Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is the Innovation & Design Programme (iDP), and how does it differ from the Innovation & Design-Centric Programme (iDCP) and Design-Centric Programme (DCP)? How is it related to the Second Major in Innovation & Design?

The iDCP complements the BEng programmes that are offered in NUS Engineering. It is targetted at students who are interested in innovation and design and may be keen to pursue careers in start-up companies, research and development organizations, or start their own enterprises. It aims to produce engineering graduates who have an entrepreneurial mindset and a global perspective, and are capable of identifying and solving complex problems which have societal impact.

The iDCP is an enhanced version of the DCP that is offered to students who matriculate in AY2016/2017. The iDCP has the same core elements as the DCP, but with the addition of Innovation & Enterprise electives to widen students' knowledge about topics in economics and business.

From cohort 2017/2018 onwards, the iDCP has been rebranded as the iDP. Students who complete the iDP will receive a Second Major in Innovation & Design. It is now also open to non-Engineering students.

2. How does the iDP enhance my education at NUS?

The iDP aims to cultivate a entrepreneurial mindset, which is a way of thinking about and approaching challenges and opportunities, with a focus on innovation and design. This mindset allows students from different fields to work together to solve real and challenging problems. Students in the iDP will learn how to identify and solve problems within highly ambiguous resource-constrained circumstances; think critically and creatively; and collaborate with others from different disciplinary backgrounds. The ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment is essential in the working world. The project modules in the iDP provide a multi-disciplinary platform for students to apply and hone the knowledge and skills learned in their own disciplines, while gaining knowledge in other engineering and non-engineering fields at the same time. In the process, students will also develop their professional skills and abilities such as communication, project management, and teamwork.


3. What are the admission criteria for the iDP?

There are no special criteria for admission into the iDP. We welcome any student who is keen to be part of our unique learning experience.

However, applicants must meet the admission criteria set out by respective undergraduate programmes. Students in the iDP must first be accepted into an undergrduate programme in NUS before joining the iDP.

4. When can I join the iDP?

Students who intend to apply to an Engineering programme in NUS and are interested to join the iDP may select an Engineering programme of their choice AND include the Innovation & Design Second Major in their application form during the NUS admission exercise. Successful applicants will be admitted into the iDP during matriculation

Students who are unsure whether to join the iDP at matriculation may apply during their first or second semester in NUS. Email invitations will be sent out to eligible students when the application period is open in each semester, which is normally around March/April and October/November. Non-Engineering students may also apply to join the iDP during their first or second semester in NUS.

Students with polytechnic qualifications may join the iDP during their first semester in NUS, or the following semester.

5. What do I need to do or prepare for my application?

Current NUS students should check their NUS email for invitations to apply to the iDP. The application instructions may be found in the email invitations.

Students who are applying an Engineering programme in NUS should include the Innovation & Design Second Major in their application form if they intend to join the iDP at matriculation.

6. How will I know whether my application is successful?

Current NUS students will be notified via email.

Students who are applying to NUS may check their application status via the Office of Admission's website.

7. I have received an invitation to apply to the iDP during my first semester in NUS. Can I choose NOT to apply at this point and wait for the next call for applications during my second semester?

Students who apply to join the iDP during their first semester in NUS will be admitted into the programme during their second semester.

Students may also apply to join the iDP during their second semester in NUS and be admitted into the programme during their third semester. However, those who do so will need to complete EG2201A Introduction to Design Thinking during Special Term or in a later semester.

8. Can poly-intake students join the iDP?

Poly-intake students are welcome to join the iDP. However, they will have to graduate with additional modules on top of their minimum graduation requirement since they have a smaller unrestricted elective space. In order to complete the iDP and graduate with the Second Major in Innovation & Design, it is likely that poly-intake students will have to complete their studies within 7 semesters instead of 6 semesters so that their workload for each semester is reasonable.

Poly-intake students may join the iDP at matriculation or after completing their first semester in NUS. Depending on their diploma qualifications, poly-intake students may be exempted from our Group A module plus one Group C module.

9. Is the iDP suitable for all students?

The iDP is open to ALL students who wish to experience this alternative learning pathway. Students who are self-motivated and enthusiastic in solving complex problems, even when faced with uncertainties, are encouraged to apply. The iDP is also suitable for students who have entrepreneurial aspirations. Those who can work in teams tend to perform well as the iDP involves a lot of group work.

Work commitment

10. What form of work would I be doing as an iDP student?

The iDP consists of a series of project-based modules. Students are expected to develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities in innovation and design in a cumulative manner through their project work. The projects are supplemented by lectures, workshops, laboratory sessions, and seminars to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills. Where opportunities arise, students may also participate in local and international design competitions.

Project work in the iDP is group-based. Students normally work in groups (typically 3 to 5 members) with peers from different disciplines.

