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S'pore's first Naval Architecture degree takes off

It’s full steam ahead for Singapore’s first full-time degree in Naval Architecture which will commence on 22 Sept with a pioneer intake of 62 students.

The two-year programme is offered by the United Kingdom’s distinguished Newcastle University under the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Polytechnic-Foreign Specialised Institution (Poly-FSI) initiative.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Bachelor of Engineering in Naval Architecture with Honours was signed by Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) and Newcastle University in November 2007.

Newcastle University is a premier institution known particularly for its courses in marine and offshore technology, strong track record in the successful commercialisation of research, excellent links with businesses, and familiarity with Singapore’s marine education.  It is also a member of UK’s elite Russell Group of 20 internationally recognised research institutions.

The degree has been warmly received in Singapore by the marine and offshore industry, as well as relevant engineering diploma graduates. It was oversubscribed by two times for the first intake. Applications have also been received in advance for the second and third intakes.

Speaking ahead of the opening of the Newcastle University, Marine International Singapore at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Mr Chia Mia Chiang, the Principal of NP, said: “We are delighted with the response as it is a ringing endorsement of the new degree. The tie-up is certainly a great avenue for those who wish to deepen their expertise by acquiring a reputable overseas degree at a more affordable cost subsidized by MOE. We look forward to producing top specialists to sustain Singapore’s position as a leading marine and offshore centre in the world.”  

Professor Oliver Hinton, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the university, said: “Newcastle University is proud to obtain the approval from the Ministry of Education which has resulted in the opening of our first overseas branch in Singapore in collaboration with two excellent partners. Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic have a world-class track record of academic and industrial excellence in maritime technologies. We are delighted to build on our long-standing tradition of excellence in the marine sector by working closely with maritime industries in Singapore, and by delivering the best Singaporean graduates for the future.”

The Newcastle University, Marine International Singapore, which will serve as the nerve centre for the programme, will be opened by Mr Michael Chia, the President of the Association of Singapore Marine Industries (ASMI) on 19 Sept. The ceremony will be witnessed by Mrs Amanda Brooks, the Deputy British High Commissioner, Singapore.

The new degree has been customised as a seamless progression for graduates of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Diploma in Marine & Offshore Technology and Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Diploma in Marine Engineering. The degree will leverage on the training facilities of both polytechnics.

Most of the modules will be delivered by four full-time professors from Newcastle University who are based at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.  Students will also learn from visiting professors sent by Newcastle University from time to time.  Lecturers from both polytechnics will co-teach the programme. 

Immersion programme

Students will have the opportunity to undergo a four-week immersion programme at the university’s Newcastle, UK campus during their vacation period at the end of their first year. They will take a module in the UK and be exposed to many research projects conducted at the university in collaboration with British and European industries.

Students will enjoy access to cutting-edge research technology employed by the university. They will interact with research leaders, enabling them to make a more informed decision on the topics of their final-year research projects. 

Students will use unique test facilities such as the wind-wave-current tank in Newcastle. They will also go on industry visits to gain a global outlook. 

Scholarships and awards 

The Bachelor of Engineering in Naval Architecture with Honours has received a financial boost from the industry and a successful alumnus of Newcastle University.

A total of 11 scholarships have been awarded by ASMI, Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and Singapore Maritime Academy. Key industry players such as Keppel FELS, Sembawang Shipyard and Singapore Technologies Marine have fully sponsored another 10 students for the course. 

Students will also benefit from a $160,000 endowment fund set up with an $80,000 contribution from the family of the late Mr George Chow Yew Tong, with Ngee Ann Polytechnic matching the contribution dollar-for-dollar.

Mr Chow, who was one of the pioneers of Singapore’s marine industry, passed away earlier this year. He had played a key role in establishing Singapore Shipbuilding and Engineering, the predecessor of Singapore Technologies Marine.

