 14 September 2020, with matriculation for the final group of students taking place on 9 September 2020. Subsequent intake cohorts will start their AY in August/September.

How will this change affect incoming students? Will they graduate later? Will there be changes to how much school fees they have to pay?

Incoming students will still take the required eight (8) terms of undergraduate coursework. The incoming batch will graduate in May 2024 instead of September 2023. Subsequent batches will graduate in May each year.
As the number of terms of study remains the same, the tuition fees for this group of students will also remain the same, barring minor adjustments for each new cohort.
Existing students from previous intake cohorts will keep to their original academic calendar. Tuition fees will remain unchanged for these students.

Will students from the other cohorts be affected by this change in start of Academic Year?

No. Existing students from previous intake cohorts will continue to follow the original SUTD academic calendar.

What are the benefits of pushing the start of Academic Year from May to September?

In addition to the benefit of preserving SUTD’s signature pedagogy of cohort-based learning in light of the COVID-19 situation, the new academic calendar will also give more flexibility and choices to students to design their study plan at SUTD.
The new calendar now has three quarters of breaks for SUTD students, compared to only two breaks in the original calendar. Students can use this extra break to pursue their passions/interests, such as taking up more or longer internships, participating in multiple overseas experiences and immersion programmes, or even taking on extra credits to pursue a minor on top of a major and more.

Will matriculation day for the AY2020 intake cohort be postponed?

Although SUTD’s start of the Academic Year (AY) has shifted to September 2020, students who wish to join SUTD in May to enjoy the Special Summer Programme (SSP) prior to the start of AY in September can continue to matriculate via an online matriculation exercise.

Selected SSPs, particularly the Special Summer Integrated Learning Programme (SS ILP) Chemistry/Biology, and Computing are also available to students who choose to matriculate in June.

For students in the AY2020 intake who choose to enrol earlier in May, what are the programmes in the Special Summer Programme (SSP) that students can enjoy? Do students have to pay for these programmes?

Programmes in the SSP that students enrolling in May can enjoy include:

  • Academic programmes: Students will be allowed to take up to two credit-bearing modules. These include Freshmore modules offered in the SSP, as well as Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences electives.
  • Research activities: Those under the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme (UROP). Only for students who matriculate in May not for those who matriculate in June
  • Bridging programmes: These are Special Summer Integrated Learning Programmes (SS ILP) spanning 6 weeks each, including (1) Integrated Maths and Physics; (2) Integrated Chemistry and Biology; as well as (3) Computing) to help them better prepare for their studies when school begins.

These programmes will not incur additional fees beyond the usual university tuition fees.