Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School

I'm doing a plug for a friend who's at the relatively new Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School down in Singapore. If you have any questions about the program, you can contact her at sally.ong (at) nus.edu.eg.

Dear Students,

As you consider your medical school options, let me take this opportunity to suggest that attending Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School could be one of these exciting possibilities. The newest of the National University of Singapore’s graduate schools, and the first American-model medical school in Singapore, Duke-NUS is the brainchild of Duke University School of Medicine, NUS and the Singapore government. The Times Higher Education rankings places NUS in the top 30 universities world wide and one of the leading universities in Asia. At Duke-NUS, we seek outstanding individuals with strong passion for medicine and dedication to scientific learning to become physicians, physician scientists, and academic physicians. You could be one of them. Our class would be enriched by the perspective you have to offer as an international student.

Why come to Duke-NUS?

Using innovative team-based learning methods and Duke's distinctive integrated curriculum, our rigorous four-year Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program prepares students for entry to the medical profession. With Duke as the key education partner to NUS, we are privileged to be at the center of knowledge exchange between two prestigious universities. By the time next year’s class matriculates here next August, we will have moved into our new campus at Outram, with its impressive on-site research facilities and proximity to the clinical infrastructure at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). SGH is the largest tertiary care medical center in Singapore and is a highly rated, JCI approved facility. Additionally, our research-focused education will appeal to those who see themselves becoming both medical practitioners able to care for patients and physician-scientists engaged in biomedical research.

These considerations aside, what is most important about Duke-NUS is the superlative quality of the students themselves, and the opportunities for each person’s professional and intellectual formation. With only 50 students in each cohort, each student is assured of faculty attention and ample access to educational resources. Our emphasis on learning in teams helps foster strong relationships in an already close student community. Duke-NUS is also a school with a strong global character. This year’s class includes students from 13 countries. To give you a quick peek at some of the achievements and new happenings at our school, we are sending a copy of our most recent newsletter, Vital Science.

A note about Admissions

Applications for the school year beginning August 2009 are open until 1st December. We invite you to visit our website www.duke-nus.edu.sg to learn about our school, our curriculum, the admissions requirements, and, if you are interested, to begin the online application process https://admissions.gms.edu.sg/. If you have questions, please contact

We look forward to your application. Join us in 2009!

Best regards,

Dr. Stenberg
Associate Dean, Student Affairs and Admissions

What is Duke-NUS?

Duke-NUS, or the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, is an innovative new medical school in Singapore co-founded in 2005 by Duke University and the National University of Singapore. The school offers students from around the world the singular opportunity of receiving an American-style medical education while studying in one of Asia's most vibrant centers of biomedical research.

At Duke-NUS, students pursue the same rigorous, research-focused curriculum pioneered by Duke University School of Medicine. To this curriculum, moreover, Duke-NUS has added its own distinctive emphasis on Team Based Learning (Team Duke-NUS) as the primary mode of instruction. In the third year, mentored by distinguished researchers, Duke-NUS students undertake independent research projects. In their clerkship years, they care for patients in leading Singapore teaching hospitals under the guidance of dedicated clinical faculty.

Duke-NUS aims to prepare outstanding physicians and physician-scientists for careers in biomedical research, academic medicine, and patient care.

Graduates will receive an MD degree jointly conferred by Duke University and the National University of Singapore.

How do I apply to Duke-NUS?

Duke-NUS and Duke School of Medicine are closely affiliated, but the two schools have independent admissions processes. As Duke-NUS does not participate in AMCAS, you will need to complete an online application at the Duke-NUS application portal. The good news is that we do not charge an application fee.

We encourage interested students to visit the Duke-NUS Admissions website for more details about the application process and admissions requirements. Duke-NUS has a rolling admissions policy. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to submit applications as early as possible, in any case no later than December 1st of each year.

Are International students welcome to apply?

Certainly! We welcome applications from qualified applicants of all nationalities, and there is no quota on the number of international students we accept. They are also eligible for financial aid.
Will I need to interview in Singapore?
Interviews will be held at various locations in the US (Duke is one of those locations), as well as in Singapore. . If you are shortlisted, the Admissions office will contact you with information about interview locations. Students who are able to attend an Applicant Day will be able to participate in a Team Duke-NUS session where they will have the opportunity to experience for themselves the distinctive educational methods of Duke-NUS. We encourage any students who are admitted to come for a visit to Singapore.

