Frequently Asked Questions
What can USP offer me?
Interdisciplinary and skills based learning that shapes independent, adaptable thinkers and doers who will make an impact in the world. USP offers a transformative learning environment through the small class sizes and diverse multidisciplinary community, structure curriculum that is targeted towards forming meaningful connections between different fields.
To learn more about USP, please visit
Is USP a scholarship?
No, there is no monetary scholarship tied to USP since it is an academic programme. Students also need not be on any scholarships to enter USP. We welcome all students who would like to join our community of Curious, Critical, Courageous, and Engaged individuals!
Do I have to pay to join USP?
No, you do not have to pay to be part of the academic programme. However, you would have to pay to reside in Cinnamon College.
To help students defray the cost of staying and studying at University Town, as well as in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements, leadership qualities and special talents, there are multiple Residential College (RC) and USP financial aid initiatives and scholarships in place.
More information can be found here:
How can USP help me in my job prospects?
USP offers diverse exposure opportunities to encourage students to explore beyond their own discipline, participate in activities outside of the classroom, and to broaden their perspectives both in and outside of Singapore. Our students grow to become more independent, adaptable thinkers and doers who will make an impact in the world.
Many of our alumni have charted their own paths in various domains and industries, click here to find out about their stories:
How is the selection process like?
Our selection approach is holistic. Together with your passion, motivation, and curiosity, you will be assessed on your academic performance, admissions essay, CCAs/ Community Involvement and Leadership. While academic performance is considered an important indicator of your capacity to thrive in USP's rigorous intellectual environment, it is not the sole determinant of the success of your application.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview with USP professors and/or alumni.
More information can be found at
How many students are accepted each year?
We admit around 220 students for each admission cycle.
Staying On Campus
What is the difference between USP and other Residential Colleges (RC) in NUS?
USP is a four-year academic programme with a residential component. We have our own academic curriculum that is different from other RCs/Programmes in NUS. Students in USP can choose to reside in Cinnamon College for the first year and two other semesters of their choice. Residential stay in not compulsory for all four years.
College of Alice & Peter Tan (CAPT) - Active citizenship and community engagement
RC4 - 'Small Systems Big Hearts', develops systems thinking using interdisciplinary issues
Tembusu - 'The Home of Possibilities'. Diversity is an important part of their ethos, and they offer learning opportunities across a broad spectrum of interests
For the 3 RCs stated above, it is a 2-year residential programme that accepts students from all faculties. Application is done through the joint RC application system. Students have to take 5 inter-disciplinary modules across 2 years, including 1 Junior Seminar, 2 Ideas and Exposition modules (writing and critical thinking), 2 Senior Seminars. Specific modules differ for each RC, and they replace one's General Education (GE) / Unrestricted Electives (UE) modules.
RVRC - Empower students to explore and engage with complex real world challenges, focusing on sustainability education and workplace readiness. It is a 2-year residency programme that only welcomes students from FASS/FOE/FOS/Biz/Computing/SDE. Students have to take 3 core modules in Year 1 (on sustainability, communication and workplace readiness); and Year 2 forums on respect, resilience and reflection.
Yale-NUS - Interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum. It is a 4-year residential programme. International students hail from over 60 different countries and make up more than 40% of the total student population in the College. Students are required to take 31% Common Curriculum, 34% Major and 35% Electives.
What is the difference between RC and Hall?
Generally, Residential Colleges (RCs) would have some academic components replacing some General Education (GE) / Unrestricted Electives (UE) modules. Hall does not share the same academic components. However, living in the Halls do give you the chance to read Hall modules, which are exclusive to Hall residents.
At the same time, existing Hall residents would need to take part in the Residence Admission Scheme (RAS) in order to reapply for their accommodation in the next year, which is mainly based on one’s contribution to the Hall in the previous year. This is not a requirement for RC residents.
Do I have to stay in Cinnamon College for all four years?
USP students are required to stay in Cinnamon College only in their first year, and another two semesters of their choice. If you wish to stay in Cinnamon College for more than two years, application approval will be subject to room availability and your progress in completing the USP requirements.
Is the meal plan compulsory? How much does it cost?
Yes, the meal plan is compulsory.
For breakfast, diners can choose from any one of the four available stations (Grab N Go, Malay/Indian (Halal), Chinese, Western) with free flow toast and drinks. For dinner, diners can choose from any one of the six available stations (Malay (Halal), Indian, Chinese, Noodles, Western & Vegetarian) with free flow salad and drinks.
Note: Prices may vary from year to year
How much does it cost to stay in Cinnamon College?
Note: Prices may vary from year to year
What is the USP curriculum like?
USP has a three-tier structure that strives to cultivate a strong core of interdisciplinary perspectives and skills for students to draw from. The three tiers are the Foundation tier, the Inquiry tier, and the Reflection tier. In total, students will take 3 Foundation modules, 8 Inquiry modules, and 1 Reflection module.
These 12 modules will take up 30% of an average student's academic requirements, with the other 70% going to the student's faculty requirements.
