As part of SMU's doctoral training, SMU PhD students are provided with opportunities to be Teaching Assistants and Graduate Instructors.

SMU PhD students undertake high-quality doctoral training. As part of their training, our PhD students are provided with opportunities to enhance their research and teaching experience in the different ways listed below. Our PhD students also have the opportunity to interact with graduate students from international universities who visit SMU for a short period of time to undertake research courses and projects...

Read more about the PhD Student Experience at SMU.

 


Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Student Experience: Research Assistantships

Learn more about SMU Research Assistantships

SMU PhD students who are in Year 1 through to Year 4 may take up research assistantships. Our students are appointed as research assistants at the Schools or at SMU research centres and institutes based on their specialised area(s) of research.

PhD students on full scholarships may undertake part-time research assistantships as part of the award (as detailed in the Terms and Conditions under Full Scholarship). The award is renewed annually, subject to good academic and work performance.

Our PhD students could also be awarded full-time research assistantships if they are not on any scholarship (for instance, in the case where our students continue their studies in Year 5 and no longer receive scholarships). This scheme covers tuition fees and provides monthly stipends (at the same rates as the scholarships). This type of research assistantship is funded by faculty grants, and students appointed under this scheme will have to work on the respective faculty’s projects. Our students will be given the opportunity to work in teams undertaking targeted and impactful research.

The hiring procedure and rates of payment are based on prevailing guidelines.

 

Read about SMU PhD Students as Research Assistants

Sun Lin, one of our students of PhD in Business (Finance) describes his research assistantship experience.

SUN LIN

Student of PhD in Business (Finance) Lee Kong Chian School of Business

I am a PhD student specialising in Finance. I am from Wuhan, China. After graduating from NUS, I wanted to pursue my PhD with SMU because of its strength in finance. I came to realise this after coming across the high-quality finance publications by SMU.

Furthermore, SMU has an excellent range of faculty members, both distinguished full-time and visiting faculty. My mind opens up just by hearing them. There are also young and energetic faculty members who also do good research. I personally feel this is what makes SMU different. I also wanted to join SMU because it is situated near the financial institutions, giving me the opportunity of understanding what is happening in the industry.

I would like to particularly share my research assistantship experience. As part of the PhD training, I have worked on several projects as a Research Assistant. I assisted several faculty members to consolidate data sets. This was a real eye-opener for me as I had to ensure that the results were correct and meaningful given a short turnaround time of one week. In my stint, I have undertaken a slightly more challenging project – more specifically in my research area of interest – hedge funds. I work with Professor Melvyn Teo, Associate Dean (Research) and the PhD Programme Director, Lee Kong Chian School of Business. I analyse data sets that provide hedge fund managers’ biographic information, which can be used to study the relationship between fund managers’ characteristics and fund performance. I hope to further this project with Professor Teo.

I enjoy my research assistantship because it gives me the opportunity to work with eminent faculty members, allowing me to gain hands-on research experience. Faculty members are very helpful because they go through a step-by-step procedure of how to generate ideas and perform research. I feel that the experience moves me away from textbook to real-world application.

As a Research Assistant, SMU provides me with the required resources. I undertake my research work using the following software – Statistical Analysis System (SAS), MATLAB and Microsoft Excel. A designated workstation makes it very convenient to undertake my research.

I hope to work as a faculty in a renowned institution in the Asia-Pacific region after I graduate.

 

Lay See Ong, one of our students of PhD in Psychology describes her research assistantship experience.

LAY SEE ONG

Graduate of PhD in Psychology School of Social Sciences

I am a PhD in Psychology graduate. I gained interest in Psychology during my undergraduate studies when I took it as my second major. This interest was further cultivated when I worked closely with Associate Professor Angela Leung on several research projects. As Associate Professor Leung was a great mentor and her research interests overlaps with mine, I decided to pursue a PhD in Psychology at SMU. My decision to continue my studies in Singapore, and in particular at SMU, was not only due to family commitments but also the familiarity with the SMU faculty. The SMU faculty is generally young and friendly, and as such there are no barriers when interacting with them. This is evident in their enthusiasm in starting new collaborations with their colleagues and the graduate students.  In fact, students are welcome to knock on the doors of the professors to bring up any interesting research ideas!

