Master’s by Research Programmes



1. What are the research programmes offered in the School?

The graduate programmes by research currently offered are:

  • Master of Communication Studies programme;
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme

2. What is the difference between degree programmes by research and degree programmes by coursework?

For programmes by coursework, students follow a prescribed course of study comprising several courses and undertake a project on which a written dissertation is required. For most programmes, the dissertation can be replaced by a few extra courses.  The course of study involves formal classes, lectures, tutorials, seminars, laboratory work and written examinations.

For programmes by research, students are required to pursue an independent but supervised research on an approved topic based on which a thesis must be submitted for examination. Students are also required to attend classes and pass the examinations in at least 4 to 8 courses.

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, there is also an oral examination on the course matter on the thesis and other related courses.

3. What are the career prospects of PhD graduates?

Graduates will have a research-oriented career in academia or in the communication or information industry. The programme equips graduates with research skills and mental tenacity to cope with future challenges in research and teaching.

4. What are the research areas in your School?

Communication-Related Research:

  • Health Communication and Information
  • Marketing Communication and Public Relations
  • Media Arts and Cultural Studies
  • Computer-Mediated Communication
  • International/Intercultural Communication
  • Communication Law and Policy
  • Journalism
  • Political Communication

Information-Related Research:

  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Games and Gamification
  • Information Retrieval and Analytics
  • Social Media
  • Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing
  • Information Behaviour and Literacy
  • Knowledge Organisation
  • Knowledge Management Applications and Practices

5. What are the minimum requirements for admission?

For Masters by research programme, a Bachelor degree with Honours (Distinction) or a CGPA of 4.25/5.00.

For PhD programme, a Masters degree with GPA of 4.25/5.00 and above and a Bachelor degree of Honours (Distinction) with GPA of 4.25/5.00.

All applicants must also demonstrate competency in English and the ability to pursue independent research in the proposed field of advanced study.

6. What are the GRE and TOEFL requirements and cut-off?

GRE is not compulsory requirement from applicants.

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit IELTS scores. Cut-off score is 7.0 (min sub-score is 6.5). TOEFL scores are not accepted in place of IELTS scores.

7. Are there any other entrance tests for admission?

The applicant, if shortlisted, will be required to sit for an interview (by phone, in person or by Skype). Our faculty will assess the applicant during the interview on her English proficiency, research aptitude, attitude and other skills.

8. How do I go about applying?

You can submit your application online at this link.

You must upload electronic copies of your supporting documents via the paperless portal. Do not send paper copies of supporting documents to the University or School.

9. What are the supporting documents required for submission?

Supporting documents required during application are:

  • IELTS score sheet (for international applicants)
  • Transcripts and educational certificates
  • Academic results (if not officially graduated from Masters yet)
  • English translation of transcripts and results (if original is not in English)
  • Two academic referee reports
  • Research Proposal (1,500 to 3,000 words)
  • CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Samples of works (if any)

10. What are the requirements of a research proposal for application?

A research topic and proposal is required when you submit your application. You are free to propose any topic in the fields of communication and/or information studies. However, because the programme requires that the student works closely with the supervisor, you should ensure that your field of research tallies with the interests of your potential supervisor. You may visit our school's website to find out about the faculty’s research publication/interest. You are encouraged to approach individual faculty professors to discuss your research topic and possible supervision.

The length of the proposal should be between 1,500 words (for Masters) to 3,000 words (for PhD). It usually contains the following:

  • Statement of research question
  • Significance of research question
  • Literature review
  • Methods
  • References

11. Do I need to confirm a supervisor during application?

You need not indicate your supervisor if you have not found one during your application. Upon admission, you can decide on your supervisor(s) in consultation with faculty who are interested to supervise your project.

You can visit this link to find out more about our faculty’s areas of specialization and research publication/interest.

