S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

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S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
RSIS Coat of Arms
Established 2007

Ong Keng Yong

Public, Autonomous
Location Nanyang Avenue, Singapore
1°20′41″N 103°40′53″E / 1.34472°N 103.68139°E / 1.34472; 103.68139Coordinates: 1°20′41″N 103°40′53″E / 1.34472°N 103.68139°E / 1.34472; 103.68139
Website www.rsis.edu.sg

The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) was established in January 2007 as an autonomous school within the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Known earlier as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies when it was established in July 1996, RSIS’ mission is to be a leading research and graduate teaching institution in strategic and international affairs in the Asia Pacific.

The school is named after the one of modern Singapore's pioneering leaders, the late Mr. S. Rajaratnam, who held various Cabinet appointments until his retirement.

RSIS offers a challenging graduate education in international affairs, taught by an international faculty of leading thinkers and practitioners. The Master of Science degree programmes in Strategic Studies, International Relations, Asian Studies, and International Political Economy are distinguished by their focus on the Asia Pacific, the professional practice of international affairs, and the cultivation of academic depth. Thus far, students from more than 50 countries have successfully completed one of these programmes. In 2010, a Double Masters Programme with Warwick University was also launched, with students required to spend the first year at Warwick and the second year at RSIS. A select Doctor of Philosophy programme caters to advanced students who are supervised by senior faculty members with matching interests.

Constituents of the school include

  • The Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS),
  • The International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR),
  • The Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS),
  • The Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia (NTS),
  • The Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade and Negotiations (TFCTN).

RSIS exists to "develop a community of scholars and policy analysts at the forefront of Asia-Pacific security studies and international affairs."[1] The School's motto is “Ponder the Improbable.” Its research, teaching and networking objectives are aimed at assisting policy makers to develop comprehensive approaches to strategic thinking in areas related to Singapore’s interests.


It was an autonomous research institute within the Nanyang Technological University.

Its stated objectives are to conduct research and provide general and graduate education in the area of national security, military technology and international relations. It also promotes joint and exchange programmes with similar regional and international institutions; and organises seminars and conferences on these topics.[2]

When RSIS was created on 1 January 2007 IDSS remained a security-research focused institute within the School and teaching functions were taken over by the School.[3]


Research at RSIS covers a wide spectrum of security and strategic issues, organised into four interlinking areas:

The involvement of institutions and experts from around the world in RSIS’ research programmes is a testimony to the School’s international standing. These institutes include the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University and individual experts from institutions such as Beijing University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, the University of Warwick, the London School of Economics, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, the RAND Corporation and Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

RSIS shares its research findings with the strategic studies and defence policy communities through workshops, conferences, articles in refereed journals and frequent analyses of contemporary events through the RSIS Commentary series.

The School has also established the S. Rajaratnam Professorship in Strategic Studies (named after Singapore’s first Foreign Minister), to bring distinguished scholars to participate in the work of the Institute. Previous holders of the Chair include Professors Stephen Walt (Harvard University), Jack Snyder (Columbia University), Wang Jisi (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Alastair Iain Johnston (Harvard University) and John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago). A Visiting Research Fellow Programme also enables overseas scholars to carry out related research in the School.

Notable faculty members[edit]

Current notable faculty members includes Dr Farish Noor, Associate Professor Tan See Seng, and Professor Joseph Liow


RSIS Master of Science programme offers advanced education to professionals from both the private and public sectors in Singapore and overseas in four specializations: the Master of Science in Strategic Studies, the Master of Science in International Relations,the Master of Science in International Political Economy and the Master of Science in Asian Studies. The school also offers double-degree programmes in collaboration with the University of Warwick and the Nanyang Business School at NTU.

The RSIS Doctoral programme was established in 2006 and awards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy for research in the areas of study of the institute.

In addition to these graduate programmes, the School also teaches modules in courses conducted by the SAFTI Military Institute, SAF Warrant Officer School, Civil Defence Academy, and the Defence and Home Affairs Ministries.


RSIS convenes workshops, seminars and colloquia on aspects of international relations and security development that are of contemporary and historical significance. The School’s activities include public lectures, Colloquium on Strategic Trends in the 21st Century, the annual Asia Pacific Programme for Senior Military Officers (APPSMO), the Asia Pacific Programme for Senior National Security Officers (APPSNO), the biennial Asia Pacific Security Conference and the Singapore Global Dialogue.

RSIS staff participate in Track II security dialogues and scholarly conferences in the Asia-Pacific. The School has participated in research projects funded by the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. It also serves as the Secretariat for the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP), Singapore.

Notable alumni[edit]

Distinguished alumni of the school include Agus Yudhoyono and Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, sons of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono; Loro Horta, son of the Timor Leste President; and Hekmat Karzai, cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.[4]


  1. ^ "S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies" (– Scholar search). Think Tank (15): 15. December 2006. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Introduction to RSIS". RSIS. 
  3. ^ "Introduction". S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  4. ^ "Bakrie Center Foundation makes S$3 million gift to RSIS at NTU". News.ntu.edu.sg. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 

External links[edit]