More information can be found at
Why must I join USP to get an interdisciplinary education? Can't I do that with my UEs/GE?
You can certainly gain exposure beyond your major through the General Education (GE) / Unrestricted Electives (UE) modules. USP is more than just interdisciplinary, it is also skills-based, focused on developing curiousity/critical thinking etc. The curriculum is rigorous on its own, and at the same time, it is complementary with one's major. The nature of USP modules may be different from that of GE/UE, providing a different form of value-add to a student's learning.
As a USP student, do I still need to read the Unrestricted Electives (UE) and General Education (GE) modules?
The USP modules that you take will replace part of the Unrestricted Electives (UE) modules. As a USP student, you do not have to take the same number of UE as non-USP students.
The USP modules you read will replace 4 of the 5 General Education (GE) pillars. All NUS students will have to read GER1000, the Quantitative Reasoning Pillar. In this aspect, our partner Faculties/Schools have already mapped out and incorporated the USP requirements into that of the USP students’ graduation requirements.
USP seems tough. Would the increased workload affect my grades?
For a student taking a single major, the total Modular Credits (MCs) taken should be the same. USP modules may replace your University Level Requirements such as General Education (GE) modules and part of your Unrestricted Electives (UE) modules. USP students are also exempted from certain requirements that non-USP students will have to fulfil.
The increased workload from USP might come in the form of academic rigour. This is a good opportunity to challenge yourself and explore many intriguing ideas.
Can I take a Double Degree/Double Major with USP?
It is possible to take both a Double Degree / Double Major with USP.
There are special academic requirements for Double Degree students. They take 4 less Inquiry modules instead of the usual 8 Inquiry modules.
Double Major students currently have the same academic requirements as with all single Degree students. Taking a Double Major with USP will indeed be more challenging than a Double Degree due to the candidature period of 4 years for single Degree students. However, USP does have Double Major students, and a variety of support networks have been put in place to ensure the welfare of all students.
What is the difference between NUS USP and other USP-like Programmes in NTU & SMU?
NTU USP - The key difference is that NTU-USP is tied to a monetary scholarship, with allowances for accomodation and travel grants. Students take the same number of Academic Units as a non-NTU USP student, with certain General Education (GE) and Unrestricted Electives (UE) modules replaced with NTU USP core and elective modules.
SMU GISA - The key difference is that SMU GISA is tied to a monetary scholarship. Students are required to take 4 Scholars' Core SMU-X modules which have a strong focus on experiential learning to develop leadership, decision making, complex problem solving skills, cognitive flexibility and effective communication.
I heard about the new College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS). If I apply to CHS, can I still apply to USP?
Yes, students applying to CHS may apply to USP too. Once CHS is established, it will become our partner faculty instead of FASS and FOS.
If College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS) offers a broad-based, interdisciplinary education, why should I still apply to USP?
While the motivation behind CHS may be similar to what we have been doing in USP, there are a few differences. The way CHS classes are delivered will be different from USP classes due to the larger class size. Additionally, when students do interdisciplinary modules in CHS, they do it with other CHS students, but when USP students do interdisciplinary modules, they do it with students from many different faculties and schools. Having many different types of students, who contribute different perspectives, is helpful for interdisciplinary learning - and all the more so when they live together.
USP is currently working closely with the university to see how CHS students can also be in USP, by allowing CHS students in USP to take USP modules that can count towards the core CHS curriculum.
Community & Opportunities
What is Life@USP like?
USP places great emphasis on creating a community that is open, collaborative, stimulating, nurturing, and unique to USP. Students get to interact with peers, alumni, faculty, staff and visitors on a wide range of projects. Through these, they learn to be sensitive to and familiar with contemporary issues both in Singapore and globally. Engaging with these issues empowers them to make a difference to the world while still at NUS.
There are numerous activities that USP students can participate in such as House Committees, University Scholars' Club, Interest Groups, Enrichment Activities, Community Services etc.
Join our e-Open Day to find out more about what Life@USP is like!
Does USP offer me the opportunity to participate in programmes outside Singapore?
International Programmes form an integral part of learning in USP. This is in line with our aim to provide opportunities for students to learn about global issues using interdisciplinary nodes of thinking, and from a Singapore perspective. More than 85% of USP students on on various international programmes which give them the chance to take learning outside of the classroom.
There are more than 40 international programmes in over 20 countries, comprising the following:
- Non-Credit Bearing International Programmes
- Cultural Immersion Programmes
- Joint Degree Programmes
- Double Degree Programmes
- Student Exchange Programmes
- Module Trips
Participation in USP international programmes is not compulsory, however, they are highly valued and popular among USP students.
Can I go on Student Exchange Programmes (SEP) and NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) if I am in USP?
Yes, you will be able to participate in these programmes even if you are in USP.
Students are allowed to map modules that they read overseas on SEP onto USP modules, subject to the approval of USP.
For students embarking on NOC, the whole of the NOC study experience would have been deemed to fulfil 4 Inquiry modules.