SINGAPORE – Engineering and design and environment students joining the National University of Singapore (NUS) from this year will know more about net-zero buildings and electric cars as part of a new common curriculum.
They will also take a new compulsory module to help them communicate, for instance, in situations where they might have to work in teams or market their technologies.
Some 1,800 new undergraduates enrolling in the School of Design and Environment and the engineering faculty from August will take a new set of seven core interdisciplinary modules as university officials said both fields see a convergence in skills and knowledge required for work.
Two of the modules are completely new – Sustainable Futures and Creating Narratives – while some of the other modules cover topics like artificial intelligence, project management and design thinking.
Some of these modules are currently only available at either school, but will be extended to students from both sides in the new academic term.
Students will also undertake an interdisciplinary project that is the equivalent of two modules. They will be given more flexibility to pursue second majors and minors, without having to extend the length of their studies, as the workload for major and minor requirements will be lowered.
From August, about 7,000 incoming NUS students will also need to take up community projects and be graded for them.
Under a new Communities and Engagement module, they can opt for projects related to topics of their interest, like climate change or access to healthcare and education.
These latest announcements on Monday (Feb 22) come after NUS’ launch of a new College of Humanities and Sciences in December.
Students enrolled in the new college, which brings together the arts and social sciences, and science faculties, will have to take 13 common modules in areas that cut across different fields of study such as design thinking and scientific inquiry.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, NUS provost Ho Teck Hua said: “The engineering, and design and environment disciplines are converging. We worked really really hard to get the two schools to create modules that are relevant for the future.
“In some way, their educational experience will be very different compared to the previous years’ graduates. They will learn from both sides, (so that) expertise (will be) broad and diverse.”
He added that NUS is still studying the possibility of forming a joint college for both schools, similar to the College of Humanities and Sciences.