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How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

Lila Sonnenschein L

Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD)  is a relatively late comer in Singapore's tertiary education scene, established in 2009.

The undergraduate curriculum designed by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is suited to the local context since the two universities signed the collaboration agreement in January 2010. The curriculum offers a modern engineering and architecture education that crosses traditional departments enabling students to finish eight terms in three and a half years. 

For SUTD’s undergraduate programme, students have to go through 2 phases – freshmore phase and pillar phase

Freshmore Phase

The freshmore term is from term 1-3 and it is a common term where students focus mainly on Math, Science and Humanities & Social Sciences (HASS) core subjects in addition to design projects. 

Faculty office of Humanities Arts & Social Sciences (HASS) @ Building 1, Level 4  (1.402)

SUTD recognizes the value of a holistic education hence incorporating a wide range of Science and Humanities & Social Sciences (HASS) courses in the curriculum of SUTD’s undergraduate programmes. HASS courses encourages students to self reflect and also to think critically, therefore nurturing leaders that can understand the impact they they and their innovations can play in the society.

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

All freshmore students are required to take a HASS core subject in term 1 and term 2 and in the pillar phase (from term 4 onwards) a HASS elective each term. In total, an undergraduate will complete 7 HASS courses in their study. 

Example HASS courses from September –December 2017:

  • 02.001 World Texts & Interpretations
  • 02.003 Theorizing Society, the Self, and Culture
  • 002.102 The World Since 1400
  • 02.103 Film Studies: History, Theory and Practice
  • 02.105 Sages Through The Ages: Readings in Early Indian And Chinese Religion and Philosophy 
  • 02.110 The Chinese Lyrical Tradition: Arts, Literature and Landscape Design 
  • 02.113 The laboratory of the Mind 
  • 02.114 The Multicultural Archipelago in History and Story
  • 02.116 The Word and the World
  • 02.120 History of Traditional Chinese Short Fiction 
  • 02.121 The Question of Being 
  • 02.123 Questioning Modernity in Europe and Asia 
  • 02.125 Normalcy and Deviance: Philosophical Approaches to Sexuality 
  • 02.126 Southeast Asia Under Japan: Motives, Memoirs, and Media new elective
  • 02.201 Digital Sociology
  • 02.208 Microeconomics
  • 02.212 The Visual Culture of Science and Technology
  • 02.227 Maps and Politics
  • 02.302 Business Culture and Entrepreneurship in China 
  • 02.303 The Role of Technology and Design on Growth in China 


The HASS courses offered varies each term so be sure to check out SUTD’s official website through the link above to verify! Also, the courses offered expands as additional faculties join HASS as well as when collaboration subjects with partner universities grow. 

Pillar Phase

Subsequently, students enter into the pillar phase where they choose a specialization from the following and take relevant electives:

  • Engineering Product Development (EPD)
  • Engineering systems & Design (ESD)
  • Information Systems Technology & Design (ISTD)
  • Architecture & Sustainable Design (ASD)

Specialization 1: Engineering Product Development (EPD)

Faculty office of Engineering Product Development (EPD) @  Building 1, Level 3 (1.302)

The EPD curriculum takes students through the process of invention, from conceptualization to design, implementation and operation of technology intensive products. The product sectors that EPD is currently focusing on are electronics, energy, machinery and transportation. 

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

Curriculum of an EPD undergraduate

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

The tracks available for EPD students are:

  • Aerospace Technology
  • Material Science
  • Electrical Engineering 
  • Robotics 
  • Computer Engineering 
  • Bio-Medical & Healthcare Engineering 
  • Mechanical Engineering 
  • Alternative Energies 
  • Self Directed Program

For each of the different tracks, SUTD actually has a recommended curriculum so definitely check it out before selecting courses to ensure that you don’t go over or under loaded. 

Specialization 2: Engineering Systems and Design (ESD)

Faculty office of Engineering Systems & Design (ESD) @ Building 1, Level 7 (1.702)

ESD is the study of large-scale complex systems whose performance and function depend both on their technology and on the socioeconomic context within which they operate e.g. supply chains and logistics, financial services etc.

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design 

ESD's recommended curriculum

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

The different tracks offered by ESD includes:

  • Business Analytics
  • Financial Services 
  • Operations Research 
  • Supply Chain and Logistics 
  • Urban Infrastructure Systems

Specialization 3: Information Systems Technology & Design (ITSD)

Faculty office of Information Systems Technology & Design (ISTD) @ Building 1, Level 5 (1.502)

ITSD was established in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The focus at ITSD is on designing a information system that interact with the physical world, humans and machines.

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

Recommeneded curriculum for ITSD students

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

The pillar tracks for ITSD students include:

  • Business Analytics (BA) track
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) track 
  • Security & Communication (SC) track 
  • Computer Engineering (CE) track 

**Note: Some tracks are interdisciplinary and may require you to take up subjects that are outside the list of ITSD pillar subjects. 

Specialization 4: Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD)

Faculty office of Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD) @ Building 1, Level 6 (1.602)

The ASD pillar advocates a hands-on approach to architecture and sustainable design, and how technology impacts the designing and building process. In addition, the belief of ASD is that only by personal exploration with digital tools can you truly learn and therefore innovate. 

Unlike the other pillars, ASD is a very specialized pillar that does not offer different tracks for its students and all ASD students undergo the same courses together every term.

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

Recommended curriculum for ASD

How are the programs structured @Singapore University of Technology and Design

Capstone Programme

If you look carefully, you will notice that there is this required “Capstone” in every curriculum. Capstone is an innovative program that brings students from different pillars together to form a design team that tries to solve real world problems. The students will have to each bring their field expertise and also in the process learn how to work in a team. 

All in all, the education system in SUTD is indeed unique and if you are into its open and hands-on style of teaching and would like to find out more, you can always pop by during their orientation week to chat with current students and learn more about their experiences. 

Academic Guide