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Programs : Brochure

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Fact Sheet:
Study Abroad Advisor: Adrienne Cromwell Minimum GPA: 3.3
Class eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore Graduate exchange: No
Open to Non-UNC students: No Program type: Exchange
Language prerequisite: No Language of instruction: English
Phillips Ambassadors Scholarship Eligible: Yes
Program Description:
What is JDP?Why a Joint Degree? 

Location| Courses & Credits| Housing| Program Costs
Application ProcessEligibilityMore InformationTestimonials

National University of Singapore (UNC-NUS Joint Degree)

Join the hundreds of Carolina students who have studied abroad at the National University of Singapore, an elite institution that is one of UNC-Chapel Hill’s strategic partners! Students will learn and live at NUS’s main Kent Ridge Campus in southwest Singapore. NUS and UNC have a very active exchange partnership, and a lively student/alumni group has formed to help and welcome UNC students to NUS and NUS students to UNC!

Be a part of this innovative new program in cooperation with one of the world's leading universities. Pursue a joint UNC-NUS undergraduate degree in Biology, Economics, English Literature, Geography, Global Studies, History, or Political Science. 

The joint program is believed to be a first at the undergraduate level outside of a professional school setting among UNC's U.S. peer campuses. Students will apply for the program after being admitted to either university. Eligible UNC undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences can take two to four semesters of classes at NUS and earn diplomas from both universities. NUS students can study in Chapel Hill and also receive a degree from both campuses. Please note that students may NOT double major on this program.

“We’re proud of our strong partnership with the National University of Singapore and our collaboration in the unique UNC-NUS Joint Degree Program. UNC students who pursue the joint-degree will gain a competitive advantage in earning a degree from two leading world universities and gain valuable experience studying in the dynamic atmosphere of Singapore.”  - Ron Strauss, Executive Vice Provost and Chief International Officer, UNC 

“This partnership is setting a new trend for joint international undergraduate education. We are very pleased to be joining a program with such great potential for more collaborations bridging the physical distance between Singapore and Chapel Hill. We hope our work together will become a model for other universities that are making global connections.” - Lily Kong, Vice Provost for Education, NUS 

What is the UNC/NUS JDP?

The joint degree is a collaborative effort between UNC-Chapel Hill and National University of Singapore. The curriculum is designed to allow students from both institutions to spend anywhere between two or four semesters at the other university and still graduate on time with the required courses. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a diploma jointly issued by UNC – Chapel Hill and National University of Singapore, two world-class institutions.

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Why a Joint Degree

  • Explore two contrasting cities/countries: Divide your time between charming Chapel Hill and metropolitan Singapore.
  • Expand your network: Meet students, faculty, and professionals from both institutions and cultures. The increased number of contacts will help you during your undergraduate degree and beyond.
  • Differentiate yourself: The JDP is a unique opportunity and the only undergraduate one of its kind in NC. Set yourself apart on your resume and job applications. 
  • Increase access to resources: NUS is the leading institution of higher education in Asia (#1 in Times Higher Education) and has a wealth of resources. Take courses from renowned professors, conduct research in world-class labs, participate in student groups, etc.
  • Gain cultural awareness: Spend a year or two in the vibrant and safe city of Singapore interacting with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Singapore has four official languages (English, Tamil, Mandarin Chinese, Malay).
  • Name recognition: NUS is the leading university in Asia and has an exceptionally positive reputation globally. The QS World University Rankings place NUS at #1 in Asia and #15 Worldwide.
  • Establish footprint in Asia: While the JDP is not restricted to students with an interest in Asia, it is especially beneficial for people who might be interested in pursuing a career in Asia or at a multinational entity.


NUS attracts top-quality students, teachers, and researchers from all over the world, as it consistently ranks among the best universities in Asia and worldwide. It’s one of Asia’s top three universities and ranks in the top 25 worldwide by The Times of London.NUS hosts 21 university-level research institutes and centers in various fields such as research on Asia, risk management, mathematical sciences, biomedical and life sciences, nanotechnology, marine studies, and more. The NUS Centre for Language Studies teaches 12 different languages!

