More than 80 or 90 per cent of students on four-year direct honours programmes at publicly-funded universities here graduate with honours or the equivalent. But only 60 per cent of those in the three-year arts and social sciences, business and science degree courses at the National University of Singapore (NUS) qualify for the fourth year of study, which allows them to graduate with honours.
To close the gap, NUS is lowering the grade to qualify for the honours year in these three schools, which are among the larger faculties in the university and take in some 3,600 students a year. This means another 10 to 15 per cent – 400 to 500 students- from these three faculties can move on to the fourth year to study for their honours.
Previously, students in the three faculties require a Cumulative Average Point (CAP) of 3.5 and above to qualify for honours study. With the change, they need only 3.2. NUS, though, will stick to its policy of keeping the the three plus one structure. Students who fail to notch up a score of at least 3.2 will have to exit the course.
NUS Provost Tan Eng Chye said the university decided to lower the requirement as the quality of students has gone up over the years. Students need As and Bs to enter most of the courses now. Last year, for example, students needed a ABB to enter the arts and social sciences course and those entering business needed triple As.