How will the final disposition of my application at one school affect the other?

Admissions decisions for Duke and Duke-NUS are made independently. The outcome of your application at one school in no way prejudices your application at the other. Please be aware that Duke-NUS has a rolling admissions policy, so a student who has agreed to matriculate at Duke–NUS is expected to withdraw from any other schools they have applied to.

Is there an MD/PhD program?

Yes, there is. Students do not apply directly to the MD/PhD program but must be admitted to the MD program first through the normal application process. They may apply for entry to the MD/PhD program at the end of their second year, and if offered a place will commence with PhD research from their third year onwards. After completion of the PhD requirements (typically 4 years) students will continue with the final year of MD training.

To learn about the MD/PhD program at Duke-NUS, please visit our website:

What are the requirements after graduation?

Upon finishing the MD degree, Duke-NUS graduates must complete a one-year internship at a Singapore public hospital to fulfill the requirements for Medical Registration (Licensure). Thereafter, in return for the tuition subsidy provided by the Singapore government, all Duke-NUS graduates are expected to fulfill a Service Commitment (SC) with the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH). Duke-NUS graduates may satisfy the Service Commitment requirement by serving their residencies in Singapore’s public hospitals or by taking research positions in biomedical research facilities affiliated with MOH or the Singapore government. This commitment lasts for four years for Singapore citizens and five years for international students and Singapore permanent residents. Graduates will be paid during the one-year internship and the period of service commitment. MOH has also indicated that a select group of outstanding students may be able to complete their residencies in the US before returning to Singapore to complete their SCs.

I’m interested! Where can I learn more about the school?

The best place to start learning more about the school is http://www.gms.edu.sg


Anonymous said...

since when has educationmalaysia become an advertising tool for institutions?

Soo Huey said...

i was thinking that myself... whether this plug affects your impartiality.

then i thought, oh well i guess if a friend asks, just helping out... i can understand. difficult to turn down as well. no harm mah.

then i realise, its kinda like being in politics. if your friend asks you for a small tiny favour, you think ok since no impact to anyone else. then later another friend comes with slightly bigger favour. then will be others. where to draw the line, especially if good friends? a difficult position.

as long this doesn't mean you're endorsing this school over the other local unis we've commented on in this blog? here's chance for an advert... there seems to be a few supporters of NUS, is it really that good? why?

oh btw, wrote an education-related post "The Reality in Schools" in my blog recently. just my ramblings about our school system again, but maybe drop by when you have time. ;)

been kinda quiet around here lately. hope all is good. i'll be on holidays from the end of this week, so won't be online much. happy holidays and happy new year everyone!

Anonymous said...

This has never been an impartial blog, in my opinion. I do not expect it to be one, but one too many references on Duke and Oxford is an overkill. More so when the articles run down everything and everyone that is not seen to be on par with Duke and Oxford material. What's the big deal anyway.

Anonymous said...

There's no such thing as impartiality, however much people want to pretend there is.

This site seems to be going to the dogs recently, though. Haven't seen any insightful articles recently.

Maybe everything debated or talked about Malaysian education nowadays is a rehash of what has been said millions of times before so there's no point talking about it anymore.

Anonymous said...

You guys are a bunch of I dunno what to say.

Sally is a student at the University. Being a good Malaysian, she wants to inform the rest of us about the good things and a new avenue for us.

And what happens? everyone jumps in to condamn the initiative. Good work guys. Good work. Killing the goodwill of fellow citizenships trying to help the rest of us. No wonder we are still losing out to everyone. BAGUS.

Anonymous said...

re: Soo Huey "is NUS that good?"

I honestly don't know. I have not been schooled there. But if you read Singapore's Straits Times interview with NUS new President for one, as follows:

"The hot button issue of university places going to foreigners surfaced earlier this year, with a surge in applications to the local universities from 53,853 last year to 58,606 this year"


The admission bar is set way higher for foreigners.

'When accepting foreign students with international A-level qualifications, NUS demands no less than four As,' he says.


He cites the examples of a third-year computer engineering student from Vietnam, Cao Thanh Tung, 22, an International Olympiad Informatics silver medallist, and New Zealander Alexandra Jeanne Tourmar, 20, who gave up two scholarships from the University of Auckland and Australian National University to study at NUS.

It shows that they do have the standards of Oxford, Harvard, UPenn.

