Doctor of Philosophy | Arts, Education and Sciences


Programme Type

Full-time, Part-time

NIE Graduate Programmes

[email protected]

NIE offers graduate studies by research leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in line with the increasing emphasis on research in the areas of Arts, Education and Sciences.


Area of ResearchProgramme Leaders
Chinese LanguageAssistant Prof Zhan Fangqiong
Malay LanguageDr. Mohd Aidil Subhan Bin MOHAMED SULOR
Tamil LanguageAssoc Prof Seetha LAKSHMI
English Language and LiteratureAssoc Prof Vahid Aryadoust
Humanities and Social Studies EducationAssistant Prof Edwark Park
Learning Sciences and AssessmentAssoc Prof Tan Heng Kiat, Kelvin
Mathematics Assoc Prof Dong Fengming
Mathematics EducationAssoc Prof LEONG Yew Hoong
Natural Sciences and Science EducationAssoc Prof CHEW Shit Fun
Physical Education and Sports ScienceAssistant Prof Luis Calmeiro
Policy, Curriculum and Leadership

Assoc Prof Mary Anne Heng

Assoc Prof Jiang Heng

Psychology and Child & Human DevelopmentAssoc Prof Gregory Arief D LIEM

Assoc Prof TAN Yuh Chaur Leonard

Assoc Prof LUM Chee Hoo

DramaAssoc Prof Charlene Delia Jeyamani RAJENDRAN
ArtAssistant Prof HEATON Rebecca
Special EducationAssoc Prof TAN Ai Girl
High Ability StudiesDr. Letchmi Devi d/o PONNUSAMY
Early ChildhoodAssoc Prof TAN Ai Girl
Office of Educational ResearchDr. SEOW Sen Kee Peter

A Bachelor's degree with honours at least at Second Class Upper level, Master's degree in the relevant areas and the ability to pursue research in the candidate's proposed field of advanced study.

Shortlisted applicants will undergo an interview session as part of the selection process.

A valid GRE score is required for applicants who are not graduates of the Autonomous Universities in Singapore. See detailed requirements for English language on competency and GRE requirements  here.

The degree of PhD by research is offered on both full-time and part-time basis. The candidature periods are as follows:


Full-time Up to a maximum of 5 years
Part-time Up to a maximum of 5 years

Qualifying Examination

A rigorous system is used to prepare the candidates into the research phase. In the initial stage of the PhD study, the candidates are required to pass a Qualifying Examination.


Full-time candidates

In the first 18 months of study, you will be required to complete the Qualifying Examination requirements as indicated in (i) and (ii) below:

  1. Attend classes and pass the examinations of
    • 4 graduate level courses chosen from the University's Master-degree coursework programmes or from approved special topic courses and
    • obtain an overall average Grade B, and no course should have a Grade below C+
  2. Submit an in-depth literature review of an approved research topic
  3. All Full-time PhD students are required to take HWG702- Small Group Teaching and HWG703 – Graduate English. Exemptions may be sought if students meet the exemption criteria. NIE Scholars must complete HWG702 and HWG703 before the PhD Confirmation Examination in order to receive the stipend increment. Non-scholars may complete their HWG702 and HWG703 requirement before the end of their candidature.
  4. All PhD students from the August 2019 intake onwards are to complete the Communications/Writing Training Programme as a graduation requirement. The programme consists of the following compulsory components:
    • SA830 Writing and Communication Skills for PhD Students
      • The course is graded as a Pass/Fail and will appear in the student’s transcript.
      • The course will not be counted towards the coursework requirements for graduation.
    • 3MT Presentation
      • Students must participate in a 3-minute thesis (3MT) presentation symposium before graduation. The 3MT symposia is co-organized by the Graduate Students Associate (GSA) and Graduate College (GC).


Part-time candidates

In the first 24 months of study, you will be required to complete the Qualifying Examination requirements as indicated in (i) and (ii) above.


Exemption of courses

Exemption of courses may be granted by the Dean if you are deemed to have already done sufficient coursework in the relevant area in a graduate level programme at a recognised university. You would have to complete a minimum of three courses after allowing for exemptions.


Thesis Requirements


The content of a doctoral thesis must be sufficiently broad as to synthesize current understanding of relevant research in the area of study. The thesis must contain original work or critical interpretation worthy of publication. The student must show mastery in the domain of research so as to be considered an expert in the chosen discipline.

A PhD thesis should not exceed 70,000 words for those on the Science specialization, for those in other specializations, the thesis should not exceed 100,000 words (including footnotes, but excluding appendices, references, maps, charts, statistical tables, graphs, illustrations, etc).

From the AY2020/2021 intakes onward, VPA PhD students on the research/practice route should have a thesis not exceeding 70,000 words (The practical component has to be documented in an archivable format). For VPA students who choose to do the full written thesis, the prevailing word limit still applies.

PhD thesis written in the Chinese language should not exceed 200,000 Chinese characters.


PhD Oral Examination

In addition to being examined on the thesis, you must also pass an oral examination on the subject matter of your thesis and other related subjects. This is normally conducted at the final stage of the PhD study.

Your candidature may be terminated at any time if your progress has been deemed unsatisfactory by the University.

Copies of the NIE research degree theses and dissertations are available from its library. More details can be found here.

For tuition fees, please click here.

International students who choose to pay a lower tuition fee (and thus receive higher subsidy) will have to take up a 3-year service obligation. Click here for more information on the Service Obligation scheme.

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