From my undergraduate to postgraduate days, I have been involved in multiple projects as a Research Assistant (RA). My duties include preparing research materials (such as survey scales and questionnaires and experimental stimuli) which may require using research software like Direct RT and MediaLab; the running of experiments; and data analysis. I also assisted with administrative tasks such as completing applications for the IRB (Institutional Review Board) as human subjects were involved in research work done in the School; booking the Psychology lab; and posting research studies on the Mercury subject pool system. During my postgraduate RA stints, I was able to choose a different professor to work with in each term. This resulted in the flexibility to choose research topics of my interest and the opportunity to work with different faculty members who have research interests unique to them. Projects that I have handled so far include creativity, culture, priming and personnel selection. Each project required different skill-sets and this contributed to my learning.

Working as a postgraduate RA also allowed me mentoring opportunities by guiding the undergraduate RAs whom I was working closely with. I work with them to coordinate schedules for running experiments; training them on how to run the experiments; and collating their timesheets. Through these interactions, I was able to share with them what postgraduate life is like and the process of postgraduate school application, in the hope of inspiring more students to enter graduate school.

The RA stints have indeed broadened my horizon by learning new things from the different faculty members who have varying research interests. I have genuinely enjoyed these experiences. Moreover, the vast experience of conducting experiments has provided me with the edge of running my own experiments for the dissertation.

As research is my passion, I would like to continue conducting research after I graduate. It is my desire to apply my knowledge to the real world so that people’s lives can be improved.

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Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Student Experience: Internships

Learn more about the Internship Scheme for SMU PhD Students

Internship stints help our PhD students to steer their research towards practical problems. The internship experience enhances our PhD students’ chances of securing good employment after graduation.

In certain disciplines, our PhD students would have the opportunity to sign up for internships with a public agency or company.

 

SMU PhD Students who have gone on Internships

Name

Agency/Company

Period of Internship

Chen Cen

 

 

Alibaba Group, China

9 May to 12 August 2016

Le Truc Viet

 

 

IBM Research Collaboratory, Singapore

4 May to 5 August 2016

Sougata Sen

 

 

Samsung Research America, Inc., Mountain View, California, USA

18 May to 14 August 2015

Kasthuri Jayarajah

 

 

U.S Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, Maryland, USA

18 May to 7 August 2015

Meeralakshmi Radhakrishnan

 

Xerox Research Centre India, Bangalore, India

4 May 2015 to 12 August 2015

Pavneet Singh Kochhar

 

 

Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington, USA

4 May 2015 to 24 July 2015

Kenny Choo

 

 

LogicMills Learning Centre Pte Ltd, Singapore

5 January 2015 to 19 April 2015

Mon Kywe Su

 

 

 

Samsung Information Systems

America, Inc., Santa Clara, California, USA

19 May to 15 August 2014

Minh Duc Luu

 

Integral Ad Science, New York, USA

10 May to 15 August 2014

Qiming Diao

 

 

Google Inc., Mountain View, California, USA

12 May to 8 August 2014

Minghui Qiu

 

 

Google Inc., Mountain View, California, USA

12 May to 8 August 2014

Shaowei Wang

 

 

Microsoft Research Asia, Beijing, China

16 May 2014 to 16 August 2014

Sougata Sen

 

IBM Research Lab, New Delhi, India

6 May 2013 to 26 July 2013

Tuan Anh Hoang

 

Yahoo! Research Barcelona, Spain

18 May 2013 to 17 August 2013

Freddy Chua

 

 

Hewlett Packard Research Labs, Silicon Valley, California, USA

4 June 2012 to 3 September 2012

 

Read about SMU PhD Students on Internships

Freddy Chua (SMU PhD in Information Systems Graduate, 2014) describes his internship experience.