12. How many intakes in a year and what is the deadline for submission of application?

We have two intakes in August and January. The deadline for submission of applications are:

  • For admission in August Semester – Last day of submission is 15 November
  • For admission in January semester – Last day of submission is 31 July

For more information, please refer to this link: Programmes ➞ Prospective Students ➞ Graduate ➞ Programmes by Research ➞ Doctor of Philosophy ➞ Admission Requirements and Procedures

13. When will I know the outcome of my application?

A period of 4-5 months will normally be required for processing of research applications. Failure to submit all necessary documents will result in rejection or a delay in the processing.

14. Can I apply for PhD when I am in my final year of my Masters or Undergraduate programme?

If you are an NTU student and in your final semester of your Masters or Undergraduate programme, you can submit your PhD application before completing your current programme of study. Please submit your latest academic results if your transcripts are not ready during application. Upon successful admission to our PhD programme, you can submit your conferment award letter during matriculation.

15. What are the fees for research programmes?

Tuition fees for research programmes can be viewed at this link here. On average, the tuition fees range from S$9,000 (for local students) to S$19,250 (for international students with service obligation) per year.

There is an application fee of $53.50 (inclusive of GST) for research programmes.

16. Can applicants apply for scholarships?

All local and international students seeking full-time candidature in our research programmes are eligible for research scholarships. Students should not be on paid employment or concurrently holding any other scholarship, fellowship, bursary or top-up allowance during the prescribed period of award.

17. What does the scholarship cover?

The scholarship carries a monthly stipend and covers the annual tuition fees. The period of scholarship is 4 years for PhD students and 2 years for Master’s by research students.

A monthly stipend as follows:

                                                        For PhD candidates      For Master's candidates
Singapore Citizen1                          S$2,700                        S$2,500
Singapore Permanent Resident      S$2,200                        S$1,500
International Student 2                    S$2,000                        S$1,500

With effect from 1 August 2015, Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions shall be provided at a rate pegged to the prevailing employer's contribution rate set by CPF, on top of the monthly stipend received.

International Students must perform teaching/ laboratory supervision duties to fulfil the requirements of the Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP). Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents may perform GAP at the discretion of the schools.

  • For scholars who pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination/Confirmation, he/she may be eligible for an additional stipend of up to $500 per month. The increased in stipend is subjected to good performance in research and the attainment of required standards for courses taken. The University reserves the right to vary the amount of the stipend at any time by written notice.
  • In addition to the monthly stipend, the award also covers the annual tuition fee.

18. Are students under research scholarship required to carry out duties for the School?

Research students under scholarships are required to perform teaching, research and other administrative duties to fulfil the requirements of the Graduate Assistantship Programme.

19. How many scholarships are available per intake?

The number of scholarships available is dependent on the budget the university allocates to Schools. On average, 8 to 10 scholarships are given per year.

20. What are the types of scholarships available?

For PhD students, the following scholarships are available:

  • NTU Research Scholarship (RSS)
  • Nanyang President Graduate Scholarship (NPGS)


More information about scholarships can be viewed at this link.

21. What is the candidature period for Masters & PhD students?

From AY2020, the candidature period will be revised as follows:


Students will pay fees at non-subsidised rates if they exceed the maximum candidature period as stated in the above tables.

22. Does Masters Research or PhD students have to take courses during their candidature?

In addition to the research project a student works on for his or her thesis under a supervisor, he or she is required to attend classes and pass the examinations in at least 8 courses (for PhD students) or 4 courses (for Masters students), and obtain a TGPA and CGPA of 3.50 in every semester.

23. What are the courses available for Masters research & PhD students?

The courses taken may be those graduate courses offered by our School or approved courses from other schools. Core courses offered by the School are required to be taken by research students. Selection of courses is made after consultation with student’s supervisor.The student may take graduate courses offered by our School or approved courses from other schools. Core courses offered by the School are required to be taken by research students. Selection of courses is made after consultation with student’s supervisor.

You may view our School’s graduate courses at the following link.

24. Is housing available for international students?

Graduate housing is only available for full-time international students during their first year of candidature. The subsequent year may be subjected to the housing availability. For more information, students can consult the Graduate Housing website.