School of Computing Common Curriculum

Overview of Common Curriculum

Undergraduate students from 2022 cohort and after who are pursuing either the Bachelor of Computing programmes or the Bachelor of Science (Business Analytics) programme will be required to complete the School of Computing Common Curriculum. It will consist of the following components:

University level requirements (24 units)
Computing Ethics (4 units)
Interdisciplinary/Cross Disciplinary Education (12 units)

Total: 40 units

University level requirements: 6 pillars (24 units)

The university level requirements consist of six pillars, currently named: Cultures and Connections, Critique and Expression, Data Literacy, Digital Literacy, Singapore Studies, Communities and Engagement.

School of Computing students will complete the Digital Literacy pillar by completing one of the Programming Methodology variants offered by the Department of Computer Science which is prescribed in their degree.

For example, Computer Science students will take CS1101S Programming Methodology as prescribed variant, Information Security students will take CS1010 Programming Methodology, etc.

One other university level requirement may be satisfied by a degree-specific course that will depend on the specific degree programme.  For example, Computer Science students will satisfy the “Critique and Expression” pillar by taking ES2660 Communicating in the Information Age; Information Systems and Business Analytics students will take BT1101 Introduction to Business Analytics to satisfy data literacy.

Fulfilment of Communities and Engagement Pillar via Service Learning

The NUS Communities & Engagement programme provides students with valuable real-world experience in giving back to the community, fostering important skills like teamwork, communication, and leadership.

Service Learning is a signature programme of NUS. As part of this programme, students complete a year-long service learning course, requiring volunteer work with approved community partners. These partnerships support the elderly, disadvantaged children and families, and other critical needs.  For continuity of the recipients, such year-long courses need to be completed in two contiguous semesters.  These Service-Work C& E courses are:

Open to all students in Semester 1

GEN2050X Teach SG

GEN2060X Reconnect SeniorsSG

GEN2061X Support Healthy AgeingSG

GEN2062X Community Activities for Seniors with SG Cares

GEN2070X Community Link (Comlink) Befrienders

Open to all students in Semester 2

GEN2050Y Teach SG

GEN2060Y Reconnect SeniorsSG

GEN2061Y Support Healthy AgeingSG

GEN2062Y Community Activities for Seniors with SG Cares

GEN2070Y Community Link (Comlink) Befrienders

You may click here for more details on the service-work courses.

Students who prefer this programme over the alternative of semester-long GEN courses (as the latter might have limited capacity each semester) are encouraged to plan ahead for it by including it in their study plan earlier in their candidature; for example, during Year 2 of study.  This is to allow students to plan for other enrichment programmes (such as Student Exchange programmes, NOC and/or Internships) during Year 3 rather than delaying this requirement to Year 4 when students will need to devote time for job search in their final semester, while completing remaining requirements.

The diagram below is an illustration on how the year-long service learning programme may be incorporated into your study plan:

Computing Ethics Course (4 units)

All students will take IS1108 Digital Ethics and Data Privacy. Please click Appendix A.

Interdisciplinary/Cross-Disciplinary Education (12 units)
  • Interdisciplinary (ID) Courses: These are courses that integrate perspectives and/or techniques from two or more disciplines that enable students to learn how to make connections between ideas and concepts across disciplines, covering domains such as digital economy and management, humanities and social sciences, science and technology, and designing, engineering and innovation. Please click Appendix B for the list.
  • Cross-disciplinary (CD) Courses: These are a set of specially curated courses outside of computing disciplines that have special significance or future relevance to the field of computing, and/or to the careers of computing professionals. Please click Appendix C for the list.

Students are required to take 12 units from the above courses with at least two ID courses and no more than one CD course to satisfy the 12 units required in this group.

Appendix A: Computing Ethics Course

IS1108 Digital Ethics and Data Privacy
This course is designed to introduce students to the issues of digital ethics and data privacy faced by individuals and organizations. It covers the ethical principles governing the behaviors and beliefs about how we use technology, and how we collect and process personal information in a manner that aligns with individual and organizational expectations for security and confidentiality. It will address challenges in balancing technological desirability with social desirability while developing digital products and services, including Professional Ethics, Computing for Social Good, Digital Ethics by Design, Digital Intellectual Property Rights, Automation and Autonomous Systems, and Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Governance.

