Unique Academic Structure

SUTD’s unique academic structure is designed around the following key concepts:

  • Interdisciplinary learning and research

  • Design focus and human-centred

  • Digital competency as a foundation

  • Addressing large-scale real-world problems

These concepts are further translated into our undergraduate and graduate curriculum. Read more about our Undergraduate curriculum.

Interdisciplinary Learning and Research

At SUTD, we adopt an interdisciplinary approach in structuring our curriculum and research. Instead of having departments organised along traditional disciplines and as separate independent schools or faculty, we offer interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programmes through four pillars and two clusters in the following areas:



Through these pillars and clusters, SUTD offers programmes designed to nurture technically-grounded innovators and leaders to provide products, systems, services and the built environment that better the world. 

Human-centred Design

Design at SUTD focuses on the creation of human-centred solutions. Design is the sum of ideas and expertise from different fields to create an effective, efficient and sustainable solution.
It goes beyond form and function to systems and interfaces with society, culture and the environment. Design should be purposeful. It improves lives, grow economy and society, and sustain the world. Design will also further take a new approach that is AI and data driven.
Design is everywhere at SUTD. It is a critical part of our curriculum and research. We focus on the full value-chain of design from conceptualisation, prototyping, manufacturing and maintenance of the solutions developed.

Digital Competency as a Foundation

We live in a fast evolving world and have to brace ourselves for digital transformation and the fourth industrial revolution. We believe that Artificial Intelligence, making sense of data and using the information are critical when designing solutions that better the world.

Therefore, at SUTD, digital competency, similar to Science and Mathematics, is a foundation. We ensure that all our students and researchers have competency in the areas of programming, statistics and probability, analytics and Artificial Intelligence. 

Addressing Large-scale Real-world Issues

In the 21st century, we face complex issues such as an ageing society, rapid urbanisation, cybersecurity, global warming, and sustainable development. Therefore, SUTD have set aside a multi-million dollar budget to spearhead our next phase of growth in three key economic sectors (Aviation, Cities, and Healthcare) supported by capabilities in artificial intelligence/data science to address some of these issues.

We will work with industry to develop a suite of integrated, multi-disciplinary programmes to enhance SUTD’s education and research offerings, to prepare our graduates for the future economy, and to support national growth priorities.