Singapore is not just one island but a main island with over 60 surrounding islets with a population of over 3.4 million people and four official languages: Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil and English. Singapore is one of the busiest ports in the world and one of the most important financial centers of Asia.  Singapore's location, excellent facilities, fascinating cultural contrasts and tourist attractions contribute to its success as a leading destination for academics, business, and sightseeing. Eating and shopping are Singapore’s national pastimes.

Students will find that Singapore has a great deal of interesting attractions, such as museums, landmarks, nature preserves, and theme parks to visit. While Singapore has a gleaming city center of high-rise buildings, it is also awash with lush gardens and parks. Known as the Garden City, Singapore features a significant area of primary rainforest within its boundaries.

Courses & Credits

The UNC-NUS Joint Degree Program is available in 7 majors. The links and worksheets below detail the departmental contact person and specific course requirements.
  • Biology
  • Economics
  • English
  • Geography
  • Global Studies
  • History
  • Political Science
A list of previously approved courses for general education requirements is available (please note: inclusion of a course on this list is no guarantee that a course will be approved. Consult your Academic Advisor for more information about how courses fit into your academic plan). Please note that a 4-modular credit (MC) course at NUS is the equivalent of a three credit-hour course at UNC with the EXCEPTION of BIOL courses. Students will earn 4 UNC credit hours for BIOL approved courses only.

Please note that students may NOT double major on this program.
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While in Singapore, students live in on-campus student housing at NUS University Town, which opened in 2011. At UTown, all students have single rooms with air conditioning. Approximately 2,400 undergraduates, 1,700 graduate students and 1,000 researchers work, live, and learn in this residential college cluster. The library, coffee shops, cafeterias, rec center, and more are just steps away. Students can also choose to live at Prince George’s Park residential complex, which is older and primarily for graduate students, but offers a variety of room types.

On campus, UNC students will also have access to the NUS library, computer system, and recreational centers, including the infinity pool. Frequent buses shuttle students around campus, and the MRT (rapid transit rail) connects NUS with the rest of Singapore. All parts of the island, including the airport, are easily accessible from NUS by public transportation, and Singapore is also an excellent hub from which to explore the rest of Asia!
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Program Costs

Review the Budget Sheet posted above for detailed information on costs and fees. Costs vary per term and are subject to change.

Tuition and fees for the exchange program is equal to UNC’s rate, based on NC residency status, and will be charged to the participant’s UNC student account. Review the Budget Sheet for additional Cashier Billed Expenses and Out-of-Pocket Costs. The Study Abroad Office strongly encourages students to budget carefully for their time abroad. 

Getting Started: Funding Study Abroad
Spring Budget

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Application Process

Prior to submitting an application, students should schedule appointments with the following people:
  1. Director of Undergraduate Studies (or other designated contact person) in your department of major.
  2. Current Academic Advisor
  3. Adrienne Cromwell; Director of Advising in the Study Abroad Office
Given the complexities of the Joint Degree Program, it’s important you meet with all three people to ensure that you’re on track to complete all requirements of the program on time.  

After these meetings, please follow these steps to apply for this program:
  1. Complete the required UNC application by clicking “Apply Now” at the top of the page. If you have not done so already, create a profile to start your application.
  2. The Study Abroad Office will review applications and nominate qualified students to the host institution.
  3. Nominated students are required to complete an application for the host institution. Follow instructions provided by the Study Abroad Advisor and make note of all deadlines.
  4. Applications must be submitted at least one semester prior to your planned study abroad term. However, unlike regular study abroad programs, you may also apply earlier. (For example, you may apply to the JDP as a second semester Freshman but not study at NUS until your Junior year.) 
  5. You may apply anytime between your second semester Freshman year through second semester Junior year.
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Eligibility and Requirements

