Singapore University of Technology and Design

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Singapore University of Technology and Design
Singapore University of Technology and Design - 20150602-06.jpg
The university in June 2015
Motto A better world by design
Established 2012
Type Publicly-funded autonomous national university
President Professor Thomas L. Magnanti
Provost Professor Chong Tow Chong
Location Changi, Singapore
1°20′24.37″N 103°57′46.64″E / 1.3401028°N 103.9629556°E / 1.3401028; 103.9629556Coordinates: 1°20′24.37″N 103°57′46.64″E / 1.3401028°N 103.9629556°E / 1.3401028; 103.9629556
Campus Urban
Colours White, black and red               
Logo of the Singapore University of Technology and Design

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is the fourth autonomous university to be established in Singapore. SUTD's mission is to advance knowledge and nurture technically grounded leaders and innovators to serve societal needs. At SUTD, design as a discipline cuts across the curriculum and provides a novel framework for the research and educational programmes.

SUTD undergraduate students are granted either a Bachelor of Engineering or a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in one of its four areas of focus, called "pillars": Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD), Engineering Product Development (EPD), Engineering Systems Design (ESD) or Information Systems and Technology Design (ISTD). It also offers an MIT–SUTD Dual master's degree programme, a full-time programme leading to a degree from both MIT and SUTD. SUTD also offers Ph.D. degrees in each of its four pillars. SUTD is the only institution in Singapore apart from the Yale-NUS College to follow a holistic admissions process.


An antique Chinese pavilion donated to the University by Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan
A view of the University in June 2015

The university opened its doors at its Dover Road interim campus in April 2012. Its permanent campus at Changi opened in January 2015. It is the only university to be located in the eastern part of Singapore. The new campus is located next to Upper Changi MRT Station on the Downtown Line Stage 3 which will be operational in 2017. The founding president is Thomas L. Magnanti, who is a Professor with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[1]

SUTD's collaboration with MIT represents MIT's most significant collaboration on education in the world. It is multifaceted and covers the following:

  • Development of the undergraduate curriculum
  • Co-teaching of subjects by MIT faculty
  • Student exchanges
  • Recruitment and development of SUTD faculty
  • Establishment of a major co-located research centre, SUTD–MIT International Design Centre (IDC)

Exchanges between MIT and SUTD students encourage the same spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that has made MIT a top-ranking university. MIT also brings its rich global experience and entrepreneurial ecosystem to SUTD, a spirit that has led to tremendous entrepreneurial success among its alumni, and is replicated in SUTD through a novel pedagogy and a vibrant engagement with the industry. Besides building up SUTD's educational capabilities, MIT contributes to SUTD's research capability by developing relevant research programmes through their top-class faculty.

SUTD and Zhejiang University (ZJU) will also jointly partake in research collaborations to address challenges associated with the world today, in areas such as healthcare, transportation, clean energy and the environment.


Undergraduate programmes[edit]

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been developing an undergraduate curriculum suited to the local context since the two universities signed the collaboration agreement in January 2010. The curriculum offers a modern engineering and architecture education that crosses traditional departments enabling students to finish eight terms in three and a half years, thus graduating nine months earlier than students from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University. SUTD provides a common curriculum for all students in the first three terms (also referred to as "freshmore" terms). This foundation curriculum promotes a cohort-based learning and requires students to take mandatory classes in the Sciences, Mathematics, Design Thinking, Programming, and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS). The Sciences requirement in the common curriculum comprises two semesters of physics, two semesters of calculus, one semester of chemistry, and one semester of biology. The Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) requirement consists of eight semesters of classes in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, including three semesters of common HASS classes. From term 4 onwards, students specialise in one of the four pillars of study: Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD), Engineering Product Development (EPD), Engineering Systems Design (ESD) or Information Systems and Technology Design (ISTD). Beyond the core subjects, all students have to undertake two 16-week internships, which could include exchange trips to MIT or ZJU.

