Xav: Experiences of NUS Psychology & NTU Psychology students

Disclaimer: The following opinions are not generalizable as they are individualized experiences of a few students from NUS Psychology and NTU Psychology. Please reach out to more people and do more research while deciding between NUS Psychology and NTU Psychology. Good luck!

We have talked about the differences in curriculum and years of study between NUS Psychology and NTU Psychology few years ago here, but how much do we know about the individualized experiences of NUS Psychology students and NTU Psychology students? In this post, we interviewed a few NUS Psychology and NTU Psychology students to understand more about their perceptions towards their school and course.

The first and most important question to ask would be:

“How has your experience been so far in NUS/NTU Psychology?”

Generally, Psychology students from both universities have pleasant experiences so far in their universities. NTU Psychology students such as Jasmine and Xin Ying have mentioned that they have encountered positive experiences making connections and friendships with their fellow cohort mates. NTU Psychology adopts a structured curriculum in the first two years where Year 1s and Year 2s would have to take common introductory modules. As such, this facilitated greater bonding as NTU Psychology students were able to get to know their cohort mates beyond one module and beyond one semester.

On the other hand, NUS Psychology adopts a more flexible curriculum where students have the liberty to plan and choose when to take their modules, and as a result may not be able to meet and bond with as many cohort mates. Ashley*, a Year 1 NUS Psychology student mentioned that the flexibility of curriculum made touch-and-go friendships very common. Despite that, other NUS Psychology students such as Shi Hui sang praises for the events held for NUS Psychology students.

The next question I asked was what the students found about the modules offered in their course:

“What do you think of the modules offered in NUS/NTU Psychology?”

Both Xin Ying and Jasmine are satisfied with the variety of Psychology modules offered in NTU, with the former mentioning not only adequate introductory modules are offered, but also interesting modules such as “Forensic Psychology”. However, success of obtaining desired modules has been varied- with Sarah*, a Year 3 NTU Psychology student complaining that she could not get any modules she wanted throughout the whole of Year 2. In NTU, core modules are allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. As such, she had no choice but to take modules she had little interest in. 

On the other hand, NUS Psychology students are required to bid for modules using points given to them every semester. Shi Hui mentioned that she has been able to obtain modules she wants so far, although it got harder for her across the subsequent semesters. Penny* mentioned that bidding for more popular modules such as courses related to Social Psychology and Clinical Psychology are harder to bid for, but she generally finds bidding relatively smooth-sailing.

For many aspiring psychologists, research is a huge part of Psychology undergraduate students have to be exposed to. Therefore, I asked:

How much research experience does your school offer?”

For this question, students from both schools mentioned that there are plenty of research opportunities available in both schools. The NUS Psychology department regularly sends out requests for Research Assistants while NTU students are able to offer research assistance to both NTU and NIE professors.

Lastly, I asked students about the career exposure opportunities offered:

"What kind of career opportunities related to Psychology does NUS/NTU offer?"

In this regard, students interviewed from NTU Psychology only knew of research assistant positions and research intern positions sent through the school email. For interviewed NUS Psychology students, they mentioned that many organizations have been invited to hold career recruitment talks from mostly government organizations, as well as a few private organizations.

In summary, interviewed NUS Psychology students think NUS has been able to offer them plenty of career exposure and advancement opportunities; These students also find bidding generally uncomplicated, although difficulties may arise across the semesters. NTU Psychology students find it easier to build longer lasting connections and friendships due to their curriculum, although the first-come-first-serve system of module allocation may frustrate some. In general, both universities offer many research opportunities for students to explore.

* names have been changed to ensure anonymity

Special thanks to Shi Hui, Xin Ying, Jasmine, Ashley*, Sarah* and Penny* for making this post possible!