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How Can A College In Singapore Get University Status?

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College and University
 Alice Smith  Published On Feb 20,2020 | Updated on Sep 06,2022  General

How Can A College In Singapore Get University Status?

Often people, especially students, use the term ‘college’ and ‘university’ interchangeably. However, there exist a difference between college and university. Many are even under the impression that colleges are private schools and universities are state funded. However, it is time to debunk the wrong assumptions, so that the parents and students have accurate knowledge.

Let us delve right into the topic. 

What is the Difference between College and University in Singapore?

Just like any other country, colleges and universities in Singapore resemble two different types of educational institutions. Let us find out the college and university difference. 

Degrees Offered

Usually, colleges are smaller institutions when compared to universities. Colleges like Yale-NUS College, LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore offer undergraduate degrees. Most of the colleges offer a bachelor's degree, while some colleges offer associate degrees.

On the contrary, universities like Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The undergraduate programs lead the students towards a doctorate or master's degree. Moreover, some universities offer flexible solutions like pursuing both undergraduate and graduate programs at the same time.

Student Enrollment

Colleges have a limited number of seats when compared to a university. Furthermore, the fee structure is affordable due to the limited space. One downside of studying in a college is that the number of facilities provided is less.

Universities in Singapore have higher seat numbers, and the number of facilities that they offer is also more than that compared to the colleges. However, since the universities offer so many facilities, the fee structure is quite high.


Colleges in Singapore are part of a University. In fact, college rules and guidelines and most of the administrative decisions are set by the Universities, even though the schools and colleges operate autonomously. In most colleges, exam questions are even provided by the universities.

On the other hand, Universities in Singapore control a number of colleges and schools. For instance, Nanyang Technological University controls Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Polytechnic etc.

Now that you have a basic idea on the difference between university and college, let us take a look at the steps colleges need to take in order to get University status.

Steps Colleges in Singapore Need to Receive University Status

A Detailed Look into College vs. University

If you wish to know more about the difference between college and university, you need to take a look at the following section. You will get an idea of the parameters that colleges need in order to become a University.

The requirements are:


Colleges in Simei, Clementi and all over Singapore must have a graduate studies program along with the respective associated programs. Moreover, there should be separate staff responsible for administering the various professional and graduate programs.

Furthermore, the college should also have an undergraduate program that would result in a bachelor’s degree.


Colleges should have financial resources so as to support the advanced programs. This means that the colleges should have the capital to finance the lab equipments, the study materials related to a minimum of three different academic fields’ program.

Thus, both the graduate and the undergraduate programs should be financially supported by the colleges.


If you are wondering, “Is college and university the same thing?" there is one more aspect that colleges need in order to get University status, i.e., the accreditation. A college should be accredited first, depending on the laws in each state of Singapore. Moreover, colleges need to be incorporated and licensed within the state.

Once, the colleges fulfil the above mentioned requirements; they will get the University status after the entire application process is over.

What are the Similarities between Colleges and Universities?

All this time, we were focusing on the difference between colleges and universities. Now, let us have a look at the ways colleges and universities are similar to each other. Both the institutions:

  • Represent schools at the postsecondary level
  • Issue a bachelor's degree to the students
  • Offer advanced programs and scholarships (for college, it’s only up to the graduate level)
  • Engage in a rigid student assessment program (tests and assignments)
  • Offer Lab facilities to the students

Hopefully, now you have an insight into the similarities and differences between the universities and colleges in Singapore. However, if you are looking forward to getting into the top ten postsecondary schools in Singapore, you need to conduct a background check based on the degree you wish to pursue and you can get loan easily in Singapore. 

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