In their final two semesters, students will also have to complete a capstone project that is a confluence of multiple SUTD pillars. In an actual design situation, crucial projects span multiple disciplines and are too large to be completed by one person. It is with this in mind that students are required to participate in an integrative capstone project in the senior year. Students from each pillar come together in focused design teams to contribute their respective expertise and skills to solving real-world challenges that culminate in a grand design project. The capstone project is a substantial activity that involves the full range of design skills, from the identification of needs and markets to concept selection to development and prototyping and finally manufacturing and operations.

Graduate programmes[edit]

A two-year full-time MIT–SUTD Dual master's degree programme will be offered in collaboration with MIT to talented graduates with a keen interest in research in one of the following areas: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Supply Chain Management, or Engineering in Manufacturing. Graduate opportunities also include the SUTD Ph.D. Programme. Candidates will spend up to one year in the USA, and the other year in Singapore, receiving master's degrees from both MIT and SUTD.[2]

With MIT, SUTD has launched joint postgraduate programmes to jump-start research at the university. The Ph.D. programme has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and is enhanced by opportunities for industry internships, overseas research attachments and teaching experience. The initial intake in 2012 included ten post-doctoral researchers. Post-doctorate fellows spend one year at MIT and then another year at SUTD where they conduct research and teach.[3]

Academic pillars[edit]

Fused deposition modelling 3D printers in one of SUTD's laboratories
SUTD Library

Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD). ASD prepares students for the immediate present and future needs of architecture and sustainable design through an innovative approach that concentrates on technology and design, design creativity and cultural sensitivity. Students will be trained to deal with the important issues of future cities, such as the rapid urbanisation in Asia, the digitalisation of practice, and the transformation of fabrication by algorithms and robots. ASD prepares students for positions in architectural design, construction, and real estate management and development, as well as for various graduate programmes.

Engineering Product Development (EPD). EPD covers the conception, design, analysis, implementation and operation of technology-intensive systems and products in the fields of electronics, chemical systems, defence, energy, machinery, robotics, aerospace, transportation, and bio-engineering. It prepares students for leadership, entrepreneurship, and industrial positions in engineering and product development, as well as for various graduate programmes.

Engineering Systems Design (ESD). ESD focuses on the modelling, design, optimisation and management of large-scale, complex systems whose performance and function depend both on their technology and on the socioeconomic context within which they operate. Examples include supply chains and logistics, financial services, health care delivery systems, transportation systems, security and defence systems as well as energy production and distribution systems. It prepares students for positions as system analysts or project leaders in a wide range of private and public sectors, for careers in consulting, and for various graduate programmes.

Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD). ISTD focuses on information systems that include all areas of computer science and computer engineering, particularly the design and interaction of information systems for the physical world that includes humans and machines. It prepares students for positions as software engineers adept at designing, building, and testing complex software and software/hardware systems in all areas of human endeavour including social media, banking and finance, transportation, healthcare, and games. ISTD prepares students for challenging jobs that advance technology for human benefit, graduate programmes and subsequent careers in education and research.

Research initiatives[edit]

SUTD–MIT International Design Centre[edit]

The International Design Centre (IDC) aims to become the world's premier scholarly hub for technologically intensive design. It is a multimillion-dollar centre based both in Singapore at SUTD, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at MIT, with academic and industrial partners from around the world. IDC faculty, researchers and students work together to design devices, products, systems, services and the built environment that address strategic needs of Singapore, the greater Asian region, the USA, and the global community. At the same time, the IDC studies and advances the design process and design science, seeking to develop new tools and methods for design practice and education. The IDC has more than a hundred projects that involve approximately 270 faculty, researchers and students.

IDC is part of a collaboration agreement between SUTD and MIT.[4]

A bust of the former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities

Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities[edit]

The Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities (LKY CIC) is one of the first university centres to focus on the integrated use of technology and design to derive solutions for urban planning, design, development and management. The Centre will study the confluence of governance, social management frameworks and technology and design innovations. It is one of five research centres in SUTD. The pioneering model of SUTD, a university without boundaries extends to how it is organised to cross disciplines, and the research strength of LKY CIC is drawn from the multidisciplinary faculty working closely with a core team of research fellows at the Centre.

