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​NTU Singapore and SMU launch PhD exchange programme

Published on: 17-Oct-2019

From January next year, PhD students from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Singapore Management University (SMU) will be able to enrol for postgraduate courses in both universities.

Under the new NTU-SMU PhD Student Exchange Programme, eligible PhD students from NTU Singapore and SMU can attend classes at the other university, the first such graduate academic programme tie-up between the two universities.

The programme combines the unique strengths of both young universities, allowing students from both universities to benefit from the wide-ranging PhD course offerings.

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh and SMU President Professor Lily Kong inked the three-year agreement today at a signing ceremony held at the NTU Research Techno Plaza.

Joining them at the event were NTU Provost and Vice President (Academic) Professor Ling San, NTU Dean of Graduate College Professor Jimmy Hsia, SMU Provost Professor Timothy Clark and SMU Dean of Postgraduate Research Programmes Professor Wan Wai Yee, who witnessed the signing.

Prof Subra Suresh said, “The PhD exchange programme between NTU and SMU combines the strengths of the two universities to provide a broader spectrum of professional development options for students from both universities. Following a similar arrangement established between NTU and NUS earlier this year, this exchange programme with SMU further strengthens and expands NTU’s commitment to forge stronger ties in education and research with our sister institutions in Singapore, providing greater return on investment for the public funds that support our universities

“This new PhD exchange programme is also in line with our vision to provide greater opportunities for our doctoral students to work at the intersections of disciplines that impact technology and humanity, leveraging the intellectual and academic strengths of NTU and SMU. This programme follows a series of activities launched at NTU during the past two years including the NTU Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity (NISTH) and the NTU Smart Campus Initiative”.

Prof Lily Kong said, “The NTU-SMU PhD exchange programme marks the first collaboration between SMU and a local university at the doctoral level. Increasingly, societal challenges have become multi-dimensional, and solutions are often to be found at the intersections of different disciplines. This programme allows students from both universities to take up a wider range of elective courses at the host university and gain from the expanded teaching resources. We envisage this partnership could become a platform for disciplinary or even interdisciplinary collaborations between the two universities.

“As a specialist university, SMU offers deep expertise in the disciplines of social sciences, management and computing which NTU doctoral students could leverage to advance their research. Our location in the city centre fosters strategic linkages with the public, private and people sectors, allowing students from both universities to build meaningful networks and gain real-world knowledge.” 

The NTU-SMU PhD Student Exchange Programme is open to full-time PhD students who have completed at least one semester of study, and have met the academic requirements of their home university. 

Bill Pung, a first-year PhD student at the NTU Institute for Health Technologies, said: “Research in topics like artificial intelligence draws inspiration from many fields such as neuroscience, statistics, and philosophy. The opportunity to have an interdisciplinary education will undoubtedly benefit PhD students here and in SMU.”

Chay Junxing, a fourth-year PhD student at the SMU School of Economics, said "This collaboration between SMU and NTU is very exciting for us because we will get the opportunity to take PhD level mathematics courses at NTU.  Additionally, this will give us the opportunity to network with other PhD students at NTU. Learning with them could potentially lead to future research collaborations, not only within Economics but even across disciplines such as Public Policy and Healthcare.”   

The joint PhD programme between NTU and SMU comes after NTU’s PhD student exchange programme with the National University of Singapore (NUS), launched in April this year. 


Media contacts:

Mr Feisal Abdul Rahman 
Senior Assistant Director 
Corporate Communications Office 
Nanyang Technological University 
Email: feisalar(at)

Mr Teo Chang Ching
Senior Assistant Director
Office of Corporate Communications and Marketing, SMU
Email: ccteo(at) 

About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a 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 for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

Ranked 11th in the world, NTU has been placed the world’s top young university for the past six years. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and it has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) building projects, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Singapore’s healthcare district.

For more information, visit

About Singapore Management University

A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is internationally recognised for its world-class research and distinguished teaching. Established in 2000, SMU’s mission is to generate leading-edge research with global impact and produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy.

Home to around 10,000 undergraduates and postgraduates, SMU comprises six schools: School of Accountancy, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Economics, School of Information Systems, School of Law and School of Social Sciences. SMU offers a wide range of bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degree programmes in the disciplinary areas associated with the six schools, as well as in interdisciplinary combinations of these areas.

SMU has an emphasis on generating rigorous, high-impact, and relevant multi-disciplinary research that addresses Asian issues of global relevance, SMU faculty collaborate with leading international researchers and universities from USA, Europe, China and India as well as with partners in the business community and public sector, through its research institutes, centres and labs. SMU’s city campus is a state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of downtown Singapore, fostering strategic linkages with business, government and the wider community.

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