SINGAPORE - Flexibility will be a defining feature of SIM University's (UniSIM) new full-time courses when they kick off next year.
The pioneer batch of 200 students can crunch a four-year course into three years by taking more modules during a semester, even through evening classes.
And if students land a job during their course, they have the option of switching to part- time studies and taking up to six years to earn their degree.
UniSIM president Cheong Hee Kiat, who stressed the flexible nature of the three new full-time courses in finance, marketing and accountancy as he detailed them on Monday, said: "In the future, the boundaries between part-time and full-time and work and study will not be clear-cut.
"You will have workers alternating between periods of work and study. It's not like today where you study for four years and then go out to work."
There will be no lectures and tutorials. Instead, students will read materials and listen to lectures online before coming to class ready to take part in discussions.
They will also study minor modules such as psychology and sociology in evening classes alongside working adults on part-time degree courses.
Explaining why the university wants its full-timers to study alongside its part-timers, which currently number 13,000 in some 55 courses ranging from counselling to aviation management, Professor Cheong said: "The interaction would help them develop a deeper understanding of real work issues, and allow them to form valuable professional and personal networks."
"Real work" experience will also feature heavily through a structured six-month work attachment. Final-year students will have to complete a project based on a work-related issue, and be required to spend at least 80 hours organising a community service project.
Prof Cheong noted that more than 50 companies, among them 14 accounting firms, have already signed up to offer work attachments to UniSIM students.
Singapore National Employers Federation executive director Koh Juan Kiat is not surprised at the numbers, saying it is a win-win situation for students and companies. "It benefits the students in that they get to try out different jobs. For the companies, it is a very good recruitment tool."
UniSIM provost Tsui Kai Chong said applications for the 120 places in accountancy, and 40 places each in marketing and finance will open in December.
Students will be selected based on not just academic results, but also other attributes such as voluntary work. About 400 will be shortlisted, and they will be required to write an essay, and undergo group and one-to-one interviews.
Full-time national serviceman Tavence Heng, 21, who is already eyeing a place in UniSIM's finance degree course, said the draw for him is the intensive job preparation that the course will provide.
The polytechnic graduate, who holds an engineering with business diploma, said: "I also like the idea of a degree route which is flexible."
According to UniSIM, fees for its full-time courses will be comparable to what the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University charge for their general degrees.
The Public Service Division, the civil service's human resource arm, also told The Straits Times yesterday that it will recognise UniSIM's full-time degrees, just as it does the part-time ones.
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