singapore medical school requirements for international students

Are you an international student? Are you interested in learning more about Singapore Medical School? Do you get overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting information you see online? If so, you need not search further because you will find the answer to that question in the article below.

To get more information on Singapore Medical School. You can also find up-to-date, related articles on Collegelearners.

Singapore has a world-class healthcare system. It is highly regarded, so much so that it is being reviewed as an example by the Obama administration’s healthcare team as it explores ways to reform the US healthcare system. 

In 2000, Singapore’s healthcare system was ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the best in Asia – ahead of Hong Kong and Japan.

The medical and health line has been a popular choice. So much so that some of the world’s first universities were medical schools turned into universities as there’s always a high need for doctors. 

What is Health & Medicine all about?

Medicine is the field of health and healing. Health is tightly related to doctors, nurses, and various other specialists. 

Medicine covers diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and unfit medical conditions, medical research, and many other areas of health. Conventional modern medicine is also referred to as allopathic medicine. This involves the use of drugs and surgery supported by lifestyle measures and counselling.

The complementary and alternative types of medicine include herbal medicine, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, art therapy, etc. The study of pre-clinical medicine and clinical medicine will teach you the many facets of a human body, how to diagnose and treat diseases.

You will spend five years in university – four if you only count the graduate course – then you’ll be able to work with patients. But, it will take many further years of training to become a specialist in a particular branch of medicine. 

What are the specialisations in Medicine?

Only about 38% of doctors are specialists in Singapore. Specialising requires a strong commitment from the doctor, as they will need it to continue living and breathing their respective fields for the rest of their career.

Here are the popular specialisations in Singapore:

1. Ophthalmology (Eye)
With one of the highest rates of myopia in the world and a greying population in Singapore, surgical procedures such as LASIK and the removal of cataracts are fast gaining prominence. 

2. ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat)
Similar to their eye doctor counterparts, otolaryngologists also enjoy mostly regular working hours. As the ears, nose and throat are all connected to the respiratory, ENT doctors tend to dabble in a little bit of all the other specialisations, making it a challenging and rewarding field.

3. Dermatology
With the constant humidity and the occasional haze, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy-looking complexion. Besides the regular office hours, dermatologists also get to try the latest state of the art skin treatments on themselves.

4. Obstetrics and Gynaecology (OBG)
The OBG doctor seeks to improve women’s health and aids in conceiving and maternity care. Beyond that, the real joy and satisfaction of the job come from delivering precious lives into the world and witnessing parents’ joy as they cradle their new-born babies.

5. Paediatrics
Perfect for those who once had dreams of becoming a teacher or childcare teacher, paediatrics combines medicine with the joy of working with children and young people. 

6. General Surgery
General surgery is the combination of all other specialisations and it hardly gets more hands-on than this. Although the hours can be horrible and constant surgeries can get very stressful, the cases they handle are vast in variety and interesting – ensuring they never fall into a routine and get bored.

What kind of subjects are taught in Health & Medicine course?

The subjects that you come across will vary, depending on the specialisation that you take in the major. 

A glimpse of subjects that are offered in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in National University of Singapore: 

Year 1
Introduction to Health & DiseaseFoundations of Human Biology: The CellMusculoskeletal SystemBlood, Respiratory & Cardiovascular SystemsRenal, Fluid & Electrolyte SystemsEndocrine & Reproduction SystemsNeuroscience with Head & NeckGastrointestinal, Nutrition & Metabolism Systems
Year 2
Genetics and GenomicsCancer BiologyImmunologyClinical Microbiology & InfectionPrinciples of Pharmacology and Systemic PharmacologyPrinciples of Pathology and Systemic PathologyDiagnostic RadiologyNeuroscience & MusculoskeletalFoundations in Geriatric MedicineClinical Skills Foundation Programme
Year 3
General MedicineMedicineFamily and Community MedicineGeneral SurgeryOrthopaedic SurgeryCommunity Health ProjectElectives
Year 4
Obstetrics and GynaecologyPaediatricsAcute Care comprising Anaesthesia and Emergency MedicinePsychological MedicineForensic MedicineOtolaryngologyOphthalmologyElectives
Year 5
Medicine Student Internship ProgrammeSurgery Student Internship ProgrammePaediatrics Student Internship ProgrammeGeriatric Medicine Student Internship ProgrammeOrthopaedic Surgery Student Internship ProgrammeDermatologyInfectious DiseasesClinical Skills and Life Support TrainingElectives

What are the skills and characteristics needed for Health & Medicine course?

skills for mbbs

Medicine degree suits those who are ready to make a long-term commitment to become a doctor. Check the following qualities before you decide on taking this course to ensure that you’re prepared:

1. Ability to work under pressure
Working as a doctor, you cannot afford to make mistakes as it can cost you your career, and maybe even your freedom. Therefore, doctors in general, are under a great deal of pressure on a daily basis and get paid a huge salary as a result.

2. Analysis of varied types of information
Diagnosing a patient involves understanding the symptoms exhibited and putting them together to understand what is wrong with the patient. The doctor may then treat the patient. 

3. Communication and interpersonal skills
In order to interact with patients and the general public, doctors must have excellent people skills. This includes being able to explain difficult subject matter while displaying empathy and compassion when dealing with patients. 

