FAQs for National Science Scholarship (BS)

AGA FAQ

Application & Selection

1. When can I start applying for the scholarship?
Application for the NSS (BS) commences in July every year and closes on 1 March of the following year.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed between March and May.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed between March and May.
2. My examination results are not available yet. Can I apply for the scholarship?
Yes, you may apply with your school preliminary results. Please send in your 'A' Level results as soon as you receive it.

3. Do I need to secure a place at an overseas university before applying for the scholarship?
No; you may apply for the scholarship even if you have not secured admission to any overseas university yet.
 
Please note that you should only accept the overseas university offer after obtaining A*STAR's approval for your choice of university and course of study.

4. If I am going for or currently serving my national service (NS), do I apply for the scholarship after I have received my A-Level results or after I have completed NS?
You may send in your application before you complete your NS, or even before you receive your A-Level results (i.e. with your prelim results). If you are successful in your application, an in-principle offer will be made to you, and we will hold the scholarship for you until you complete your NS.

5. The new A-Level syllabus offers both research-based and examination-based H3 subjects, is there a preference for either type of H3 subjects?
Applicants will be shortlisted based on their results for a relevant H3 subject (i.e. at least a 'merit' in one maths or science H3 subject), and not whether it is a research-based or examination-based subject.

6. What is the selection process?
Shortlisted applicants will undergo 2 rounds of interviews

First round interviews: End March to April
Final round interviews: April to May

7. What qualities does A*STAR look for in a scholar?
In addition to academic excellence and a passion in science, we are looking for people who are committed to a research or research-related career in Singapore.  A*STAR is making a significant investment in each scholar and the aim is for every scholar to be part of Singapore's Research, Innovation and Enterprise ecosystem.

8. Am I able to attend interviews via Skype or Teleconference/Video Conference?
We conduct face to face interviews for all shortlisted applicants, unless otherwise stated.

9. What is the estimated timeframe for the entire selection process?
It would take approximately 2-3 months from the submission of a complete application (i.e., including all required supporting documents such as education certificates and referee reports) to the award of the scholarship.

Please note that both academic referee reports are to be submitted within 7 working days of submission of the online application, so do remind your referees about this requirement.

10. Do I need to have prior research experience?
While having prior research experience helps to boost your application, it is not mandatory. A*STAR will make a holistic assessment of each application, and take into consideration other factors such your achievements in science/maths related competitions and CCAs.  

If you are interested to gain hands-on research experience, you may reach out to the Research Institutes or the Principal Investigator(s) directly for attachment opportunities.



Citizenship

1. Can a non-Singaporean apply for the scholarship?
Yes. However you will be required to apply for Singapore Citizenship if you are awarded the scholarship. Non-Singaporean males are required to serve National Service prior to the commencement of undergraduate studies.

Please note that the mid-term NSS (BS) is open to Singaporeans only.

Courses / University

1. How many years of study does the scholarship support?
The NSS (BS-PhD) provides up to 8 years of funding for undergraduate and PhD studies, typically 3 years for undergraduate and up to 5 years for PhD studies.  

2. If I am awarded the NSS (BS-PhD), can I study in the same university for both my undergraduate & PhD degree?
You are strongly encouraged to explore a different university (and country) for your undergraduate and PhD studies so that you can benefit from the different education systems, social and work environments, and build up your research and academic networks.

3. What courses am I allowed to undertake?
Areas of study that are supported under the NSS (BS) include Computer Science, Engineering & Technology, Physical Sciences, and Biomedical Sciences.  In particular, A*STAR is seeking talents whose research interests are aligned with Singapores priorities in areas such as Green Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, and Food Science and Technology. The NSS (BS) does not support medical and veterinary degrees.

Please note that each applicants proposed universities and courses will be subject to A*STAR's approval. Successful applicants should only accept a university offer after obtaining A*STAR's approval for their choice of university and course of study.

