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SUSS revamps curriculum to add flexibility, strengthen learning of core subjects and improve job prospects of graduates

SINGAPORE — The curriculum of the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) has been revamped to give students more ways to customise their degree, such as with a second major. The learning of core subjects is being strengthened along with inter-disciplinary studies.

SUSS revamps curriculum to add flexibility, strengthen learning of core subjects and improve job prospects of graduates
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  • The curriculum of SUSS is being revamped for the first time since the university was founded in 2017
  • Key goals include improving learning of the core curriculum and improving the job prospects of graduates
  • Full-time undergraduates will get two new options to fulfil the credit units needed to get a degree.
  • The SUSS core curriculum has also been redesigned, with higher credit units for it

SINGAPORE — The curriculum of the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) has been revamped to give students more ways to customise their degree, such as with a second major. The learning of core subjects is being strengthened along with inter-disciplinary studies.

In a statement on Tuesday (Nov 29), SUSS said the changes would apply to undergraduate students enrolled from July 2023 onwards.

"A strong core curriculum will instil fundamental competencies, while the possibility of greater major-minor combinations and even double-majoring will ensure that our graduates have more flexibility and range throughout their career," SUSS said in the statement.

A strong core curriculum will instil fundamental competencies, while the possibility of greater major-minor combinations and even double-majoring will ensure that our graduates have more flexibility and range throughout their career.
Singapore University of Social Sciences

All students except for law students will have most of their courses last a whole semester or 12 weeks, up from the typical norm of a term, or six weeks, which will enable them to have more down-time.

Still, even though courses will take twice as long, this doesn't necessarily mean students will take longer to graduate.

Rather, as the courses are more spread out, students will be able to take more courses simultaneously.

There will also be a special semester from May to June where students can take extra courses, which will allow them to be able to complete their studies in the same amount of time.

Another key change is that full-time students will be able to customise their degree more, with options such as a second major, the university announced at the launch of an event about teaching and learning.

These announcements follow the recommendations of a panel — consisting of industry experts, academics and SUSS faculty to review the SUSS academic system.

This panel was commissioned in 2021 by SUSS' President, Professor Cheong Hee Kiat.

CHANGES TO THE SEMESTER TIMETABLE

SUSS Provost, Professor Robbie Goh, said the shift to a 12-week semester was in response to feedback from SUSS industry partners and students.

“(They said) it doesn’t afford much time for reflection, and some of the students complained that if you miss the first week or two, it’s almost impossible to catch up effectively,” he told TODAY on Tuesday.

“A 12-week semester made a lot more sense in allowing students to engage more in-depth and create a bit more breathing space for learning as well,” he said.

Elaborating on what this entailed, he said that there would be six to eight weeks of contact time with the tutors of the courses, varying from course to course. 

Then there would be four to six weeks of “white space”, or free time where students could study online material, consult tutors or do assignments.

This is an increase from the current system, where courses are held over a term of six weeks.

Ms Cassia Leong, 45, a second-year student and mother of two welcomed the upcoming changes.

“The six-week (schedule) was quite stressful when there were (family and work) clashes," she said.

"(This will) allow us to have more time to do our reading up, as well as more interaction time with our lecturers,” she said.

She is currently a part-time student studying for her Bachelor of Arts degree in translation and interpretation (English-Chinese) and is self-employed in the property industry.

With regards to law students, Dean Professor from the SUSS School of Law, Professor Leslie Chew, said: "Our law programmes will not be able to fit exactly into the new curriculum; law is a professional degree."

"Its curriculum has to satisfy legal requirements for the graduates to be eligible for the Bar examinations. However, parts of the core curriculum is already built into the law curriculum," he added.

MORE PATHWAYS TO A DEGREE

This is the first revamp to the SUSS curriculum since the university was established in 2017. SUSS grew out of private university SIM University.

“We rationalised the size of the major, we created the second major option of 12 courses, and we shrank the minor from eight to six courses,” said Prof Goh.

“We went through every course and we looked at what was absolutely essential…we removed what was a lot of elective space in the former majors. Majors used to have quite a lot of electives, sometimes too much, really,” he added.

Currently, half of SUSS undergraduates have a minor, with the other half having a major without a minor, something that is decided at the time of admission.

With the changes, full-time undergraduates will come in after choosing their major. Up till the time of graduation, they will be able to pick a double major, double minor or minor, depending on their accumulated credit units.

On top of that, the SUSS core curriculum, a requirement for graduation, has also been expanded.

Now, the core has more credit units for all students, and features mostly new courses, with existing courses redesigned.

Core curriculum courses such as “Learning-to-Learn", "Work and Learning in a Changing World” and “Teamwork in the Modern Workplace” are intended to help students be flexible and prepare for any future disruptions in their industry.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing attended the SUSS Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Symposium 2022 on Tuesday where the changes were unveiled. 

In a speech, he emphasised the importance of teaching students the skills needed for lifelong learning.

“Our job in facilitating the education and training systems is not to help our students only to understand yesterday's solutions for yesterday's problems," he said.

"Our more urgent and more important task is to help our learners find the solutions of tomorrow and frame the challenges of tomorrow ahead of time.”

Related topics

Chan Chun Sing SUSS education University

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