Master of Arts (MA) (Research)

  • We offer higher degree studies by research leading to the degree of Master of Arts (MA) in line with the increasing emphasis on research in the areas of Humanities, Education and Physical Education.

    Applicants reading the degree of MA by research will pursue an independent but supervised research in an approved field of advanced study based on which a thesis should not exceed 50,000 words (including footnotes, but excluding appendices, references, maps, charts, statistical tables, graphs, illustrations, etc), except for a Masters thesis written in the Chinese language should not exceed 100,000 Chinese characters.

  • A Bachelor's degree with honours at least at Second Class Upper level in the relevant areas and the ability to pursue research in the candidate's proposed field of advanced study.

    Shortlisted applicants will undergo an interview session as part of the selection process.

    A valid GRE score is required for applicants who are not graduates of the Autonomous Universities in Singapore. See detailed requirements for English language on competency and GRE requirements here.

  • A rigorous system is used to prepare you into the research phase. In the first 12 months of study, you will be required to complete the Qualifying Examination requirements as indicated in (i) and (ii) below:

    (i) Attend classes and pass the examinations of

    • 3 graduate level courses chosen from the University's Master-degree coursework programmes or from approved special topic courses and
    • obtain an overall average Grade B-, and no course should have a Grade below C+

    (ii) Submit an in-depth literature review of an approved research topic

    Exemption of courses may be granted by the Dean if you are deemed to have already done sufficient coursework in the relevant area in a graduate level programme at a recognised university. You would have to complete a minimum of two courses after allowing for exemptions.

    pdf-thumbnail Download the full list of special topic courses.

  • You will have to undergo a Confirmation Exercise if you are admitted as a Research Student in the first instance in order to be confirmed as an MA candidate. The exercise will take place either by the end of the first year of study or no later than 6 months after the Qualifying Examination.

    For the Confirmation Exercise, you will have to submit a progress report on your research work as well as present and pass a confirmation seminar.

    Your candidature may be terminated at any time if your progress has been deemed unsatisfactory by the University.

  • Arts and Humanities

    1. English Language
      • Bilingualism and biliteracy studies
      • Sociolinguistics
      • Multimodal and multiliteracies studies
      • Phonetics and phonology
      • Pragmatics
      • Discourse studies
      • Language teaching methods
      • Language assessment and testing
      • Language learning
    2. English Literature
      • Literature education and pedagogy
      • Postcolonial literature/ world literature
      • Contemporary anglophone literature including poetry and drama
      • Singapore literature and culture
      • Southeast Asian literatures in English
      • Feminist approaches to literature
      • Film studies
    3. Chinese/Malay/Tamil Language and Literature
    4. History
    5. Geography
    6. Social Sciences
    7. Music
    8. Art
    9. Drama
      • Issues in Drama Education and Drama Pedagogies
      • Drama and Literacy
      • Performance Studies in the School Context
      • Contemporary Southeast Asian Theatre
      • Theatre in Singapore
      • Emergent Asian Theatre Forms and Training
      • Intercultural Theatre and Intercultural Shakespeares
      • Digital Performance, Multimedia Theatre and Virtual Theatre
      • Sound / Music in Theatre and Performance
      • Performance Studies and Performance Theory
      • Critical Theory and Performance
      • Theatre in the Community
      • Applied Theatre

    1. Sociology of Education
    2. History of Education
    3. Special Needs Education
    4. Educational Measurement and Evaluation
    5. Multimedia and Information Technology
    6. Curriculum and Teaching
    7. School/Educational Management
    8. High Ability Studies
    9. Early Childhood Education
    10. Educational Management
    11. Mathematics Education
    12. New Literacies, Multi-Literacies and Digital Literacies
    13. The Role of Disciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity
    14. Cognitive-Developmental Psychology
    Physical Education

    1. Sports Studies
      • Exercise/Sports Psychology
      • Sociocultural Studies of Sport
      • Sports History
      • Sports Management
    2. Sports Pedagogy
      • Curriculum Theory in Physical Education
      • Instructional Processes in Physical Education
      • Teacher Knowledge and Development in Physical Education

    Important note for matriculated students: 
    Please refer to the ISAAC system for the programme structure relevant to your intake during Course Registration or consult your programme leader if you need clarifications.

  • The degree of Master of Arts by research is offered on both full-time and part-time basis. The candidature periods are as follows:


    Up to a maximum of 3 years


    Up to a maximum of 4 years

    From AY2020, the candidature period will be revised as follows:


    Up to a maximum of 3 years


    Up to a maximum of 3 years

  • Our tuition fees are subject to revision on a yearly basis. More details can be found here.

  • There are two intakes a year (January and August). The online application generally opens in May for admission in January in the following year and in October for admission in August the following year. Applicants are advised to visit the website and look out for announcements in May and October.

    Applicants who are currently working with sponsors, donors or financial institutions to fund their studies, are encouraged to submit their applications early to NIE so as not to miss out on our application period.

