NP vs SP – What’s The Difference?

NP vs SP

With the two polytechnics being in such close proximity, how would you choose between the both of them?

In this post, I will be covering some important factors to consider when making your decision. 

This is 3 years of your precious life that we are talking about here. So I understand that it’s not an easy decision, and I will try my best to provide you with some objective opinions.

Let’s get started then!

Location & Accessibility

The next thing that you could consider is the travelling time and ease

I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to have a commute so tiring — that leaves you breathless before you even reach class.


NP is located at 535 Clementi Rd, Singapore 599489

The nearest MRT to NP is the Beauty World station, along the blue Downtown Line. You would have to head towards Exit C, and from there NP is approximately an 800m walk away. 

You could take buses from the MRT (i.e. 61 from Opposite Exit C or 75 from Exit A), but I personally wouldn’t recommend it because it’s slower than walking.

If you are planning on commuting to NP by bus, you would have to keep a lookout for these bus stops:

  1. Opp Ngee Ann Poly (Stop ID: 12109)
  2. Ngee Ann Poly (Stop ID: 12101)

Here are the bus services that will take you there:

Bus NumberRoute
52Jurong East Int / Bishan Int
61Bt Batok Int / Eunos Int
74Buona Vista Ter* / Hougang Ctrl Int
75Gali Batu Ter* / Marina Ctr Ter*
151Kent Ridge Ter / Hougang Ctrl Int
154Boon Lay Int / Eunos Int
184Gali Batu Ter*
*Note that these terminals are not for passenger boarding and alighting.

As for looking out for bus timings, I have an app that I think is could be useful: SG BusLeh. It is mostly accurate and they could help you to plan your commute even before you head to the bus stop.

Another way to keep track of the incoming bus timings is to use the Bus Uncle Telegram bot. I personally find the bus uncle’s responses entertaining and quirky, with a dash of Singlish.

If you’re driving to NP, you can head into campus from either the:

  1. Clementi Road, or
  2. Upper Bukit Timah Road exiting towards PIE Tuas (Might not be open at times)
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On the other hand, SP is located at 500 Dover Rd, Singapore 139651.

If you’re getting to SP by MRT, you would have to alight at the Dover station, located along the green East-West line. Once you tap out, you will be right at the entrance of SP’s Plaza.

Otherwise, if you’re heading there by bus, here are a few bus stops which you can alight at:

  1. Dover Stn Exit A (Stop ID: 19031)

This is the stop that is on the same side as SP.

  1. Dover Stn Exit B (Stop ID: 19039)

This is the stop that is opposite of SP.

There are a few more stations that you can alight at, you can check them out on the directions to SP page.

The above 2 mentioned SP bus stops are the most commonly known/used ones, offering bus services:

Bus NumberRoute
14Clementi Int / Bedok Int
74Buona Vista Ter* / Hougang Ctrl Int
105Jurong East Int / Serangoon Int
106Bt Batok Int / Shenton Way Ter*
147Clementi Int / Hougang Ctrl Int
166Clementi Int / Ang Mo Kio Int
185Buona Vista Ter* / Soon Lee Bus Pk*
*Note that these terminals are not for passenger boarding and alighting.

If you’re driving to SP, you would need to turn in from Dover Road, which is accessible from AYE, the nearest expressway, then:

  1. If you are visiting the Professional & Adult Continuing Education (PACE) Academy at T1A, enter through Gate 8 from Commonwealth Avenue West, you can park your vehicle at Car Park C or D.
  2. If you are visiting the Admin building, enter through Gate 1 from Dover Road and park your vehicle at Car Park A.
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Diplomas offered & Cut-off points

Disclaimer: The diploma content covered by each school does vary, and the naming of each diploma might also vary. 

First off, I’m going to cover the diplomas that each of the polytechnics offers. 

You can head over to these links to check out the cut-off points (for 2022 JAE) for each course in NP and SP, or you could scroll down to take a look at them. 