Appendix B: Interdisciplinary (ID) Courses

IS1128 IT, Management and Organisation (new course to be offered by DISA) 
This course introduces students to information technologies (IT) in organisations and the interplay between IT, work, management and organisations. Specifically, the course will examine the impacts of modern IT and the related artificial intelligence (AI) technologies on knowledge workers, teamwork, work design, management practices and the organization. Students will learn about the multifaceted roles that IT can play to support communication, collaboration and organizational improvements in operations, planning and decision making. They will also learn to apply strategic thinking to identify opportunities for IT-enabled innovations and issues involving information systems (IS) adoption and deployment.

IS2218 Digital Platforms for Businesses (new course to be offered by DISA)
Digital platforms underlie nearly all modern industries and businesses. Their interconnected ecosystems radically transform the way we work, shop, transact, socialize and travel. This course aims to introduce the phenomena of digital platforms for businesses and the associated business fundamentals, concepts and models that underlie and support the business and value propositions of these platforms. Specifically, students will learn about different digital marketing and retailing platforms (e.g., Google, Amazon), fintech platforms (e.g., Binance, Alipay), and logistics/delivery platforms (e.g., NinjaVan, Deliveroo), as well as basic marketing, finance and operations management concepts.

IS2238 Economics of IT and AI (new course to be offered by DISA)
Businesses have been revolutionized with the introduction and rapid adoption of new information technologies (IT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the key economic issues and concepts to operate and be a successful IT-enabled and/or AI-driven business, and to impart an appreciation of the economic impacts of IT and AI at the individual, firm, market and societal levels. In this course, students will learn about competitive market structures and analysis, IT-related economic issues of pricing and bundling, customer or user lock-in and switching costs, network effects, industry standards, information asymmetry and uncertainty, as well as AI-related topics of automated decision making and judgment, economic impacts, risks and regulation, societal impacts and tradeoffs of AI technologies.

HSH1000 The Human Condition
What is the essence of being human? Across the intellectual traditions of the world, fundamental concerns relating to the triumphs and problems of social organization and what a worthwhile life is have persisted through the changing circumstances of every historical age. This course introduces students to some of these enduring concerns and gives them the opportunity to engage critically with them through the discussion of selected texts and other media. Through this process, students develop an appreciation for the complexities of being human.

HSS1000 Understanding Social Complexity
This foundation course introduces interdisciplinary work in contemporary social science and encourages thinking about social complexity. We will examine how social scientists construct causal theories, collect and interpret evidence, and use findings to inform knowledge and practice. We will consider pertinent issues affecting contemporary societies, especially those current in Singapore society. Through comparisons of Singapore with other cases in Asia and beyond, students will gain the ability to analyse critically the context-dependent nature of human behaviour and social change. The course will help students grapple with difficult social questions of our times and see possibilities for the future of society.

HSA1000 Asian Interconnections
This course adopts a multidisciplinary and comparative approach to the study of Asia and its regions. It will expose students to diverse perspectives and challenges that affect Singapore and other Asian societies such as ethnic and religious diversity, colonial histories, migration and social inequalities. The course equips students with conceptual and methodological tools to understand regional production in Asia and emphasises experiential learning through field studies at various sites in Singapore. Students will leave the course with the critical skills necessary for a deep appreciation of the social, political and cultural diversity in Asia.

HSI1000 How Science Works, Why Science Works (*Pre-requisite for HSI2xxx courses)
What is Science? How does it work? Why does it work? Not only will this course help answer these questions, but it will also hone the skills needed to negotiate a world in the post-truth era. These skills derive from the scientific method; the characteristic of modern science that has made it without a doubt the most successful endeavour in human history. These questions and these skills will be woven within a rich history of scientific accomplishment, culminating in an understanding of the frightening challenges we face to mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss.

HSI2001 Scientific Inquiry & Health: Good Science, Bad Science
Given the abundance and oftentimes conflicting nature of health information and advice, how do we decide what to believe and what not to? This course aims to develop students’ scientific thinking capacity to distinguish good science from bad science using interesting authentic case studies and everyday examples on selected health topics. Through a deeper appreciation of scientific inquiry in the context of health sciences, this course hones students’ critical thinking skills, empowering them to be critical consumers and creators of new knowledge.

HSI2002 Inquiry into Current Sporting Beliefs and Practices
Modern sporting and exercise practices are mostly established based on contemporary research evidence; some, however, can just be anecdotal beliefs influenced by other non-scientific factors including those of sociocultural, media and commercial origin. The latter may lead to undesirable or even detrimental outcomes. This course draws on the fundamentals of sports physiology and nutrition to provide an evidence-based platform for inquiry-based evaluation of contemporary sporting practices, technologies and aids. It encourages critical analysis of contemporary sporting issues and also seeks to address matters related to the development of sporting culture and policies from both international and local perspectives.

