Guide Series: Post Secondary Options

Polytechnics in Singapore

This Guide Provides Comprehensive Information on Pathways available Post-Secondary. It is simplified and presented in an accessible format for students to make a good and informed decision.

Polytechnics in Singapore – stepping stone for aspiring students

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If you recently graduated from secondary school and are considering post-secondary education options, read along to consider why and if polytechnic courses in Singapore might be a good fit for you. With a strong focus on hands-on and practical learning, it would make a good alternative for students who value technical expertise more than theoretical ones. Furthermore, polytechnics also emphasize developing soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving and critical thinking, which are essential in the workplace. 

1- About polytechnics in Singapore

In Singapore, there are a total of five polytechnic institutions. Each polytechnic course awards you a Diploma certificate upon successful completion. This paves the way from post-secondary education to higher education in a university, where GPA and other extra-curricular achievements determine admission to a local or private university. 

There is a wide variety of available polytechnic courses in Singapore, making it easier for students to select one that best aligns with their interests. These courses are grouped into different faculties. It includes Applied Sciences, Built Environment, Business Management, Engineering, Health Sciences, Information and Digital Technologies, Maritime Studies, and Media and Design. Each faculty offers specific courses related to their field of expertise.      

In line with the evolution of technology, some of the newest courses added are furniture design, artificial intelligence and robotics. 

Each polytechnic course spans three years with a total of six semesters. School term typically begins in April and goes on till August or September. One semester is usually around 4 to 5 months.

2- Who should join a polytechnic?

Polytechnics have been known to focus on practical learning to prepare students for the real world, often going beyond traditional classroom teachings with hands-on experiences. So if the idea of a post-secondary education focusing on hands-on learning speaks to you, applying for a polytechnic course would be a good choice. These institutions are designed for those who prefer a more applied and industry-focused approach to education. Whether you are eager to pursue a specific career path or simply explore your passions or interests, polytechnics offer a wide range of courses for you to choose from.

3- Criteria to get into Polytechnics in Singapore

Prospective students need to apply through either of the five different admission processes – the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE), the Direct Admissions Exercise (DAE), the Joint Polytechnic Admissions Exercise (JPAE), the Polytechnic Early Admissions Exercise (Poly EAE), or the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP).  

To qualify for entry into polytechnic courses in Singapore, below is a list of basic requirements.

3.1- Academic Qualifications

Students must have completed their secondary education and obtained the Singapore-Cambridge GCE Ordinary Level (O-Level) examination certificate or equivalent.

3.2- Grades

Eligibility for specific courses within the polytechnics will depend on the student’s O-Level subject grades. Different courses may have different grade requirements in specific subjects relevant to the chosen course.     

The O-Level results are converted into an aggregate score to rank applicants for their course choices. The specific aggregate score required may vary from year to year and across different courses. The ELR2B2 format is used to calculate the results, meaning the English Language, Relevant 2 subjects (dependent on the course applied for), and Best 2 subjects. The cut-off point for polytechnic usually ranges from  8 to 26. Some of the most popular courses in 2023, such as Accountancy or Business Studies, have a cut-off point of between 3 to 12.

3.3- Course Prerequisites

 Some courses may have additional subject prerequisites or aptitude tests that applicants need to fulfil to be eligible for admission. For instance, applying for Nautical Studies requires students to pass an eyesight and colour vision test. For a diploma in Law and Management, there is a minimum requirement of a grade of 1 to 4 for the O-level equivalent of English.  

3.4- Aptitude-Based Admissions

Certain creative or specialised courses may require applicants to undergo interviews, portfolio assessments, or aptitude tests to assess their suitability. Courses such as Animation, Games and Visual Effects, Apparel Design and Merchandising as well as Arts and Theatre Management require students to undergo an interview if they are found to have severe colour vision deficiency. 

3.5- Singaporean Citizenship/Permanent Residency

Polytechnics cater to Singaporean citizens and permanent residents. International students have separate admission procedures and requirements.

4- Polytechnics in Singapore – a comprehensive list

Address: 180 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, Singapore 569830

Nanyang Polytechnic offers a diverse range of courses, with a strong focus on IT, entrepreneurship and innovation. It also houses specialised hubs like the Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience, promoting sustainability and smart city initiatives. 

Address: 535 Clementi Road, Singapore 599489

NP is the second oldest polytechnic, established in 1963. It offers the Diploma Plus Programme, allowing students to take additional modules beyond their core curriculum to enhance their skill set and broaden their knowledge.

The Polytechnic’s School of Film & Media Studies is renowned for producing talented graduates who have excelled in the media industry.

Address: 9 Woodlands Avenue 9, Singapore 738964

RP is the newest kid on the block, founded in 2002. It is well-regarded for its unique and pioneering problem-based learning (PBL) pedagogy, where students work on real-world projects and learn through hands-on experiences.

The Polytechnic’s Woodlands Health Campus offers healthcare-related courses with opportunities for students to gain practical experience in a hospital setting. It is also known as the polytechnic that offers attractive sports-related courses for students interested in this field. 13 to 26 is the cut-off point for polytechnic.

Address: 500 Dover Road, Singapore 139651

SP is the first and oldest polytechnic in Singapore, offering courses that require a low cut-off point of 8. It has an innovative Design Thinking and Innovation Academy that specialises in promoting a human-centric approach to problem-solving, fostering creative thinking and design skills.

The polytechnic’s Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC) also supports the food industry through research and development, providing students with exposure to the food manufacturing sector.

The cut-off point for polytechnic ranges from 8 to 22.

Address: 21 Tampines Avenue 1, Singapore 529757

TP is known for its strong emphasis on work-study programs, allowing students to gain valuable industry experience while pursuing their diplomas.

The polytechnic’s School of Informatics & IT also offers specialised courses like Game Design & Development, grooming students for the fast-growing gaming and IT industries. That aside, it is also the only polytechnic that provides highly sought-after courses like law. The cut-off point for polytechnic is from 8 to 21.

5- Final Thoughts

Polytechnic courses in Singapore offer a practical and industry-focused approach to education, making them an attractive option for students who value hands-on learning and want to develop both technical expertise and essential soft skills. With a diverse range of courses across various faculties, polytechnics cater to the diverse interests and career aspirations of students.

 While most courses have straightforward admission criteria based on O-Level results, some specialised programs may require additional assessments or interviews to determine their suitability. Regardless of the specific pathway, polytechnics provide an excellent stepping stone for students to pursue higher education or enter the workforce with relevant skills and knowledge. As you embark on your post-secondary education journey, consider exploring the offerings of Singapore’s polytechnics to find the course that aligns best with your passion and career goals.

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6- Explore Klassbook for more Classes

To explore more post secondary classes, go through our list of various subjects here. Why not start with a trial class to gauge your child’s interest?


Seline holds a typical 9 to 6 office job but believes that her true calling lies elsewhere. In her free time now, she writes articles and plays with her pet cat, while harbouring the dream of writing a fiction book someday. She is a fan of the underdog (or cat) story and loves every display of grit.

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