4. Integrity
Today, the role of a doctor is at risk of being reduced to doing what his/ her patient demands. The autonomy of the patient trumps all. A doctor must be able to maintain their integrity and conscience and refuse to participate in care that they reasonably believe to be harmful to the patient.

5. Attention to detail
If you have ever watched the television show “E.R.”, you’ll notice the incredible amount of detail that doctors pay attention to while simultaneously enduring a great deal of pressure. Did we mention the ability to work under pressure is one key trait of becoming a doctor?

Top universities in Singapore that offer MBBS

The table below showcases the top universities in Singapore for their Health & Medicine course, according to QS Universities:

UniversityPrograms Offered
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS)UndergraduateGraduateResearch Programmes in Medicine & Nursing
Academy of Medicine Singapore Postgraduate medical education & advanced speciality
Duke – NUS Graduate Medical School SingaporeM.D.PhD
Nanyang Technological UniversityMBBSPhD
Singapore Institute of TechnologyBSc in Diagnostic TherapyBSc in Radiation Therapy

What is the career outlook for MBBS graduates from Singapore like?

career for mbb

As mentioned previously, the career opportunity for this major is great and can always be found across industries and sectors. 

Here are some of the career options that you can consider as a graduate:

  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Midwifery
  • Medical research and development
  • Paramedics
  • Emergency medical
  • Paediatrician
  • Physician
  • Medical teacher
  • Clinical forensic medical examiner 
  • Therapist
  • Surgeon
  • Anaesthetist
  • Chiropractor
  • Obstetrician 
  • Psychiatrist

The wage that you will make while working in this field in Singapore is comparatively high, but it is not the same across, depending on the occupation.

The below table showcases the different types of jobs that a graduate from Health & Medicine in Singapore and the expected salary according to PayScale:

OccupationEstimated Salary
Doctor SGD80,000 – 300,000 per year
NurseSGD40,000 – 65,000 per year
MidwiferySGD85,000 – 120,000 per year
Medical researcherSGD80,000 – 120,000 per year
PaediatricianSGD60,000 – 280,000 per year
SurgeonSGD150,000 – 450,000 per year

How long is the duration of studies for MBBS course in Singapore?

The duration of studies will depend on the level of studies that is taken. 

Bachelor’s Degree5 years
Master’s Degree1-4 years

What are the entry requirements to study Health & Medicine in Singapore?

Each university has different entry requirements and the list below does not generalise the entry requirement of universities in Singapore as a whole. 

Undergraduate
STPMA pass in SPM / O-Level or equivalent with 5 credits including English and Mathematics with a pass in Bahasa Melayu and History in SPM
EnglishIELTS (minimum 7.0 overall), TOEFL (minimum 600 or 100) 
A LevelA good H2 pass in Chemistry and H2 pass in either Biology or Physics
International Baccalaureate DiplomaA good Pass in HL Chemistry and either HL Biology or HL Physics
Additional pre-requisiteInterview, personal statement, referee reports (for some universities)
Postgraduate
Bachelor’s DegreeGood results
Working experienceMin. 6 months (vary on the universities)
EnglishIELTS (minimum 7.0 overall), TOEFL (minimum 650 or 100)
Additional prerequisitesPass interview (for some universities)
Supporting documentsRecommendation letter, updated CV 

What are the tuition fee structures to study Health & Medicine courses in Singapore?

There is a different variant to tuition fees in Singapore, depending on the course and university that is chosen. 

The estimated tuition fee per year for Health & Medicine course in the top universities in Singapore can be seen here:

ProgrammeEstimated Fees (per year)
Bachelor’s Degree (except Nursing)SDG 150,000
Bachelor’s Degree (Nursing)SGD 40,000
Master’s DegreeSGD 80,000 – 120,000

The fee above only covers the tuition fee and not other additional fees nor living expenses. 

Living expenses of students in Singapore depend on the location of the university and the city that you live in.

Ultimate Guide to Singapore Medicine Applications (2021)

There are two schools in Singapore offering the undergraduate MBBS degree: NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. Duke-NUS Medical School is Singapore’s only graduate-entry medical school.

This article focuses on applying to undergraduate medicine (MBBS) in Singapore. As a complete guide, it integrates the admissions processes for both NUS YLL and NTU LKC, so that you can consider both side by side. Useful hyperlinks are provided throughout the article to direct you to the specific pages on the school’s websites. If you choose to apply for only one of the two schools, simply reference the information for your chosen school.

Important Deadlines (2021)

Application deadline: 19 March 2021

DATESUBMISSION
9 March 2021Application for NUS Medicine Aptitude-Based Admissions Scheme (ABAS)
Referee report for NUS Medicine Aptitude-Based Admissions Scheme (ABAS)
19 March 2021Application for NUS Medicine Standard Scheme Application for NTU Medicine
25 March 2021Referee report for NUS Medicine Standard Scheme

Entry Requirements

The academic pre-requisites are similar for both NUS and NTU Medicine, and are summarised below.

