A Brief Intro to Singapore’s University of The Arts

In a significant milestone for Singapore’s arts education landscape, the University of the Arts will open its doors in August this year.

Curious about this university and what it has to offer? If you or your child are considering an education here, we’ve compiled everything we know! We will update this article whenever more information is released.

What’s On Offer?

The University of the Arts (UAS) is founded on an alliance between LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE) and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).

What does this mean? In a nutshell, students can choose to study degrees from either NAFA or LASALLE, which remain distinct entities that offer cross-college modules and joint electives. There will be other shared experiences such as a common orientation. All degrees will be validated, conferred, and awarded by/under UAS.

The government-supported, private university will offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, on top of the diploma programmes NAFA and LASALLE have.

UAS currently has no part-time undergraduate degrees available; all are three-years long.

The master programmes, however, vary in duration: NAFA programmes are two years full-time and three years part-time. LASALLE programmes are one year full-time and two years part-time (excluding MA Art Therapy and MA Music Therapy).

Some of these degrees are the first of their kind to be offered in Singapore and South East Asia (SEA). Here’s everything offered at a glance:

  • BA (Hons) Acting
  • BA (Hons) Art Histories and Curatorial Practices: Asia and the World (New and first of its kind in Singapore and SEA)
  • BA (Hons) Design for Social Futures (New)
  • BA (Hons) International Contemporary Dance Practices (New)
  • BA (Hons) Fine Arts
  • BA (Hons) Animation Art
  • BA (Hons) Film
  • BA (Hons) Arts Management
  • BA (Hons) Design Communication
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Textiles
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Media and Industries
  • BA (Hons) Interior Design
  • BA (Hons) Product Design
  • BA (Hons) Music
  • BA (Hons) Musical Theatre (First of its kind in Asia)
  • BA (Hons) in Contemporary Chinese Theatres (First of its kind in Asia)
  • BA (Hons) Biophilic Design(First of its kind in Asia)
  • MA Arts and Ecology (New)
  • MA Music Therapy (New and first of its kind in Singapore)
  • MA Asian Art Histories
  • MA Fine Arts
  • MA Art Therapy (First of its kind in SEA)
  • MA Arts and Cultural Leadership
  • MA Arts Pedagogy and Practice
    (Only programme in Asia dedicated to artist-educators)
  • MA Creative Writing
  • MA Design
  • Master of Fine Arts Fine Art(First of its kind in Singapore)
  • Master of Composition
  • Master of Performance

You can find more details on the UAS website.

Where Will You Study?

The University of the Arts does not have a “fixed” physical campus; instead, students will study at the National Design Centre, LASALLE or NAFA campuses. The university’s central administration office, counselling, and career support services will be located at the National Design Centre.

Common Curriculum

No matter which degree programme you choose, you will have to study a common curriculum comprising these modules:

  • the ”IN-depth module” covering interpretive and narrative skills, which include critical reasoning and creative thinking
  • the “Career skills modules” with optional career bootcamps covering the independent artist, freelancer, or company employee tracks
  • the “Internship module” (all UAS students must undertake an internship after completing the second academic year)

When Do Applications Open?

Applications for the first intake are well underway. There will be one intake per year, with students commencing studies in August. Course fees vary and students can apply for the various financial assistance schemes UAS has. These include the NAC-UAS Arts Scholarship, SHEIN-UAS Bursary, and others under NAFA and LASALLE.

As UAS is government-supported, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents will be able to enjoy government-subsidised fees for selected programmes. Certain programmes, however, will not be eligible but may have fee discounts. This includes the BA (Hons) International Contemporary Dance Practices offered by LASALLE; students spend Year 1 at the London Contemporary Dance School and will pay the institution’s international fees.

Entry Requirements

While specifics vary from degree to degree, most programmes require you to submit a portfolio or undergo an audition, plus interview.

The good news? Applicants are not required to have a formal arts education! Here are the minimal entry qualifications for undergraduate programmes:

  • Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘A’ level with minimum ‘Pass’ in two subjects at A-Level/H2 Level and General Paper (A-Level results can be combined)
  • Local Polytechnic Diploma
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
  • Other relevant equivalent qualifications such as ITE Work-Study Diploma (WSDip)

If you have a relevant diploma from NAFA, LASALLE or a recognised institution, you may be able to matriculate directly into Year 2.

Truthfully, we are excited that Singaporeans (and other interested folks) have the opportunity to pursue an arts education if this is their dream! The benefits of an arts education are less discussed than that of a STEM education, for example, but it helps foster critical thinking, creativity, and empathy. With their unique skillsets and strong imagination, arts graduates can spark innovation and shape the future.

We look forward to UAS’ first batch of graduates and seeing how they’ll shape the world around them!


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