SUTD–JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre[edit]

The SUTD–JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation (I3) Centre was set up to spearhead research efforts in design, architecture, engineering, and social science that will create value for industry, investors and Singapore. This new partnership platform aims to forge closer collaboration to scale up the industry's innovation, facilitate the development of the next big idea, and build new local capabilities in the field of industrial infrastructure development.

iTrust Research Centre[edit]

iTrust is a multidisciplinary research centre which was established collaboratively by SUTD and the Ministry of Defence. The focus of iTrust is on cyber security. Systems of interest include large infrastructure of national importance (such as power grids, water treatment plants and oil refineries) as well as cyber-devices used in healthcare, including pacemakers, defibrillators, insulin pumps and vagus nerve stimulation implants.

iTrust researchers focus on the development of advanced tools and methodologies to ensure security and safety of current and future cyber physical systems. A strong collaboration with MIT enriches the depth, breadth and quality of research.


Through academic research, SUTD's O-Lab is developing and validating effective approaches to collaborative design across Asia. O-Lab comprises academics and practitioners interested in understanding and enhancing design practices. They work with diverse local and international partners including NGOs, government agencies, academic institutes and community bodies to develop and run participatory design projects. These participatory projects are conducted as action research where O-Lab members, project partners and other stakeholders come together to study their problems scientifically in order to guide, correct, and evaluate their decisions and actions.

Temasek Labs at SUTD[edit]

Temasek Labs at SUTD (TL@SUTD) undertakes cutting-edge research and development while building up both technical and human talent capabilities in vital fields. The current focus is on areas of defence system design and development, such as unmanned systems, information systems, soldier systems and engineering systems.

TL@SUTD harnesses the potential of science, technology and design for Singapore's defence, and complement the work that is currently undertaken at the DSO National Laboratories, NUS, NTU and other research establishments.

City Form Lab[edit]

The City Form Lab (CFL) is an urban design research group led by a group of architects, city planners, spatial analysts, programmers, sociologists and artists, which focuses the physical structures of contemporary built environments.[5] It was founded by Andres Sevtsuk at MIT in 2010 as the City Form Research Group, and moved to SUTD in fall 2011. The lab develops software tools for researching urban form and land use patterns;[6] uses spatial analysis and statistics to investigate how the physical form of urban infrastructure affects the social, environmental and economic quality of urban environments; and develops creative design and policy solutions for contemporary urban challenges.[7]

The previous Headquarters of the Institute of Technical Education at Dover, Singapore was the site of the interim campus for SUTD

CFL's recent projects include the open-source Urban Network Analysis Toolbox for ArcGIS,[6] the SUTD Gridshell Pavilion,[7] samples of urban fabric in Bugis and Punggol in Singapore, and the exhibit at the 2013 Tallinn Architecture Biennale.


The interim campus for Singapore University of Technology and Design from April 2012 was at Dover, Singapore. SUTD's permanent campus opened in January 2015 at Changi, near Changi Business Park.[8] SUTD appointed, through an open selection process, DP Architects Pte. Ltd. in collaboration with UNStudio from Amsterdam to design the academic cluster of its permanent campus in Upper Changi.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "4th university named as Singapore University of Technology and Design". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 27 March 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) at Changi, Singapore: Transportation Engineering and Logistics & Supply Chain Management Education". Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Tracy Quek (13 September 2010). "Joint postgrad programme". The Straits Times. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Jeremy Koh (25 January 2010). "New International Design Centre to be established at SUTD". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Carolyn Y. Johnson (3 October 2011). "A new toolbox for urban analysis: Researchers look to new data, tools to better plan successful cities". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Michael J. Coren (8 September 2011). "MIT's free urban planning software will help build the cities of the future". Fast Company. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "SUTD Library Pavilion by City Form Lab". Dezeen. 15 June 2013. Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Campus Life: A Campus Built for Interaction and Collaboration: East Coast Campus". Singapore University of Technology and Design. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 

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