Graduate (by Research)


Frequently Asked Questions




  • What’s next after accepting the offer?

    Please read through the offer letter carefully as well as the award (scholarship) letter (if applicable) for the necessary administrative matters you need to attend to. Students are required to mainly (1) complete a medical screening* which is applicable to International Students only, and (2) make an appointment for matriculation. All instructions are found in the offer letter.

    The School will arrange for an Orientation for all its new students for which attendance is compulsory.

    *Medical has to be done in Singapore. As it takes 5 days for the report to be ready, students should plan to arrive in Singapore earlier. Matriculation cannot be completed without the medical report.



  • What are the requirements for a M.A. or Ph.D.?

    For the M.A. or Ph.D. by research, apart from the coursework requirements and thesis submission, students generally have to complete other requirements as charted below. Please refer to the relevant subject’s website for any other specific requirements.



  • When will I receive my first stipend?

    The first stipend is generally paid within 6 weeks from the start of your candidature. Ensure that the student data form (provided during orientation) is submitted to the Graduate Education Office located at the School of Social Sciences Building #02-19.

  • What is the maximum time that I can take to submit my thesis?

    The maximum candidature for M.A. and Ph.D. students is tabled below.

    Prior to AY2020/21

    Candidature ​

    ​ ​​Part-Time​
















    Cohort 2020 and onwards

    Candidature ​

    ​ ​​Part-Time​
















    Important: Do bear in mind that the Ph.D. scholarship (NPGS/RSS) covers four years of tuition fees and stipend and M.A. for two. The scholarship expires at the end of this period. You may have to self-finance your studies, if you are extending your thesis submission beyond the scholarship period.

  • I do not think I can submit my thesis by the end of my maximum candidature. – What should I do?

    You can request for an extension of candidature by completing the ‘Extension of Candidature’ request form at least 6 months before the expiry of your maximum candidature. Submit the form to the Graduate Education Office at the School of Social Sciences Building #02-19 or via email to

  • I would like to convert my status from full-time student to part-time due to family commitments, how should I go about this?

    You may apply for conversion of candidature after consulting with your supervisor. The form ‘Change of Candidature (PT/FT) and Conversion from M.A. and Ph.D.’ can be found at the Administrative Information & Forms website. The completed form should be submitted to the Graduate Education Office at the School of Social Sciences Building #02-19 or via email to  ​

    Please note that if you are on scholarship, it may be terminated and repayment to the university may be required.

    As there will be implications to the requirements that you will have to fulfil, you are encouraged to speak to the Graduate Education Team.


Student Data/Information


Course Registration

  • What courses am I supposed to take?

    M.A. students are required to complete 3 courses and Ph.D. - 6.
    Every subject (Economics, Psychology, Public Policy & Global Affairs, and Sociology) has its own coursework requirements. Students should check the respective website or speak to their supervisor on this matter.

  • When does course registration take place?

    Each academic year begins in July or August and ends in May of the following year and comprises of two semesters for which the course registration periods are as follows:


    Course Registration Periods

    August Semester

    1. J​uly       - For current students only
    2. August  - For current and new students

    January semester

    January     - For current and new students

    Instructions on Course Registration and Schedule can be found here.
    You may refer to the academic calendar for the semester duration.

    Do consult your Supervisor, Graduate Co-ordinator or the Graduate Education Team should you require any clarification for matters pertaining to course registration.

    After you have registered for the courses, do attend the classes first even though you are placed on the waiting list till approval from the Office of Academic Services is received. Approval comes through at the end of each of the course registration period.

  • How many courses can I register for in one semester?

    Academic workload in NTU is measured by Academic Units (AU). One AU is equivalent to 13 teaching hours.

    M.A. students at SSS must complete 9 AUs and Ph.D. 18 AUs. Coursework should be completed before the Confirmation of Candidature or Qualifying Examination.

    Generally the maximum number of courses that can be registered per term is 9 AUs (3 courses) for M.A. students and 15 AUs (5 courses) for Ph.D. students. Please refer to the following link for more information.

  • How long should I take to complete the courses?

