News Details | 05-Aug-2015

​NTU launches new PhD programme in medicine

Programme focuses on translational medical research

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is giving Singapore’s talent pool in medical research a shot in the arm with the launch of a new PhD programme in medicine.

To be offered by NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), the four-year PhD programme by research will kick off in January 2016. It will have an initial intake of 10 students which will be increased gradually.

The innovative programme will admit the brightest students from backgrounds as diverse as the natural and clinical sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Students will be equipped with the research skills necessary to address the healthcare challenges facing Singapore, such as Metabolic Disorders, Infectious Diseases, Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders, and Skin Disease.

By 2030, close to 2 million people in Singapore will live with chronic conditions and one in five residents will be over the age of 65. Older people and those suffering from chronic diseases often require longer and more frequent hospital stays, putting additional strain on healthcare resources.
Through the new PhD programme in medicine, NTU aims to nurture the next generation of biomedical scientists who can lead their fields by delivering innovations to healthcare and treatment that improve the quality of lives of patients in Singapore and around the world.
LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best said, “Our innovative PhD programme leverages our research expertise and international partnerships, especially with Imperial College London, to equip students with the scientific, interpersonal and management skills required of the next generation of leaders in health policy, medical research and industry.”
Unique pathways
The programme will be shaped by Singapore’s healthcare needs and delivered with several innovative features.
It will include clinical attachments for students without a clinical background to provide a deeper understanding of local healthcare needs.
There will also be laboratory rotations to broaden the students’ range of skills, as well as overseas attachments with academic medical centres for all students to give them an international perspective.

Vice-Dean for Research Professor Philip Ingham said, “With our innovative PhD programme, global outlook and strong foundation in modern medicine, we aim to attract outstanding applicants from a variety of backgrounds. We want people who think outside the box, expect the unexpected, follow their intuition and above all, want to contribute to a healthier society.
“Like our medical undergraduates, our PhD students have a unique opportunity to become an integral part of our vibrant, dynamic research team and contribute to the spirit of the School as its pioneers.”
Capitalising on LKCMedicine’s strategic partnerships, students on the PhD programme will be able to choose from three different pathways for their research training.
The first will see the students based mainly at LKCMedicine, with a three to six-month overseas attachment. The second option will also see students based mainly at LKCMedicine, coupled with a six to 12-month attachment with an industry partner.
The third pathway will see them undertake their research project at both LKCMedicine and Imperial College London. The students will spend at least 12 months at Imperial, NTU’s partner in its joint medical school.

For the final year, all students will be based at LKCMedicine to prepare their thesis for submission and examination.
To ensure their research remains focussed on clinical needs, students will be supervised by two members of LKCMedicine’s faculty, at least one of whom is medically qualified. For those choosing to complete a project at LKCMedicine and Imperial, they will also be co-supervised by a member of Imperial’s faculty.

Applications are now open

Applicants from non-clinical backgrounds should have a good degree in a relevant field. A Master’s degree is not a pre-requisite but an advantage.
Applicants with clinical backgrounds should have a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and identifiable research experience preferably in the form of a Master’s degree.
All students will receive a solid foundation in basic and clinical research concepts, methods relevant to modern biomedical research, and a broad exposure across the range of expertise within the wider NTU community before specialising in their chosen research area.
Applications are now open and will close on 31 August 2015. Interested applicants can log on to:


Media contact:

Ang Hui Min
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University

About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

The University’s main Yunnan Garden campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

For more information, visit 

About Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a partnership between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Imperial College London, will train a generation of doctors who will put patients at the centre of their exemplary medical care. Graduates of the five-year undergraduate medical degree programme, which matriculated its inaugural cohort in 2013, will have a strong understanding of the scientific basis of medicine, along with interdisciplinary subjects including business management, humanities and technology.
The School’s primary clinical partner is the National Healthcare Group, a leader in public healthcare recognised for the quality of its medical expertise, facilities and teaching. The School, named after local philanthropist Tan Sri Dato Lee Kong Chian, aims to be a future model for innovative medical education. Its first doctors will graduate in 2018 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), awarded jointly by NTU and Imperial College London. They will become doctors who will enhance Singapore’s healthcare in the decades to come.
For more information, visit   
ANNEX 1 – PhD programme overview

Year 1
• 2 core modules
• 2 elective modules
• 2-week Global Health Awareness attachment
• 2 four-month laboratory rotations (applicable to non-clinical students)
• 2-week Clinical Awareness attachment (applicable to non-clinical students)
• NTU requirements

Core Modules

MD9001 Epistemology and Ethics of Research: This core module aims to introduce fundamental issues in the field of history and philosophy of science and practical ethics. It enables students to critically evaluate key arguments in these fields.

