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Getting Started

What is University about?

University is all about free thought and expression - a place where new ideas are encouraged, opinions are important and the contribution each person makes to a field of study is valued.

It’s a place for personal growth. Students can experiment in the way they interact with other people and learn new strategies for discovery, creation and implementation of projects in an intellectual atmosphere.

University is not just about learning the facts necessary for a profession, but about developing a way of working with other people and information that enables the student to continue to learn, long after their graduation.

The university environment encourages its staff and students to engage in many activities that support the acquisition of knowledge and skills needed in an ever-changing world. The best outcome for any student is to balance serious academic study with group learning and involvement in social activities and interest groups. 

Learning, at university, takes time, effort and self-discipline. Students have to work out their own study routines and decide for themselves what they must achieve week-to-week to succeed. They are treated as adults and are expected to manage their own education and lifestyle.

How is life at University different?

International students are required to maintain at least 90% attendance for their scheduled study period. Singaporeans & PR are required to maintain at least 75% attendance.

Students structure and manage their own time.

Class times vary. Full-time students spend 12-20 hrs in class per week. Although there may be some days without classes, international students are required to spend 3 hours on campus daily.

Students are expected to read the subject outline and know when assessment items are due. Students are also expected to read and learn more in addition to the classroom materials and recommended textbooks.

Students are responsible for their learning and should review to determine the important aspects of each class.

Assessment is less frequent, with individual assessment items covering a larger amount of learning material.

Results are reported for each subject by grades ranging from High Distinction to Fail.

Students are responsible for managing their studies and progress. Results are provided to the student rather than the parents.

Study Periods

The academic year is divided into a 3 study periods for Degree Students: Study Period 51 (Trimester 1) commences in March and ends in June.
Study Period 52 (Trimester 2) commences in July and ends in October.
Study period 53 (Trimester 3) commences in November and ends in February.

Each Trimester includes 12 weeks of classes; 1 week for revision and 2 weeks for exams (15 weeks in total).

Between the main three study periods there is a 2-3 week break over February, June and October. Students use these breaks in different ways, for example, vacation or to catch up with family.

Study Hours

It is by ICA regulations that all international students are required to be on campus at least 3 hours a day, from Monday to Friday. Therefore students are advised to participate in Clubs and Societies in order to fulfill these requirements  on days you do not have classes on.

The typical student undertaking 24 credit points in a year can reasonably expect the workload, including contact and non-contact hours, to be between 40 and 48 hours per week.

JCU Global Exchange An exciting option for students is to complete part of their degree at an overseas institution that has an exchange agreement with JCU.

What's involved in Subjects

Subjects can involve lectures, tutorials, field trips, practical classes and/or placements.

Each subject usually has weekly lectures and a tutorial or practical class. In lectures, an academic delivers, to all students enrolled in the subject, the facts and concepts that students are required to learn for that subject.

In tutorials, students work in smaller groups to explore the lecture materials. Tutorials are more interactive. Practical classes are held in laboratories containing equipment relevant to the field of study.

Orientation Week

Orientation Week is often a new student’s first contact with JCU staff, students and the university campus. JCU hosts Orientation Week in the week before classes start for study periods 51, 52 and 53 each year.

The main aim of Orientation Week is to help students prepare for study, finalise their enrolment and meet other students. It provides a great opportunity for students to share their experience and develop a sense of belonging.

During Orientation Week students participate in social events, tours (campus and library) and cultural outings to have a better understanding of the cultural environment they are currently studying in, collect their student identification card and obtain subject enrolment advice.

The JCU Singapore Volunteers Club and Student Council link new students with student volunteers who are usually in their second or third year of study. Volunteers are able to provide general support and direction to help new students settle into university life.

Orientation Week gives students a major headstart, so encourage your young adult or partner to participate.

Tips for Students

Take responsibility for your own life. You will be treated as an adult by JCU academic and administrative staff. It is entirely up to you to decide what you want to achieve at university and how much effort you will apply to meet your goals. University studies require more commitment and personal time management than high school studies.

Get motivated and stay focused. Identify your reasons for choosing university and what you hope to achieve while you are at university. Make the most of this special time in your life and acknowledge each achievement.

Ask for help. If something is difficult, no matter what it is – there’s something in a lecture you don’t understand, you’ve run out of money and can’t pay the rent, you’ve been dumped by a friend and feel terrible, or it just all seems overwhelming – talk to someone. Even the most successful students need help every now and then. In addition to academic and administrative staff, JCU has a variety of support services to help you work it out.

It is advisable for new students to meet with their In-Country managers and their respective Student Management Executive from Student Services whenever you have any enquiries to make.

Challenge yourself. Be prepared to consider new ideas and to interact with people from different cultural and economic backgrounds. Reflect on the way you react to new concepts and situations. Each social and academic experience provides an opportunity to develop your professional skills and your ability to work effectively across a range of professional disciplines and cultures.

Take regular breaks from study. Remember to eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. Make time for family, work, friends and fun. Creating a balanced life will help you stay well and motivated for your studies.

Meet new people. University is a lot easier and much more fun if you can share the experience with friends. The JCU Student Mentor Program gives you the opportunity to learn from continuing students about life at university. University clubs, social events, team projects and workshops are also great ways to meet new friends.

Use JCU resources for help with assignments and exams. JCU offers a wide range of resources from our library to our computer labs. JCU’s Library also provides a lengthy list of online materials accessible to all students.

Keep attending. You might sometimes feel overwhelmed by your workload and start to fall behind in study. If this happens, it’s important to keep going to lectures and tutorials. Aim to continue learning, talk to your lecturer about your options, access support and catch up as soon as you can.

JCU Singapore offers Learning Support for students facing difficulties in coping with the University’s work load. The learning support team conducts weekly sessions, available to all students to join. Find out more about these sessions here.

It is essential for students to attend classes during the semester. According to the Immigration and Checkpoint Authorities (ICA), an International Student with a valid Student Pass is required to attend 90% of classes, and for a Local Student to attend 75% of classes.

If the requirements are not met, ICA has the full authority to terminate your visa. For this purpose, JCU monitors attendance through the Biometric System in which students are required to scan their finger prints within 15 minutes of when the class starts, or else you will be marked as absent. A monthly report is generated for the ICA for further Attendance Tracking.

Work hard. University study is demanding and there are lots of challenges in the first year. If you make the effort, you will be rewarded