NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) is one of the largest faculties in the National University of Singapore (NUS).


It is made up of three main divisions, Asian Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences. Within the Asian Studies division, the following subjects are offered: Southeast Asian studies, Chinese studies, Chinese language, South Asian studies, Japanese studies and Malay studies. The Humanities division offers the following subjects: History, English language, English literature, Theatre studies and Philosophy. Within the Social Sciences division, the following subjects are offered: Communications and New Media, Economics, Geography, Political science, Psychology, Social work and Sociology.

The faculty offers both 3-year bachelor's degree and 4-year Honours degree programmes. Post-graduate degrees are also offered, as well as ample research posts. Students are expected, at the end of their 3 or 4-year degree, to acquire not only depth in their field of specialisation, but also breadth in the other fields. Therefore, all students are expected to take up modules from all the three departments. The faculty also provides a special shared-major programme, which allows students to specialise in two subjects, without the heavy workload of a double-degree programme. This allows for development of students' interest in different fields.

The Centre for Language Studies

The Centre for Language Studies (CLS) is part of FASS. The centre currently offers thirteen languages for students. They are: Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Spanish, Tamil, Thai and Vietnamese.[1] Students who are interested in these languages and who have a prior knowledge of the language should sit for a placement test to ensure their enrolment into a class of appropriate level. Beginner (Level 1000) classes are offered for students who have no knowledge of the language. Upon enrolment into language programmes, students have the opportunity of partaking in overseas immersion programmes to further help them develop fluency and competence in the language. The Language Preparatory Programme (LPP) is hosted by the CLS for students who are preparing to go on student exchange to French-speaking or German-speaking countries or Korea. These students are admitted into the respective language programmes in their first year of study, and are given priority for language classes. Ideally, after two semesters of study, these students will go for a 3-week immersion programme to the respectively countries, and then after another two semesters of study, they will go for a semester-long (or 2 semesters for students on the Honours track) Student Exchange Programme (SEP) at a partner university.

As of academic year 18/19, the CLS has commenced offering Minors in Foreign Languages to students matriculated in Academic Year 17/18 and later. In order to declare a Foreign Language Minor, a student has to complete a total of six modules of different difficulty levels of that particular language (equivalent to 24 Modular Credits ).[2] There are also other recognised modules taught in English that can be counted towards the fulfilment of the minor requirements.[3]

FASS Modular System - A Rough Guide

It is common for freshmen (as well as students in all other years of study) to be perplexed by the modular system in NUS. Following is a rough guide to help all in answering some doubts (note: this only applies to single-major students from FASS):

  • Number of exposure-level modules (level 1000 modules with a module code of XX1101E, where XX is the subject, for example, EL1101E for English Language exposure modules): 4, at least one each from the 3 departments, excluding the exposure module for your own major.
  • Number of Unrestricted Electives (UEs): 7, all of which are outside of your own major (they can be cross-faculty modules).
  • Number of Major modules (for a single-major student): 14 (56 credits), including the exposure module of your major.

These constitute the Faculty and Major requirements. Students are also expected to fulfil the University requirements below:

  • Number of General Education Modules (GEM) : 2, 1 with a code of GEK/GEMX5XX, and one with code of GEK/GEMX0XX (where X can be any number). If a module has a code of GEK/MX9XX, it can be used to replace either of the above two modules.
  • Number of Breadth (cross-faculty) modules : 2
  • Number of Singapore Studies (SS) modules : 1

These apply to a Single-major 3-year Bachelor student. The average number of modules taken each semester is 5 (20 credits). For a 4-year Honours student, he is expected to complete a total of 4 Breadth modules, as well as an increased number of Major modules.


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