The net ELR2B2 aggregate score that’s stated is only meant to be a reference.

Applied Sciences

Biomedical Science3 to 83 to 7
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering6 to 12
Environmental & Water Technology6 to 16
Landscape Design & Horticulture5 to 14
Pharmaceutical Science4 to 9
Applied Chemistry5 to 9
Chemical Engineering3 to 13
Food Science & Technology5 to 13
Perfumery & Cosmetic Science5 to 11

Built Environment

Hotel & Leisure Facilities Management10 to 18
Real Estate Business 8 to 14
Architecture5 to 13
Civil Engineering7 to 20
Facilities Management11 to 19
Integrated Events & Project Management5 to 16
Landscape Architecture8 to 15

Business & Management

Accountancy4 to 113 to 12
Arts Business Management6 to 13
Banking & Finance5 to 116 to 12
Business Studies3 to 8
Common Business Programme5 to 124 to 12
International Trade & Business5 to 13
Tourism & Resort Management9 to 17
Business Administration4 to 12
Human Resource Management with Psychology5 to 12


Aerospace Engineering5 to 19
Automation & Mechatronic Systems6 to 19
Biomedical Engineering7 to 11
Common Engineering Programme6 to 267 to 17
Electrical Engineering13 to 20
Electronic & Computer Engineering7 to 16
Engineering Science5 to 12
Mechanical Engineering9 to 204 to 17
Aeronautical Engineering5 to 17
Aerospace Electronics7 to 13
Computer Engineering3 to 12
Electrical & Electronic Engineering6 to 17
Engineering with Business5 to 11
Mechatronics & Robotics5 to 13

Health Sciences

Nursing5 to 26
Optometry6 to 136 to 12


Chinese Studies7 to 13
Community Development3 to 13
Early Childhood Development & Education8 to 21
Tamil Studies with Early Education13 to 17

Information & Digital Technologies

Common ICT Programme5 to 133 to 13
Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics5 to 8
Data Science5 to 11
Immersive Media 8 to 15
Information Technology 9 to 154 to 14
Applied AI & Analytics3 to 8
Infocomm Security Management4 to 11

Maritime Studies

Marine & Offshore Technology 16 to 25
Marine Engineering7 to 22
Maritime Business7 to 18
Nautical StudiesOffered under DAE

Media & Design

Chinese Media & Communication6 to 15
Design6 to 15
Film, Sound & Video5 to 11
Mass Communication4 to 11
Media Post-Production5 to 12
Interior Design4 to 14
Media, Arts & Design4 to 12

 Both NP & SP focus on different strengths

As you can see in the tables above, there are similar courses offered in both polytechnics. There are courses that are offered in one, but not the other.

If your desired course is only offered in either of the polytechnics, I’d reckon that going for your interest would be a better choice.

The most obvious difference that stood out to me was that SP seems to offer more courses related to the Built Environment faculty. While NP offers more courses in the Media & Design and the Humanities faculty.

Though the module content might vary a little, the main concepts of each course are still being taught. Therefore, if the course that you’re interested in is offered in both schools, I suggest for you to scroll down for more comparisons to help you in your decision!

My Personal Take

So in my experience, while there are similar courses offered in the 2 polytechnics, it’s a little different from taking the same subjects in JC.

To explain it further, taking the JC path eventually leads all students across all colleges to take the same paper during your A-levels. 

However, polytechnics don’t have the same system, and there is no standardised way to grade all polytechnic students on their knowledge of the courses.

Therefore, diplomas from different polytechnics, even if they have the same name, do not mean that the things that are taught are the same

In order to ensure that you are aware of what you are signing up for, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the modules that are taught in the courses that you are interested in.

You might not be interested in all of the modules taught, but you can consider choosing the diploma that is most in line with your interest and passion.

For example, let’s take a look at the Diploma in Information Technology offered in SP (DIT – S69) and NP (IT – N54) Year 1 Semester 1 curriculum.