HSI2003 From DNA to Gene Therapy
This course examines the evolution of ideas in molecular biology, focusing on approaches to investigations, how these lead to scientific knowledge, and the practices of scientists. Students will learn how the discovery of the DNA structure ultimately led to tools for gene therapy, enabled by the interplay between disciplines beyond molecular biology. Students will embark on mini-projects and learn how scientists function within communities in the pursuit of major discoveries. This course will equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand and evaluate the impact of scientific advances on society and how society in turn shapes scientific endeavours.

HSI2004 Cell Based Proteins for a Sustainable Future
Cell culture meat aims to serve as an alternative protein source through an unconventional meat harvesting method. It is produced via the cultivation of specific stem cells enabling the formation of bio-artificial muscles as a form, of animal proteins for consumption. The application of such technology is a promising way to increase protein production in a resource-scarce environment. The students should be able to critically evaluate the scientific merit of cell-based protein production using the industrial biotechnology method and describe how potential societal, ethical and legal factors can affect the successful introduction of such food sources to the consumers.

HSI2005 Our Science Stories and You
Have you ever wonder what does science have to say about our past, present and future? This course will bring to you the science stories of the origin of the universe, matter, earth, life, species, and humans that led to our present day and eventually determine our future. It will make connections to why these stories are relevant to you. As science intersects with society, we experienced not only its transforming power but also its related ethical, societal and environmental concerns. Students will encounter ideas, innovations, warnings, and hopes ignited by science that might make them reimagine the future.

HSI2007 Deconstructing Food
Conflicting messages, inflated claims and quackery on the effects of foods/ diets often confuse our food choices. How do we separate food science facts from science fiction? We will deconstruct food at the physical, chemical and biological level and use this knowledge to examine and explain controversies that often surround food and its relationship with us. Students will be able to make informed decisions on food choices at the individual level, at the population level and appreciate what food needs to be for the future.

HSI2008 A Brief History of Science & Why Things Often Go Wrong
This course is intended for all CHS students interested in the way the natural sciences (physics, mathematics and chemistry) did progress through the ages, and the cultural background and impact of these developments. The main focus will not be solely on the triumphs of science: As much as looking at success stories, we will also examine cases when things went wrong and try to learn about the reasons and conditions that lead to such problematic situations. We will examine how progress depends critically not only on conditions within the scientific communities but also on wider societal, economic and cultural influences.

HSI2009 What is a Planet?
This course starts with an introduction to the historical perspective of astronomy. Planets then stood out as wanderers that moved among the stars. Over history, the study of planets has contributed much to science and the scientific method, and continues to do so today, illustrating the point that as we take in new discoveries, we may be forced to relook our old definitions and theories.

HSI2010 New Worlds Beyond Earth
The development of space technology during the mid-20th century ushered in a new age of discovery in which outer space is explored for advancing scientific research, commercial use, and ensuring the future survival of humanity. This course illustrates the use of scientific method to study Solar System objects and their physical characteristics, particularly the presence of water and potential biomarkers, and the multiple considerations required in the development of technology for launching artificial satellites, space tourism, asteroid mining, deflecting a potentially hazardous asteroid, and space colonization.

HSI2011 The World of Quantum
The scientific description of the smallest components of matter (atoms and sub-atomic particles, light) has become known as “quantum theory”. It is one of the greatest triumphs of science: it is not a formalisation of evidence and intuition, but rather harnesses phenomena that are invisible to the naked eye and counter-intuitive. It shows how science can stand behind apparently outlandish claims and put this knowledge to practical use. The “experimental metaphysics” aspect of quantum physics is introduced through the description of paradigmatic phenomena. Then the history and current challenges are presented, with a special focus on the emerging quantum technologies.

HSI2013 The Science of Music
This course is intended for all CHS students interested in the application of science and scientific inquiry to a subject which is believed by most people to be far removed from science – music. The course covers the historical discovery and evolution of the musical scale systems on which all music is based, the physics and technology of musical instruments such as the modern piano, and more modern developments such as electronic music and instruments and the digitisation of music.

HSI2014 Science. Medical Technology and Society
Medical technology is one of the most important applications of science and technology; it provides the means to protect and preserve lives in today’s world of ageing population, proliferation of chronic diseases, global pandemics and rising pollution. This course discusses the fusion of physics of biology that forms the basis of modern medical imaging and radiation therapy technology and traces its roots from the foundational theories to its implementation in medical procedures. Students will learn how such technology is applied to disease management, as well as the modern innovations that pave the way towards the future of healthcare.

