PhD: Depth Of Ambition



A PhD is about diving deeper into a particular field of study. If you think that a PhD will lead to more money, think again. You will have to put off years of earning money and a steady job while still being stuck in school learning, if you study full-time. Not only that, many PhD students take years to repay the hefty study loan. But if you are ambitious and want to challenge yourself, a PhD will definitely be a good challenge for you.


The options

Singapore has 6 local universities offering doctoral study opportunities:

  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
  • Singapore Management University (SMU)
  • Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
  • Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

In addition to local universities, many of the world’s leading foreign universities also offer graduate programmes in Singapore, either on their own or by collaboration with local universities.

Pursue a PhD if you love research and academia.


Funding and subsidies

Financial assistance for graduate students is available in the form of scholarships from universities and from external agencies. Graduate scholarships all have eligibility criteria, are highly competitive and are generally awarded on the basis of academic excellence.

Scholarships include:

  • NUS Research Scholarships is awarded to deserving graduates for research leading to a higher degree at the University.
  • ASEAN Foundation Research Scholarship (for ASEAN nationals, i.e. from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)
  • A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (for Singaporeans, Singapore permanent-residents and ASEAN nationals)
  • DSO PhD Research Award (for Singapore citizens only)
  • Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA) in association with A*STAR, NUS and NTU
  • Tuition Fee Allowance from Universities




Undertake a PHD only if it is suitable for you. Calculate the costs. Can you afford it? Most adults who do a PhD already have a partner and are married. Can your spouse adapt to your being away in school (you may have to do a PhD overseas as not all colleges offer the PhD programme you want).

If you are not interested in research or don’t want to be a professor, a PhD has less relevance in other industries like in the private sector and financial industries.


Peer pressure

Don’t succumb to peer pressure (Oh, two of my colleagues have PhDs and so I must have one). The best way to impress everyone you know is to be the best that you can be. That doesn’t necessarily require a doctorate degree scroll hanging on the wall.