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SMA expands graduate program

The National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU) and MIT signed a memorandum of understanding last week to take the Singapore-MIT Alliance to the next level of graduate education and research in science and engineering.

The largest interactive distance education collaboration in the world, the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA) takes advantage of state-of-the-art synchronous and asynchronous facilities to achieve seamless instruction across 12 time zones. The voice delay is less than a second between the Cambridge classroom and Singapore classrooms.

SMA-2 will place greater emphasis on Ph.D. research and education, and on greater interaction with industry and research institutes.

For the first time, it also will provide some students at the Singapore universities the opportunity to earn a master's degree from MIT as well as graduate degrees (master's or Ph.D.) from the two Singapore universities in at least three programs. These students--who will also study at MIT--must satisfy the admission and degree requirements at each university.

Graduates in Singapore now receive a certificate from MIT for their participation in the Singapore-MIT Alliance. Currently in Singapore, 38 Ph.D., 172 S.M. (professional master's) and 29 M.Eng. (master of engineering) students are enrolled in SMA programs at NUS and NTU.

Now in its fourth year of operation, SMA involves about 50 professors from MIT and another 50 from both NUS and NTU in teaching courses and supervising research. SMA has graduated 227 professional master's and 21 M.Eng. students from the Singapore universities.

In 2005, the scope of SMA-2 will expand to incorporate the life sciences. All programs will offer a Ph.D. degree from NUS or NTU. The Ph.D. programs will mostly take the form of NUS/NTU degrees with an SMA certificate from MIT, as currently practiced in SMA-1.

MIT Provost Robert A. Brown said, "The advancement of the Singapore-MIT Alliance into its second phase guarantees that SMA will continue in the elite position as a premier model for intensive collaboration in education and research between great research universities, no matter the distance between collaborators. I'm very excited about the prospects for success."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 2, 2003.

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