    Applications are to be made online.

    More information on application details can be found here.

    Depending on the area of research that you are interested in, you are advised to browse through the various Academic Groups’ webpages to seek your own supervisor prior to application. Prior to application, you may also contact the appropriate research Programme Leader or Leaders listed here.

  • We offer research scholarships to applicants with outstanding academic records to enable you to pursue your studies by research on a full-time basis. More details can be found here

  • To view, please click here.

  • Research Studies in NIE

    GPL Video

    NIE - the place to be for your learning journey

    Developing your passion into mastery with NIE

    Hear from our professor and students

    Research Studies in NIE - A/P Rebecca Ang (PS)

    Research Studies in NIE - Matthew Wallace (ELL)

    Research Studies - Cheryl Chen (VPA)

    Research Studies in NIE - Cassim Munshi (CTL)

    Master of Arts (Research) experience by Sebastian Lau Kian Yong

    Sharing Session at NIE Postgraduate Fair 2016

    Programme highlights and sharing session by Physical Education and Sports Science (PESS) graduates

    Higher Degrees by Research in NSSE: Diversified avenues and challenging opportunities

    Doctoral Programmes: EdD and PhD by Policy and Leadership Studies Academic Group

    Research projects in areas of Mathematics and Mathematics Education

    Higher Degrees in Early Childhood, High Ability Studies and Special Education

    Higher Degrees in Geography, History and Social Studies

    Empowering teaching, training and learning using technologies

    Embark on your learning journey with ELL

    Higher Degree programme and its impacts on Professional Development by Malay Division alumni

    For more sharing sessions videos taken at NIE Postgraduate Fair 2016, please click here.

  • “I am grateful to my supervisors Professor John Wang Chee Keng for his superb supervision and mentorship throughout my PhD candidature. After the initial phase of effective supervision, I was encouraged and given space to conduct original, independent research. The specialized elective courses taken during the coursework deepened my understanding of theories and practices in a number of chosen fields relevant to my research. Furthermore, the regular discussion sessions held by the research interest group at PESS AG were most helpful in enabling me to complete my PhD research.”

    Dr Eugene Chew Wai Cheong
    Assistant Professor at the Physical Education & Sports Science
    Academic Group (PESS AG), NIE
    PhD student at NIE from 2008 to 2011

    “I feel myself bless to conduct my PhD research at NIE. I am most impressed with NIE’s research culture that encourages higher degree students to publish their research and to present their research in international conferences, seminars, and workshops. I discovered several new marine natural products and published seven papers in peer-reviewed high impact factor international journals, one book chapter, and five conference papers during my PhD candidature. My sound training under the exemplary supervision of Assistant Professor Tan Lik Tong and solid performance at NIE had laid the foundation for me to become a qualified researcher and enabled me to secure a postdoctoral position at the University of Michigan, one of the world’s leading universities.”

    Dr Ashootosh Tripathi
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan, USA

    “I appreciated the opportunity to present my research creatively and with visual impact in the Post Competition of the NIE Graduate Student Day to fellow students and faculty. The faculty judges were wonderfully assuring and insightful with their questions and feedback.”

    Ms Gissella Lebron
    PhD student at NIE from 2010 to 2014

    “In my course of study as a Master of Arts (Research) student; I have gained knowledge that is immensely useful for my academic career. Reflecting on my MA experiences, I appreciate the immeasurable impact the NIE lecturers made on me as a student. The experience that I have gained during my MA journey has inspired me to further my study and continue to connect, conceptualise and make significant contribution to the educational research and society at large.”

    Mdm Nuraini Ismail
    Year Head (Lower Secondary), Regional Studies Programme, Cedar Girls’ Secondary School

    “I really appreciate that the NIE faculty members in our department regard graduate students as junior colleagues rather than as students. In our research and even in first-year coursework, we are given a great deal of intellectual freedom and independence to come up with new ideas and to chart our own directions.”

    Becky Wong
    curent PhD student of Psychological Studies (PS) Academic Group and the Education and Cognitive Development Lab (ECDL)
    - Getting to Know Series, 2016 
      (click to read more)

    “The best interactions I had with NIE faculty members were with my supervisors (Associate Professor Liu Woon Chia and Professor John Wang), and, especially, with the previous Sub-Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies & Professional Learning (GPL), Dr Koh Chong Lek, during my PhD course. I am very grateful to Dr Koh as he made an effort to understand the difficulties that graduate students may face and his door was always open for us. He was a good mentor and he would listen to us despite his busy schedule.

    The PhD programme has equipped me with relevant skills and knowledge in becoming a researcher.”

    Dr Betsy Ng
    PhD graduate of Psychological Studies (PS) Academic Group
    - Getting to Know Series, 2016
      (click to read more)

    “I think NIE faculty members are knowledgeable and respectable. I’m also very lucky to know a few professors who are very generous and friendly. They care about students and provide great advice. I have received considerable assistance from them in my academic study and career advancement.

