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What will I learn?

Malay Studies enables students to cultivate scholarly knowledge and understanding of the Malays, in particular their history and cultural identity within the context of the modern world and its challenges.

The Department offers a broad range of multidisciplinary modules that deepen the students' understanding and appreciation of important areas in Malay life. These modules cover the broad topics of Malay cultural values, religious life, Malay politics and political economy, issues on development/modernization, Malay literature, myths and folklore, issues of leadership and the elite, Malay feudalism, the Malays and colonialism and other significant interests.

In the context of the department, Malay Studies simply means the academic and the scientific study of the Malays and major aspects of their lives. Hence the department focuses on their culture, religion, literature, language, development, politics and so on. To deepen our understanding of the Malays and their place in the modern world, we apply theoretical knowledge from the various disciplines and branches of the humanities and the social sciences.

Career Prospects

Malay Studies adopts a multidisciplinary and comparative approach covering broad issues of Malay society and Southeast Asia in general. Graduates of Malay Studies are well equipped to avail themselves of the various career opportunities open to graduates from other disciplines of the social sciences and humanities.

Students of Malay Studies enjoy particular advantage in careers requiring an intimate and in-depth understanding of the Malay/Muslim world of Southeast Asia, covering Indonesia , Malaysia , Brunei and Singapore , be it in the private or public sector. They are also equipped with the knowledge to appreciate the dynamics of Muslim societies beyond the region.

Graduates of Malay Studies are to be noted among the present leaders of the Malay community, in government, public service, as well as in the private sector. They are significantly represented in the mass media industry and the education service.

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (60 months)

Tuition fees
SG$20,350.00 (11,49,068) per year
Start date

Expected August 2022


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 5,

5 Arts Link,

117570, Singapore

Entry requirements

For students from United States

PhD programme requires a good Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, or at least a Second Class Upper Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline. English Language Requirements: TOEFL scores for Internet Based Test (IBT) is 90; or IELTS score of 6.0. 

For international students

In general, the University requires:

  • Normally a good Master’s degree in a relevant discipline; or
  • an NUS Honours degree (at least Distinction/Second Class Upper Division) or equivalent (e.g., a four-year Bachelor’s degree with an average grade above B) in a relevant discipline, subject to approval by the Faculty, on a case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements: Minimum TOEFL score is required: 85 for the internet-based test (with a minimum score of 22 for the writing section); or 580 for the paper-based test; or 237 for the computer-based test. IELTS result of 6.0 is required.


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