QUALIFICATIONSREQUIREMENTS
Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘A’ Level CertificateH2 pass in Chemistry and H2 pass in either Biology or Physics.
​International BaccalaureatePass in Higher Level Chemistry and pass in either Higher Level Biology or Physics.
NUS High School DiplomaMajor CAP of 2.0 in Chemistry and either Biology or Physics, and CAP of 1.0 in one other major and in English Programme and Research Project.
Polytechnic Diploma​A good GPA in a Health Science-related diploma.
International and other qualificationsPass in Higher Level Chemistry and pass in either Higher Level Biology or Physics.

This is an overview of the required documents for each medical school:

NUS MEDICINE (4 DOCUMENTS)NTU MEDICINE (4 DOCUMENTS)
• Personal statement (500 words)
• List of achievements
• Official testimonial
• 2 referee reports
• Academic results
• BMAT scores
• Personal statement (300 words)
• 2 reference reports

Application Process

For a concise application timeline, please refer to the Medical School Application Timeline (includes both Singapore and UK medicine applications).

1. Request for Referee Reports

Both NUS and NTU medicine require you to nominate two referees.

Who to nominate? Usually, you would nominate your Civics Tutor and one other teacher of an academic subject (preferably one who has taught you for two years and knows you reasonably well). Note: NTU Medicine specifically requires that one of the referees must be the applicant’s Civics Tutor/form teacher (GCE A-Level, IB, NUSHS) or personal tutor/mentor (Polytechnic).

When to ask? Inform your teachers as early as possible of your intent to apply. Deadlines for submitting references are very tight and they will likely be writing for many other students. Your school may set specific internal deadlines. If none are given, good practice would be to inform your referees latest immediately after Prelims (during the post-Prelim period) for local applications. Politely remind them again after the A-Level results release, clearly indicating the specific deadlines.

What to prepare? You will have to provide your referees with details on what you’ve done or accomplished in your two years in JC, and what makes you a suitable candidate for Medicine. It will be good if you already have a portfolio on hand that you can send to them. You can take a look at the NUS Medicine Sample Referee Report (PDF) for an idea of what they’re looking out for.

2. Prepare Your Portfolio

Ideally, this is an ongoing process. The best practice would be to consistently add to your portfolio as you go through JC. (In reality, that seldom happens, and we often find ourselves, near graduation, trying to crank out paragraphs for every single activity we’ve been involved in over the past two years.)

Having sections will be helpful. As an example:  

  1. Academic awards e.g. scholarship
  2. Academic contribution e.g. academic competitions, research projects, H3 subjects
  3. CCA and leadership positions e.g. CCA exco, student council
  4. Community involvement e.g. volunteering, service learning project, OCIP
  5. Work experience e.g. attachment or job shadowing, internship
  6. Other relevant experiences

For each activity, include the following details:

  • Start date, end date, and duration
  • Your role
  • Organisation or beneficiary
  • Brief description

In each “Brief description”, include details of what you did and any significant contributions. As a general guide, keep it to around 100 words. (That is the word limit for the NUS Medicine Portfolio CCA List).

It would be great if you can write reflections for every experience as well. However, these are more for your personal statement and do not have to be included in your portfolio.

3. Take the BMAT (for NTU Medicine only)

The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is a two-hour admissions test comprising three sections. It is required for admission into NTU Medicine (due to its partnership with Imperial College London).Read: How to Prepare for the BMAT: The Ultimate Guide

4. Write Your Personal Statement

If you’re applying to both NUS and NTU Medicine, you’ll have to write two separate personal statements, since the words limits are different. My advice is to write the 500-word NUS essay first, then condense it to 300 words for NTU.Read: How to Write Your Medicine Personal Statement (Singapore): The Complete Guide

5. Fill in the Online Application (CCA List for NUS Medicine only)

NUS MEDICINE (2 STEPS)NTU MEDICINE (1 STEP)
Apply through the NUS Office of Admissions portal. Submit the NUS Medicine Portfolio.Apply through the NTU application portal.

Besides all the personal particulars and supporting documents etc that you should already have on hand, there is one extra item that you have to prepare for NUS Medicine: a List of Achievements.  

Here’s where you write about your top 10 achievements and the activities over the past 2 to 3 years, max 100 words each.

Students of the NUS medical school are being put through a clinical curriculum that gives increased emphasis to geriatric medicine. This is aimed at turning out doctors who are able to competently care for the increasing number of older people in the Singaporean population.

Forecasting, identifying and then preparing its graduates for emerging and future medical and healthcare challenges and roles is something that the School, established 110 years ago this July, believes is key to its ability to fulfill its mission as the fountainhead of Singapore’s medical workforce.

From dysentery, kernicterus and malaria in the early years of Singapore, to SARS, bird flu, heart disease, cancer and diabetes today – the range of health issues tackled by graduates of the NUS medical school over the course of more than a century is a medical journey that parallels and traces Singapore’s metamorphosis from a British colony in the 1900s to the modern city it is today, notes the Dean of the School, Dr Yeoh Khay Guan.

As Singapore grew, developed and prospered, the forerunner of the National University of Singapore similarly evolved. It is an integral part of the country’s biomedical initiative, collaborating with other research-focused institutions here, like the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, the National Research Foundation and the Biomedical Research Council on innovative and important discovery work that will benefit Singapore’s population health and that of Asian societies in general.

