Why choose SUTD in the sea of larger, more renowned universities in Singapore? Well, apart from having state-of-the-art facilities and numerous opportunities for hands-on learning, SUTD has a great student life culture, and a stellar community to boot. But don’t take it from us—hear from some of our current final-year students as they open up about their fondest memories throughout their time in SUTD, and what they’ll miss most about being a SUTDent.
1. Close-knit, family-like cohorts
At SUTD, cohorts are a lot smaller than larger universities in Singapore. While this means that you might not get to meet as many people throughout your time in university, the upside is that the people you do meet will, more often than not, grow to become like family to you.
“We’re a small, but close-knit community. Everyone knows everyone here.”
— Ragul Velusamy, pictured right (Computer Science and Design)
“My favourite part about being SUTDent is the sense of community within SUTD. I enjoy seeing a lot of familiar faces as I walk around the school campus.”
– Julius Ang (Architecture and Sustainable Design)
Every batch of students matriculating into SUTD go through a unified first year (i.e. Terms 1 to 3) where everyone studies the same modules. Known as the Freshmore year, this common first year allows students to have a taste of everything that SUTD has to offer, and to take their time to explore the school’s various pillars of specialisation.
“Coming out of National Service and Junior College, I had no idea what to study in university. The main reason why I chose SUTD was because of the Freshmore year, where I could try out different modules under each pillar before making my final decision.”
— Damian Ong, pictured right (Engineering Systems and Design)
When we said SUTD has plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning, we meant it—every module offered will have at least one project that students have to work on in groups. These projects typically involve a lot of creative thinking and real-world problem-solving, which require students to work very closely together over the course of the term. Students get to pick their own teammates for each project, and often end up forming strong bonds after working so closely together.
“For projects, I attempt to team up with people with whom I have never worked with before; that way, I’m able to learn more about my classmates and make new friends!”
— Nicole Ng, pictured left (Engineering Product Development)
2. Vibrant Fifth Rows
In SUTD, student clubs or co-curricular activities are known as Fifth Rows, and they’re taken very seriously—there are no classes on Wednesday and Friday afternoons to allow students to pursue their passions and interests, such as through the different Fifth Row activities. Many SUTDents participate in multiple Fifth Row activities throughout their university life, with most, if not all of them, taking this as an opportunity to pick up a new skill or hobby and to meet new people, from batchmates to seniors and juniors.
There are currently over 75 different student groups on campus, ranging from Indian dance to protecting animal welfare, Russian martial arts, and the Electric Vehicles Club. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s bound to be something that will pique your curiosity.
“I am so thankful to have my Ultimate Frisbee team; they have a special place in my heart. They provided a safe place for me to de-stress and to socialise.”
— Nicole Ng (EPD)
“I would miss the SUTD culture the most. The SUTD culture is welcoming and supportive. The student clubs are very open to new people, which means that you can be exposed to a wide variety of sports, arts and interest groups.”
– Julius Ang, pictured left (ASD)
3. Passionate professors
You would assume that all professors, regardless of the university, would be passionate about the subjects they teach. Well, you’re right! But at SUTD, our professors take this up a notch, leaving an indelible impression on our SUTDents time and time again (for the best possible reasons, of course!). Fun, relatable, entertaining, patient, and passionate are just some of the many words used by SUTDents to describe their professors.
“Prof Ernest Chong patiently guided me for my Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme (UROP) project on Machine Reasoning—I really learnt a lot under him; Prof Pang Yang Huei’s lessons are incredibly entertaining and insightful, and he always looks out for his students; Prof Apple Koh and the whole Physics department make lessons so enjoyable!”
— Han Xing Yi, pictured right (CSD)
4. Variety of facilities
SUTD might be smaller and newer than most other universities in Singapore, but we don’t fall behind in terms of facilities.
There are a lot of open, green spaces on campus for students to relax in or to meet up to work on projects and other activities. The different blocks in SUTD are interconnected and designed to allow students to cross from building to building conveniently, without having to travel all the way down to the ground level. Each classroom is fitted with ample power sockets, whiteboards, and other basic amenities to facilitate group discussions. There are also labs with equipment and devices that can be booked by students to use free of charge, including 3D-printers, laser cutters, VR cameras, and more.
“I love the layout of the school—everything is within close proximity and still feels very new, from lifestyle facilities like the gym and swimming pool, to other amenities like the Fab Lab and library.”
