Everything you need to know about Singapore's fifth autonomous university
Here’s a tongue-twisting fact: did you know that in 2019, Singapore’s fifth autonomous university, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), celebrated its fifth year as an autonomous university and ten years as an institution? It was gazetted by Parliament as an AU in 2014 and incorporated in 2009! Offering 42 degrees today with a strong focus on applied learning—the university started out with just 10 overseas university partner programmes!—SIT has come a long way.
To celebrate this milestone, we’ve amassed five (plus five) things you should know about Singapore’s university of applied learning. Here goes!
#1) SIT’s specialised degrees target growth sectors of our economy
SIT’s programmes are designed to be relevant to Singapore’s key growth industries, such as healthcare, Infocomm technology and engineering. This is achieved through close partnerships with industry in order to understand what’s in demand, and where manpower is needed.
Noteworthy examples include:
- The Bachelor of Science with Honours in Dietetics and Nutrition. Launched to prepare for Singapore’s rapidly ageing population, which will see an increase in patients with chronic diseases and the need for more specialized dietitians and nutritionists, the degree was developed in close consultation with chief dietitians across the three integrated public healthcare clusters.
- The Bachelor of Science with Honours in Air Transport Management. The Asia-Pacific region is poised to become the world’s largest aviation market[i], and Singapore’s aviation industry is already seeing significant growth following the development of Changi Airport Terminals 4 and 5. SIT worked with key players in the air transport sector, such as CAAS, to introduce this degree.
#2) …and have a strong applied learning focus
With the Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP), which takes place during their course of study, SIT students won’t have to worry about this problem! Lasting anywhere from 8 – 12 months, the IWSP is compulsory and structured around each SIT-conferred or joint degree programme to cater to the specific needs of a particular industry, developing industry-ready graduates. Think of it like probation on the job, where you learn and get used to the work that the actual job entails, and you’ll be on the right track.
Another thing unique to SIT is their Professional Officers’ Division. Apart from the faculty members, students also have access to more than 100 Professional Officers with industry experience, who work closely with faculty staff to guide and mentor students in their projects and lab work.
#3) SIT has strong ties with several reputable overseas universities…
You’ve heard of Newcastle University and the University of Glasgow, have you not? These are just two of the nine overseas university partners SIT works with to offer exciting joint-degree programmes. The curriculum is designed to suit the local context, addressing the challenges of Singapore’s economic landscape, while retaining the global outlook offered by overseas universities, thereby granting students the best of both worlds!
#4) …and offers students opportunities for global exposure
Apart from Overseas Immersion Programmes, SIT students can also take part in programme-specific Overseas Exposure Programmes! Typically held during trimester breaks, students get to witness best practices from overseas and work on overseas projects (so they learn as well).
SIT students also partake in international competitions: recently, a team of SIT-Newcastle University (NU) students took part in the 2019 Ferry Design Competition. Organised by the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA), the team came in first amongst competitors from around the world.
#5) SIT not only has a unique set-up and infrastructure…
Did you know that SIT currently has satellite campuses at all 5 polytechnics? Reflective of SIT’s commitment towards providing polytechnic graduates upgrading opportunities and quality education, the university is also preparing to move into a new centralised campus in Punggol by 2023!
In addition to its 6 campuses (this includes their HQ in Dover), SIT also organizes academic staff according to 5 programme clusters instead of schools. This not only encourages SIT lecturers and professors to teach programmes across relevant disciplines but also removes barriers that can hinder exciting interdisciplinary collaborations.
#6) …but also serves as a key nexus between students and industry.
SIT maintains close ties with industry players, and students benefit from this relationship through exposure to real work issues. Remember how we talked about IWSP? Things don’t stop there! SIT students are tasked to bring a project back from their host organisations to serve as their capstone project, where they explore ways to optimise their host organisation’s performance or develop solutions to existing problems.
Another initiative is SIT’s Lean Transformation Innovation Centre, a resource centre that conducts masterclasses and conferences to help companies build up lean capabilities. Companies will have opportunities to engage SIT students to support their efforts in continuously solving and improving existing workflow issues and processes.
#7) SIT students (and alumni!) are filled with purpose…
SIT students and alumni, called SITizens, are grounded in the community through the university’s emphasis on service learning, which combines learning objectives and community service for a more holistic learning experience that relates to the society at large.
Leading by example, SIT actively works with the community to help them turn their ideas into reality and solve issues within their homes and living environment. Take a look at SkillsCraft, a community-operated workspace that brings the ‘learning-by-doing’ experience to residents by letting them make use of the resources and tools available to build and design prototypes!
#8) … and their campus life is a vibrant one
One of SIT's CCAs is rock climbing!
Make no mistake: while SIT is still fairly young, it definitely doesn’t lose out when it comes to student life! The university has a wide range of co-curricular activities—97, in fact— for students to choose from. These clubs are slowly but surely making a name for themselves too: SIT won overall 3rd place in the Singapore University Games 2018, with the women’s Tchoukball and CueSports teams emerging victorious.
#9) SIT provides students with an entrepreneurship and innovation system…
Dream of launching and owning your own business? SIT’s students get a head-start in their entrepreneurship journeys through access to an ecosystem of guidance –a maker space to tinker and prototype, mentorship, funding, and chances to take part in entrepreneurship development programmes! Have an innovative business idea that could lead to a potential venture? Want to create and spearhead solutions that will meet individual, community and industry needs? For SIT students, it’s definitely possible.
#10) …and inculcates in graduates a spirit of lifelong learning
In the spirit of learning, un-learning, and re-learning (a guiding principle you’d find within the SIT-DNA!), all of SIT’s students are given SGD 2,000 in credits that they can use for courses and workshops offered by SITLEARN Professional Development, the lifelong learning division of SIT, upon graduation. Courses on offer run the gamut from Quantitative Risk Analysis to Urban Greenery Design. How does learning about placemaking sound?
SIT has achieved a lot since it became a university six years ago, and their efforts have started to bear fruit: according to SIT’s graduate employment surveys, over 90% of respondents secured employment within six months of completing their final exams.
SIT may be new but it certainly is getting its formula right, and Digital Senior is looking forward to seeing what they have in store! Aren’t you, too?
This article first appeared in Digital Senior in 2019.