Alumni, the Core of Country’s Healthcare System

While technology’s role as an enabler allows the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine today to ramp up its educational and research missions, the medical school hews closely to its founding vision – to train doctors for Singapore. Today, the School’s graduates comprise the backbone of Singapore’s healthcare system, with many in leadership roles, adds Dr Yeoh. “The great majority of doctors in Singapore are our graduates. We’re proud of the health system and the standards that our graduates have built.” A number of alumni have gone further, having been appointed to high public office, with a President, a Speaker of the House, three serving Cabinet ministers and a succession of Directors of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health at last count.

Training Tomorrow’s Healthcare Professionals Today

An immediate challenge however is the population health issues presented by Singapore’s growing numbers of senior citizens and the concomitant increase in age-related diseases. It has led the School to overhaul its undergraduate and postgraduate medical and nursing curriculum, expand its faculty teaching numbers and invest heavily in educational technology. The aim is to give the 300 young men and women who enrol in the MBBS as well as the 100 enrolled for the Bachelor of Nursing degree programmes every year a sound clinical foundation so that these doctors and nurses of the future are able to operate effectively in tomorrow’s setting.

Rooted in the Community

Working with a multicultural population that will consist of a large number of aged people means NUS Medicine graduates must possess more than clinical knowledge. Strong people skills are essential to communicate sensitively and effectively with their patients. Empathy has to be a key trait of a doctor’s demeanour, says the Dean. It is something that selectors look out for during admission interviews for the MBBS, where every candidate has a resume that includes sterling academic records.

“It’s not just about the competent delivery of medical care. That is expected. Our graduates have got to have the DNA, the values of the School pulsing in them. We want doctors who understand what a privilege it is to serve, and whose care for their patients is motivated by compassion and respect.”

It is a value that he wants NUS Medicine students to be bred on in their formative years at the School, whose establishment was due in large part to the generous support of the local community in the 1900s. “Singapore’s early pioneers helped set up the medical school. We must always remember how we came to be and understand that the NUS medical school owes its birth to the people of Singapore and it’s the people that we serve. That is our responsibility and privilege, it is the fundamental purpose of our existence as an institution of higher learning and it is also what sets us apart,” says Dr Yeoh, who graduated in 1987.

The bonds between the School and the Singaporean community have been accentuated and strengthened in recent years through health screenings that cater to the residents of rental HDB apartments, lower-income families as well as the elderly. These yearly screenings are organised and led by medical students, who are also joined by their counterparts from Nursing and the Social Sciences as well as Dentistry in recent times. Residents whose screening tests require further investigation are then referred to polyclinics for follow-up treatment and attention.

Studying Medicine – What If You Do Not Qualify for Medical Schools in Singapore

Medical schools anywhere in the world is high competitive! Even with stellar academic results, applicants will need to ace the interview to be given a place in medical schools in Singapore. To be qualified to practice medicine in Singapore, you will need to have graduated from a medical school at one of these universities:

  1. Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore
  2. Duke-NUS Medical School
  3. Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at the Nanyang Technological University
  4. Overseas universities recognised by the Singapore Medical Council

Nearly 2,000 students apply to study Medicine at NUS every year and about 1000 are shortlisted for interviews to fill 280 places. These 2,000 students are very likely to have also applied to study medicine at NTU. NTU’s medicine has only 150 spots. Duke-NUS accepts about 60 to 70 students in each cohort. So if you do not get a spot in any of these universities in Singapore, you may have to consider medical schools at overseas universities recognised by the Singapore Medical Council.

Unable to Gain Admissions to NUS or NTU Medical Schools? Read here:

  1. If you are unable to afford an overseas education, you may start with doing a 3-4 years science related degree e.g. biomedical science, at a local university and apply to a M.D. program at Duke-NUS or at one of the SMC recognised universities.
  2. Apply to overseas universities recognised by the Singapore Medical Council. Popular countries are Australia, the UK and the USA. Find out more from us about this option.
  3. Re-do your A Levels in the U.K. Find out more from us about this option.

Studying Medicine in Australia

Most medical programs in Australia are 5-7 years. Most Australian universities have stopped their undergraduate MBBS and have moved to a graduate entry M.D. Monash University offers a 5 year direct entry Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) offers a 6 year direct entry Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine (M.D.).

Students with a bachelor degree (3-4 years) are eligible to apply for the 4 year M.D. programs are offered by University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney and University of Western Australia. Australian National University offers a 4 year MChD program.

If you do not meet the entry requirements for a Bachelor degree in Australia, you may consider the following:
1. Enrol in a 18 months High Achievers Preparation Program (HAPP) offered by Taylors College leading to the University of Sydney
2. Enrol in a 1 year foundation program in Australia

Study Medicine in the UK

Admissions to medical schools in the UK are also highly competitive. Students would usually requires AAA for A level or 38 points and above for IB. The duration for most MBBS programs are 6 years.

If you do not meet the entry requirements for a MBBS program int he UK, you may consider the following:
1. Enrol in an A level program in the UK
2. Enrol in a science degree followed by a graduate entry M.D. in Australia, Singapore or USA. if you do not qualify for a science degree in the UK, you may also consider doing the A level or a 1 year foundation program in the UK.