    For M.A. students (full-time and part-time) the three courses should be completed within 12 months from the start of your candidature.

    For Ph.D. full-time students the six courses should be completed within 18 months from the start of your candidature (with the exception of Economics students who have to complete their coursework within 12 months).

    For part-time Ph.D. students the six courses should be completed within 24 months from the start of your candidature.

  • What should I do if I intend to register for courses offered by other schools?

    You may register for courses offered by other schools after consulting with your supervisor, via the cross-school course registration platform. Do be reminded to check out the course descriptions, prerequisites and requirements from their respective website. If needed, you can also write to the course instructor for advice.

    Students should not register for any courses offered by other schools unless they have decided firmly to take up the course.

  • I have registered for some modules. However, I have been placed on the waiting list. What should I do?

    Once the Office of Academic Services approves all course registration (occurs at the end of each course registration period), you will be placed on the confirmed class list. You may proceed to attend the classes first even though you are on the waiting list.

  • May I audit a course?

    Students may audit courses subject to the approval of the instructor. Audited courses are not reflected in the transcript. Approval from the course instructor can be obtained via email. In your email, do include a brief description of yourself and an explanation as to why you would like to audit the class.

  • How can I find out the exam schedule for the courses?

    The graduate courses offered by the School of Social Sciences are all 100% continuous assessment (CA) based as such there is no final sit down examination.

  • May I take additional courses?

    Students are allowed to register for additional courses up to a maximum of two. Do discuss with your Supervisor first. Additional courses will be reflected in your transcript and will have an impact on your CGPA.

  • What are HWG702, HWG703? Are they compulsory?

    HWG702 University Teaching For Teaching Assistants module is administered by the Teaching, Learning and Pedagogy Department. All full-time Ph.D. students are required to complete this course unless exempted. The Graduate Education Office will communicate with the students on this matter.

    HWG703 Graduate English is applicable to full-time Ph.D. students unless exempted.

    Request for exemptions are to be sent to the Graduate Education Office at

  • What is the Communications/Writing Programme? Is it compulsory?

    Communications/Writing Programme is part of the University’s initiative to enhance the transferable skills of its Ph.D. students. These courses are mandatory for Cohort 2019 and onwards. Students must complete a total of 39 hours before they graduate.

    The courses offered by CoHASS are:

    • HWG706 Academic Publishing (19.5 hours)
    • HWG705 The Craft of Academic Writing (19.5 hours)
    • A9107 Speaking Academia (19.5 hours)

    These courses may be taken by current students as well.

  • How do I apply for course exemption?

    You may request for exemptions up to a maximum of 1 course (3AUs) for M.A. and 3 courses (9AUs) for Ph.D.

    Course exemptions are granted on the basis that you have taken similar courses and obtained a good grade. More instructions can be found at the Administration Information & Forms website.

    If your request for exemption of course is approved, you are not required to make up for the credits.

  • If I would like to withdraw from a course, how should I go about doing so?

    Students may withdraw from a course via the Course Registration system if it is still within the course registration period.

    Should a student wish to withdraw after the course registration period is over, he/she will have to inform the Graduate Education Office on the withdrawal request. A ‘W’ grade will be reflected in the transcript.

  • When is the release of results?

    Results will be released in January for the August semester (previous year) and June for Jan semester. Students will be notified via email by the Office of Academic Services when the results are released.

  • How do I appeal for review of results?

    Should you wish to review your results, please submit your request online. Do check out the following website for more information:  


Confirmation Exercise/Qualifying Examination (QE)

  • What is the difference between the confirmation exercise and qualifying examination?

    All students will have their candidature confirmed if they make satisfactory progress.

    M.A. students go through the Confirmation of Candidature Exercise at the 12-month milestone. At this point, they should have completed the coursework requirements and obtained a minimum CGPA of 3.00 (unless otherwise stated in their scholarship award letter).

    The Qualifying Examination is compulsory for all Ph.D. students. Students preparing for the QE must submit a report and make a presentation before a panel. If found satisfactory, Ph.D. students will be allowed to progress on with their research and receive an increase in the stipend as reflected in their Offer Letter (May not be applicable to PI grants or other forms of scholarship).

