SIM University (UniSIM) will launch three full-time applied degree programmes in August 2014, with a pioneer intake of up to 200 students. The three Bachelor degree programmes are in Accountancy, Finance and Marketing, the latter two with a minor that can be taken from a wide range of disciplines including Analytics, Communication and Psychology.
UniSIM's new applied degree programmes aim to groom socially-conscious professionals who can meet industry's needs, through a specially-designed curriculum that combines soft skills development, structured and substantial work attachment, practice-integrated professional core, overseas experience and sustained service learning project.
Elaborating on the programmes at a media briefing, UniSIM's President, Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, said: "UniSIM's programmes differ from the traditional degree programmes in that they are designed with a strong professional and social orientation to produce graduates with three distinct qualities: professionals with strong skills in their chosen fields who are able to hit the ground running in the workplace; socially-minded individuals who are motivated to make a difference in society; and self-directed lifelong learners with strong work ethics and values."
1. Practice-integrated programmes with strong industry focus
Leveraging UniSIM's strengths and experience in part-time applied education for adult learners and strong industry linkages, its full-time applied degree programmes are designed to help students integrate classroom knowledge with workplace application.
UniSIM will continue to work closely with industry and professional bodies on the development and delivery of its curricula. For instance, UniSIM and employers shall co-develop and closely supervise a structured 24-week work attachment with clearly defined learning outcomes for all students. Unlike traditional internships, UniSIM’s work attachments are longer, more substantial and structured, requiring students to undertake work assignments and job tasks like employees at their host organisations. This will allow students to gain real work experience that complements their classroom learning.
To graduate, students are also required to complete a Capstone project that is scoped around a work-related issue. These projects are supervised by both UniSIM faculty and industry partners.
2. Flexible structure and learning environment
Another unique feature of UniSIM's full-time programmes is the modular and flexible pathways offered to students. Students can take four to six years to complete the programmes. Students who want to complete their degrees in a shorter time can do so by taking more courses each semester, or taking additional classes in the evenings with UniSIM's part-time students.
UniSIM will leverage its capabilities in technology-enabled learning to provide e-learning resources, such as interactive e-study guides, recorded lectures, course materials, online discussion forums and assessments, to enable students on work attachments to continue with their studies. This will also enable students to relate their learning to their work attachments more directly. Part of the curriculum is designed to allow fresh school leavers to learn alongside working professionals enrolled at UniSIM. Such interaction would enrich their learning experience, help them develop a deeper understanding of real work issues, and allow them to form valuable professional and personal networks.
In addition, students can access exciting work placement opportunities even before they graduate without having to give up their studies. If they decide to join the workforce mid-stream, they may apply to complete their remaining modules on the part-time basis. Students may also be allowed to transfer to a part-time degree programme if the criteria for enrolment are met.
3. Education that emphasises social consciousness and ethics
UniSIM's full-time programme disciplines were chosen taking into consideration the strategic needs of our economy and society. In addition, 20% of the curriculum comprises mandatory Common Core modules, a set of inter-disciplinary first-year courses that encourage students to see problems through a broader, holistic lens and take into account social, cultural, historical, economic and political objectives.
The defining characteristics of UniSIM graduates are their socially-mindedness, rootedness to values, strong work ethics and motivation to serve their community. To develop these characteristics, students are required to initiate a service learning project for a cause. This provides students with the opportunity to use what they have learnt to effect positive change in the community. They will also develop connections with real-world real-time community concerns and learn the skills of conceptualising, planning and implementing a community service project. UniSIM will partner local Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to develop possibilities for meaningful projects. Ultimately, this 80-hour project serves as a platform to encourage future civic contributions after graduation.
4. Professionals who are self-directed lifelong learners
With a focus on combining academic rigour with practice and a unique continuing education orientation built into its programmes, UniSIM aims to instil in its students the desire and discipline to learn for life. Said Professor Cheong, "As a centre of excellence for lifelong learning, we hope to develop deep expertise in adult learning that not only equips our students with the knowledge and skills to succeed, but also instils in them the habits and competencies for lifelong learning, and the ability to learn and unlearn continually that is so essential in a constantly changing world."
Like all its other offerings, the full-time programmes will be subject to stringent quality control such as the Quality Assurance Framework for Universities implemented by the Ministry of Education.
An industry advisory board chaired by Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, Chairman of United Overseas Bank Limited and President of the National Council of Social Service, has been set up to advise on the full-time programmes.
UniSIM, the only private university in Singapore, has been designated to run publicly-funded full-time degree programmes, following the recommendation by the Committee on University Education Pathways Beyond 2015 to raise university cohort participation to 40% by 2020.
Commenting on UniSIM's role in full-time tertiary education, Professor Cheong said, "UniSIM has a social mission to meet the aspirations of Singaporeans for quality education and to support our economy and society's needs. Our new full-time applied degree programmes will bring added diversity to enrich the tertiary education scene and provide more pathways to success."
Minimum Academic Requirement
- General Certificate of Education ‘Advanced’ Level; OR
- Local polytechnic diploma; OR
- International Baccalaureate diploma; OR
- National University of Singapore High School diploma; OR
- Other equivalent educational qualifications with SAT1 results
- Personal attributes (e.g. communication skills, leadership qualities, special talents, work experience and others)
- Contribution to society/ Service to others (e.g. social or community service, volunteer work and others)
Applicants will first be shortlisted based on their academic qualification. Shortlisted candidates are also assessed on their non-academic qualities or achievements, a written response to a video, and their performance at individual and group interviews.
To graduate, students need to successfully complete 200 credit units (cu), comprising:
- For Accountancy programme – 140cu
- For Finance or Marketing programme – 100cu (major) + 40cu (minor)
- For all programmes:
- Common Core (40cu)
- Applied Project (10cu)
- Integrative Course (10cu)
In addition, students will need to fulfil the following:
- Work attachment (24 weeks)
- Community service learning (80 hours)
- Overseas experience
- Team-building and Life Skills Workshops