Studying Medicine in the US

Admissions to medical schools in the U.S. are extremely competitive. A 4 year bachelor degree is required before being eligible to apply for a 4 year M.D. program. The good news is many universities in the U.S. accepts O level for the 4 year Bachelor degree program. Students do not require A level to be admitted to most U.S. universities. One affordable option is to start from a 2 year Associate Degree at a community college in the U.S. and transfer to the junior year (3rd year) at a university for the bachelor degree program (2+2). Tuition fees at community colleges ranges from USD 10,000 to USD 12,000 a year. Not all medical schools in the U.S. accepts international students so you are required to check the Associate of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to find out which colleges accept international students.

MBBS

Entry Requirements

Application Process

September to OctoberRegister for The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
OctoberSit for BMAT
October to Mid-MarchOnline Admission Application
AprilSelection Interview (Multiple Mini Interviews)
April to JuneOffer and Acceptance
June to JulyHealth Screening
July Matriculation


All applications to LKCMedicine must be submitted online between October and mid-March via the NTU application portal here​. Applications must include the following information:

  • Academic results
  • BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) scores
  • Personal statement
  • Essay on achievements beyond schools’ co-curricular activities and online appraisal form from one to two appraisers (If applicant would like to be considered under the Aptitude-based Admissions scheme)
  • Two referee reports (One of the referees must be the applicant’s Civics tutor/form teacher (GCE A-level, IB, NUSHS and international qualifications) or personal tutor/mentor (Polytechnic).)

Academic Qualifications

Applicants should possess the requisite pre-university qualifications to be admitted to the LKCMedicine MBBS programme. Predicted grades are not accepted for admissions. Current final-year high school students, whose actual high school graduation / national examination results, would be available after April of the Academic Year will not be eligible to apply for Medicine programme in that same Academic Year.

QualificationsRequirements​​
Singapore-CambridgeGCE A-Level CertificationH2 Pass in Chemistry and H2 Pass in either Biology or Physics.All H2 subjects and attempted General Paper (GP) or Knowledge & Inquiry (KI) must be taken at one sitting.Meet Mother Tongue Language (MTL) requirement
​International Baccalaureate DiplomaPass in HL Chemistry and Pass in either HL Biology or Physics.Meet Mother Tongue requirement.More details can be found 
National University of Singapore High School DiplomaMajor CAP of 2.0 in Chemistry and either Biology or Physics
CAP of 1.0 in one other major and in English Programme
Meet Mother Tongue requirement
More details can be found
Polytechnic Diploma​A good GPA in a Health Science-related diploma.A list of relevant diplomas can be found 
International Qualifications​A list of acceptable international qualifications can be found .For further advice on other international qualifications, you may contact NTU Office of Admissions​.

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

Applicants will have to register for the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and take the BMAT as part of the criteria for entry to the LKCMedicine MBBS programme.
Those applying to the AY2021/22 intake of LKCMedicine, should take BMAT in November 2020, prior to applying to LKCMedicine. Only results of the BMAT taken in the 12-month period prior to admission to LKCMedicine will be considered in the selection process.
The BMAT is produced, administered and marked by the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing, which is working with two test agents in Singapore: Regional Language Centre Examinations Bureau (RELC EB) and British Council, Singapore (BC). Students from the Singapore school system may register with the RELC EB. Students outside the Singapore school system may do so with the British Council, Singapore. A copy of the BMAT leaflet can be downloaded 
Students who are not residing in Singapore can find an authorised test centre

MBBS in Singapore is a 5 year degree offered by only two universities. The country houses the Asia’s top university National University of Singapore, which is ranked 11th in the world by the QS News Ranking of 2020. For medicine, it is placed in the 21st position. Despite being an expensive city, funding is readily available and the unemployment rate is also negligible at 2.2%.

  • The average cost of study is 28,004 SGD per year which is considered cheaper than the UK or the USA.
  • Government scholarships for international students in Singapore like the Ministry of Education tuition grant scheme cover a portion of the living costs also.
  • According to WHO, Singapore is ranked 6th in the world for its health care systems.
  • There is a lot of scope after completing MBBS in Singapore universities with an average salary of doctors being 96,499 SGD – 109,668 SGD per annum. 

Following are some other reasons for pursuing MBBS from Singapore:

  • Expenditure on Education: Singapore has a literacy rate of about 94.45%. It spends nearly 19.6% of its total revenue on education with 35.28% of the share on higher education only. There are about 2.35 doctors for every 1000 people in Singapore.
  • High Employability: Singapore has a high rate of employment, accounting to nearly 88%. It has an unemployment rate as low as 2.2%. 
  • Easy accessibility of scholarships: The Ministry of Education in Singapore offers tuition grants to international students. As per the scholarship deed, a student has to stay back after the course completion and work to pay off the loan amount. 
  • Permanent Residency: About 82% of the candidates get successful Permanent Residency out of all the applied. Over the last decade, there has been a steady rise in the number of international students granted Permanent Residency. Till 2017, it stood at 6000.
  • Safe environment: Singapore had topped the Law and Order Index for 5 consecutive years as per a global study published in 2018. The environment is favourable and conducive. According to Gallup, 94% of adults in Singapore feel comfortable while travelling at night which is much higher than the global average. Also, the Global Smart City Performance Index had named it as the safest city in 2017.
  • Multicultural Ethnicity: Singapore is the melting pot of culture. There are over four official languages that include English, Malay, Tamil and Chinese.

