Why you should read engineering in Singapore and the 5 Private Schools to get your degree

Engineering is The New Black

Society is coming to realize that engineering skills are an important foundation for a multitude of careers. Per LinkedIn data, five of the top ten skills most in-demand by Singapore’s employers – and the skills most likely to get you hired in 2017 – come under the engineering umbrella, all of which you can acquire in an engineering course in Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee remarked how Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics – STEM field –  is not only regaining its shine among young adults in Singapore, but are also heavily required in Singapore for the next 50 years. Case in point, the Smart Nation Programme. MCI’s Minister Yaacob Ibrahim anticipated 30,000 tech engineering jobsto be filled by 2020.

How about the private sector? Dyson is set to grow their engineering team in Singapore by 50% – and they’re just the latest in a long line of companies doing so. The upshot is that there is still no adequate supply to meet this mounting demand. Four of the top 10 professions with the biggest number of vacancies today are engineering-related, per Ministry of Manpower data.

When demand outweighs supply, guess what? Pay increases. Government is leading the pack in this initiative. Starting from mid 2016, engineers joining public service enjoy a 20% higher starting salary.

Taking engineering in Private Schools

Lucky for you, Singapore has a variety of academic institutions which are ready to produce stellar engineers – you could be next. We’re not talking about the public universities – you must already know about NUS, NTU, SUTD and SMU. What you may not know about, are the 30-plus registered Private Education Institutions (PEIs) that can help you get a certification, diploma, or degree in one of the most sought-after skills in the present, and future job market.

To keep this concise, let’s go in to the engineering options at five of the PEIs that are known to have a strong presence in the Singapore engineering scene. Each of these institutions are awarded with Edutrust accreditation under the purview of Committee for Private Education (CPE), Singapore.

Before we kick off, here are a few things you need to know about PEIs. All degree programmes are awarded in partnership with overseas universities in countries such as UK or Australia. Upon graduation, the degree you receive is no different from the one students receive in the home university. Hence, PEIs aside, it is also worthwhile to pay attention to the quality of the university partner.

Here’s a summary of options for your easy reference:

Private SchoolEngineering AwardsUniversity PartnersLecturersAccreditationInternshipEngineering LaboratoriesDurationCosts
PSB AcademyBest Private School in Singapore, CareerBuilder 2016Coventry University, UK
Local lecturers from the industryAffiliated to the Institute of Engineering and Technology UK (The only Private School with an IET Student Chapter)NA
16 to 24 months
The University of Newcastle, AustraliaUniversity faculty based in SingaporeAccredited by Engineers AustraliaCompulsory internship for full-time programmeYes
28 months (with exemptions from relevant poly diplomas)$40,000 to $64,000 (depending on exemptions)
AustonGold Standard Service Provider in Engineering, JobsCentral Learning T.E.D. Awards 2016University of Wolverhampton25:1 student to lecturer ratio for the top-up degreesInstitute of Mechanical
NANA8 to 12 months (top-up)$15084.12 - $17,476.64
Birmingham City University
Institution of Engineering & Technology, Institute of Mechanical Engineers
8 to 12 months (top-up)
$19200 - $20,900.00
MDISNANorthumbria University300 part-time and 30 full-timeInstitution of Engineering & Technology

Institution of Mechanical Engineers
NAYes28 to 36 months

12 months (if top-up)
$38530 - $41730

KaplanNARMIT University, AustraliaSame academic support found in Melbourne CampusEngineers AustraliaNANo32 months (part-time only)$37,799.89
TEGBest in Engineering Studies, (3 times in a row) by Edupoll PEI CitationUniversity of SunderlandDirected learning and supervision for projects is provided by the local faculty. The UOS faculty team provides seminars, lecture on latest trends during their audit visits and over various occasions of their visits.Institution of Engineering & TechnologyNANA12 months (top-up)$11840-$14800 (part-time vs. full-time)

  1. PSB Academy

 PSB Academy was named Best Private School for Engineering in Singapore by CareerBuilder (JobsCentral Learning T.E.D Awards 2016). Of the institutions on this list, PSB has the most to offer in the sheer number of options –  multiple diplomas, bachelor’s programs and the brand-new Master of Science in Engineering Business Management.

More specifically, the bachelor’s programmes are in electrical, electrical& electronic, and mechanical engineering – honours – with the certificate awarded by either University of Newcastle, Australia or Coventry University, UK. The master’s programme is also in association with Coventry University.

The total programme fee for the Coventry University bachelor’s degrees is 22,084.80 SGD (as of December 2016).These can be taken either part-time (24 months) or full-time (20 months). The University of Newcastle programmes can be completed within 36 months, full-time, at 40,553 – 64,884.80 SGD.

For introductory-level options, you could choose the Certificate in Engineering Foundation programme, which takes 3-5 months to complete, depending on whether you choose the full-time or part-time pathway.

Singaporean/PR graduates are entitled to fee rebates for subsequent programmes.

Coventry University is awarded University of the Year (Times Higher Education Awards 2015) and is one of the top 15 UK University (Guardian University Guide 2017)

University of Newcastle, Australia is one of Top 10 Australian Universities for Graduate Employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2016) and in Top 150 Most International Universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017)

PSB has two campuses: PSB AcademyDelta Campus, TiongBahru(where PSB’s full-fledged laboratories and industry-grade testing facilities are located) and PSB Academy City Campus at Marina Square.

