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Duke-NUS Medical School

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Duke NUS Medical School

Duke-NUS Medical School



Established through an agreement between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Duke University, Duke-NUS Medical School originated from the Government of Singapore’s vision for a top-quality medical institution. The school provides students, who come from diverse backgrounds, with access to an invaluable medical education in Singapore, and trains them to not only become outstanding clinicians, but clinician innovators, leaders, educators and scientists.

Duke-NUS Medical School is a vital component in Singapore’s healthcare ecosystem, stemming from translational and clinical research excellence, its role in training medical talent, and its academic medicine collaboration with Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) – the largest healthcare group in the country.

This partnership with SingHealth enables Duke-NUS students to benefit from the expansive expertise of Singapore’s dynamic healthcare hub, which is within walking distance – including the Ministry of Health, Singapore General Hospital, National Heart Centre, Singapore National Eye Centre, and National Cancer Centre Singapore.

Apart from the medical programme, Duke-NUS is also internationally recognised for its outstanding research programmes that addresses the need for developing treatments in Singapore and the region.

Research at Duke-NUS is organised into five Signature Research Programmes (SRPs):

  • Cancer and Stem Cell Biology
  • Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • Health Systems and Services Research
  • Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders

The student community at Duke-NUS is multicultural and dynamic, with students coming from a variety of educational backgrounds. The school also has plenty of resources and support in place to ensure the well-being of the student body while providing an outstanding medical education with top-quality research and clinical expertise. The ultimate goal of the school is improving healthcare and patient outcomes.

What’s new

What’s new

Duke-NUS Medical School paves the path from engineering to MD

Duke-NUS Medical School gave Dr. Eric Cher the opportunity to go from being a biomedical engineer to a doctor. He chose to pursue the MD programme at Duke-NUS Medical School as it was the only graduate entry medical school in Singapore which will allow him to pursue a career in medicine after obtaining his first degree..

After graduating, his decision to specialise in orthopaedic surgery was influenced largely by his background in engineering, which equipped him with the right skills to systematically analyse clinical problems and better understand the human body’s biomechanics. The field also allows Dr. Cher to combine two of his great interests - medical device innovation and patient care. He believes that the field he is in allows great opportunities for translating ideas in creative engineering into implementable technologies.

A Duke-NUS Discovery

Researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School, together with collaborators, have discovered a surprising interaction between the Zika and dengue viruses that explains the important abnormalities of the foetal brain which are linked to Zika virus. They found that brain damage in foetal mice was worse if the mothers infected with the Zika virus also had antibodies for dengue. These findings were reported in the journal Science Advances.

Assistant Professor, Ashley St. John, from the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Programme at Duke-NUS and corresponding author of the study said, “Our research indicates that previous immunity of the mother to dengue could be a risk factor for severe outcomes in infants born to mothers infected with Zika virus during pregnancy. This is highly significant, since current Zika virus epidemic regions overlap to large extent with those of dengue viruses, and this work informs our understanding of mechanisms that could influence the severity of infection with Zika virus.”

Teaching quality

Teaching quality

Duke-NUS Medical School takes the innovative Duke School of Medicine curriculum as its foundation and builds onto that the best elements of team-based learning. At Duke-NUS, this pioneering team-based learning approach is known as TeamLEAD (Learn, Engage, Apply, and Develop). In TeamLEAD, recorded lectures, readings as well as the review of additional material on given topics are done before class. The in-class activity focuses on applying principles, ensuring understanding, as well as solving problems within the student teams which are facilitated by the faculty. Courses are run by multidisciplinary faculty teams of clinicians and scientists who are supported by faculty with expertise in the science of learning. The classroom discussions are principally driven by student enquiry instead of faculty answers.

This active-learning process that students are engaged in makes the knowledge acquired more relevant to the way clinicians learn and work, and helps them develop broader capabilities like communication, critical thinking and reasoning, and problem-solving skills.

Department structure

Department structure


The four-year MD programme adopts a unique “Clinicians First, Clinicians Plus” education approach that incorporates and champions important additional elements of healthcare practice into the curriculum. Students who complete the programme are granted the degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) jointly-awarded by both the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Duke University, U.S.


The PhD programmes offered by the school are:

  • Integrated Biology and Medicine
  • Quantitative Biology and Medicine
  • Clinical Science

Each PhD programme will take on average four to five years to complete, and all PhD students at Duke-NUS will receive a scholarship covering tuition and a monthly stipend for the duration of the PhD.


Duke-NUS also offers a combined MD-PhD track to those who wish to further their academic training. The MD-PhD track combines research training with medical education to develop clinician-scientists who interface between science and medicine. All students who are admitted into the track are awarded a full scholarship.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Those who apply to the Duke-NUS MD Programme will need to sit for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) or Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT), fill in the online application form, and offer at least three referee reports consisting of one academic reference at the minimum. These references must be chosen carefully from the faculty or others, such as job supervisors, who know the students well. Applicants must have their official transcripts as well as supporting documents sent to Duke-NUS by mail.

Those who apply to the PhD in Integrated Biology and Medicine or the PhD In Quantitative Biology and Medicine will need to sit for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), fill in the online application form, and offer three recommendations at the minimum.

All applicants to Duke-NUS who have formerly studied in non-English speaking curricula will be required to offer documented evidence of their proficiency in both written and spoken English in the form IELTS or TOEFL exam results.



At Duke-NUS, students are offered access to several of the most sophisticated facilities for biomedical research in the world, including:

  • Duke-NUS Genome Biology Facility
  • Metabolomics Facility@DUKE-NUS
  • Behavioural Phenotyping Core Facility
  • Histopathology Facility
  • Flow Cytometry Core Facility
  • Insectary Core Facility
  • Core Imaging Facility
  • In Vivo Molecular Imaging Facility (LTMI)

Duke-NUS Medical School’s facility comprises advanced classrooms, research spaces, administrative offices and teaching labs.

Apart from in-house facilities, students have access to several other specialised facilities for research support away from the school’s main campus.

These off-campus facilities include the SingHealth research centres, the Outram campus, National University of Singapore and also the Biopolis at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), which is a 185,000-sq metre, SGD 300 million megaplex dedicated to biomedical research.

As a school of the National University of Singapore (NUS), Duke-NUS Medical School also provides its faculty the platform to enjoy several services and collaborations available at the main NUS campus.

Scholarships & funding

Scholarships & funding

Depending on financial circumstances, as well as academic performance, students may take on one or a combination of three financing options available - tuition fee loan, bursary, and merit scholarship. About two-thirds of the school’s students are on some form of financial aid.

Tuition Fee Loan

Matriculating students of all nationalities may apply for the Tuition Fee Loan, administered by two Singapore agent banks.


Bursaries are awarded based on financial need, and students are granted bursaries of varying amounts.

Merit Scholarships

There are several kinds of merit scholarships available to students, both from Duke-NUS and externally. Merit scholarships are generally awarded based on the personal attributes and academic achievements of the students such as leadership experience or significant involvement in community service. Various scholarships are valid for a period of four years and may be used for living expenses, tuition, or other fees related to attending Duke-NUS.

The following are some of the scholarships available at the school:

  • Duke-NUS Dean’s Scholarship
  • Duke-NUS Scholarship
  • Ngee Ann Kongsi Scholars Programme
  • Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Scholarship
  • Indonesian Scholars Programme
  • Goh Foundation Scholarship
  • Shaw Foundation Scholarship
  • Lee Foundation Scholarship

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Key facts

Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020
Source: ARWU


Tuition fees

SGD 67,000 (inclusive of GST)

English score required

Minimum IELTS Score




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