Universities for MBBS in Singapore

Only two universities, namely National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang University of Technology offer MBBS in Singapore. A brief summary of them is provided below:

FeatureNational University of SingaporeNanyang University of Technology
School Offering MBBSYong Loo Lin School of MedicineLee Kong Chian School of Medicine
Program Duration5 years5 years
Annual Program Fees (in SGD)61,85070,500
QS News World University Ranking for Medicine 202021
THE World University Ranking 20202548

Course Curriculum of MBBS in Singapore

The curriculum of MBBS in Singapore is divided into 5 phases. Phase 1 and 2 consists of general subjects related to medicine and human anatomy. They build a foundational knowledge of students. Phase 3, 4 and 5 delves deeper into the field and teaches specifics of medicine and surgery. Students are given options to choose electives in these last three phases.

Some of the courses taught in various phases are:

Foundations of Human Biology: The CellMusculoskeletal System
Endocrine & Reproductive SystemsCancer Biology
Principles of Pharmacology and Systemic PharmacologyNeuroscience & Musculoskeletal
MedicineOrthopaedic Surgery
Obstetrics and GynaecologyForensic Medicine
DermatologyAcute Care comprising Anaesthesia and Emergency Medicine
ImmunologyClinical Skills Foundation Programme

Practical training is part of each course and universities ensure this with the help of tie-ups with hospitals and medical clinics. 

Admission Process of MBBS in Singapore

MBBS in Singapore is considered a first degree. Hence, students completing a high school diploma can directly apply to this program. 

Where to Apply: Students can apply for admission in Singapore universities directly via the official website. 

Admission Requirements for MBBS in National University of Singapore

Students can apply via two methods for the MBBS program in NUS. Shortlisted students are invited for an interview. 

  • Option 1: Normal Scheme

All the applicants are firstly considered for admission via normal scheme. Following are the requirements for this route: 

  • Completion of senior secondary diploma or Class 12
  • High school and senior school completion certificates
  • Passing score in 5 subjects including English
  • Passing score in University Entrance Exam (UEE)
  • Option 2: Aptitude-Based Admission

If you are not shortlisted for admission via normal route, you have the option of reapplying through aptitude-based admission route. You have to submit a medicine portfolio to apply via this route. Requirements of medicine portfolio are:

  • A personal statement of approximately 500 words
  • List of co-curricular activities
  • Official certificate of junior college or high school
  • Nomination of two 2 referees who will complete online referee report

Admission Requirements for MBBS in Nanyang Technological University

  • Completion of 12 years of education or appearing for the final year of high school exam
  • Passing score in NTU entrance exam
  • BMAT test score
  • Personal statement of approximately 300 words
  • Completed online referee report by at least two individuals
  • Non-academic achievements (in any)
  • Pass standardised set of screening and vaccination requirements set by the Ministry of Health, Singapore
  • Criminal record declaration 
  • Interview of shortlisted students

English Proficiency Requirements for International Students

International students are required to demonstrate proficiency in English langauge by submitting TOEFL/IELTS scores. The average IELTS score accepted is 6.5.

Visa Requirements for International Students

After receiving the letter of offer from the particular Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) student has to register for a Student Pass in Singapore. The application has to be made via SOLAR , that requires the applicant to fill eForm 16. The applicant must pay a fee of 21.74 SGD while registering and 43.48 SGD after successful acceptance. 

Students must have the following documents to apply for student pass: 

  • A valid travel document
  • Offer Letter from the college
  • Notification from the applied institute
  • 4 passport size photograph
  • Permanent address and contact information in Singapore
  • Personal Email ID
  • A compilation of residential, academic, employment and financial records Information on parents (if needed).

After arrival, a student is required to submit three things namely Passport, Original copy of IPA and the D/E card.

Cost of Studying MBBS in Singapore

Studying abroad has basically three types of expenses associated with it: Pre-arrival Cost, Tuition Fees and Cost of Living.

Pre-arrival Cost

Following are the one-time expenses that you might have to pay before arrival to the country: 

Type of ExpenseCost (in SGD)
Application Fees10 – 30
IELTS365
TOEFL355
Visa Fee65

Cost of Living in Singapore

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s worldwide cost of living report, Singapore has been placed above all other countries. It is considered to be the most expensive city in the world. However, a student can make choices accordingly to save more, like one can opt for a renter shared apartment or an on-campus residency over a furnished fully-owned flat or choose public transport over a personal car.

Following table provides an average cost of living in Singapore for students: 

Types of ExpensesCosts (in SGD)
Monthly rent (900sqft) in normal area$2,636
Basic meal (lunch and dinner)$12 for lunch and $54 for dinner
Internet 8mbps for a month$43
1 min of prepaid tariff (without any plans)$0.25
Monthly ticket for public transport$91
Utilities like electricity, gas etc (monthly cost)$160

Accommodation Available for Students in Singapore

There are majorly two types of accommodation in Singapore available for students. 

