Yale-NUS College

Starting in the 2020–21 academic year, Yale-NUS and the National University of Singapore’s School of Computing will offer a new five-year degree program that will combine liberal arts and computer science education.

The concurrent degree program for liberal arts students who plan to pursue computing careers after college will admit its first batch of students in August 2019, according to a joint press release from the two schools. The students, who will be juniors at Yale-NUS at the time of application, will begin the program’s curriculum the following fall. Currently, Yale-NUS has a major called mathematical, computational and statistical sciences, but there is no exclusive computer science major.

Students in the program will first receive a four-year bachelor’s degree from Yale-NUS and will then complete a yearlong master’s of computer programming at the NUS Computing School.

“As societies become increasingly digitalized and data reliant, competency in computing will inevitably become invaluable to all fields of study and profession,” said NUS associate professor and Computing Vice Dean for Graduate Studies Chin Wei Ngan in the press release. “As such, we are heartened to partner [with] Yale-NUS in developing the next generation of liberal arts and sciences professionals.”

The program allows students to specialize in either computer science or information system. The computer science specialization covers advanced topics in several technical areas, including computational biology, software engineering and machine learning, while the information system specialization focuses on “digital transformation and innovation.”

During their fifth year of learning at NUS Computing, students will take courses that will “expose [them] to strong technical computing skills as well as in-depth knowledge of applied and fundamental research methods and techniques” and complete a dissertation, the press release said.

According to Yale-NUS Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Joanne Roberts, a Joint Admissions Committee with faculty members from both Yale-NUS and NUS Computing will evaluate the applications for admission to the program. When making its admissions decisions, the committee will pay particular attention to applicants’ information technology skills; academic and professional accomplishments; and leadership, communication and teamwork skills, Roberts added. She noted that the program will admit at most five students each year, but the committee can choose to admit more students if they have “an influx of outstanding candidates.”

“The programme will be attractive to students who have an interest in coupling a broad academic and intellectual background from the liberal arts and sciences curriculum with creative problem-solving skills using computing technology; students who have strong quantitative skills and are able to think outside the box; and students who aspire to become the next generation of innovative and effective computing professionals who are able to tackle significant problems in computing in a complex global context,” Roberts wrote in an email to the News.

The new degree is part of Yale-NUS’s larger goal of “spearhead[ing] new and innovative programmes that challenge traditional conceptions of undergraduate education,” Roberts said. She emphasized that the College’s “broad-based, multidisciplinary education” and the global perspective gained from living in an international community for four years at Yale-NUS can enrich students’ learning experiences and help them better “navigate the complexity of computing and IT issues.”

Roberts also highlighted that the program will help students make a seamless transition from undergraduate to graduate-level work.

“Students who enroll in the programme will get the best of both worlds: a liberal arts and sciences education that complements the specialised Master’s degree in computing,” Roberts said. “The complementary nature of the curricula ensures continuity in the students’ education, and will make for a smoother transition between undergraduate and graduate school.”

Yale-NUS offers three other concurrent degree programs: a five-year program with the Yale School of Public Health, a six-year program with the Yale School of Forestry and a five-year program with NUS’ Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Asha Prihar | asha.prihar@yale.edu .

Correction, Feb. 22: A previous version of this article stated that Yale-NUS offers two other concurrent degree programs, and omitted the joint program with the School of Forestry. In fact, the college offers three concurrent degree programs aside from the new computing degree.