Studying in UoB From Singapore – Here’s My Experience

University of Birmingham in Singapore

If you’re planning on pursuing your Bachelor’s Degree and need more options besides local universities, here’s one to consider.

The University of Birmingham (or UoB for short) is known to be one of the largest universities in the United Kingdom. It is offered here in Singapore under the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).

I personally graduated from UoB in 2021, majoring in Business Management with Communications.

UoB is even said to rank 19th in the UK according to The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. 

Are you keen on applying to this university? Let’s discuss some key pointers you’d need to know before hitting that application button! 

What courses do the University of Birmingham offer?

UoB offers a total of 13 courses (12 full time and 1 part-time) in Singapore that mainly focuses on Business studies. Six of these Honours programmes are for students planning on taking a Bachelor’s Degree.

Meanwhile, seven of them are for those looking to do their Masters. 

Here’s a breakdown of the programmes offered:

Bachelor of Science (Honours)Master of Science 
Accounting and FinanceBusiness Administration
Business ManagementFinancial Management
Business Management
with Communications
International Business
Business Management
with Communications
and Year in Industry
Business Management
with Industrial Placement
Management: Entrepreneurship
and Innovation
International BusinessOrganisational Leadership
and Change
Management: Strategy 

The courses – whether a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree – take up to two years to complete without compromising on the quality of lessons.

This is so since the professors are directly from UoB, and they are flown all the way to Singapore to teach you!

Is it hard to get into the University of Birmingham as a Singaporean?

If you graduated from polytechnic, here’s the catch: you would have to attain a GPA of at least 3.

However, if you didn’t, you would be required to undergo an interview process if you’re selected.

The thing about UOB is that they only accept students with a Diploma.

So if you have yet to get yours, you would need to apply for one. You can even get your Diploma from SIM!

Once you’re ready with your Diploma, you can start to apply to UoB. The academic year officially starts in July, so it would be best to get everything prepped and ready by January. 

To apply to UoB, you can head over to SIM’s website. Thereafter, you will be prompted to sign up for a SIM account.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-2021-09-15-at-1.24.55-AM-1024x591.png
You will be prompted to create an account to apply to the school of your choice.

Once done, fill up the details and submit all the paperwork required including your Diploma certificate!

If you’re still unsure, you can check out this page here to get the full details and steps on how to apply.

Unlike the more popular options like University of London (UOL) and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) which have a combined population of about 20,000 students, UOB is relatively small.

There are only around 200 students per cohort so it might be slightly more difficult to get in. 

Moreover, if you have a non-Business Diploma, you will be required to enrol in a preparatory course. The three-month course covers the basics of Business, including:

  • Finance and Accounting
  • Economics
  • Marketing

I personally had to undergo the preparatory course and honestly, it was not the easiest.

There’s a lot of content to study within the short time frame, and everything seemed so foreign to me! At the end of the course, you will have to sit for an exam for the mentioned modules.

If you’re unable to pass, you won’t be allowed to further your studies in UoB! 

Are the fees charged more expensive?

Compared to local universities, the fees at UoB are on the pricier end, ranging from $34,000 to $42,000. However, this really depends on the course you choose.

Nevertheless, it is much cheaper compared to studying abroad in the main campus in Birmingham itself. You would save on other costs that you incur when studying overseas, such as:

  1. Accommodation
  2. Flight tickets
  3. Overseas expenses

Here’s a breakdown of the course fees as of 2021.

CoursesCourse FeePreparatory Course Fees
and Finance
$34,026$695.50 per module
Business Management
with Communications
$39,675.60$695.50 per module
Business Management
with Communications
and Year in Industry
$41,730$695.50 per module
Business Management with
Industrial Placement
$39,675.60$695.50 per module
International Business$42,981.90$695.50 per module

You may want to note that the costs include prevailing GST and excludes fees for textbooks. 

All of the courses offered cost more than $30,000 for a total of four semesters that lasts for two years. The fees are paid per semester, which average around $8,000 to $10,000

Just like local universities, you can take a student loan to pay off your student fees. Banks that offer loans for private university education include:

  1. OCBC
  2. POSB or DBS

The fees for each course differs based on the additional modules that you would have to take depending on your chosen course. Since I took Business Management with Communications, I had to pay higher fees for the communication modules.

The year in the industry and industrial placement courses would require students to take up mandatory internships. You will be guided with professional help and resources, which is why the fees are slightly more expensive.

On top of the school fees, you would also need to pay an application fee when you apply to study at UoB:

Local students$96.30
International students$481.50

You may want to note that the latter does not include all fees related to the student pass application.

How are the classes structured?

Before understanding how the lessons are structured, here’s a breakdown of how the semesters are like.

The duration of the entire course is 2 years (full-time), and it is split into 2 semesters each year:

Semester 1Jul – Oct
Semester 2Nov – Feb 
BreakMar – Jul

Unlike local universities such as NUS and NTU, UoB does not allow you to bid for their classes.

The modules are all prepared in advance and you have to take the modules which have been pre-allocated to the different courses.

As such, all of your modules are non-negotiable!

Since the university mainly offers Business courses, there are a handful of modules where students from different courses can be spotted in the same lecture theatre.

What’s interesting about the lesson structure is that each module takes two weeks to complete. This would mean that you will have new modules every two weeks!

The reason why the lectures are structured as such is because the professors are flown down directly from Birmingham to conduct the lessons.

Once the two week lesson is over, the professor will head back to Birmingham.

