Undergrad FAQs

This page covers frequently asked questions for undergraduate study at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS). For programme-specific and subject-specific questions, please also refer to:

Courses and Grades

How does the Academic Unit system work?

For this an other related questions, please refer to NTU's Academic Unit System Handbook.

What is the CGPA, and how does it differ from the YGPA?

The Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) represents the grade average of all courses, including failed courses, attempted by a student. The Year Grade Point Average (YGPA) represents the grade average of all courses, including failed courses, attempted by a student in a specific year

What happens if I get an F grade in a course?

If the failed course was a major programme requirement, you are obliged to take it again to graduate. For a repeated course, both the original F grade and the new grade are reflected in the transcript. Both grades are also be counted in the computation of YGPA and CGPA (unless you qualify for the freshman year GPA exemption).

Can I re-attempt a course to improve my grade point average?

Students are not allowed to repeat a course unless the grade received was F or U (unsatisfactory).

What are the requirements to graduate?

The requirements are:

  • Successful completion of the major programme's prescribed academic unit requirements, and other requirements (e.g., minimum candidature period). Please refer to the curriculum for your chosen major for details.
  • A minimum CGPA of 2.00 at the end of the final semester of study.

What happens if I perform poorly during a given semester?

Any student with poor standing will be subjected to an academic performance review. This consists of:

  • An Academic Warning if the CGPA falls below 2.00 during a given semester;
  • Academic Probation if the CGPA falls below 2.00 the following semester; and
  • Academic Termination if the CGPA falls below 2.00 for the 3rd consecutive semester, or at the end of the final semester of study.

Any student having difficulty coping with the programme of study is strongly encouraged to contact the School's Student Welfare team for assistance and advice.

Can I drop my Second Major or Double Major?

Yes. Moreover, there is no stigma associated with leaving a Second Major or Double Major programme. Over the course of their studies, some students switch to a single major in order to spend extra time on other areas they are passionate about (undergraduate research, extracurricular activities, etc.).

To drop the second or double major, please contact SPMS Undergraduate Studies, giving your full name, matriculation number, and a brief reason. Please note that the decision to leave the Second Major or Double Major programme, once made, is irrevocable. We will help you sort out the necessary details about fulfilling the requirements of the programme you switch into.

What is the minimum grade point to be allowed to overload?

By NTU policy, a minimum CGPA of 2.0 is required at the end of each semester to be allowed to overload in the subsequent semester. Moreover, an overload of more than 3 AU over the normal maximum load requires school approval.

What are the criteria to get onto the Dean's List?

The Dean's list is awarded to the top 5% of students on a yearly basis. To be eligible, a student must attain a YGPA of at least 4.50, and have taken at least 15 AU of graded coursework during the year. The other criteria are decided on by the school.

How are students who go on Exchange Programs credited?

Grades and credits earned for courses taken from approved student exchange programmes are not included in GPA calculations or the classification of the degree awarded. However, the credits earned (for passed courses) do count toward AU requirements for fulfilling programme requirements. They are also reflected in the transcript.

Is there any special requirement for getting an Honours (Highest Distinction) D

A minimum CGPA of 4.50, and a grade of A- or better for the Final Year Project (FYP), is required for the award of an Honours (Highest Distinction) degree.

What is the Co-Operative Education Programme?

The SPMS Co-Operative Education Programme places students in well-established companies for work experiences throughout their four years of studies in NTU. Participating students undertake an intensive credit-earning internship (some of which may be conducted overseas) in a participating company. The final 30-week work term also doubles up as an industrial Final Year Project (FYP), co-supervised by the company and a professor. The programme enhances the student's education with practical work experiences, enabling them to progressively master practical skills and knowledge needed for their future careers.

Interested students must first apply for an SPMS degree programme. Once admitted, they will be directed to apply for the programme after the first semester of study. The candidates are then interviewed by NTU and representatives from the partner companies, in order to match the interests and capabilities of the students with the companies.

Please note that students in the CN Yang Scholars Programme and the University Scholars Programme are not eligible for the Co-Operative Programme, as the additional commitments make it impossible to fulfill the Co-Op internship requirements.

Other than the Co-Op Programme, are there regular internship opportunities?

Yes. All undergraduates have the opportunity to complete a Professional Internship as part of their degree. For students majoring in Chemistry and Biological Chemistry or Physics/Applied Physics, it is required to undertake either a Final Year Project or Professional Internship. The NTU Career Attachment Office will assist you in sourcing for a suitable internship position. For more information, refer to these pages:

Minor Programmes

What minor programmes are offered by SPMS?

We offer a Minor in Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, Minor in Mathematical Sciences, Minor in Physics, and Minor in Applied Physics. Students majoring in Mathematical Sciences also have the option of taking a Minor in Finance.

Is there an entry requirement to take a Minor?

For most minor programmes, there is no entry requirement; you just need to satisfy the prerequisites for the individual courses. as an exception, the Minor in Finance for Mathematical Sciences majors has its own set of entry requirements.

Can the School help me if there are clashes in the time-table?

Unfortunately not. It is the responsibility of the students to ensure that there are no clashes in their class and examination time-tables.

If I am not in the Minor programme, can I just take one course?

Students who do not intend to pursue a Minor in our school, but who are interested in reading some courses withe th us, may certainly also do so. However, note that most of our courses have a quota for enrolment, due to constraints in available teaching resources. Priority is given to students who need to complete the course to fulfill major or minor requirements.

Will I be dropped from the Minor programme if I fail a course?

No. If you fail a course, you can always read it again the next time it is offered, or even read a different course to fulfill the requirements of the minor. So long as you satisfy all the requirements by the time you graduate, you will graduate with the minor. If, for some reason, you are unable to complete the requirements for the minor by the time of your graduation, then you will simply graduate without the minor.

The curriculum for my major includes courses that are also part of the minor. Can those courses count towards the minor?

No. Credits from the same course cannot count towards both a major and a minor.

Some topics in the minor overlap with topics in my major, but the courses are different. Can I read courses on topics I have already learnt?

You are strongly advised and encouraged to read something different in this case – and there are enough courses for you to choose from to avoid such overlaps. The intended purpose of a minor is to help you build expertise in a subject beyond your major. Reading courses that overlap significantly with courses in your major defeats this purpose. You are missing a great opportunity to add value to your education!

Can I use the courses from my major to fulfill prerequisites for courses in the minor?

This will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on factors like the extent of the overlap, the approach used, etc. For inquiries, please contact SPMS Undergraduate Studies.