Lab facilities in PSB Academy
  1. Auston Institute of Management

 In engineering, Auston has three higher diplomas and five bachelor’s degrees. Higher Diplomas are granted in electronics, mechatronics, and telecommunications & network engineering; each can be taken either as a full-time (16 months) or part-time programme (24 months).

After the diplomas, students may proceed to top-up with the bachelor’s degrees, which can be finished in 8 months if full-time, and in 12 months if taken part-time. The bachelor’s degrees are honours options and in the same engineering disciplines as the diplomas. Final certificates are awarded either by University of Wolverhampton or Birmingham City University (both in UK) depending on the degree chosen.

For the University of Wolverhampton top-up degrees, full-time option costs 17476.64 SGD, and the part-time option is 15084.12 SGD, as of December 2016.

If you choose a Birmingham City University top-up, full-time option costs 20,900 SGD, and the part-time option costs 19200 SGD, as of December 2016.

On its website, it is stated that Birmingham City University is ranked in the Top 60 in the Complete University Guide (2014) and University of Wolverhamptonhas accreditation from Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

Auston is located at Ophir Road, at the Church of Our Lady Lourdes
  1. Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS)

At MDIS, one can choose from five bachelor’s degrees, a master’s programme, or a diploma. These programmes, except the diploma, are in association with Northumbria University. The bachelor’s degrees, offered in mechanical design, mechanical, electrical design, and electrical & electronic, are all honours programmes.

Two of the bachelor’s programmes – electrical & electronic, mechanical – can be taken either full-time (28 months) at 41730 SGD international/39055 SGD local, or part-time (36 months) at 38530 SGD. Part-time options are for local students only. Application fee is 32.10 SGD local and 321 SGD international.

The other two – mechanical design and electronic design – are top-up programmes, for local students only, and can be completed in 12 months. Tuition fee is 13910 SGD, application fee is 32.10 SGD. The Diploma in Engineering, is 9-11 months depending on full or part-time.

Northumbria University (UK) is ranked 45th in the University Subject Tables for Electrical & Electronic Engineering and 37th in the University Subject Tables for Mechanical Engineering by The Complete University Guide 2016 respectively.

MDIS has a campus at Stirling Road as well as one at DhobyGhaut
  1. Kaplan Higher Education Institute (KHEI)

 Kaplan, as it is better known, offers two bachelor’s degrees in association with RMIT University, Australia: one each in aerospace and mechanical engineering, both honours programmes.

Kaplan’s highlight is the aerospace engineering programme, not offered by any other institution on this list; the othersfocus on electrical and mechanical engineering for the most part.

The degrees take a minimum of 32 months to complete, since only part-time option is available – suited for those working full-time. Each will set you back 37,799.89 SGD (last updated January 2016), with an application fee of 181.90 SGD.

RMIT is Rated 5 stars for excellence (QS stars 2015) and ranked 21st in the world among universities less than 50 years old (2015 QS Top 50 Under 50 index). There are unfortunately no laboratory facilities at Kaplan Singapore for its engineering students to gain hands-on experience over the course of the programme.

These programmes are offered at Kaplan City Campus @ PoMo, Selegie Road
  1. TEG International College

TEG offers two diplomas, two bachelor’s degrees and one master’s programme. Again, the bachelor’s programmes are in mechanical and electrical & electronic engineering. The master’s is in engineering management.The degree programs are in association with University of Sunderland, UK.

The Level 3 diploma can be completed 9 months full-time or 15 months part-time.

The bachelor’s degrees are offered as top-ups to the diplomas, so they take only 12 months to complete, either part-time (3 days a week) or full-time (5 days a week). Course fee for full-time study is 14800 SGD and for part-time study it is 11840 SGD.

On the website of University of Sunderland, it is said to be ranked top 20 in the UK for 7 subjects including Mechanical Engineering (The Guardian League Tables 2017).

The TEG campus is located on Middle Road

Disclaimer: Please check the respective PEI’s website for the most updated information about the courses. Links have been provided.


Last Words of Advice

When choosing a programme, remember that what everyone else is doing may not be the best option for you at that place and time in your life. The debate on practical experience vs. degree experience rages on, but you need to decide what is right for you, keeping in mind the career you want. There may be those who claim to be ‘self-made’, but the nature of the engineering field is such, that a solid foundation is not something that can merely be learnt ‘on the job’.

A certification or diploma may be sufficient to start you off in the field – especially if you’re not sure that engineering is for you, or if you already have a first degree in another discipline. But it is always good to ‘formalize’ your experiencewith a degree, and doing so would likely put you in a higher income bracket – at least to begin with.

In terms of curriculum, look for depth and not breadth. On the job market, you don’t want to be ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. Proof of this is from the aforementioned list of LinkedIn’s top skills – it is specific, rather than a general list of disciplines such as ‘mathematics’ or ‘computer science’.

Give preference to programmes that are up to date with industry standards and practices; those that aren’t purely theoretical. A good rule of thumb is to check job descriptions of the roles you’d likely be applying to for ‘required skills/tools’, and see whether the programme you’re interested in can train you for those skills/tools. Check out the internship/industrial attachment options within the curriculum as well.

Another tie-breaker would be to see whether the research interests, background and pedagogic style of your potential teachers matches your expectations and interests. Look for module reviews, or try asking around to build a network of seniors and get more specific information. Of course, as always, you could swing by your friendly neighbourhood DigitalSenior :)

Still not sure ? Ask Digital Senior here. Ask us

Article is written by Spatika.


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