DTK1234 Design Thinking
In this course, students use design principles to develop their creative potential and practise design thinking using a people-centered approach to solve problems and create new possibilities. Through practical activities, students will discover tools and mindsets that guide them in navigating ambiguity in a creative process, observing and learning from others in unfamiliar contexts, and generating and experimenting with ideas quickly. While students draw on design thinking as a personal creative skillset, they will also value the impact of design that affords people the opportunity and privilege to shape the world that they, and others, inhabit.

EG1311 Design and Make
This course covers the fundamentals of engineering design and prototyping. Students will learn design principles and tools through lectures and engage in experiential learning through group design projects. A stage-based design process will be covered. Students will develop skills in Arduino-controlled electronics, CAD modelling, and rapid prototyping to demonstrate their ideas.

EG2501 Liveable Cities 
The course introduces students to how cities are governed, planned, developed and managed to achieve the liveability outcomes of quality of life, sustainable environment and a competitive economy using the case study of Singapore and other cities, through a system thinking lens. Students will understand the role that urban systems professionals, such as urban policymakers, planners, architects, engineers, real estate consultants and managers play in achieving liveable city outcomes in an integrated way, through combining their individual expertise in different disciplines.

IE2141 Systems Thinking and Dynamics
The course aims to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and underlying principles of system thinking, design and dynamics. It will provide students with an understanding of systems thinking and applying systems dynamics modelling to describe and simulate real world problems. At the end of the course, students should have the necessary knowledge and abilities to define, analyse, design, and develop a system dynamics model that simulates a specific problem and recommend solutions for different scenarios.

PF1101 Fundamentals of Project Management
The course covers the fundamental concepts of project management, identifying nine broad project management knowledge areas. Students are given an introduction to theories relating to the management of project scope, time, cost, risk, quality, human resources, communications and procurement. The overall integration of these eight knowledge areas and the management of externalities as the ninth project management knowledge area is also emphasised.

Appendix C: Cross-Disciplinary (CD) Courses

ACC1701X Accounting for Decision Makers
The course provides an introduction to accounting from a user perspective. Financial reporting is covered from the viewpoint of an external investor. The focus is on how accounting can help investors make better decisions. Book-keeping and preparation of financial statements are also covered at an introductory level, as investors need to be aware of how the financial statements are derived.

DAO2703 Operations and Technology Management
This course provides an introduction to the substantive knowledge which has developed over the years in the field of Operations and Technology Management. It builds around the foundational topics of operations and highlights the relevance and strategic significance of technology and the operations function in enterprises. Topics covered include production technology, process analysis and process technology, quality management, and the role of technology in process control in both manufacturing and service organizations. Use of coordination technology such as ERP by firms to match demand and supply efficiently and effectively, operations strategy, and sustainability will also be introduced.

MNO1706X Organisational Behavior
This course is designed to introduce students to human behavior in organizational contexts. The study of organizational behavior involves examining processes at the individual, group and organizational levels. Both theoretical and applied approaches will be developed. Instructional methods include lectures, experiential exercises, group activities, videos and case studies. Extensive class participation is expected.

SC1101E Making Sense of Society
Students are introduced to the concepts used in Sociology and Anthropology. The main objective is to train students to use Sociology in analyzing social institutions and processes. For this reason, students are encouraged to relate their experiences in society to the discipline of Sociology and Anthropology. The topics covered in the course are the logic and methods of social investigation; family, work and organization; power and the state; social inequality (including gender and ethnicity); mass communication and popular culture; values and beliefs; and deviance and social control.

EL1101E The Nature of Language
This introductory overview of linguistics aims at equipping students with a solid foundation in the object, methods and goals of the science of spoken language, the prime tool of human communication. Through a principled analysis of patterns of sound, form and meaning at the levels of word, sentence and text, students will gain insight into what it means to say that language is a rule-governed system and an organic whole. The results of this exploration will be useful to those interested in the relationship between language and mind, society and culture.

PE2101P Introduction to Philosophy, Politics and Economics
This course will introduce students to PPE as a multidisciplinary endeavour, by showing them how social and political philosophy can be done in a way that is strongly informed by the findings of social science. The course will be organized around discussing a few specific issues – such as inequality, nudging, climate change, and the formation of the state. Analysing these issues will introduce students to the methods and results of philosophy, political science, and economics, and show how they could be integrated to better understand and tackle social and political phenomena.