    Dr Cao Feng
    PhD graduate of English Language and Literature (ELL) Academic Group
    - Getting to Know Series, 2016
      (click to read more)

    “My course lecturers are extremely approachable, and this creates a very comfortable and productive working relationship. I guess this has, in part, to do with the idea that when it comes to education research, everyone you meet has an innate passion in teaching and learning.

    I think the PhD programme, together with the research culture that NIE adopts, provides us research students with a brilliant platform to enter the world of academia, which I hope to do one day.

    Cassim Munshi
    current PhD student of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL) Academic Group
    Recipient of NTU Research Scholarship
    - Getting to Know Series, 2016
      (click to read more)

    “The exposure to other scholars and educators with the Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore during my candidature has expanded my theoretical thinking and provided opportunities to discuss and debate ideas for future effective implementation. I believe that the academic and practical experience of investigating how drama can be an efficacious medium for teaching and learning is invaluable to me as a researcher. Upon graduation, I will be better equipped to embark on a journey as an academic who documents and theorises new educational practices, and as an educator who experiments with innovative pedagogies such as drama.

    Cheryl Chen
    current PhD student of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Academic Group
    - Getting to Know Series, 2016

      (click to read more)

    “Besides the knowledge gained throughout the research process, the teaching-assistant scheme gave me the opportunity to work with various disciplines and I benefitted greatly from their expertise and pedagogical ideas. Most importantly, I met a group of fellow research scholars who shared the same interest in music making and together we established the NIE piano ensemble. The experience was such a valuable one that I still apply them in managing my ensembles today.

    Ms Yeong Lan Ing
    MA (Research) graduate of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Academic Group
    - Getting to Know Series, 2016

      (click to read more)

    “I was keen to take up the NIE Masters and PhD as the programmes offer both breadth and depth. Topics are designed to inform on the latest developments in the field. It was good for me because I came from a non-Early Childhood background and needed some form of grounding in this area. The rigor of the programmes also attracted me to take up the courses. As I progressed along, I was also privileged to work with exceptional faculty members who are experts in their fields.

    As a beginning academic, I was especially supported by senior faculty members in the ECSE AG when it came to teaching and research. Much guidance was given to new academics as we went about developing courses and designing material to ensure that our learners, be it pre-service, in-service or higher degree students benefited from the time they spent in class."

    Dr Mercy Karuniah Jesuvadian
    Lecturer at Early Childhood and Special Needs Education (ECSE) Academic Group
    PhD student at NIE from 2008 to 2016
    - Getting to Know Series, 2017

      (click to read more)

    “The sessions with the reviewers were engaging as they were very much like peer-to-peer interactions. In many ways, Associate Professor Ng Pak Tee, my supervisor, gave lots of input by bouncing off ideas and viewpoints; and value-added to the research work in a nurturing manner.

    At work, I have already started implementing some of the new paradigms that I discovered through my research. Now that my research has been endorsed, I will step up the pace of implementing my learning, for the benefit of Singaporeans and the community."

    Dr Ang Hak Seng, BBM
    PhD graduate of Policy & Leadership Studies (PLS) Academic Group 
    - Getting to Know Series, 2017

      (click to read more)

    • E-mail:
      (for administrative enquiries related to admissions and application)

    • E-mail:
      (for administrative matters related to programme matters such as time-table, study plans)

    List of Programme Leaders (for specific academic enquiries related to the programme such as curriculum requirements):

    Areas of Research Programme Leader
    Asian Language and Cultures Chinese Language: Dr CHOONG Kok Weng
    Malay Language: Dr Mohd Aidil Subhan Bin MOHAMED SULOR
    Tamil Language: A/P Seetha Lakshmi
    Curriculum and Teaching A/P Jiang Heng
    Early Childhood and Special Education Early Childhood: A/P TAN Ai Girl
    Special Education: A/P TAN Ai Girl
    High Ability Studies: Dr Letchmi Ponnusamy
    English Language and Literature A/P Peter Teo
    Humanities and Social Studies Education A/P DAS Diganta Kumar
    Learning Sciences and Technologies A/P Chen Wenli
    Mathematics and Mathematics Education Mathematics: A/P ZHAO Dong Sheng
    Mathematics Education: A/P Leong Yew Hoong
    Natural Sciences and Science Education A/P Chew Shit Fun
    Office of Education Research Dr Seow Sen Kee Peter
    Physical Education and Sports Science Asst/P Masato Kawabata
    Policy and Leadership Studies A/P LIM Lee Hean
    Psychological Studies A/P Gregory Arief D LIEM
    Visual and Performing Arts Art: Asst/P Rebecca Heaton
    Drama: Asst/P Charlene Delia Jeyamani Rajendran
    Music: A/P Lum Chee Hoo and A/P Leonard Tan