These are the same professors who run the same modules back in the UK, and they set the exam papers for each class! Being faculty members, they do their own research and publish their own papers in their specific areas too.  

The lessons take three hours to complete with set timings of either:

  1. 8.30am to 11.30am
  2. 12pm to 3pm
  3. 3.30pm to 6.30pm

There are times when you will have two lessons in a day. Again, this really depends on your course.

Since each lesson is pretty long, the professors usually have a mix of lectures and tutorials within one session.

This format is particularly different from other universities.

While some may thrive in this lesson format, you may prefer modules to be more evenly spread out.

It is also important to note that exams will be taken at the end of each semester. As such, it may be difficult to focus on – or even remember – the content that was taught at the beginning of the semester.

However, I personally didn’t find this to be a problem at all! There’s a mix of assignments and projects too, on top of the end of year final exams. 

If you are looking for an overseas teaching style, this is an optimal choice. You’ll get an actual UK university professor to deliver the same lectures the same way as they would in the UK.

The best part is that they are conducting these lectures right here in Singapore!

Is the University of Birmingham recognised in Singapore?

The degree that you are given by the University of Birmingham is the same as the one that would be awarded to you in the UK. Your degree will be deemed as an overseas degree, and it depends on the company’s final decision to accept your job application.

To put it simply, the University of Birmingham is recognised in Singapore by the local authorities.

However, when it comes to applying for jobs, here’s something to note.

It may be more difficult for you to get a job in the MNCs. This includes the major financial giants in Singapore – think J.P. Morgan or Credit Suisse.

The main reason is that many local university students are likely to apply for summer internships while studying.

This gives these local students a better opportunity to secure a job once they graduate. 

However, the two-year period of studies in UoB is rather tight. As such, it doesn’t really give you the opportunity to sign up for Summer internship programmes.

Depending on the course though, there are times where internships are compulsory. Such courses include International Business and Business Management with Industrial Placement.

Do note that for such cases, you would be required to source for internships yourself without much help from the school. Furthermore, you would likely only be able to do it for a maximum of three months

However, this doesn’t mean that you absolutely can’t get a job in big companies.

I personally know a handful of students who managed to secure positions in MNCs!

As such, it really depends on the amount of effort you put into both your studies, as well as finding job and internship opportunities. 

Personally, I started working a week after my final exams ended. It took about two months for me to find a job, and it was an internship position at a commercial real estate start-up.

Since I graduated during the Covid-19 period, finding a job was definitely tough since the economy wasn’t doing great. So I was lucky to find one. 

When my internship was due to end, I started applying for full-time roles. To my surprise, I managed to secure a position within a month at a fintech startup! This includes completing multiple rounds of interviews. 

In total, I probably applied to more than 80 companies with less than half of them getting back to me.

Yes, this was the ultimate point in my life I’ve gotten rejected the most. 

Job hunting is tiring but considering the current economy and job market, I’m thankful I was able to secure job positions immediately without much of a break in between. 

As for my starting pay, I would say it is slightly above average. However, this really depends on your company. Personally, I believe it really doesn’t matter whether you graduated from a private or local university.

A degree is a degree! 

You will come across companies that prefer graduates from local universities, but don’t get disheartened by that.

If you studied hard, attained the grades you aimed for, and built up your experience, you should never think of yourself as less than local university grads.

The more important bit is how well you perform on your job.

If you surpass expectations, there really isn’t any reason for you not to get rewarded for your performance. 

Is it worth studying in the University of Birmingham from Singapore?

If you have always wanted to experience the teaching style in UK Universities, the University of Birmingham is one of your best choices.

You will get the opportunity to be taught by professors from UoB itself, and learn the exact same content students in Birmingham will be taught. 

While it might not be the cheapest option, my university experience was definitely one of the best years of my education. I managed to meet friends from many walks of life and experience campus life (for possibly the last time).

While I wasn’t an active student in terms of participating in camps and other co-curricular activities, my campus life was such a memorable experience.

It was the small things that made my University life truly an experience I wouldn’t exchange for.

From the meetups before class to get our daily dose of ‘kopi’ to the occasional breaks during lessons and the last minute mugging towards the exam period. It might seem too simple but it was the group of friends that always had my back that made it memorable.

We’re still close to this day and it’s one of my biggest takeaways – apart from my certificate – of my university experience.

Apart from my close group of friends, meeting so many different people with different backgrounds was honestly one of the main takeaways. You’ll be surprised at how many of them have already started working or own a business!

I also enjoyed how independent the teaching style was and I’ve put into practice whatever that was taught.

In fact, I began to develop a passion for finance and economics because of university! As someone who has been doing journalism and communications for five years, this was a whole new experience. 

One of the biggest downsides though was when all lessons moved to an e-learning basis since the pandemic hit. Though we were virtually present, it really took the fun out of actually heading to school physically to meet them.

I spent my entire final year in front of my laptop, and it was pretty upsetting.

Moreover, the school fees remained the same although we weren’t allowed on campus.


There are many private university options in Singapore for you to choose from and one to consider is the University of Birmingham

While it is slightly pricier, studying in UoB provides you with the opportunity to experience the UK teaching style and system but in Singapore. This is a prime option to consider if you can’t bear to spend a hefty sum of money to study abroad.

It also serves as an added avenue to expand your network and meet people from various backgrounds. 

I hope that this article has given you more insights and information to make an informed decision when choosing a university to pursue your Bachelor’s Degree. After all, it is your education and you should definitely do your own research to find a university that meets your conditions

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