A Colombo Plan scholar, Mr Chow studied Naval Architecture at Newcastle and graduated as a top student in 1972. The George Chow Yew Tong Endowment Fund will be used to award scholarships, book prizes and gold medals, thus promoting academic excellence among the degree students.
Advanced standing and accreditations

Students will receive a one-year advanced standing, enabling them to complete the degree in two years instead of three.  

Newcastle University is in the process of obtaining international accreditations by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects in UK for the degree. 

Two specialisation strands

The degree covers key areas such as principles of stability, marine structures, resistance and propulsion, dynamic modelling and simulation, offshore design, and offshore engineering analysis.  

Students can choose to specialise in either Marine Engineering or Offshore Engineering. There are 20 modules for each specialisation strand.

Graduates can be involved in design and other value-added activities in shipyards, and undertake specialised re-construction jobs. In addition:

  • Those who specialise in Marine Engineering can also work in marine supporting industries for the manufacture, supply or servicing of marine equipment and components such as diesel engines and turbochargers; while
  • Those who specialise in Offshore Engineering can also be engaged in the design, construction, repair, upgrading and conversion of offshore units such as jack-up rigs, drill ships and semi-submersibles.

MOE endorsement and fees

Singapore citizens can apply for the MOE tuition grant of $19,400 per year and pay a subsidised tuition fee of only $7,100 per year.

Singapore Permanent Residents and international students who wish to take up the tuition grant will pay a subsidised tuition fee of $7,810 and $10,650 per year respectively.

Similar to the arrangement in NUS, NTU and SMU, subsidised students who are not Singapore citizens have to fulfill a 3-year service obligation to work in Singapore upon completion of the Poly-FSI degree programme.

Singapore Permanent Residents and international students who do not wish to take up the tuition grant will pay a full tuition fee of $33,430 per year.

Other degree tie-ups

Ngee Ann has also tied up with other well-established overseas institutions to offer specialised degrees in Early Childhood Educational Studies and Leadership, and Fine Arts in Creative Producing. (For more details, please see the Appendix).


Other degree tie-ups

Ngee Ann Polytechnic was the first local polytechnic to offer a degree in a niche area under MOE’s Polytechnic-Foreign Specialised Institution (Poly-FSI) collaboration framework.

The first degree tie-up involves a collaboration between Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Boston-based Wheelock College and the Regional Training and Resource Centre in Early Childhood Care and Education for Asia (RTRC Asia) to offer the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Educational Studies and Leadership.

Ngee Ann signed an MOU with Wheelock College and RTRC Asia on 2 Oct 2006. The move followed a National Day Rally speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2005, during which he encouraged the polytechnics to link up with foreign universities to run degree programmes in niche areas to provide “many routes up, many ways to succeed”.

The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Educational Studies and Leadership programme started in June 2007. Students enjoy a two-year advanced standing, enabling them to complete the degree in two years instead of four.

The pioneer batch of about 60 students have completed their five-week summer immersion programme in Boston. During their trip, they visited state-of-the-art childcare and pre-school centres and facilities in Greater Boston, and took advantage of the rich learning resources on the Wheelock College Boston campus. They also met students, faculty, practitioners and professionals from all walks of life. This pioneer batch will be graduating in June 2009.

The degree, which will be awarded in the name of Wheelock College, is fully accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). All the students in this degree programme hold a Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

In June 2008, Ngee Ann Polytechnic signed an MOU with Chapman University, which is located in the city of Orange, Southern California, to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Producing. Creative producers are visionaries who conceptualise and drive the creative, technical, financial and business aspects of film and TV production.

Awarded in the name of Chapman University, the full-time degree is the first of its kind to be offered in Singapore. With a two-year advanced standing, students will be able to complete the degree in two years instead of four.

The first batch of 32 students started their course on 1 Sept 2008 and will graduate in August 2010. They have either a Diploma in Film, Sound & Video or Diploma in Mass Communication from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

16 Sept 2008

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