SMU PhD: Frequently Asked Questions


The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the SMU PhD have been answered in the different sections below.

Click on any of the FAQ sections to clarify your concerns.


Programme Structure

  • What is the programme structure?
    Please refer to Programme Structures on this site.
  • Is the programme offered on a part-time basis, or through distance/online learning?
    We believe that immersion in our research and teaching environment is integral to the SMU PhD experience. As such, we only accept students who study with us on a full-time basis.
  • How long is the programme?
    Students are encouraged to complete their studies in 4 years, though they may take 5 years to complete their programme.
  • How many intakes are there in a year?
    Generally, there is only one admission intake per year in August.

    The PhD in Information Systems may take in students in January, that is, two intakes per year. Please visit the website at or contact the respective Programme Administrator.

  • Would I have to determine my research topic during application or admission?
    Not necessarily. The coursework in the first one to two years and the interactions with eminent faculty will steer you towards a research topic of interest for the Dissertation.

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Admissions & Eligibility

  • What are the eligibility criteria for admission?
    Please refer to PhD Student Admissions on this site.
  • Do I need to have work experience to apply for the programme?
    Work experience is not a requirement.
  • If I hold a Master’s, can I be exempted from certain modules?
    If your Master’s degree includes a course that is very similar to one of our PhD courses, we may allow you to substitute the latter with another PhD course. We believe that by doing so, you will strengthen your academic foundation.
  • Do I have to attend an admission interview? When are the interviews?
    You may have to attend an admission interview should you be shortlisted for the programme. Face-to-face interviews are held for local candidates, and telephone or web-conferencing interviews are carried out for international applicants. The interviews are usually held in February/March of each year.
  • Where can I find details on these required tests – GMAT/GRE and TOEFL/IELTS?
    Please refer to PhD Student Admissions on this site for details.
  • Are there minimum scores for the required tests – GMAT/GRE and TOEFL/IELTS?
    We do not publish minimum scores for the tests as we assess applicants on overall qualifications.
  • Can I be exempted from the required tests – GMAT/GRE and TOEFL/IELTS?
    Most programmes require GMAT/GRE test scores to be submitted with the application. Some disciplines may specify a preference for GRE or GMAT in their requirements.

    Some programmes may waive the GMAT/GRE admission requirements for graduates of the Singapore Management University, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore University of Technology and Design. The Schools will be able to advise further on this.

    TOEFL or IELTS is a compulsory requirement for applicants whose medium of instruction at the Bachelor's/Master's level was not English.

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Applications and Financial Matters

  • How do I apply? When is/are the application deadline(s)?
    Please refer to PhD Student Applications on this site.
  • Is there an application fee?
    There is a non-refundable application fee of SGD15.00.
  • Is financial assistance available?
    Please refer to Financial Assistance Schemes on this site.
  • Can I apply if I have not graduated from my undergraduate programme?
    At the time of application, you may submit a transcript of the courses you have completed to-date. You must have fulfilled all the requirements of your Bachelor’s degree, and be ready to commence at SMU during the start of our academic term.
  • Can I apply before I have taken the required tests – GMAT/GRE and TOEFL/IELTS?
    You can send the rest of your application to us, even if you have not taken the required test(s). We will process your application once we receive your relevant test score(s). You could fax your unofficial score(s) to us as soon as you receive them. You can then arrange with the test centre to send us your official score report(s).
  • When will I be notified of the outcome of my application?
    For the August intake, we typically send out admission offers in March (of the intake year).

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  • Who will be teaching the programme?
    The programmes are taught by dedicated faculty members who have extensive research experience in their respective area(s) of specialisation.
  • Will I be able to undertake research with faculty members?
    Yes, you are encouraged to approach the respective faculty members in the areas of your interest and undertake research with them.

    You can also undertake research as research assistants with the SMU centres and institutes to enhance your research experience.

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  • How many information sessions are organised in a year? When are they held?
    Not all schools organise information sessions. Those that organise information sessions do so between September and November of each year, with some organising one session per programme and others more than one session. Please refer to Information Sessions on this site. An updated schedule will be available once the dates of these sessions are confirmed.
  • Would I be able to take courses from other departments during the coursework segment of the programme?
    This depends on individual programmes. You are encouraged to discuss this with your PhD Programme Director when you join the programme.
  • What are the career prospects of PhD graduates?
    Upon graduation, you will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and ability to conduct leading-edge research in your specialised field, thus preparing you for local and international careers in the academia and industry.

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