Programme FAQ


1.Why is NUS offering a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) degree?

NUS recognizes that environmental issues are global, interconnected and in desperate need of solutions. There is a compelling need for new educational models, such as the BES, to nurture graduates who can think broadly and deeply and therefore come away prepared to effectively address the issues in a way that is grounded in science but takes the needs of society into account. At NUS, we hope to continue to be the preferred choice of top students in Singapore and around the world by always putting ourselves at the forefront of innovative education.

2.Is the BES a major?

No, the BES is a 4-year direct honours degree programme. Students are awarded a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree at the end of the programme.

3.Can I exit from BES after 3 years with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree?

This is a four-year programme, and you must complete two years of a common curriculum and two years of specialisations. A BES (Hons.) is awarded to students who have met the CAP requirements.

4.When do I need to declare my specialisation?

You must declare your specialisation upon admission to the BES programme. But you are not locked in from the outset, because you can change specialisations within your first two years of study.

5.Should I specialise in Environmental Biology or Environmental Geography?

Even though you declare your specialisation at the time of admission, it only really kicks in in year 3. Which specialisation to take depends on your interest. Consider Environmental Biology if you are more interested in tackling environmental problems from a biological or ecological perspective, and Environmental Geography if physical and/or social aspects of environmental problems are more interesting to you. And remember, you can change your mind within the first two years.

6.This is a University-wide programme. Will I have a home faculty if I join this programme?

Upon admission into the programme, you must choose a specialisation. If you choose Environmental Biology, then the Faculty of Science will be your home faculty. If you choose Environmental Geography, then it will be the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. Students’ respective home faculties render administrative and academic support.

7. What kind of new pedagogies will I be expecting in this new programme?

The specially designed ENV modules adopt diverse pedagogical approaches. In part, this reflects the varied backgrounds of the faculty members who teach into the BES Programme. But you can expect to be engaged by some traditional lectures and tutorials, as well as case studies, fireside chats, small group discussions, field studies and research projects.

8. What are my career options when I graduate with a BES degree?

As a graduate of the BES Programme, you are well-prepared for graduate school or a plethora of career opportunities.

Possible careers include:
Conservation Biologist
Environmental Consultant
Environmental Educator
Environmental Health Officer
Environmental Technologist
Environmental Impact Assessor
Environment Policy Maker
Environmental Quality Specialist
Forest Conservationist
Parks Manager
Public Policy Analyst
Regional Planner
Wildlife Biologist and many more…


9.Are polytechnic diploma holders eligible to apply to BES?

Polytechnic diploma holders need diploma accreditation. Here is the list of accredited polytechnic diplomas – if you have one of these, you are eligible to apply for admission to the BES programme:

Nanyang Polytechnic

Diploma in Chemical & Green Technology

Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Diploma in Molecular Biotechnology
Diploma in Environmental & Water Technology
Diploma in Veterinary Bioscience

Republic Polytechnic

Diploma in Biomedical Science
Diploma in Biotechnology
Diploma in Environmental Sciences
Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Diploma in Marina Science & Aquaculture

Singapore Polytechnic

Diploma in Biotechnology
Diploma in Environmental Management & Water Technology

Temasek Polytechnic

Diploma in Biomedical Science
Diploma in Biotechnology
Diploma in Veterinary Technology

10. I am a polytechnic diploma holder. Do I get any module exemptions?

If you hold an accredited Polytechnic diploma and are accepted to the BES programme, then you may be granted advanced placement credits for up to a maximum of 20 MCs (Modular Credits) to fulfil your Unrestricted Elective Requirements.

11. I am a current NUS student and wish to transfer my course of study to BES. Can I do so?

If you matriculated in AY2011/2012 or later, and you have both an aptitude and passion for environmental issues, then you may transfer into the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) if you meet the following minimum criteria:

• Good H1 pass or equivalent in Mathematics
• Good H2 pass or equivalent in either Biology or Chemistry

If that describes you, then you can submit your applications here.

Interviews will be granted on a case-by-case basis.


12.What kind of modules will I be reading in this programme?

All students follow a common curriculum for the first two years. In order to give you a solid foundation to specialise in the third and fourth years, you will need to read modules in biology, chemistry, math, statistics, economics, geography, law, public health, management and policy.

13. Who will be teaching me in this programme?

This is a very broad-based programme. So, your instructors are very diverse. You will be taught, first and foremost by our BES faculty members, and read modules taught by educators from the Faculties of Science, Arts & Social Sciences, and Law, the School of Design and Environment, NUS Business School, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

14. Will I be able to join other special programmes such as the University Scholars Programme (USP) if I enrol in the BES?

Yes, of course! We encourage students to participate in the Environmental Studies Programme and USP. For more details, please refer to this website.

15. Will I be able to stay in UTown if I enrol in BES?

Sure, you can live in UTown, but be aware that all undergraduates who live in UTown have to do a bit of extra work – more specifically, five compulsory modules as part of the residential programme. That is on top of the BES Programme requirements.

16.Can I pursue a Double Degree Programme (DDP) if I enrol in the BES?

BES cannot be taken as a Second Degree. For Double Degree students, BES has to be taken as the First Degree. You should also know that BES is not among the specially-designed double degree programmes (DDPs) that are offered for direct admission to the first year at NUS.

That said, you can take a DDP as long as (1) you complete your studies within five years and (2) the curriculum of the second degree and BES do not overlap by more than one-third. Take note that BES cannot be taken with Pharmacy or Law as a Double Degree.

If you are interested in pursuing your own double degree combination, you need a minimum CAP of 4.0 after completing between 60 and 80 MCs (excluding MCs earned from student exchange programmes or advanced placement credits). You also need written approval to embark on the DDP from the relevant Faculties. You must also seek advice and get approval from the BES academic advisors before applying to read a DDP.

For more details on DDPs, please refer to this website.

17. Can I pursue a second major if I enrol in the BES?

BES cannot be taken as a Second Major. For Double Major students, BES must be taken as the First Major.

All BES students (regardless of specialisation) can declare a second major, but only after completing the first year of studies. This applies whether you take a second major within your home faculty or not.

Environmental Biology students can read any second major listed in this URL: If you choose Life Sciences as a second major, then you cannot read the modules under the Environmental Biology (NVB) basket.

If this is something you want to do, then once you finish your first year, simply approach the Programme Office to apply to read a second major. You will need the advice and approval of the BES academic advisors before submitting your applications though.

18. Can I pursue a minor if I enrol in the BES?

Yes, you can declare up to two minors anytime starting in the first semester of your first year.

Environmental Biology students can read any minors (except the Joint Minor in Environmental Biology with the University of Toronto and the Aquatic Ecology Minor) listed in this URL: That said, if you really want to read the minor under the University of Toronto, then why not consider reading the modules under the Student Exchange Programme (SEP) and counting them toward your BES requirements?

19. Will I be able to go for Student Exchange Programme (SEP)?

Definitely! Just be aware that because of certain particularities inherent to the BES curriculum, you can only go for SEP in Year 2, Semester 2 and Year 3, Semester 1. You can refer to your home faculty to find out about available SEP places.