  • On-campus: Halls of residence and student residences are offered by many colleges catering especially to their international students. However, there is a shortage in the number of halls in comparison to the active number of full-time students opting for it.
  • Off-campus: This arrangement is more readily available to students. There are Housing Development Board flats that are available for 1590 SGD – 2022 SGD. The cost range varies with factors such as type of room, location and condition of the room. Apart from that, there are shared flats or self-owned flats accessible to the international students.

Scholarships for MBBS in Singapore

As per Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, out of 70,000 international students in Singapore 3000 are Indians. Also, 52% of international students in Singapore are eligible to borrow from their top banks. 

Some of the grants and scholarships for international students in Singapore are provided below: 

MOE Tuition Grant Scheme: As per the grant an international student is eligible to borrow a loan amount after the letter of invitation from his/her host college. 

  • There is no stipulated loan amount mentioned. 
  • The borrower must sign the 3-year bond, and stay back after course completion to pay off the grant money.
  • The deadline for the application depends upon the host college.
  • For NUS the special term 1 is between 25-29th May 2020, and special term 2 is between 6-10th July 2020. 

ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship: The ASEAN scholarship is meant for undergraduate students studying in Singapore. The scholarship aims to pay off the remaining tuition fee after sanctioning of the MOE scheme. 

  • The living allowance offered is around 4206.42 SGD per/year. T
  • Three major institutions that accept the grant are National University of Singapore(NUS), National Technical University(NTU) and Singapore Management University(SMU). 
  • The deadline for the scholarship is 14-15th October.

Dr Goh Keng Swee Scholarship: Dr GKS Scholarship is accessible to students from Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, PRC, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. 

  • The scholarship is for colleges like NUS, NTU, SMU or SUTD. 
  • The applicant must reflect leadership qualities and with a fairly good record of co-curricular activities. 
  • The scholarship covers tuition fees, airfare, an annual allowance of 6500 SGD, hostel allowance as per chosen college and an additional allowance of 200 SGD after arrival. The official deadline for the scholarship is 15th March.

There are other scholarships offered by host colleges like Undergraduate Scholarships at NUS, and the SMART Scholarship Program. 

For the scholarships awarded by host colleges, the eligibility criteria is quite high as most of them are merit-based. The applicants must have a GPA of 3.8 or above with an ACT score of 31 or SAT score of 1430. The applicant must also hold a place within the top 5% of his/her class.

Scope for MBBS in Singapore

INSEAD placed Singapore on the 7th position in its Global Innovation Index for the year 2015. The World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness Report has placed Singapore in the 2nd position. 

  • As per payscale.com and salaryexplorer.com, General Practice Physicians in Singapore are paid approximately 97,299 SGD – 1,11,184 SGD per annum. 
  • Also, the Doctors Directory of Singapore puts a figure of 30,02,305 SGD as the annual salary of Senior Specialist Doctors working in hospitals.

As per the ranking of the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, the healthcare facilities in Singapore is placed at number 3 in the world. Medical Practitioners are rated highly in Singapore. Doctors can work in two types of healthcare facilities broadly divided into Private and Public Healthcare.

  • Private Healthcare facilities offer better services and the waiting hours is also minimum but the price is slightly higher than public facilities.
  • Public Healthcare facilities are usually divided into 6 clusters. They set high standards for hi-tech equipment, cost efficiency and more hospital beds.

How to Become a Medical Doctor in Singapore

1. English Proficiency requirements in Singapore

In order to become a medical doctor in Singapore, the easiest way is to study in one of its medical universities. Either to enter university or to practice as a doctor in Singapore afterwards (assuming you get your degree abroad and come to settle in Singapore), you will need to be fluent in English and also speak Malay, Singapore’s official language.

However, the National University of Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University, and the Duke-NUS Medical School programs are taught in English. If this is not your native language, you’ll be required to submit proof of your language level, otherwise, you can simply apply to university with your high school records as explained below.

2. Study medicine in Singapore if possible

Singapore is known all over the world for its excellent research facilities and it’s a great idea to study medicine in Singapore if you are planning to become a doctor in Singapore. Both for the experience of studying and for the easier integration in the system in Singapore, it’s recommended that you apply to a medical university in the country. There are three medical schools: the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University, and the Duke-NUS Medical School.

Admission to the medical schools of Singapore is based on your high school GPA for the first two, and you would be required to have studied Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, or to have an International Baccalaureate in these subjects. In the first two universities, the program to become a doctor is an MBBS – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Science, and it takes five years to graduate.

However, if you choose to attend the Duke-NUS Medical School, you will be enrolling in an American style of institution where you’ll have to have obtained a bachelor’s degree before applying, take the MCAT admissions test, and then go through a three-year MD training program. The advantage of the Duke-NUS school is the international recognition of the degree, so it may be better suited for those who are not looking to work as doctors in Singapore.

3. Required tests and residency

The Singapore Medical Council requires all medical school graduates to complete a housemanship after being awarded the medical degree. Once this is completed, you will need to register at SMC and seek employment in a medical institution. Becoming accredited to work as a doctor means you have become a House Officer, and this is conditional upon getting a work offer and filing the appropriate paperwork, as described here depending on whether you have just graduated or are a practicing specialist or non-specialist.