4. Can I choose not to do a PhD under this scholarship?
The NSS (BS-PhD) is a through-train scholarship that enables scholars to pursue undergraduate and PhD studies, and aimed at developing research talent and the next generation of scientific leaders for Singapore. Scholars funded under this scholarship are required to obtain PhD qualification in order to maximize their contribution to research and innovation in Singapore. If you are undecided about a research career at this point, you may wish to consider applying for the mid-term scholarship, or after you have completed your undergraduate degree.

5. Is there a recommended list of overseas universities which we can choose from?
A*STAR values diversity in training, and we want our scholars to explore and study at top overseas universities.


Attachments

1. Do we have to come back for an attachment during our university vacation?
Yes, all NSS (BS) scholars are required to undergo a compulsory research attachment of at least 8 weeks at an A*STAR Research Institute (RI) after their first year of studies. 

NSS (BS) scholars are also required to undergo a 1-year research attachment at an A*STAR RI upon completion of undergraduate studies, prior to PhD commencement.

These attachments will enable you to gain first-hand research experience, exposure to projects with industry, and a better understanding of the impact of A*STAR's research to industry and Singapore's economy.

2. Where will I be attached?
You will be attached to an A*STAR Research Institute (RI). You can indicate your preference for which RI you would like to be attached to.

3. Can I come back for more than 1 attachment?
Yes, you can. The request should be put up at least 6 months in advance. 

Annual Return Flights

1. Are we eligible for annual return flights?
Yes, and we encourage all overseas scholars to come home once a year. Scholars are eligible for 1 return flight per academic year, subject to the applicable policy.

2. What if we can't return to Singapore every year?
We understand that some scholars may not be able to return every year because you may need to attend summer school, participate in a summer lab attachment at your respective universities or work on your research projects. However, you should note that the 8 week research attachment is  compulsory and you should plan for it accordingly.

Others

1. Can I apply for a PSC scholarship and serve the PSC bond in A*STAR?
If you are interested in R&D and committed to a career in science and research, we strongly encourage you to apply directly to the NSS (BS).

2. Can I apply for a PSC scholarship and get a job in A*STAR as part of the service commitment period?
PSC scholarships are catered to scholars suitable for administrative work in the civil service while A*STAR's National Science Scholarships (NSS) aim to train and nurture research scientists. If you are interested in R&D and committed to a career in science, we strongly encourage you to apply directly to our NSS (BS).

3. I understand that NSS (BS) scholars are expected to obtain good grades. Is it difficult to achieve that?
We strongly encourage our scholars to gain varied experience in research, innovation and enterprise, and to invest their time and effort in other non-academic areas of development and networking for an all-rounded and multidisciplinary education. 

As the NSS scholarship includes funding for PhD studies, scholars should work towards being eligible to apply for admission to good PhD programmes and universities.  

4. I am very keen on embarking on my PhD studies after completing my bachelor’s degree, is academic performance the only factor A*STAR considers when deciding PhD support for scholars?
Academic performance is not the only factor that A*STAR considers when deciding whether to support scholars for PhD studies. Beyond academics, A*STAR also values attributes such as passion and aptitude for science, alignment of research interest with A*STAR's research directions, and the ability of the scholar to work well in a lab environment.

We assess these traits during the scholars' 8-week attachment at A*STAR during their undergraduate years, as well as during the 1 year research attachment in an A*STAR lab after completing their undergraduate studies. 

5.Is it possible to obtain the NSS (BS-PhD) and pursue undergraduate studies locally and do the PhD component abroad?
The NSS (BS-PhD) is for students who wish to pursue both their undergraduate and PhD studies overseas. If you are keen to do your undergraduate studies locally, you may consider applying for the NSS (PhD) after completion of your undergraduate studies.  

6. What are the criteria and factors that determine the type of PhD support for NSS scholars? 
A*STAR values attributes such as passion and aptitude for science, as well as alignment of research interest with Singapore's research priorities and strategic needs. 

Scholars will have career counselling sessions and advisory meetings during the one-year research attachment to discuss their PhD plans, research interests and career goals.