Formal education in Singapore begins at primary schools, starting from Primary 1 through Primary 6, which is similar to First Grade through Sixth Grade in the American system.
Children who pass the Primary Six Leaving Exam (PSLE) at the end of Primary 6 will progress to secondary schools, starting from Secondary 1 through Secondary 4 (Special/Express Stream), or Secondary 1 through Secondary 5 (Normal Stream). This is somewhat similar to seventh Grade though Tenth Grade in the American System.
Students who pass the GCE 'O' Level examination at the end of Secondary 4 or 5 will then have to compete for admission to either a Junior College ( 2 years), a polytechnic (3 or 4 years) or a Pre-University Centre ( 3 years). This is somewhat similar to Eleventh Grade and Twelfth Grade in the American system.
Finally, students who pass the GCE 'A' Level examination at the end of Junior College Year 2 or Pre-University Year 3, and students with excellent results at the end of Polytechnic year 3/4 will then have to compete for admission to a local university, either National University of Singapore (NUS) or Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
GRADUATE DEGREES: There are three main types of challenging graduate programmes in the Public Universities: Doctoral (Ph.D.), Masters' and the Graduate diploma.
Doctoral: All doctoral programmes are primarily research based. Duration may range from 3 years to 5 years. Students can take admission for PhD course after completion of their master's degree. PhD students need to submit a research proposal. Student need to appear for GRE/GMAT & TOEFL/IELTS exams for admissions.
Masters: Master degree programmes are primarily designed to prepare students for practice of profession. The duration of graduate courses may range from one year to two years depending upon the university. The various Master degrees are MA, MS, MBA, MFA etc. Generally, an applicant must have atleast a good bachelors degree and two years work experience. In addition, an applicant whose native language or medium of instruction for the bachelor’s degree is not English must have a good TOEFL score or IELTS score. Applicant applying for admission in engineering, computer science, science should also preferably have good GRE scores. Those applying for business-related courses should have obtained either GRE or GMAT scores.
Graduate Diploma: Is offered as a terminal qualification and provides limited professional training in a specific niche. The Graduate diploma is often favored by those students who seek additional exposure to an area of interest. It is one year full time course of study for graduates.