Computing MathematicsMathematics
Cyber Security FundamentalsFront-End Web Development
Design PrinciplesCritical and Analytical Thinking (CAT)
Data Science FundamentalsFundamentals of Computing
Fundamentals for IT Professionals 1Communicating for Project (Proposal) Effectiveness
Programming 1Fundamentals of Programming
Education and Career Guidance 1: Personal Development

You might be asking — What’s actually being taught in these modules?

You wouldn’t be able to make total sense of it from just the name of the course. You’ll need to dive in a little deeper to read each module’s description.


Both NP and SP offer vibrant CCAs that you can be a part of. In polytechnics, it’s not necessary for you to take up any CCAs, though it could be beneficial in helping to build your portfolio!

This system provides you with the freedom to explore what interests you, and what doesn’t. There’s no commitment to these clubs unless, of course, you want to.

NP has a wide variety of CCAs, split into a few categories:

  • Arts & Cultural (B-boys, Concert band, Photography,…)
  • Sports (Dragonboat, Floorball, Muay Thai,…)
  • Community Service (Food Aid, Red Cross Youth Chapter, Environmental Rangers,…)
  • Special Interests (Astronomy, Chess, Toastmasters,…)

If you don’t find a club that interests you, you can gather a few of your friends that have the same interests as you and create a new club by contacting the Student Development Office.

SP also has a great number of CCAs, split a little differently:

  • Constituent Clubs (Community Service & Cultural Club, Current Affairs & Debating Club,…)
  • Arts & Culture (Lion Dance, Stage Management, Deejays,…)
  • Special Interests (Student Exchange Club, Entrepreneurs Club, Memory Sports Club,…)
  • Service Learning (Sign Language Club, Rotaract, Mentoring Club,…)
  • Sports & Adventure (Adventurers, Bowling, Darts,…)

Joining a CCA will certainly help to make your polytechnic life much more vibrant and enjoyable

Overall, in terms of quantity, SP does seem to provide more CCAs. However, NP also encourages you to start up your very own CCA if you feel like your interest has not been represented yet!


This is one of the most important factors that I would look into when researching institutions. In my opinion, schools that are able to offer their students a quality environment and tools are the best way to show that they care about the well-being and quality of education that each student receives.

Sports Facilities

Starting off with the sports facilities that are offered by each of the polytechnics.

Sports FacilitiesNPSP
Running Track
Sports Field
Sports Halls
Martial Arts Studio
Sports Care Centre
Dance Studios
Swimming Pool
Rock Climbing Wall
Basketball Courts
Tennis Courts
Squash Courts
Badminton Courts
Futsal Court
Sources: NP and SP

From the table, you can tell that both NP and SP have common facilities that you’d expect. Like the swimming pool, gym, variety of courts, and track-and-field facilities.

With some exceptions, SP has a rock climbing wall within the campus, and NP has a sports care centre that offers physiotherapy services.

Retail & Dining

Moving on to the food section, one of the staple experiences of poly life. Given that you might spend quite a few days in school, it’s important that there’s a variety of food options to choose from.

Retail & DiningNPSP
Old Chang Kee
Coffee Bean Tea Leaf
Bubble TeaEach A CupTea Tree Café
Other Food CourtsMakan PlaceFood ClubMunchFood Courts 1 – 6
Sources: NP and SP

If you get sick of the food, both polytechnics have other food options that are within walking distance or a few bus-stops away!


  • SIM
  • Bukit Timah Plaza
  • Beauty World Centre
  • Bukit Timah Food Market
  • Food Street @ Cheong Chin Nam Road


  • NUS
  • Star Vista
  • Rochester Mall
  • Ghim Moh Food Centre

Academic Facilities

I believe that in order for a school to properly nurture their students in their respective course of study, providing relevant resources and facilities is extremely important. 

Over here, I’ll mention some of the academic facilities that are offered by both NP and SP.

