SINGAPORE: The National University of Singapore (NUS) plans to set up a College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS) next year as part of a push towards broad-based and interdisciplinary education.
Students admitted to the college will belong to both the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) and the Faculty of Science (FOS).
They will have access to major and minors offered in both faculties, as well as the three types of four-year honours degree programmes - Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Sciences and Bachelor of Science.
Preliminary consultations with members of both faculties are under way, said NUS on Tuesday (Sep 22), adding that the new college, if approved, could begin accepting students as soon as academic year 2021/2022.
"The proposal is a work in progress and expected to evolve, as internal and external consultations by the university leadership and the deaneries of FASS and FOS take place over the next few months," said NUS.
The university said the college's proposed curricula structure will allow for “greater flexibility and the cross-pollination of disciplines” across the humanities, social sciences, science and mathematics.
“The rapid pace of change in many industries means that the old model of intense academic specialisation will no longer work for our young adults," said NUS president Professor Tan Eng Chye.
“Rather, graduates into the workforce will need breadth of knowledge, depth, as well as the ability to integrate multiple disciplines to solve complex problems," he added.
"They will also need to adopt a spirit of lifelong learning to ride the waves of change and disruption. The proposed NUS College of Humanities and Sciences will equip our students with market-relevant skills to thrive in the future economy."
According to a working draft on the internal consultations that was circulated to FASS and FOS faculty, one-third of the CHS education will be devoted to a Common Curriculum which will "concertedly impart intellectual breadth".
This includes equipping students with "essential foundational skills" in reading, writing, critical thinking and numeracy. Modules will likely include integrated humanities, Asian studies and scientific inquiry.
Courses such as design thinking, data analytics, computational thinking and artificial intelligence will also prepare students for the digital economy, said NUS.
"The CHS educational model will mark a major shift from NUS’ traditional discipline-centric approach to university education, to a flexible, broad-based education," the university added.