New residential college at NUS to open in August

More students will live and learn on campus, as the National University of Singapore (NUS) opens a new residential college in August next year.

The college, now known as Residential College 4 (RC4), will take in 290 students at the University Town (UTown) in August.

This is the latest residential college at NUS, after the existing three in UTown and one on the main Kent Ridge campus, called Ridge View Residential College.

RC4 and Ridge View will bring the total number of students living in residential colleges at NUS to about 3,000 in a few years, up from the current 2,000.

Unlike the university's six halls of residence, residential colleges have academic programmes which help students learn beyond their disciplines.

Students take compulsory multi-disciplinary courses in the buildings and go for out-of-classroom activities.

A master and about five faculty members stay at each residential college with students.

RC4, whose name will be finalised next year, is headed by Professor Choo Chiau Beng, former chief executive of Keppel Corp, as its rector, and Associate Professor Lakshminarayanan Samavedham, an engineering professor, as its master.

A group of 30 students have been chosen to be part of its pilot programme. Another 32 students will join them in January, and the rest will come on board when it opens officially in August.

RC4's curriculum focuses on systems thinking, a process that involves understanding how things, as systems, influence each other. Students will analyse all issues from obesity to productivity of firms and learn to think critically to solve such problems.

Said Prof Lakshminarayanan: "When you look at various scenarios and understand things from different perspectives, you're in a better position to develop better policies."

Prof Choo said he hopes to bring insights from industry to students, through internships or inviting speakers to interact with them. "(Students need to) develop interpersonal and leadership skills that will be useful to them after they graduate from NUS."

First-year business student Cherie Heng, 19, said she chose RC4 as she wanted to be a part of building a new residential college.

"I want to maximise my university life," she said.

This article was first published on Nov 27, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.