    Ph.D. full-time students are to clear their QE within 18 months. Economics students have a tradition of clearing their QE within 12 months from the start of their candidature. Part time students can take up to 24 months.

  • What are the requirements of QE?

    Ph.D. students are required to clear the Qualifying Examination at the 18-month milestone (12 for Economics Students and 24 for PT students). They should have completed their coursework requirements and obtained a CPGA of at least 3.50 (unless otherwise stated in their scholarship award letter). They should also have completed the HWG702 University Teaching for Teaching Assistants and Research Integrity Course prior to embarking on the QE.

    Please refer to the Qualifying Examination Guide for more information.

  • I am a Ph.D. full time student. However, I have yet to complete the HWG702. May I still proceed with my QE?

    Yes, you may proceed with the QE. However, students who have not completed HWG702 University Teaching for Teaching Assistants will not have their stipend increased.

  • I am not able to meet the recommended timeline for my QE and would like to postpone it. What should I do?

    Students should approach their supervisor and consult them on their readiness for the QE. If a longer period is required for preparation the student may send the request to the GE Office at

    Please note that the stipend will stop if the student does not complete the QE by the specified deadline.
    Stipends will resume once the QE has been cleared. Back payment of stipend is capped at a maximum of 6 months.

  • What happens if I fail my QE?

    Students will be provided a second opportunity to undertake their QE within the next two months. In the event a student fails the QE a second time they may be advised to reconsider continuing their studies or to convert to the M.A. programme if feasible.


Renewal of Scholarships

  • Do stipends get stopped?

    Yes, if a student’s performance is not satisfactory the stipend will be stopped until such a time that the student shows progress.


Leave Matters


Thesis Advisory Committee


Counselling Service


Withdrawal from Programme

  • I have decided to withdraw from my studies. Please advise on the withdrawal procedures.

    Withdrawal request can be submitted via the ‘Withdrawal from University’ system available via GSLink. Prior to submitting your request online, do inform your Supervisor and the Graduate Education Office about your decision. If you are a new student and have not secured a supervisor, do inform the Graduate Coordinator. There may be implications for tuition fees and stipend which will be dealt with on a case by case basis.


Seminar Attendance

  • Does the seminar attendance requirement apply to me?

    All students, regardless of part-time or full-time study are required to fulfil the seminar requirement.

    Students have to fulfil 10 seminars per academic year.

    Students will have to provide account of their attendance by completing the Seminar Attendance Form and submitting it to the AC(GE) office at the end of every semester.


Graduate Assistantship Programme


Overseas Conference and Overseas Research Applications

  • I want to attend a conference overseas. Is there any financial support I can get from the School?

    Students are encouraged to participate in conferences. The School provides funding for students who present their papers at such conferences. Request for financial support should be submitted to the Graduate Education Office via email ( or hardcopy with the relevant supporting documents at least 2 weeks before departure (students are encouraged to submit as early as possible).

    The application form (School of Social Sciences Application For Overseas Conference) can be obtained from our website.

    Support is also provided to students who have successfully found a research attachment in an overseas institute. The application form can be obtained from our website as well and has a similar application process as the  overseas conferences.

    Outcome of funding request is transmitted via email and is on reimbursement basis. Instructions on how to obtain reimbursement for expenses incurred (Airfare, Subsistence and Conference Application Fee) will be included in the email.

    With effect from 01 June 2019, all students going on overseas conference and/or overseas research attachment are required to be covered by NTU’s travel insurance. This will be incorporated into the funding by the School for conferences or overseas research attachment as allowed.

  • I have returned from my conference. How do I claim reimbursement for my expenses?

    Please complete the (ICS) Student Claim Form and submit your claims via the (ICS) Student system.


Office for Graduate Students


Exchange Programmes

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Part Time Work Application


Thesis Examination

  • What should I take note of before I submit my thesis?

    Students are to note that the thesis has to be checked by the AC(GE) office before it is submitted online. Time has to be planned out to accommodate this check.