4. Becoming a Licensed Doctor in Singapore

The process for getting a medical license once you have graduated with an MBBS degree in Singapore, is to register with the Singapore Medical Council and submit all your credentials in order to be allowed to practice. Once you have this sign-off as described above, your employer will be notified by the SMC and you will be able to work as a doctor.

If you are a foreign-trained doctor, getting a medical license involves first having your medical degree certified by the Singapore Medical Council, and there may be additional tests required before the SMC is satisfied to award you a medical license. In order to then work as a doctor, you’ll also need to obtain an Employment Pass.

5. Work Visa in Singapore

A work visa is known as an Employment Pass in Singapore. You will need to meet qualifications such as good academic background, past working experience and other skills, making this the equivalent of a highly-skilled migrant visa. There is also a minimum wage requirement for a full-time job, of $3,600 monthly. This means you will need to apply for work and have a work offer ready before you can secure an Employment Pass.

Normally, your employer should assist you with the application as it also involves you providing a number of supporting documents about your place of work.

6. Finding Jobs in Hospitals

In order to work as a doctor in Singapore, you’ll need to obtain an Employment Pass if you are not a citizen. This means that you should have already been offered a job in a Singaporean hospital beforehand. It is through your employing hospital that you can also apply to register with the Singapore Medical Council and get accredited to work as a doctor.

The best way to ensure you find a job in Singapore is to look online or employ a job search agency.

7. Starting your own practice in Singapore

If you want to start your own practice, you should first have become accredited as a doctor in Singapore and secured a work permit, but ideally you should have some experience which will allow you to get the work permit and the accreditation much more easily.

8. Procedure for foreign-trained doctors to become a doctor in Singapore

The Singapore Medical Council is in charge of recognizing the degrees and skills of international medical graduates. Therefore, you’ll need to check that you meet their prerequisites to become a doctor in Singapore:

  • Holding a basic medical degree from a university listed in an approved list to be found
    • Or having a postgraduate qualification recognized by the SMC or being accredited already by the Specialists Accreditation Board
  • Having a job offer in an SMC-approved healthcare institution
  • Being active in clinical practice
  • Having passed accreditation in your country of origin or the country in which your medical degree was awarded
  • Fulfilling the English language requirements of the SMC.
BMAT Registration
Regional Language Centre Examinations Bureau (RELC EB)Make payment at AXS station.
Submit online registration form via RELC EB website.For more details, visit the RELC EB website.
​British Council, SingaporeDownload form from the British Council, Singapore​ website (for students outside the Singapore school system).Submited completed form in person at the British Council, Singapore office, or post it to the British Council, Singapore, together with a cheque.
Key Dates
September​​​​BMAT registration opens
​OctoberBMAT standard registration closes
(Late fees will apply for late registration)
End October​BMAT takes place
​Late November​Release of BMAT results
BMAT Fees & Financial Assistance
Fees
The BMAT 2020 fee is published on the RELC EB and British Council, Singapore websites.

Financial Assistance
BMAT Financial assistance is available for students currently under the MOE Financial Assistant Scheme (MOE FAS). MOE FAS guidelines can be found here​. Students should submit their online registration form via RELC EB website, and pass a copy of the printed online registration form and non-subsidised portion of the fees to their schools. For more details, visit the RELC EB website.

Polytechnic students should seek advice from their polytechnics on their eligibility for financial assistance.

Referee Reports

Applicants are required to nominate two individuals to complete the online referee report. One of the referees must be the applicant’s Civics tutor/form teacher (GCE A-level, IB, NUSHS and international qualifications) or personal tutor/mentor (Polytechnic). 

The online referee report is in question-and-answer format. There are two questions which will take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Instructions and login details will be provided to applicants who will in turn forward the login information to their referees. 

Personal Statement

Applicants to the MBBS programme will have to submit a personal statement as part of the application process.

The personal statement is an essay of not more than 300 words, introducing the applicant including, but not limited to, the reasons for wishing to study medicine and of any experience that may have driven the desire to become a doctor. Leadership experience and teamwork ability should be highlighted. The personal statement must be furnished in the application form, and it may be followed up at the interview stage.

Non-Academic Achievements (NAA) / Aptitude-based Admissions (ABA)

All applicants must achieve the minimum academic requirements. Applicants who are nevertheless concerned about the competitiveness of their academic scores, and have other exceptional talents they wish to draw attention to, should also complete the NAA/ABA portion of the online application form.

Interviews

Applicants will be selected for interview around April each year on the basis of their online applications and BMAT scores. The interview will be conducted in the Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) format.

Health Requirements

Applicants offered admission to LKCMedicine must fulfill the standardised set of screening and vaccination requirements stipulated by the Ministry of Health, Singapore. These requirements are subject to changes by the Ministry of Health, Singapore.​​​

Criminal Record Declaration

Applicants to LKCMedicine undertaking the MBBS programme are required to complete a Criminal Record Declaration Form in the NTU online admissions application portal. It should be noted that a positive criminal record declaration may not necessarily prevent an applicant from being accepted into the MBBS programme.​​​