— Presca Lim, pictured left (CSD)
“The most valuable thing I learnt from SUTD would be the culture of making. The programmes in SUTD are very hands on and we are constantly encouraged to build physical prototypes. The well-equipped fabrication lab aids in this process as we have easy access to many state-of-the-art machines and tools.” – Julius Ang (ASD)
5. Opportunities for all
One other benefit of having a small cohort size is that there are more than enough opportunities for everyone in SUTD. For instance, when it comes to inter-university competitions like hackathons, larger universities might see an overwhelming number of teams signing up, and would have to go through a selection process to shortlist participants. However, in SUTD, there are often more available slots than teams of students that sign up, so as long as students seek these opportunities, they’re likely to get them.
“I grew a lot because I tapped on the opportunities provided by SUTD, and it has really helped me. If I weren’t an SUTD student, I might not be able to experience as many things.”
— Presca Lim (CSD)
However, if and when the types of opportunities provided by the school are not as aligned to students’ interests, a strong student network and a small cohort size, where information-sharing and external opportunities can happen quickly and effectively, becomes highly beneficial.
“While SUTD provided an array of opportunities, self-sourcing my own opportunities gave me the space I needed to dive deeper into my personal interests”
— Han Xing Yi (CSD)
Apart from external opportunities like internships and competitions, SUTD also offers every student an opportunity to receive the education that they desire, without having to worry about the financial aspect of undergraduate studies. There is a wide variety of grants, bursaries, and scholarships available at SUTD for students of all demographics to defray the cost of SUTD’s tuition fees. For more information, click here.
6. Freedom and a safe space to learn and grow
As a university student, the amount of freedom you get in terms of being able to live on-campus and being able to pick and choose modules that interest you is something that’s very exciting. With this newfound freedom, it can be easy to go overboard and bite off more than you can chew, so it’s important to find a safe space where you can try new things.
At SUTD, we provide students with a safe space to explore new interests, push boundaries, and go crazy with their ideas in everything they do, so that they can grow as individuals, and alongside one another.
“For our Networks module in Term 6, we were allowed to form our own groups to do a project researching any topic regarding computer networking. This was really fun because we got to explore our own areas of interest! My team did a project on network congestion control abuse, and we learnt a lot from it!”
— Han Xing Yi (CSD)
Apart from a sense of camaraderie, the SUTD curriculum, though tough, allows students to be independent and take charge of their education through self-learning, self-sourcing of external opportunities, and be in control of their time by balancing school, work, and life.
“The most valuable thing I have learnt in SUTD is that we should aim to achieve maximum accountability in everything we do. Most of our ESD projects are done in collaboration with external companies, so we are trained to communicate and interact with actual clients.”
— Damian Ong (ESD)
“One of the most valuable things I have learnt in SUTD is not just becoming more independent, but also appreciating myself. During moments where I feel frustrated and stressed, I always make an effort to step aside for a breather, and then come back. I learnt that at the end of the day, I have to take care of myself: mentally and physically.”
— Nicole Ng (EPD)
7. Exciting Capstone Projects
Thesis, Final Year Projects, or Capstone Projects —no matter what you call it, the final project that you work on as an undergraduate in university would be your pride and joy. As a physical representation of everything you’ve learnt in university, it should be something that you’d be excited to present not only to your professors, but also the world.
In SUTD, we encourage students to push boundaries by providing the option to embark on student-led Capstones, or entrepreneurial Capstones over the course of their final year (i.e. Terms 7 and 8. For the former, students approach companies or organisations of their choice and come up with a ready-to-use product or prototype to solve a real-life problem. For the latter, students develop a product or service of their own, and essentially form their own startup.
“My team and I partnered with ST Engineering. Our project will be on improving the breeding system of a reservoir through robotics, computer vision, and machine learning.”
— Presca Lim (CSD)
“My Capstone project is about creating a system or device to ease the moulding of customised 3D-printed bone implants; in this case, we will be focusing on the skull implant.”
— Nicole Ng (EPD)
“Xing Yi, along with some friends and I, will be working together to develop indoor localisation and authentication tokens using Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology, like those found in AirTags or the newer generation of iPhones.”
— Ragul Velusamy (CSD)
“My team and I are currently working with ST Engineering. We are trying to enhance the maintenance, repair and operation process in the company by studying the existing service processes of interpreting data and analysing results via statistical techniques, identifying areas suitable for digitisation and digitalisation involving all levels of staff, as well as incorporating UI/UX design methodology.”
— Damian Ong (ESD)
“I am currently working on an entrepreneurship capstone project to design a floating sea farm. Food security is an important theme in Singapore’s sustainability discussion. We hope to be able to help Singapore meet its goal of 30 by 30, which is to raise local production to meet 30% of local nutrition needs by 2030. The reason we chose to look towards the sea is because we recognize the issue of land scarcity in Singapore.”
– Julius Ang (ASD)
So, why SUTD? The answer lies in the whole SUTDent experience. Come see what we mean and embark on your undergraduate journey with us this year.
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