GE2103 Our Planet: An Earth System Science Perspective
This course is an introduction to Earth Systems Science, providing students with an understanding of the key interactions between the different spheres of planet Earth: the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and the anthroposphere. In particular, students will develop an understanding of the holistic view and thinking about interconnections and interrelationships in the earth’s systems and subsystems. This course will highlight key concepts shaping Earth Systems Science, such as sustainability, planetary boundaries and safe operating spaces.

XD3103 Planet Earth
The course provides an overview of geology – the science of the earth. An understanding of geology is important to many disciplines, providing information about the physical and chemical processes that determine the distribution of resources, location of hazards, operation of surface processes and the interaction between engineering structures and earth surface materials. The four components of the course begin with consideration of the earth’s structure and the role of plate tectonics, before considering the nature of earth surface materials and the functioning of earth surface systems.

GE3253 Weather and Climate
Weather has an immediate effect on all of us and climate is important in human affairs on a global level. This course provides an introduction to both weather and climate. Processes underlying the behaviour of the atmospheric environment from local to global scales are discussed. The course commences with a discussion of atmospheric concepts in a visual and practical manner. Understanding and application of basic meteorological principles will help to explain environmental phenomena such as clouds and precipitation, tropical storms and global climate change. This course is appropriate for students from all Faculties.

GE3255 Aquatic, Riparian and Coastal Systems
Water is present and moves through all parts of the Earth system; the freshwater component, amounting to about 1% of water on Earth, is fundamental to life. This course focuses on rivers, lakes, estuaries, wetlands and adjoining land (coastal and riparian zones). Taking a global perspective, with a focus on the tropics and Singapore, this course explores the reservoirs, pathways and functioning of the hydrologic cycle, and the interactions between water and land, both on and below Earth’s surface. Dynamic hydrological processes and their effects, aquatic ecosystems, human interactions and impacts and ecohydrology are also covered.

GE3256 Earth Surface Processes, Landforms and Ecosystems
Earth’s geosphere – the ground beneath our feet – may seem constant and relatively unchanging, but nothing could be further from the truth. This course examines the main processes that combine to influence the development of Earth’s surface and the formation of and changes to landscapes. The origins and development of landforms, particularly in the humid tropics, is explored, as are the characteristics, functioning, dynamics and interactions within and between major associated ecosystems. Human-induced landform and ecosystem modifications are also considered. The knowledge obtained in this course is applicable to broader environmental management issues.

SPH2002 Public Health and Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined human populations. It is the cornerstone of public health and provides evidence that impact on both personal decisions about our lives and public policy for preventing and controlling diseases in the population. In this course, we will cover key concepts in epidemiology, including how we measure disease burden, how we study risk factors for disease, how we evaluate interventions like new vaccines and therapies, and how to critically appraise research evidence to inform public health policy.

SC2226 Sociology of Mental Health
This course introduces students to the key issues in the sociology of mental health. It emphasizes the social influences on mental disorders, especially factors associated with the family-of-origin, while acknowledging the medical aspects of mental health. The consequences of mental disorders on individuals and their ecological systems will also be discussed. Students will be equipped with the knowledge to frame mental disorders from a biopsychosocial perspective, view mental disorders as social conditions and be able to attest to the social construction of medical diagnosis of mental disorders.

NUR1113A Healthy Ageing and Well-being
This course aims to provide students the opportunity to focus on fostering health and well-being of seniors at different ageing milestones. Students will examine and apply theories and concepts of ageing, normal physiologic and psychosocial changes and the biopsychosocial issues associated with these processes.

EG2201A User-Centred Collaborative Design
This is a design course which focuses on user needs, bringing together their perspectives along with those of various stakeholders, to deliver solutions in a collaborative manner. The key element in this course is the process that students go through to frame design problems, define a hypothesis for testing, and to build low fidelity prototypes for feedback and validation. Through an open-ended team project, students work collaboratively in a studio environment to create a shared understanding of the problem statement. Students go on to develop concept solutions which can be prototyped and tested.

EG2310 Fundamentals of Systems Design
This course aims to introduce freshmen who are interested in the Innovation & Design Programme to the basic principles of systems design that involve mechanical, electrical, and software elements. The course will cover the fundamentals of mechanical design, electrical hardware design, as well as middleware software frameworks to create an autonomous mobile robot with add-on sensors for targeting and a mechanically actuated projectile payload. Students will learn the essentials of individual sub-systems through hands-on exercises and homework assignments, and subsequently integrate these subsystems in a final project utilizing open-source software platforms to perform a number of missions.

Any course from Chemistry, Physics, or Biological Sciences departments starting with codes PC, CM, LSM respectively.