    1. Supervisor & TAC Endorsement:
      Students must receive the supervisor’s clearance to submit the thesis. For Ph.D. students the Thesis Advisory Committee’s endorsement must be obtained as well. Form to used ‘Application for PHD Thesis Submission’.

    2. Contents:
      A student’s thesis for examination must be preceded with a Title Page, Statement of Originality, Supervisor Declaration Statement, Authorship Attribution Statement, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents and Summary; all of which must be bound with the thesis.

    3. Check for plagiarism:
      All students are also required to do a plagiarism check on their thesis via iThenticate.

    4. Examination Fee:
      Students admitted before AY2017-2018 are required to pay an examination fee of S$214.00 for Ph.D. and S$160.50 for M.A.  For students admitted in AY2017-2018 onwards, the examination fee is included in the Tuition Fee Bill.

      Scholars are to note that 10% of their stipend is withheld for the initial 10 months of their candidature. This fund is returned to the student upon the successful submission of the thesis within the stipulated period. However, if the thesis is not submitted within 1 year of the expiry of the scholarship this fund will be forfeited.
  • There is a change in the title of my research topic. The title reflected in the Thesis Submission System differs from my thesis. What should I do?

    You can update the new thesis title when you submit your thesis via the Thesis Submission System. You will be prompted by the system after all the necessary documents have been uploaded. A copy of the user guide can be found when you log into the system if you encounter any problems.

  • I would like to avoid incurring tuition fees so when should I submit my thesis?

    The date on which the supervisor endorses the thesis online for examination determines the student's liability for tuition fees. To avoid incurring tuition fees, students should abide by the deadline indicated in the renewal email/s from the Office of Admissions or the Graduate Education Office. Students who make their thesis submission after the teaching week has begun will incur tuition fees.

  • I have submitted my thesis what happens next?

    After your submission via the Thesis Online System examiners will be given 2 months to assess the thesis. When the outcome is released by Office of Academic Services, the School will inform the student and the supervisor on the requirements including procedures for the oral examination (for Ph.D. students only).

    With effect from AY2018-19, all full-time graduate students who have submitted their thesis/dissertation are required to pay the Health Service Fee to ensure continuous insurance coverage until they are conferred the degree.

  • My scholarship has an arrangement where 10% of my stipends is withheld for the initial 10 months of my candidature. When will the withheld stipend be returned to me?

    Students will receive the withheld stipend within 2 months from thesis submission date (supervisor endorsed date).

    If students submit their thesis beyond 12 months from the expiry of the scholarship, the withheld stipend will be forfeited.

  • I have submitted my thesis and while waiting for the outcome, may I apply for part-time work?

    You may apply for part-time work application. However, as you do not know the outcome whether it is minor or major amendments yet, you may just want to keep the job duration to two months.

    For International Students, the hours should not exceed 16 hours per week.
    More information can be found here.

  • I’ve received the outcome of the thesis examination. How do I submit the amendments?

    Amendments are to be submitted in a format recommended by the University as follows:

    1. be addressed individually to each examiner;
    2. contain a list of the amendments made, as well as the student's reply to any questions raised by the individual examiner; and
    3. be signed and dated by the student.

    Form for submitting amendments can be downloaded here.

    Timeline for Thesis Assessment can be referred for more information.

  • I have received an email from the Office of Academic Services on the submission of final thesis. What’s next?


    Besides submitting the final version of thesis to the library by the stipulated date as per the OAS email, you will be provided with a letter from the school that you have been recommended for award of degree.

    In addition, if you were assigned a cubicle or a locker, please vacate them and return all keys (pedestal key, locker key etc.) to the Graduate Education Office (HSS #02-19) by the stipulated date as well.

    Remember to save all your data from your PC into your own personal device as the PC will be reformatted and data will be irrecoverable.

  • My employer has requested for proof of my studies, where can I obtain this?

    The request for your status letter can be submitted via One Stop @ SAC. Please refer to Alternatively, you can submit a copy of the letter which you would have already received from the school.




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