FAQS for National Science Scholarship (Masters)

AGA FAQ

About NSS Masters

1. Does A*GA support a Masters by Research programme only?
A Masters programme with a significant proportion (minimally 50%) of the time committed to hands-on research will also be considered.

2. What courses are supported by NSS (Masters)?
a. Computer and Information Sciences (e.g. AI, Bioinformatics, Cybersecurity)
b. Food Technology and Research, Nutrition
c. Microelectronics

Other areas of studies will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

3. What are the terms of award for NSS (Masters)?
NSS (Masters) scholars will be provided up to 2 years of funding support for overseas studies, including:

a. Overseas living allowance
b. Full tuition and university fees
c. Annual return airfare
d. Conference, computer and misc. allowances


ELIGIBILITY

1.What is the eligibility criteria for NSS (Masters)?
The NSS (Masters) is open to Singapore Citizens only. Applicants should have:

Obtained or are on track to obtain at least a Second Class (Upper) Honours degree or equivalent in relevant disciplines; Applied or will be applying for a Masters by Research (or equivalent) programme at a top global university; and a strong interest in a research career.

2. Will I be eligible for an A*STAR scholarship if I have a Second Class (Lower) Honours degree?
While the criteria for applying for an A*STAR scholarship is at least a Second Class (Upper) Honours degree, A*STAR will make a holistic assessment of each application, and take into consideration other factors such as research experience and achievements.

3. I am a Research Officer in an A*STAR Research Institute (RI). Can I apply for NSS (Masters)?
You may apply for NSS (Masters), but will be expected to apply for No Pay Leave during the Masters studies.

4. I am currently holding a scholarship for my undergraduate studies from another government ministry/agency. Can I still apply for NSS (Masters)?
Please clarify the policy and guidelines from your sponsoring organisation before applying for an A*STAR scholarship.


Application and Selection Process

1. How do I apply for NSS (Masters)?
Please submit an online application at https://sms-applicant-app.a-star.edu.sg/ with all supporting documents, by the stipulated deadlines stated on our website. 

Do note that 2 academic referee reports are required, and to be submitted within 7 working days of submission of the online application. Referees will receive an auto-generated email with a link to complete an online referee report. You may wish to give them a heads-up before you apply so that they can submit in time. Referees can be academic referees from universities or supervisors/PIs whom you have worked with.

2. I would like to apply for NSS (Masters), should I have secured a place in an overseas graduate school?
NSS (Masters) applicants should have secured a place in an overseas university, or be in the process of applying to one or more universities.

3. What is the selection process like?
For shortlisted candidates, there will be 2 rounds of interviews to assess their suitability for the scholarship. First round of interview will be with a panel of A*STAR scientists, while the final round of interview will be with the senior management of A*STAR, chaired by A*STAR Chairman.

4. Will a few years of Research Officer experience in an A*STAR RI be considered favorably in our scholarship application compared to an application from a fresh graduate?
As these are national scholarships, all applications will be treated equitably and reviewed holistically such as on academic track record, publications and research exposure/experience. Your experience as a Research Officer will be beneficial as part of your overall portfolio for the scholarship application.

NSS (Masters) Studies

1. I do not have any prior experience in research, is there any help provided before I embark on my Masters studies?
A*GA will put NSS (Masters) scholars in touch with the Directors of Graduate Affairs (DGA) for advice and guidance on academic/research matters, career and deployment matters.

2. Is it possible to change my course of study/research midway through my Masters programme?
All scholars need to seek A*STAR's written permission before changing their course of study/research project. Each case will be assessed on its own merit. However, scholars are encouraged to consider their research area seriously before commencing their Masters studies as a mid-point change of their research focus may badly affect their progress.

3. What research output is needed to maintain my NSS (Masters) scholarship?
NSS (Masters) scholars are required to maintain good research progress during their candidature. In addition, they are also required to satisfy the requirements specified by the university conferring the Masters degree. Please discuss the requirements with your supervisors.

Further Studies

1. Can I pursue a PhD immediately upon completion of my Masters programme? 
NSS (Masters) scholars are not eligible for bond deferment to pursue further studies, upon the completion of their studies. 

2. Can NSS (Masters) scholars apply for A*STAR’s PhD scholarships? 
NSS (Masters) scholars can apply for the NSS (PhD) and/or A*STAR Graduate Scholarship after completing their SCP.