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Life @ NUS: National University of Singapore

Life at National University of Singapore
Life at National University of Singapore

Life at National University of Singapore

                                                                                              By:  Pranjul Mishra (PhD Scholar, NUS)

University veterans will never forget the freshman year at college. In general it is a time occupied with anticipation, anxiety, and self-discoveries. National University of Singapore (NUS) is a lot different than IITs or any other Indian college for that matter. What can you expect as you head off into the wonderful world of higher education? The first thing you’ll notice is the assignments. It will be heavier and more intense than you ever experienced before. All the assignments will be reading intensive requiring a regular brain storming. It can at times lead to doubt, frustration and loneliness but that is where you have to hang in there. These phases will pass. Don’t take any negative decisions regarding your majors or project in a haste. Always consult and take advice of the experienced. Things always look better in the morning.

Try to make as many friends and learn from other’s experience as it will be free. Let the selection happen naturally and you will see, these friendships will be the most satisfying and long term. Living outside your home country can be challenging. And that too in a country like Singapore which can be really strict in their civilian rules. Be careful here. Enjoy your pristine freedom. Explore the opportunities but remember, with freedom comes responsibility.

I will not provide department and course work information here as I don’t want a biotechnology graduate to apply in Chemical engineering department! Rather go for Biological sciences where you will be rewarded more for your knowledge. Here, you will have to equip yourself with least amount of chemical engineering basics that can be painful at the starting. Just to give you a glimpse of Chemical engineering pain that I have gone through, following are the courses that I studied in National University of Singapore (NUS):

  1. Advance Reaction Engineering

  2. Advance Separation Process

  3. Advance Inorganic Nanomaterials

  4. Downstream Processing for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

  5. Biochemical Engineering

  6. Advance molecular genetics

First two are the compulsory courses. Next three are department electives. And the last one is one of the cross department modules that we are free to take (only 1 cross dept. module is allowed). With that said, anybody interested in Chem-eng can write to me about the dept. specific queries anyways.

My Project at National University of Singapore

I work to apply systems and synthetic biology to model micro-organism. It basically requires building a mathematical framework to capture the biochemical information of an organism. And then simulate it to characterize its different growth patterns and molecular capabilities. I work under Prof. C. B. Ching and Dr. D. Y. Lee.

The Fun Part

In my 2 years in Singapore, contrary to my expectations and because of unforeseen reasons, I could only manage to visit Malaysia, Hong-kong and Macau. And why I said “only”, is because Singapore is quite near to many countries like; Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam etc. It’s quite central to the south-east culture.

My first trip was to Penang and Langkawi in Malaysia. Penang is an economically important state of Malaysia as well as formally inscribed as UNSECO world heritage site. From there, we took ferry to Langkawi, which is an island in Malaysia. Following is a little glimpse of my journey 🙂


Recently, I went to Hong kong and Macau for weekend trips. It had always been my dream destination where I wanted to play poker, which I did finally (though I would suggest not to indulge in such activities). Here are the few snaps of the trip:

The evening skyline of Hong-Kong from Victoria place
The evening skyline of Hong-Kong from Victoria place
The very famous Casino Venetian in Macau
The very famous Casino Venetian in Macau

Hope you all would benefit from my experience and my life at National University of Singapore (NUS). An important point I would like to make is that:

In addition to National University of Singapore (NUS), there are others Asian universities like Nanyang technological university (kind of sister concern of NUS) and Hong Kong university of Science and technology (HKUST) which you can eye. The eligibility is the same: GATE or GRE. I would like to emphasize here that it is really an advantage to have GRE score with you in addition to GATE because then you can apply to USA, CANADA as well. Also, GRE is must for some scholarships like SINGA or NGS in NUS.

All the very best to all of you!

Success wished your way!

Best Regards




  1. Hello Pranjul Sir,

    I am really interested in pursuing chem engg, in terms of masters, and had a few queries….

    how does having masters in chemical engg after bachelors in biotechnology compare to only bachelors in chemical??

    I mean that do chemical reactor design companies like uop or indian govt companies like eil, iocl hire people with only masters in chem engg?? Since you mentioned the core subjects that one learns during ms in chem engg, is it possible to shift completly to chemical engg stuff??

    And can one pursue masters in petroleum engg after bachelors in biotechnology?

    • Hi Sarthak (and everyone looking for responses from Pranjul),

      It often takes time to fetch a response from Pranjul because of his busy schedule and inability to access our website. In fact our team communicates your queries personally to him and as soon as he provides his feedback/response, we post it on his behalf whenever he is unable to do so.

      Sarthak, your query has been communicated to Pranjul, and he will respond soon. Thanks for the patience and all the best!

      Best Regards

      Team BiotechStudents

    • Pranjul Mishra

      Hi Sarthak,

      Sorry for the delayed response. is clearly an edge if you have bachelors degree in chemical engineering but if you are good at mathematics, you will be able to get through it. If, after completing your masters in chemical engineering, you are able to compete with regular chemical engineering students, it is completely fine with the employers. Basically, you do not suffer a disadvantage of not having a bachelors degree, if you can make up for it and learn the requisites.

      Yes you can completely shift to chemical engineering and can get a job in companies like UOP but you have crack their interview and other things, which can be really technical. Moreover, for some positions they might ask for experience, here you might lack.

      As far as I know, master in petroleum related courses require a petroleum specific bachelor or at least chemical engineering.

      You can write for further queries.



  2. Hey I am currently pursuing my btech in biotechnology .I want to crack nus.and hence I am preparing for gate.I want to know whether one should apply for msc or PhD? Which has better career prospects? Moreover what is the duration of PhD program at nus?

    • Sunil Nagpal


      PhD is way better than MSc after completing BTech. PhD can easily land you up in a research job, which MSc would rarely do.

      PhD at NUS usually spans 4 years.

      Hope it helps

      Best wishes

  3. I have to choose to go in exchange to HKUS or NUS, what do you suggests? I love Singapore but i’v seen the courses offered for biotechnology and from the description they look quite lame without any hands-on opportunities, what do you think? heeellppp

    • Sunil Nagpal

      If you are getting more hands-on opportunity at HKUS then go for the same. NUS will reflect better on resume though..

  4. Ankita Chattopadhyay

    Hello Pranjul and Sunil Sir,
    I completed my M.Sc in Applied Microbiology in 2017 and qualified GATE Biotech 2018 with 95. 35 percentile. I am very interested to pursue my Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from NUS or NTU. I would like to know if there are any chances for me getting shortlisted for interview at NUS or NTU?
    What iits can i get with this percentile?
    Does the admission process involves selection based on gate percentile or research proposal? Where can I get help in drafting the research proposal?


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