PhD (by Research)


In line with the increasing emphasis on research in the areas of Humanities, Education, Sciences and Physical Education, the National Institute of Education offers higher degree studies by research leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Candidates reading for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by research will pursue an independent but supervised research in an approved field of advanced study based on which a thesis not exceeding 80,000 words must be submitted. A PhD thesis written in the Chinese language should not exceed 300,000 Chinese characters. The award of the research degree is based entirely on the work presented in the thesis.

(NB: It is important that all applicants to programmes by research (Masters and PhD) in physical education or sports science should first contact PESS directly to establish feasibility as well as an appropriate research supervisor before submitting their application to NIE. As our faculty is small and our discipline diverse, it is necessary to negotiate a common understanding and supervisor availability. Once nominated, a supervisor will guide the student towards submitting a thorough and well formulated proposal.

This procedure should prevent a futile submission from suitably qualified applicants in the event that no supervisor is available for that discipline or no appropriate proposal has been prepared.)

A rigorous system is used to prepare the candidates into the research phase. In the initial stage of the PhD study, the candidates are required to pass a Qualifying Examination.

Qualifying Examination

(a) Full-time Candidates

In the first 12 months of study, the full-time PhD candidates will be required to complete the Qualifying Examination requirements as indicated in (i) and (ii) below:


Attend classes and pass the examinations of



4 graduate level subjects chosen from the University's Master-degree coursework programmes or from approved special topic subjects and



obtain an overall average Grade B, and no subject should have a Grade below C+


Submit an in-depth literature review of an approved research topic

(b) Part-time Candidates

The part-time PhD candidates will be given 24 months to complete the Qualifying Examination requirements as indicated in (i) and (ii) above.

(c) Exemption of Subjects

Exemption of subjects may be granted by the Dean if the candidate is deemed to have already done sufficient coursework in the relevant area in a graduate level programme at a recognised university. The maximum number of course exemption is 1 subject for a PhD candidate.

Confirmation Exercise/Report

Candidates who are admitted as Research Students in the first instance will have to undergo a Confirmation Exercise in order to be confirmed as a PhD candidate. The exercise will take place about 6 to 12 months after the Qualifying Examination.

For the Confirmation Exercise, the candidates will have to submit a progress report on their research work as well as present and pass a confirmation seminar.

Ph.D. Oral Examinations

In addition to being examined on the thesis, the candidate must also pass an oral examination on the subject matter of his/her thesis and other related subjects. This is normally conducted at the final stage of the PhD study.

Candidates whose progress, in the opinion of the University, have not been satisfactory may be required by the University at any time to terminate their candidature.

Copies of the NIE research degree theses and dissertations are available from its library. Please click here for more information.

Entry Requirement

A Bachelor's degree with honours at least at Second Class Upper level, Master's degree in the relevant areas and the ability to pursue research in the candidate's proposed field of advanced study. 

Shortlisted applicants will undergo an interview session as part of the selection process.

Local applicants whose first degree is from a foreign university may be asked to provide a GRE score on a case-by-case basis. For international applicants, more information on the entry requirements can be found here.

Research Areas

Sport Science

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Motor Learning
  • Biomechanics

Sport Studies

  • Exercise/Sport Psychology
  • Sociocultural Studies of Sport
  • Sport History
  • Sport Management/Marketing

Sport Pedagogy

  • Curriculum Theory in PE
  • Instructional Processes in PE
  • Teacher Knowledge and Development in PE
Standard Test Requirements


A good TOEFL or IELTS is required for international applicants whose first language is not English.

(ii) GRE or GATE*

A good GRE score is required for international applicants.

In lieu of GRE, applicants from India may use the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) score of at least 90%

* Note: Test dates must be within 2 years or less from the date of your application.


The degree of MSc by research is available on a full-time or part-time basis. The candidature periods are as follows:









24 months

60 months

24 months

84 months

Please click here to visit NIE Office of Graduate Studies & Professional Learning for more information.

Research scholarships are awarded to candidates with outstanding academic records to enable them to pursue PhD studies by research on a full-time basis. For more details, please refer to the Scholarships web page.


(i) For issues such as admissions and application

For Admission matters, please email to:
For Postgraduate Programme matters, please email to:

Office of Graduate Studies and Professional Learning (GPL)
National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University
1 Nanyang Walk
Singapore 637616
Tel: (65) 6790 3888

(ii) For specific academic issues relating to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Research

Programme Leader: Ast/P Masato Kawabata
Tel: 6790 3702

Programme Administrator: Ms Yow Chea Nuan
Tel: 6790 3682