Art Schools in Singapore: Art in an Urban Jungle

Art Schools in Singapore: Art in an Urban Jungle

“Earth”, without “art” is just “eh”. It just simply couldn’t be said better. However, art has never really gained much prominence or even attention in Singapore. In this urban metropolis, numbers are all that matter. In an attempt to quantify everything, to see achievements and life in terms of just numbers and quantifiable metrics, we fail to realise that it is the intangible aspects of life that ultimately makes it worth living. Your parents and your friends might discourage you from pursuing the arts for it isn’t a very lucrative endeavour, but if you have a passion in the arts, be it dance, piano or even sculpting, it may be worth it for you to note that there are several educational institutions right here in which you can pursue your passion. Afterall, if you love your work, you never have to work a single day in your life eh?

Most schools here require a portfolio so do prepare them in general for your applications.

NUS School of Design

Let’s start of with a more traditional sort of school what most of you would be acquainted with. The National University of Singapore is without doubt a familiar name and prestigious university that is renowned throughout the world for its academic reputation and rigour.
Unbeknownst to most, NUS actually has a school of design that doesn’t just train you to be a good artist, but an entrepreneur. This institution claims to be able to bring together the creative 3D design culture of design, advanced technologies of engineering and the entrepreneurial spirit of business to create the ultimate artist that’s able to survive the harsh realities of modern Singapore.

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design – B.A. (ID)


For candidates with ‘A’ Levels certification: Pass in at least 2 subjects at H2 level, Pass in General Paper (GP) or Knowledge & Inquiry (KI), H1 pass in Chemistry, or Mathematics, or Physics, or pass in ‘O’ level Add Math.

For candidates with Polytechnic Diplomas: Any acceptable Diploma.

For candidates with International qualification: Year 12 or higher level Chemistry, or Mathematics, or Physics.


Based on NUS’s website, this programme is divided into 3 main progressive levels, namely Design Fundamentals, Design Platforms and Final Year Thesis. Students learn fundamental design knowledge, skills and capabilities in the first 3 semesters (Design Fundamentals), put these into practice in the next 4 semesters through a series of conceptual and industry projects (Design Platforms), and finally demonstrate their proficiency with a thesis project in the final year (Final Year Thesis).

Exchange Opportunities

NUS has a very well-established network with universities overseas, so as a NUS ID student, you can go for a one-semester exchange programme in the following universities!

  • University of New South Wales, Austrlia
  • DuocUC, Chile
  • Tsinghua University, China
  • Zhejiang University, China
  • Aalto, Finland
  • ENSCI, France
  • ENSAD, France
  • Institut Superieur Design, France
  • Folkwang University of the Arts, Germany
  • Politechnico di Milano, Italy
  • Kyoto Institute of Technology, Japan
  • TU Delft, The Netherlands
  • TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • Seoul National University, South Korea
  • KAIST, South Korea
  • Lund University, Sweden
  • ECAL, Switzerland
  • University of Leeds, United Kingdom
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Cost Fees & Duration

7,950 (Singapore Citizen), 11,150(PR), 15,900(International) 37,200(Without Tuition Grant)
Duration: 4 Years Full-Time

NTU School Of Art, Design, Media (ADM)

NTU is one of Singapore’s leading university. Normally famous for its rigorous engineering courses, what many don’t realise is its ADM courses. This traditionally Asian university brings more than meets the eye.


The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art, Design and Media is a four-year degree programme for undergraduates interested in a major in Art, Design and Media. The degree has been offered since 2005/2006.

The course combines new and old. Training students in their foundation for traditional art, design studio disciplines, as well as innovative development in new media that incorporates contemporary art, design and media studies.

Substitution for coursework from the Art, Design and Media, Engineering, Communications and Information, or Business disciplines in the University is possible and necessary. Thus, each degree ensures range in a specific discipline while encouraging interest in interdisciplinary areas.

Majors Available

  • Digital Animation
  • Digital Filmmaking
  • Interactive Media
  • Photography and Digital Imaging
  • Product Design
  • Visual Communication
Admissions & Fees

The admission requirements differ as you need a substantial portfolio that would be too long to list here. Here is the link to check for what you need to enter NTU ADM.

For Undergraduate Programmes

  • Singapore Citizens: S$7,950
  • Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR): S$11,150
  • International Students: S$15,900

NTU is fairly famous for its academic rigour, so university reputation should be the least of your concerns. As for the ADM course, it has already been around for 10 years, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

LASALLE College of the arts

A private university new to Singapore, LASALLE was established in 1984. Although LASALLE is a private university, the Singaporean government does subsidise the education at LASALLE in an effort to encourage Singaporeans to pursue the arts. LASALLE, a dedicated arts college, has several programmes available and it offers them as diplomas or degrees.


LASALLE has very diverse programmes so it is hard to go into details what the structures are like, but you can head over to their website and check out your course of interest.