  • Minimum GPA of 3.3 (3.4 for Biology majors) at the time of application
  • Apply anytime between second semester Freshman year to second semester Junior year
  • Spend 2-4 semesters at National University of Singapore
    • Semesters do not have to be consecutive (with the exception of Economics majors)
  • Minimum of 120 hours (123 hours for Biology majors) for graduation
    • 60 hours in the major
    • Up to 46 hours of general education requirements
    • Electives or a minor
  • Students will receive credit for courses according to each university’s system of assigning and classifying credit hours or modular credits (MCs).
  • UNC students in the Joint Degree Program will be restricted to a single major but may be able to complete one minor

More Information

For information on requesting ARS accommodations (academic, health, and mobility concerns) for a study abroad program, contact the Advisor for Access.
All NUS Program Options:
Semester/Academic Year Programs
Summer Programs


Faculty Comments
"With its strategic location, diverse population, and dynamic economy, Singapore is a great introduction to both Asian cultures and globalization. NUS offers academic excellence as well as unparalleled faculty resources for studying Asia." - Dr. Peter Coclanis, Albert R. Newsome Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Global Research Institute, UNC-CH

"The joint degree program with NUS offers a UNC undergraduate the opportunity to immerse herself or himself in the study of Asian politics." - Dr. Stuart Macdonald, UNC Department of Political Science

"Pursuing the joint degree in History with NUS provides a unique opportunity for students to deepen and broaden their knowledge of Asian history. The large number of specialists in Asian history at NUS as well as the disciplinary focus on the History major that is required by the joint degree program enable students to explore the history of all regions of Asia--Southeast Asia as well as East Asia and South Asia--to a degree that would not be possible at just UNC or most other American universities." - Dr. Miles Fletcher, UNC Department of History

"The UNC-NUS joint degree program with a major in economics offers the serious economics student an incredible opportunity to study their field more intensively than would be possible at UNC alone. In the joint degree program, the student will take almost three times as many economics courses as they would as a major at UNC. The program will provide great preparation for students with an interest in doing graduate study in economics or public policy, and a year or two of this education will take place in one of the most exciting regions of the world from the point of view of the new global economy." --Dr. John Stewart, UNC Department of Economics
Student Feedback
"I had always dreamed about living abroad. However never had I dreamed an experience as fulfilling as the UNC-NUS joint degree program. My understanding of Singapore and Southeast Asia has grown immensely and still has far to go. I am truly fortunate to be part of such a ground-breaking and inspiring program with both outstanding universities." - David Crawford, UNC-NUS Joint Degree in Geography

"The class sizes are small and the students are interested. This makes the higher level literature seminars more interesting, especially given that the professors are all highly knowledgeable and excellent at leading discussions without dominating them. I would highly recommend choosing a Hall as your place of residence because you will have much more opportunities to interact with locals through various Hall activities and sports. Make the effort to join in on these activities and your experiences will be of a whole different kind than if you just travel. Ultimately, I enjoyed my time at NUS and KEVII (my Hall) so much that I chose to finish my university years there. I will be completing my Honors Thesis at NUS with joint supervision from NUS and UNC. I have also strongly considered applying for a teaching position in Singapore after graduation." - Jennifer Yeh, UNC-NUS Joint Degree in English

"Overall it was a great experience. I was able to get a lot of my joint degree completed in a department that nicely complements UNC and enjoyed my coursework, my professors, and fellow students. It is a great addition to my undergraduate experience and was influential in shaping my future research and career interests. It encouraged me to be more open with others and I created some life-long friendships." - Joe Daniels, UNC-NUS Joint Degree in Geography

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2018 02/21/2018
03/19/2018 08/05/2018 12/09/2018
Academic Year 2018-2019 06/21/2018
06/22/2018 08/05/2018 05/12/2019
Spring 2019 09/12/2018 09/28/2018 TBA TBA
Calendar Year 2019 09/12/2018 09/28/2018 TBA TBA

Indicates that deadline has passed