Apart from the common computer labs, and classroom spaces, we have:

School of Design & Environment
Prototyping Workshop
Integrated Facilities Management Lab (IFML)​
DE GalleryETC Lab
Integrated Building Technology Lab (IBTL)
Architecture & The Built Environment
Environmental, Geomatic and Geotechnical Lab
Event Space
Facilities Management Lab
Architectural Design Studio
Landscape Design Studio
School of Engineering
Aerospace Hub
Microelectronics Lab
Audio-Visual Technology Studio
DA40 Flight Simulator
Towing Tank Lab
Solar Technology Centre
Electrical & Electronic Engineering
A320 Flight Simulator
Electrical Installation Lab
Green Mobility Lab
Nano Fabrication Lab
School of Health Sciences
Simulation Lab
Scrub Room
Operating Theatre
Nursing Skills Laboratory
School of Business
Hospitality Studio
School of Film & Media Studies
TV Studios
Radio Presentation Studio
Green Screen Studio
Avid and ProTools Stations
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound Mixing Studio
Sound Post-Production Room
Video and Audio Production, Editing and Post-Production Suites
Multi-track Studio Recording Studios
Electronic Music Laboratory
Sound Stage
Visual Effects Labs
Cinema-Standard Preview Theatre
Integrated Newsroom, Campus Radio and TV Stations
Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering
Aero Hub
Bioengineering Lab
CNC Workshop
Fab Lab
Industrial Automation Lab
Machine Development Centre
Rapid Prototyping Workshop
School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology
Centre of Food and Sustainable Resources
Centre for Environmental Technology
Centre of Applied Biosciences
Media, Arts & Design School
Black Box
The Agency
Writers’ Room
Design Studio
Chemical & Life Sciences
Dough and Roll Studio
Energy and Chemicals Training Centre
Optometry Centre
Perfumery and Cosmetic Science Centre
School of Computing
Music Technology Centre
Recording Studios
Motion Capture Studio
Visual Effects Studio
Singapore Maritime Academy
Engine Room Simulator
Maritime Business Centre
Navigation Simulator
Poly Marina
Integrated Simulation Centre

Just by looking at the table, SP does have more facilities than NP. However, it’s also essential to look into the facilities that will be relevant to you. After all, we might not have the chance to use all of them during our years of study.

Chill Spots

Other than the academic side of things, you would also probably need some time off.

Apart from the usual study and hangout spots that both polytechnics offer, there are some facilities that are quite unique to each institution:



Studio27 is a jamming room for those that are interested in music. Grab a couple of your friends, book the space and feel free to let your creativity flow within the 4 sound-proof walls.

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Dialogue in the Dark

Dialogue in the Dark was a very interesting personal experience because it gave me a glimpse into what a world without visual light would be like. The centre employs vision-impaired individuals as guides, trainers and motivational speakers.

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Located just near Gate 2, this is a chill-out spot in SP. You would find the dance studios, jamming studios, karaoke room, games room, and cafe here!

image 19
Source: SP Facebook

Final Verdict

Before reading my take on NP vs SP, I do have to let you know that I am from NP. I have tried to give objective takes, and another neutral party has also vetted this post.

So, who’s the winner

In my opinion, I feel that SP is a great place for those who are looking to have a more comprehensive and hands-on approach to learning. I do reckon that they have the relevant facilities and resources to further your understanding of the course subject.

However, NP is perfect for young entrepreneurs to start out, in recent years, they have been trying to provide opportunities like overseas internships in startups, and hackathons to encourage young budding innovators

Cliche ending, but yes each institution has its own strengths to play to. If you’d like to know more about my NP experience, feel free to connect with me on Linkedin!

Otherwise, you can check out this article that compares between SP and Temasek Poly here.

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Exploring new things as I go along. And whenever possible, I try to share my learning experiences in an effort to help others. Feel free to ping me for a chat!

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