  • Animation
  • Audio Production
  • Broadcast
  • Dance
  • Design Communication
  • Fashion
  • Fine Arts
  • Interior Design
  • Music
  • Performance
  • Product Design
  • Technical & Production Management

Degree – BA (Hons)
Animation Art
Arts Management
Design Communication
Fashion Design
Fashion Media & Industries
Film Arts
Interior Design
Musical Theatre
Product Design

Art Therapy
Arts Pedagogy and Practice
Arts and Cultural Management
Asian Art Histories
Fine Arts

Admissions & Fees

Diploma Admissions:

  • O Levels – Grades (A-C) including English
  • IP Programme – Complete Year 4
  • Higher NITEC/NITEC Cert

Diploma Fees (PA):

  • Singaporeans: $5,400
  • PR: $7,150
  • International: $9,300
  • Singaporeans: $19,000
  • PR: $21,250
  • International: $23,800

BA (Hons) Admissions:

  • A Levels – 2 ‘A’ Level/H2 subjects and a pass in General Paper. Alternative English
  • Polytechnic Diploma in a relevant discipline
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma

*Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

  • Minimum Requirements for Entry into a BA(Hons) Level 2 Programme
  • A relevant diploma in the field or discipline.
  • Your portfolio or audition must be exceptionally strong and demonstrate prior formal training in the relevant arts discipline. The transcript from your diploma course must demonstrate that you have read and passed the equivalents of essential LASALLE modules.

BA (Hons) Fees (PA):

Subsidised FeesNon-Subsidised Fees
CertificateLevelSingaporeans (S$)Singapore PR (S$)Singaporeans (S$)Singapore PR (S$)International (S$)
‘A’ LevelLevel 110,400*14,750**19,00021,15023,800
‘A’ LevelLevel 210,400*14,750**19,00021,15023,800
‘A’ LevelLevel 310,400*14,750**19,00021,15023,800
‘A’ LevelTotal31,20044,25057,00063,45071,400
DiplomaLevel 119,000^21,150^19,00021,15023,800
DiplomaLevel 210,400*14,750**19,00021,15023,800
DiplomaLevel 310,400*14,750**19,00021,15023,800

Postgraduate Admissions:
The entry in the the M.A. course is rather complicated as each course requires a different portfolio requirement so you can find it here.

Postgraduate Fees;

ProgrammeDuration (years)Per Annum Amount (S$)Total Amount (S$)
Art Therapy218,00036,000
Arts Pedagogy and Practice1.518,00027,000
Arts Cultural Management1.518,00027,000
Asian Art Histories1.518,00027,000
Fine Arts1.518,000

I understand if some of you have hesitations when studying at private universities. Well, it is most definitely a valid concern. However, 90% of local LASALLE degree graduates are employed within 3 months of graduation so finding a job isn’t difficult if you work hard. Most importantly, in LASALLE, you will truly live and breathe art. Your education would surely be an enjoyable one if art is your one true passion.

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

Established in 1938, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) is Singapore’s first arts institution. It is fairly recognised in Southeast Asia due to its innovative curriculum and pedagogies as well as diverse artistic creations. NAFA is a fairly international community with more than 2,400 staff and students from over 20 countries,


NAFA focuses on 3 components – academy requirement, course-specific requirement and student-specific requirement. In fulfilling the academy requirement, students are introduced to literature in the arts, the local and Southeast Asian arts scene as well as career skills. Students also have the option and flexibility to choose electives across disciplines based on their interests, needs and aspirations in fulfilling the student-specific requirement. Interdisciplinary Studies, with its focus on Southeast Asian arts, is a unique feature of NAFA’s curriculum that offers a synergistic platform for students from various disciplines to experiment with and develop their ideas collaboratively, increasing the possibility of creating innovative works.

These are some of the programmes they offer


Study Trips

There are numerous exchanges for arts and music students available, you can find them here. In terms of study trips, NAFA certainly isn’t lacking at all.


All applicants are to demonstrate their artistic potential through portfolio submission/admission test/audition as specified in each course, in order to be considered for admission.

  • Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘O’ Level: Aggregate score of 25 points or better in 4 GCE ‘O’ Level subjects, excluding English.
  • Applicants who are active in their Secondary Schools’ Co-curricular Activities (CCA) may gain up to 2 CCA points. The CCA points can be used to improve their EQ aggregate score for admission consideration.


  • Singapore Integrated Programme (including the School of the Arts): Should have successfully completed Year 4 or higher.
  • Institute of Technical Education: Higher Nitec or Nitec.

For Diploma in Art Teaching:

  • At least 5 GCE ‘O’ Level passes, or its equivalent, including English as a First Language
  • Good grades in Art at the GCE ‘O’ Levels. Applicants who have external Art qualifications and Art portfolio are welcomed to apply
  • Pass admission test or portfolio interview

For Diploma in Music Teaching:

  • At least 5 GCE ‘O’ Level passes, or its equivalent, including English as a First Language
  • Good grades from acceptable music examination boards or a pass in GCE ‘O’ Level Music. Applicants
  • who are involved in musical groups and play a musical instrument are welcomed to apply
    Pass music audition

The specific requirements of admission into a degree programme differs largely between the different courses available so it is better for you to source for your specific course of interest here.






Wrap Up

These are the top 3 schools in Singapore that you should look out for when it comes to pure aesthetic arts and perhaps a tad of music. Art schools don’t just teach you the fine arts, drawing and painting that the average practical Singaporean might deem to be “useless”. It teaches you art management and education as well. As Singapore seeks to develop itself into a more refined city with the government dedicating more funds to the art scene, your career prospects in art might not be as bleak as you once thought. So if this is truely your passion, then I suggest you gain the support of those around you and go for it. Just make sure you work hard and excel!


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