FREDDY CHUA

PhD in Information Systems School of Information Systems

I am a SMU PhD in Information Systems graduate specialising in Data Mining. After graduating from NUS in Computer Science, I was very interested in pursuing a PhD at SMU in the School of Information Systems. I was interested in a research area recommended by Professor Lim Ee Peng, my dissertation advisor for the area of social network mining and applications. At the same time, I was able to remain in Singapore and be close to my parents.

As part of my programme, I went on a 3-month internship from June to September 2012 to Hewlett Packard Research Labs (HPLabs) in Silicon Valley, California. At HPLabs, I was part of the Social Computing Group managed by Bernardo Huberman. I was asked to propose a research project that will benefit the business objectives of HPLabs based on stipulated requirements. I undertook the research project by writing computer programmes and performing experiments to verify the research results. When I presented my findings to HPLabs, they found my results useful and are considering taking the project to the next stage. The company is currently filing a patent for my work. Although the internship was for a short 3 months, I consider the delivery of results in this span of time a great achievement! The internship has indeed helped me gain experience in independent research and will definitely be useful to me in the future.

In my time at HPLabs, I was able to interact with the team of research scientists, although only one of them was my supervisor. The manager-in-charge has asked whether I could return to HPLabs in the future to work on other projects. I will have further discussions on this with the manager after I graduate and consider the proposal over the other options available to me.

There are two reasons why I enjoyed the SMU PhD programme. Firstly, freedom was given in the way I conducted my research, and secondly I was given the time to focus on my research.

I would like to see the impact of my research be translated into real-life solutions.

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Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Student Experience: Overseas Training Residencies

Learn more about the Overseas Training Residencies for SMU PhD Students

Selected SMU PhD students on their overseas training residencies at Carnegie Mellon University, USA.

SMU PhD students may undertake overseas training residencies. Currently, SMU has a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) through the Living Analytics Research Centre (LARC) (one of SMU's research centres) which provides our students with such overseas training residencies. Selected PhD students from any of our PhD programmes may spend up to 10 months at CMU. The research work of these students is directly linked to LARC projects, and they conduct their dissertation research on these projects under the joint supervision of SMU and CMU faculty.

 

SMU PhD Students who have gone on Overseas Training Residencies

Till-date, over 50 SMU PhD students have gone on this training residency.

Year of Overseas Training Residency

Presentations

2015

View the PhD students’ presentations

2014

2013

2012

2011

 

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Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Student Experience: Teaching Assistantships

Learn more about the SMU Teaching Assistantships

SMU PhD students are provided with formal teaching experience which equips them with professional skills for international faculty positions after they graduate.

SMU PhD students who are in Year 1 through to Year 4 may take up teaching assistantships. The teaching assistantship provides our students with formal teaching experience which will equip them with professional skills for international faculty positions after they graduate. Our students are supervised by SMU’s faculty members who are well-known in their respective specialised fields.

PhD students on full scholarships may undertake part-time teaching assistantships as part of the award (as detailed in the Terms and Conditions under Full Scholarship). The award is renewed annually, subject to good academic and work performance.

As Teaching Assistant, our students would be involved in all aspects of an undergraduate or postgraduate course under the supervision of a faculty member. These aspects include course content design, in-class teaching, student consultation, and setting and marking of examinations.

 To qualify as a Teaching Assistant, our students are selected based on these criteria:

  • have good academic standing;
  • passed the Qualifying Examination; and
  • possess sufficient subject expertise.

If our PhD students do well as Teaching Assistants, they could be appointed as Graduate Instructors (after satisfying certain mandatory requirements) and assume full responsibility for a course.

The hiring procedure and rates of payment are based on prevailing guidelines.

 

Read about SMU PhD Students as Teaching Assistants

Lindawati (SMU PhD in Information Systems graduate, 2014) shares her teaching assistantship experience.

LINDAWATI

PhD in Information Systems School of Information Systems

I am a graduate of the PhD in Information Systems programme, specialising in Intelligence Systems. I am from Jakarta, Indonesia. I first heard about the PhD programme from a friend who is a faculty member at SMU. I joined SMU because of what it had to offer in terms of the current research carried out by the School of Information Systems (SIS).

