Overseas Exchange Opportunities


Course Matching

What is it?

Subject matching is when you propose to replace a course you will take at the overseas university with a course you are required to take in WKWSCI or NTU. There are a few cases when you do not need to subject match, which would be for electives, or if you want to propose an untitled GERPE or PE course. We’ll talk about those in a minute.

How do I subject match?

You may use GEM’s subject-matching database which is accessible through the course finder at StudentLink The database is not exhaustive and not definitive. You should use it as a starting point. If you find a class at the host university that is not in the database but you would like us to consider as a subject match, feel free to forward it along and ask us about it. The database only reflects what courses students have proposed. It does not indicate what courses students actually ended up taking. Students may have proposed matches, which we approved in the database, but the host university rejected for its own reasons. So, again, the host university is not obliged to accept you into the course.

If you locate a subject match through the database, please let us know when you submit your subjects for approval. Note that just because a course was matched in previous years does not guarantee it will be matched again. The database provides you with a good guideline, but there have been cases where we received new information (for example, the overseas course changes or our policy changes, etc.) and subsequently decide not to approve the course.

Is there a maximum cap on the number of Academic Units (AUs) I can transfer back?

Credits earned from your exchange semester(s) can be counted toward the AUs requirement for your NTU degree programme. It will also be reflected on your transcript as Pass/Fail. 

The maximum number of AUs you can transfer back is 20 AUs. ​Students are required to transfer back all courses taken during exchange, hence you should plan in advance and only enrol in the courses based on the number of AUs that you can transfer back. 

What do I need to take into consideration when I subject match?

1. Content: When proposing courses for subject matching, it is important that you meet the WKWSCI curricular requirement, especially for the core courses. The courses don't need to be match 100%, but should cover a similar focus and range of concepts from a communication perspective. If a WKW course is skills-based, the host course needs to have a significant skills component as well. Compare the class description for the proposed class against the WKWSCI class to identify a good match. Do not look at the course titles alone.

You don’t have to limit yourself to subject matching in the communication programme at the host university. Communication is an interdisciplinary field and you might find good subject matches in other programmes such as anthropology, sociology, art, psychology, political science, and economics.

2. Contact hours: Students must also compare the number of contact hours for a match. NTU assigns AUs based on the amount of time a student spends in a classroom with a lecturer or TA. These are the class hours officially assigned in the syllabus. Time spent outside of these class hours is not included in AU calculation at NTU. In order for a course to be a good match, the amount of time you spend in class must fit a particular range of contact hours.

CS02XX courses are 3 AUs. To subject match a CS02XX course as a core or PE, the host university course must meet the minimum number of 33 contact hours or more.

CS40XX courses are 4 AUs. To subject match a CS40XX course, the course must meet a minimum of 40 contact hours or more.

NOTE: We are strict about the hours matching for core courses and very strict about the CS40XX (i.e. 4 AUs) courses’ number of contact hours and cores/PEs. For 4 AUs, a NTU student spends 52 hours in class. Allowing you to subject match a course where you spend 40 hours in class is already lenient.matching.JPG

What needs to be subject-matched:

Core courses, PEs (especially the PEs that you need in order to fulfill pre-requisites for courses of FYP), and any course for a minor or double major needs to be subject-matched.

For all courses outside of WKW, make sure you get the approval from the Subject Coordinators of the respective schools where the courses originate. Click here to see the Exchange Coordinators from the different schools.

FYI: You can subject-match both lower and upper level courses. All courses that WKW offers as a PE will satisfy your credit requirements for that credit type, regardless of your intended specialisation.

What does NOT need to be subject-matched:

Unrestricted Electives (UEs): This can be any kind of course: e.g. quantum physics, yoga, philosophy of love (these are actual courses students have taken). The number of AUs for the course are also determined by the number of contact hours.

NOTE: if the courses are for a minor, they will be matched, but still listed as UEs. So in that instance, for a minor subject match, you'll need to match the course, and the approval would come from the respective exchange coordinators in that school.

Generic PE or generic GER-PE: A generic credit type is when you take a course overseas that fulfills the pedagogical purpose of the credit type, but the specific course is not offered in NTU. The credit will appear on your degree audit as Generic PE 1 or Generic GERPE AHSS 1 or Generic GERPE AHSS 2, and so on. This generic credit will satisfy the total number of credits needed for that credit type (GERPE or PE) but will not be linked to a specific course. So, for example, a student could take quantum physics as a generic GERPE in STS or Philosophy of Love as a GERPE in AHSS.

Although the course is a generic credit and doesn't need to be subject matched, it does need to be approved. You need to take note of the following requirements:

Generic GERPEs: These courses need to be either theory or a combination of theory and practice courses in one of three categories: Liberal Arts (LA), Business Management (BM), or Science, Technology and Society (STS). Courses that are overly strategic will be rejected for this credit type – for example, a shorthand course, a typing course or a sports class where you engage in a sport activity.

Generic PEs: these courses must be taught in a communication or media school or program by full-time communication faculty.



For any enquiries on course matching, you may email to sci_exchange@ntu.edu.sg or look for Ms Karin Loh at the Student Services Centre, Level 4 of WKWSCI.