New engineering, design undergrads at NUS to get common curriculum

They will learn about net-zero buildings and electric cars, as well as take on new module on communication

Engineering and design and environment students joining the National University of Singapore (NUS) from this year will find out more about net-zero buildings and electric cars, as part of a new common curriculum in August.

They will also take a new compulsory module to help them communicate, for instance, in situations where they have to work in teams or market their technologies.

About 1,800 new undergraduates enrolling in the School of Design and Environment and the engineering faculty will take a new set of seven core interdisciplinary modules, NUS announced yesterday.

University officials said at a briefing that both fields have increasingly seen a convergence in skills and knowledge required for work.


Two of the modules are new - sustainable futures and creating narratives - while others cover topics such as artificial intelligence, project management and design thinking.

Some of these are currently available only at either school, but will be extended to students from both sides in the new academic term.

NUS engineering faculty dean Aaron Thean said previous batches of students had given feedback that they needed skills for project management.

Dean of the School of Design and Environment Lam Khee Poh said: "(Students) can gain a much broader exposure to the various elements that contribute to design, beyond just the traditional notion of aesthetics and beauty. There are practical and managerial aspects to delivering the end product."

Students from both schools will also undertake an interdisciplinary project that is worth two modules.

They will have more flexibility to pursue second majors and minors, without having to extend the length of their studies or increase their workload, with lower major and minor academic requirements.

NUS senior deputy president and provost Ho Teck Hua said while the major requirements will be lower, some of the content is weaved into the common curriculum.

Students can also take up more major modules to specialise further.

The engineering faculty, which has an undergraduate intake of over 1,500, has 10 majors, including electrical engineering.

The School of Design and Environment takes in about 330 undergraduates yearly and offers four majors - architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, and project and facilities management.

Students from these two schools graduate with a direct honours degree in four years.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.