I enjoyed this programme because you are given the freedom to decide what research you would like to do. Although my dissertation supervisor, Associate Professor Lau Hoong Chuin guided me along the way, it was my responsibility to ensure that I undertake my research effectively. I have also written papers, of which several have been presented at a Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN Conference and a Combining Constraint Solving with Mining and Learning workshop.

In my 4th year, I had the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant for two undergraduate courses at SIS, namely ‘Computer as an Analysis Tool’ and ‘Computational Thinking’. As a Teaching Assistant, I was involved in the following ways – (a) attended classes to help with questions raised by students; (b) walked around the class and assisted students during the hands-on sessions; (c) provided consultation during the students’ project work discussions; (d) attended weekly discussions with the faculty in-charge and instructor; and (d) marked papers and projects.

During my teaching assistantships, I learnt that student life in Singapore is different as compared to my undergraduate experience. Students here are more active and critical in their thinking. It was rather interesting for me to see how undergraduates interact amongst themselves.

The experience was also useful to me as it had somewhat helped me with my ongoing research work. In the first course mentioned above, I was not aware of the existence of several functions, which I have begun to use in analysing my research. The second course was a refresher to me as I had forgotten certain algorithms that exist.

I underwent several professional workshops with SMU’s Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE). These programmes have been useful and relevant, and provided me with skills that I could use when I teach in future. I plan to be a lecturer in Singapore. My experience as a Teaching Assistant at SMU has indeed given me a head start.

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Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Student Experience: Graduate Instructors

As Graduate Instructor, selected SMU PhD students are given full responsibility to teach an undergraduate or postgraduate course while still pursuing their PhD in year 5.

In Year 5 of their studies, when our PhD students are not on any scholarship, they could be selected to be Graduate Instructors. As Graduate Instructor, our students are given full responsibility for an undergraduate or postgraduate course. As part of their responsibility, they would be involved in course content design, in-class teaching, student consultation, and setting and marking of examinations.

Our PhD students would have to satisfy certain mandatory requirements before they could be a Graduate Instructor. These requirements include passing both the Graduate Development Programme by SMU’s Centre for Teaching Excellence and the English assessment by SMU’s Centre for English Communication.

The hiring procedure and rates of payment are based on prevailing guidelines.

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Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Student Experience: Participating in International Research Conferences

In the course of their studies, SMU PhD students participate in at least one research conference locally or overseas.     In the course of their studies, SMU PhD students participate in at least one research conference locally or overseas.

In the course of their studies, SMU PhD students participate in at least one research conference locally or overseas. Our students’ research papers are usually accepted at reputable refereed conferences where they share their research contributions with the international research community.

SMU provides our students with generous conference funding to participate at international research conferences. Our students are also able to secure external funding to attend these conferences.

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Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Student Experience: Visiting Graduate Students

These visiting PhD students are from international universities and institutions. They spend a short period of time with SMU to undertake research courses as well as projects with our internationally-known faculty members.

Read about Visiting Graduate Students

David Fuhry, visiting PhD student, 2013.

David Patrick Fuhry
PhD student from Computer Science & Engineering
The Ohio State University, Columbus
[2013 participant of the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Programme*]

  • The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Programme is administered in the United States by the National Science Foundation and co-sponsored in Singapore by the National Research Foundation.  SMU is one of the three Singapore host institutions.

Research Project Title
Interactive Visualisation of User Communities and Interests in Social Networks

Supervisor
Professor Ee-Peng Lim
SMU School of Information Systems

"SMU provided us with ample resources for us to do our research project."

Paul Taele, visiting PhD student, 2013.

Paul Piula Taele
PhD student from Computer Science & Engineering
Texas A&M University, College Station
[2013 participant of the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Programme*]

  • The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Programme is administered in the United States by the National Science Foundation and co-sponsored in Singapore by the National Research Foundation.  SMU is one of the three Singapore host institutions.

Research Project Title
Developing Intelligent Beautification Tools for Informal Animation Sketching Interfaces

Supervisor
Assistant Professor Richard C. Davis
SMU School of Information Systems

"The research infrastructure at SMU was very professional and I was able to emulate my research habits here at SMU. Interaction with other researchers was made possible through professional visits to other research labs."

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