Graduate Academic Life


Graduate students in the department benefit both from the size and variety of their cohort and from the research culture in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) and related NUS research organisations like the Asia Research Institute (ARI). They have many opportunities to enter academic dialogue, present their work at seminars and conferences, and (where appropriate) to conduct fieldwork overseas.


The department holds frequent graduate seminars, in which students present their research to fellow students and faculty members. Students can also take the initiative to form more informal, modestly funded, reading groups on a particular subject or theme. These facilitate shared perspectives and deepen engagement with the topic.


The department encourages students to present their research to wider audiences at local, regional and international conferences. Our students have attended conferences in countries as diverse as Japan, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.

There is financial support for (full-time) students to attend conferences, as well as the preparation of presentations through mentoring and oral work in class (Graduate Funding).

Fieldwork and Language Laboratory Research

Some students conduct fieldwork or perform experiments in language laboratories. Our students have carried out fieldwork in Singapore, as well as in countries in the region such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Students may apply for the Faculty’s Graduate Research Support Scheme (GRSS) for such work (Graduate Funding).

Research Assistantships

Research Assistantships are occasionally available. In such cases, students are appointed as Graduate Student Researchers to assist individual faculty members in their projects. Research assistantships are usually funded by the faculty members' own grants.


Teaching is an important aspect of academic life, complementing research activity. Many graduate students (especially those on scholarships) have opportunities to teach in undergraduate modules. Ordinarily, they serve as tutors for discussion groups that comprise 15-25 undergraduates. Graduate students have access to programmes at the university’s Center for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL) for training and support to become effective teachers.

The Faculty’s Graduate Students’ Teaching Award (GSTA) is given every semester to encourage graduate students to excel in their teaching. The experience of teaching is an important part of the student's growth into a professional academic.

Scholarly Activity in Wider Contexts: FASS and Relevant NUS Organizations

FASS and ARI also provide opportunities. Besides the traditional disciplinary departments, FASS has multidisciplinary research clusters that encourage scholarly exchange and initiatives across departmental lines. There are research clusters on cities, the environment, migration, the family, religion, social science policy and STS (science, technology and society). ARI hosts its own research clusters, regional groups and study groups for Asia-related research, including a cultural studies cluster.