National University of Singapore

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Global Influence

Autonomous research university in Singapore

About National University of Singapore

By James Barham, PhD

The National University of Singapore (NUS) was founded in 1905 as the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States Government Medical School, in what was then the British-controlled Straits Settlements colony.

NUS—like the nation of which it is a part—has a long and complex history

In 1912, the British king, Edward VII, provided a permanent endowment for the new medical school. In gratitude, the administration changed the school’s name the following year, to the King Edward VII Medical School.

The medical school grew rapidly, requiring the expansion of its academic curriculum. This change was acknowledged in 1921 by another institutional name change—to the King Edward VII College of Medicine.

A second institution of higher learning—Raffles College—was established in 1928 as a liberal arts college for the ethnic-Malay population of Singapore.

In 1948, the colony of British Malaya was reorganized as the Federation of Malaya and Singapore. The following year, the King Edward VII College of Medicine and Raffles College merged, creating the University of Malaya. The University of Malaya, with campuses in Singapore and in Kuala Lumpur, was intended to serve the population of the entire Federation.

In 1955, a third school, named Nanyang University, opened in Singapore to serve the ethnic-Chinese community there.

Two years later, in 1957, the British departed and the Federation of Malaya became an independent nation. In 1962, the University of Malaya’s Singapore campus declared itself an autonomous institution, under the name of University of Singapore.

The following year, in 1963, the new nation changed its name to Malaysia. Two years later, in 1965, Singapore seceded from Malaysia and became an independent country in its own right—the world’s only city-state.

Finally, in 1980, the University of Singapore merged with Nanyang University to create the current National University of Singapore.

NUS is associated with the following prominent individuals:

  • Mathematicians, Louis Chen Hsiao Yun, Gan Wee Teck & Chen-Bo Zhu
  • Physicists, Richard Friend, Artur Ekert & Charles Bailyn, as well as the Nobel laureate, Konstantin Novoselov
  • Chemist, Young-Tae Chang
  • Biochemists, Miranda Yap & Barry Halliwell
  • Botanist, Nam-Hai Chua
  • Neurologist, Lee Wei Ling
  • Poet and playwright, Alfian bin Sa’at
  • Singer and songwriter, Corinne May
  • Chinese folk song artist and author, Liang Wern Fook
  • Actors, Jeanette Aw, Felicia Chin, Desmond Tan, Shawn Lee & Raline Shah
  • Historians, Prasenjit Duara & M.C. Ricklefs
  • Sinologists, Wang Gungwu & Huang Jianli
  • Sociologist, Chua Beng Huat
  • Economists, Danny Quah & Julian Wright
  • Legal scholar and author, Alec Stone Sweet
  • TV news anchor, Tung Soo Hua
  • International lawyer and diplomat, Tommy Koh
  • Former Singapore Chief Justice, Chan Sek Keong
  • Current Singapore Chief Justice, Sundaresh Menon
  • Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdul Razak Hussein
  • Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad
  • Former President of Singapore, Benjamin Sheares
  • Current President of Singapore, Halimah binti Yacob
  • First and longest-serving President of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew

According to Wikipedia, The National University of Singapore is a national collegiate research university in Queenstown, Singapore. Founded in 1905 as the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States Government Medical School, NUS has consistently been considered as being one of the top and prestigious academic institutions in the world as well as in the Asia-Pacific itself. It plays a key role in the further development of modern technology and science, offering a global approach to education and research, with a focus on expertise and perspectives of Asia. In 2022, the QS World University Rankings ranked NUS 11th in the world and first in Asia.

What Is National University of Singapore Known For?

National University of Singapore is known for it's academic work in the following disciplines:

National University of Singapore's Top Areas of Influence With Degrees Offered

Who Are National University of Singapore's Most Influential Alumni?

National University of Singapore's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Political Science, Education, and Business. Here are some of National University of Singapore's most famous alumni:

Margaret Chan
A Director-General of the World Health Organization.
Kishore Mahbubani
Kishore Mahbubani
A Singaporean diplomat.
Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew
A 1st Prime Minister of Singapore .
Ho Ching
Ho Ching
A Singaporean businesswoman and Spouse of the Prime Minister of Singapore.
Kong Hee
A Church pastor.
Adam Khoo
Adam Khoo
A Singaporean businessman.
Sundaresh Menon
Sundaresh Menon
A Chief Justice of Singapore, and former Attorney-General, judge of the High Court, and lawyer.
Olivia Lum
A Singaporean businesswoman.
Mahathir Mohamad
Mahathir Mohamad
A Former 4th & 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Rayson Huang
Rayson Huang
A Chinese chemist.
Roy Ngerng
A Singaporean blogger.
Rais Yatim
A 18th and current President of Dewan Negara Malaysia.