11. Do I need to take additional modules as an iDP student?

In most cases, students would not need to take additional modules beyond the minimum graduation requirements. The iDP is structured as a Second Major in Innovation & Design which should fit neatly into students' discipline requirements as well as their unrestricted electives requirement.

12. What are the modules that I need to enrol for as an iDP student?

The modular requirements for various cohorts are listed on this page:

13. Is there any difference in the iDP content between students who are admitted at various stages?

There is no difference in the iDP modular requirements between different intakes. However, students who are admitted into the iDP at the start of their third semester are required to complete EG2201A Introduction to Design Thinking during Special Term or in a later semester.

14. What are the areas of interest that are available for me to choose from for my iDP project?

Currently, projects in the iDP are classified into five broad areas of interests:

  • Innovations in Intelligent Systems
  • Innovating for Better Healthcare
  • Innovating for Urban Mobility
  • Innovating for Smarter Living
  • Innovating for Sustainable Cities

Students can propose their own projects or choose from those offered by Faculty staff.

15. What are the advantages of working on my iDP project over multiple years?

The iDP timeline affords students the opportunity to work on single project or a series of related ones, if they wish to do so, from Year 1 to Year 4 instead of multiple unrelated projects. Students may begin by formulating their projects in Semesters 2 and 3 when they take EG2201A Introduction to Design Thinking and EG2301 Case Studies in Engineering; proceed to conceptual design, proof-of concept, and prototyping in Semesters 4 and 5 through the design project module EG3301R; and finally to further prototyping, testing, implementation, and evaluation in Semesters 7 and 8 through the final year project module EG4301.

The extended time spent on a single project over multiple years allows students to work on more challenging problems. It gives them more time to probe deeper into a problem, the space to think out of the box when ideating solutions, and the chance to refine their work through multiple iterations in order to achieve better-quality outcomes.

16. What are the resources available to me when I work on my iDP projects?

Every project will be supervised by a faculty staff who would guide and support students in their work. Every project will also receive some funding for consumables. Students can use the facilities within the iDP as such the electronics and assembly workshops, as well as the Engineering Fabrication Laboratory, for their prototyping work. Students may work with their supervisors to identify other specific expertise and resources that may be required for their projects.

17. Can I still go for overseas student exchange programmes (SEP)?

Students can only participate in a semester-long student exchange programme during Semester 6 of their candidature. No project module is scheduled during this semester so as to allow students to do this. Students should not go for exchange in Semester 5 because they are required to complete the second half of the design project module EG3301R during this semester.

18. Can I still go for other enrichment programmes such as minor programmes, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP), University Town College Programme (UTCP), and NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC)?

Students may participate in other enrichment programmes as long as they meet the requirements of their primary disciplines and do not exceed the maximum allowable workload for each semester. However, they may need to graduate with additional modules on top of their minimum graduation requirements. They should seek for advice and approval from the iDP and their home departments before pursuing these programmes.

Students may participate in both year-long and short NOC programmes to partially fulfil the iDP modular requirements.

Perfomance and exit

19. As my iDP projects are multi-disciplinary and my project group team members come from different engineering disciplines, who grades my work?

Projects in the iDP will be graded by faculty staff from the programme as well as those from other relevant academic units in NUS. Experts from the industry may also be invited to assess students' work.

20. Can I drop out of the iDP after joining the programme?

Students may withdraw from the iDP anytime after joining the programme, but they should be aware of the following implications.

Firstly, students who wish to withdraw should do so at the end of a semester if they are taking an iDP module in that semester. Otherwise, they may receive a W grade for the module if they withdraw between Week 3 and Week 6, or an F grade if they withdraw after Week 6. In addition, students should not withdraw from the iDP midway through the two-semester long modules EG3301R and EG4301. They are required to complete the second half of these modules if they have gone through the first half.

Secondly, students who withdraw from the iDP may also need to retake some modules as advised by their home departments.

Thirdly, Engineering students in Cohort 2016/2017 onwards who withdraw after completing a vacation internship between Semesters 4 and 5 will need to complete a semester-long industrial attachment in order to fulfil the compulsory internship requirement in the research-focused pathway or practicing professional pathway (except for those from Engineering Science and Industrial & Systems Engineering). Engineering students who withdraw before embarking on a vacation should complete a semester-long industrial attachment in Semesters 5 or 6.

Fourthly, students who are in the iDP residential programme will need to vacate from the residential cluster upon withdrawing from the iDP, and source for their own on-campus accommodation.

Completion and recognition

21. What degree will I graduate with after completing the iDP?

Engineering students will graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from their home departments in NUS Engineering.

Non-Engineering students will receive a degree in their primary major from their home faculties.

Students from Cohort 2017/2018 onwards will receive a Second Major in Innovation & Design when they complete the iDP. This second major will be recorded on the official transcript.

22. Will I get a separate certificate?

Students who complete the iDP will receive a separate certificate from the Faculty of Engineering.