CE7412 Computational and Systems Biology: This e-module will equip graduate students with advanced computational techniques that are necessary to resolve problems in computational and systems biology. Students will gain knowledge in bio-sequence analysis, handling gene and protein expression data, and modeling biological networks.

Elective Modules (choose 2)

MD9101 Biostatistical Methods and Basic Epidemiology: This module will provide students with a strong understanding of the basic principles and measures used in epidemiology. The course will cover the fundamental concepts and statistics in epidemiology including important topics such as causality and disease surveillance. Real-world cases and data will be used to illustrate key principles, concepts, and techniques.

MD9102 Bio-entrepreneurship: This module focuses on drug development from academia to final approval of a new drug entity.

CH7102 Cell Therapeutics Engineering: This module focuses on the principles and approaches of tissue engineering. Topics to be covered will include the objectives and fundamentals of tissue engineering, cell and tissue properties, cell-ECM interactions, host reactions to tissue-engineered implants, cell-implant interactions, practical approaches and experimental techniques commonly used in tissue engineering, biomaterials, drug delivery.

BS7001 Molecular and Cell Biology: The aim of this course is to ensure the graduate students have fundamental knowledge of molecular and cell biology. Topics covered include: molecular and cellular mechanisms, genomic manipulations, control of gene expression, molecular immunology, virology, cancer biology, and hereditary diseases.

MD9103 Biological Imaging: This module will provide students with a foundation in the basic physics of optics and optical microscopy, as well as an introduction to the wide variety of non-optical imaging modalities in use in modern laboratories. Students will be acquainted with the most prominent modern imaging techniques currently in use, including NMR/MRI, PET and X-rays.

MD9104 Introduction to Neuroscience: To give a general introduction into neuroscience to PhD students during the first year of their studies. Both those students who plan to specialise in neuroscience research in their PhD studies and those who are going to work in other areas are welcome to participate.

MD9105 Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis: This module introduces systematic reviews and evidence synthesis to students for the evaluation of clinical research. They will learn how to synthesise information and assess the strength of the evidence from research publications.

Years 2 and 3
Complete at least 2 specialised advanced modules (for a full listing of specialised advanced modules, please go to, commence main research project and choose one of the following Pathways:

Pathway 1 – Mainstream
• Complete at least 2 specialised advanced modules
• Undertake project at LKCMedicine with a short overseas placement (3 – 6 months)

Pathway 2 – Industry aligned
• Complete at least 2 specialised advanced modules 
• Undertake project at LKCMedicine with industrial placement (6 – 12 months)

Pathway 3 – Dual centres
• Complete at least 2 specialised advanced modules
• Undertake project conducted at LKCMedicine and Imperial (12 – 18 months)

Year 4
Students on all three pathways will complete their main project at LKCMedicine and prepare their thesis for submission. The PhD Thesis Examination consists of thesis, thesis defence in the form of an open seminar followed by a closed viva voce examination.


ANNEX 2 – Qualifying requirements

Degree requirements:
Non-clinical applicants: At least Upper Second, preferably First class honours degree in a relevant field. A Master’s degree is not a pre-requisite but is considered advantageous.
Clinical applicants: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and identifiable research experience preferably in the form of a Master’s degree.
Other requirements:
TOEFL/IELTS: Good English test score is required.. English test scores are required for international applicants except those who are from English-medium institutions or whose undergraduate/graduate degrees are from autonomous universities in Singapore. IELTS may be submitted in lieu of TOEFL. 
GRE: Valid test score is required for applicants who are not graduates from autonomous universities in Singapore. Test dates must be within 5 years or less from the date of application. Applicants from India may use the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) score of at least 90% in place of GRE. Test date must be within 3 years or less from the date of application.
Applicants are also assessed on the feasibility of the research proposal and their research experience and fundamental knowledge in their area of interest.

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