And final is my personal observation of among all my friends. Those of us who go there, are turning out better in their happiness and career than the rest of us who lingered on behind in either local Uni or foreign Uni set up in Malaysia.

Is NUS good? I really don't know. But I can say, it is way better than ours. Very sad, but...

Anonymous said...

Tony, why don't you set up interviews with foreign Universities' Presidents so we can all read and decide for our kids' future? I don't think any of our newspapers are capable or want to do it.

Ask deep questions and sharp ones so we know the marketing lines from the truth and fact.

Thank you!

Unknown said...

Tony / Kian Ming,

Its okay to inform your readers on the opportunities available at Duke-NUS Medical School.

Its something else when I saw the banner for Inti. I can totally understand that this is your website and $$ is needed to keep in up and running but this means that indirectly u are endorsing Inti over the other private colleges.

I have not been to Inti but I don't believe its anything to shout about, the same for the association with Laureate. Not exactly Ivy League or even NUS/NTU standards.

A Digi advt would have been better. Time to change.....

Kian Ming said...


Just to clarify, we're not responsible for the banner ads put up on this blog. Nuffnang or google does that. We don't profit or make money from this blog.

Unknown said...

Kian Ming, I did not mean to say that you are making a profit from this blog but merely to say that everything, including websites / blogs needs money to be maintained.

This blog is a very well respected for views relating to education and kept up and running based on the goodwill of Tony and yourself.

Please do keep up the good work and thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

There is no Good or Bad University. There are only Good and Bad Students or Graduates.

If the latter are parrots, then the institution is a University of Useless Knowledge.

In the 70s, the President of ACCA Mrs Taylor said, "The ACCA is a powerful qualification. You have to carry it along, it cannot carry you."

Anonymous said...

I am working in Singapore. Sent my kids to Singapore American School since it is very hard to get into Singapore Government schools.

We spoke briefly with the counsellors. They say NUS is among the "Asian Ivys", and compared it to a few top American schools.

Not sure if it is that good, but it seems to have earned some respect from the Americans.

Anonymous said...

To Overseas Malaysian, I'm not sure how the medical school stacks up, but in terms of science and engineering research, NUS (and to a lesser extent NTU) has been aggressively recruiting in the last 5-10 years and seem to have had quite a bit of success. One hears of people turning down Research I universities in the US to work at NUS.

One question for me is whether this situation is sustainable, that is whether the lifestyle in Singapore will be attractive enough that these foreign scientists stay for their whole careers and not just a few years. We shall see very soon, I suppose. At any rate, to zero order, and from a purely 'research' point of view, NUS is doing much better than any university in Malaysia.

Having said that, good research doesn't mean good teaching, which is maybe what the other posters are looking for in their lecturers or their children's lecturers...

Anonymous said...

Is NUS really that good? It is my fourth year here now, and some of my friends and I felt like we have been cheated. Most of the time we are still evaluated on how much we can regurgitate and how fast we can write in the exams. We always joke about how we will never give back to NUS (compared to Harvard alumni).

The only one thing that was great in NUS was that we were given the opportunity to go for student exchange, and that was one of the most pleasant student experiences that we have ever had. Those universities that we attended were not higher ranked than NUS, but we certainly felt that we have learnt more instead of blind memorization, during our short stay overseas.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, thank you for the very useful information. May I ask which course you are in? As I said, that people can do research doesn't mean that they can teach. Also, the regurgitation method is widely used in many countries, even those with highly ranked research universities, perhaps because of cultural reasons. I have heard that one stand-out example is Japan, but not having been there I can't say if this is true. The stereotype of Japanese research is 'solid but not creative'.

Anonymous said...

I am in the Bioengineering course. You are right with that statement, 'good research does not mean good teaching'. Throughout the years, my friends and I went through some courses which were rather excruciating. Some of us don't even bother turning up for lectures, some tune out during the lectures to study on their own, and most people just fall asleep as the lecturers read off their slides. It doesn't help if the lecturer couldn't speak proper English. Blood sounds like bra, cement was pronounced as semen, etc. While this is rather common in the engineering faculty (horrible lecturers), I heard that the Business faculty is way better, from a friend who "defected" to the latter.

Anonymous said...

thanks for subject!..

Stargazer said...

people here all malaysian?

Unknown said...

I would thimk either this Universities has been qualified by our Ministry of Higher Education, that is the most important to ensure the degree that we get is useful in Malaysia.