Academic Programme

Junior Seminar

Junior Seminars are offered on a completed satisfactory/completed unsatisfactory basis (CS/CU). Click here to view the timetable for Sem 2 AY2016/2017.

Junior Seminars to be offered in Semester 1 AY2017/2018

GEM1918/UTC1702A Thinking in Systems: Ecosystems and Natural Resources

by Assoc Prof Laksh SAMAVEDHAM

This module will serve to prepare systems citizens with thinking and quantitative skills that thought leaders across the world consider critical for functioning in the 21st century. Comprising qualitative and quantitative elements, this module will hone students’ ability to engage in Systems Thinking: understanding parts of a system, seeing interconnections, asking ‘what-if’ questions, quantifying the effects of specific interventions and using such understanding to propose operational/structural policies courageously and creatively. Interactive discussions and hands-on computer modelling using examples from several ecological and natural resource systems will serve as the primary learning mechanisms.

GEM1919/UTC1702B Thinking in Systems: Diseases and Healthcare

by Dr Naviyn Prabhu BALAKRISHNAN

Does a virus attack any individual? Or, does an individual create conditions for infection? How should hospitals plan treatment strategies and patient-staff movements during an outbreak?  Should government allocate more resources to prevent onset of chronic diseases rather than managing the complications arising out of chronic diseases? Students will approach such questions from a systems perspective, which involves: understanding behaviours of subsystems and stakeholders such as disease/ infection, patients, providers, payers and society. They will also learn how the interdependencies and interactions between the different actors of the system can be integrated into a holistic system that enables better understanding.

UTC1702C Thinking in Systems: Sustainability and Us

by Dr Jenson GOH

How does our day-to-day actions and living habits affect our environment? How effectively can we engage the public, government and other stakeholders to shape a sustainable environment for humanity? Students will analyze these questions from a systems perspective by developing qualitative and quantitative models that can map the interconnections and interdependencies between stakeholders involved in current sustainability challenges facing humanity (examples: energy consumption, zero waste and recycling). In this module, students will not only develop a good understanding on sustainability challenges, but also on how actions of individuals can add up to cause such challenges.

UTC1702D Thinking in Systems: Population Dynamics

Ms Elizabeth ONG Ling Lee

Many of the world’s problems are linked to population changes: rapidly aging population, immigration woes, and the threat of environmental degradation to human existence. In this module, students will be introduced to population trends and be equipped to better understand fertility, mortality and migration and how they cause changes in population size, composition and distribution. It incorporates basic concepts, data sources and tools used in demography into a systems approach to modelling population dynamics. Students will build models of increasing complexity, covering a variety of generic structures and classic system dynamics modelling scenarios.

UTC1702E Thinking in Systems: Energy Systems


Are energy sources infinite? Do energy policies lead to a sustainable energy development? Would renewables solve our future energy needs, mitigate emissions and protect our environment? Students deal with such energy challenges by learning to understand ‘energy systems’ as a ‘complex whole’. This module provides a platform for students to understand the complex behavior arising from interdependent interactions of different actors of energy systems with other economic, political, social, technological and environmental factors. To achieve this, it engages students to learn and apply systems thinking tools to such aforementioned challenges through relevant models, case studies and real-world energy policy/problem scenarios.

Senior Seminar

Students are awarded letter grades for Senior Seminars, with S/U Option
UTC-coded ==> Senior Seminar (SS) modules | UTS-coded ==> Senior Seminar Singapore Studies (SSU) modules
Click here to view the timetable for Sem 2 AY2016/2017.

Senior Seminars to be offered in Semester 1 AY2017/2018

UTC2700 - An Undefeated Mind: An Experiential Inner Re-engineering Approach

Mr WEE Sin Tho

This module adopts an experiential learning approach to shape students’ psychological well-being and mental resilience through mind-body practices. Students will cultivate four skills/capacities for well-being namely: Faculty of Attention, Art of Listening, Emotional Balance and Self-Awareness. Students will translate their practices and personal experiences into reflective texts as well as system diagrams. They will then engage in fieldwork at elderly care organizations in Singapore where they will dialogue with caregivers to understand their emotions and experiences. This will provide them an opportunity to personally experience and share the benefits of awareness of their mental processes while engaging in delicate conversations.

UTC2703 - Infectious Diseases: Dynamics, Strategies and Policies


Waves of infectious diseases like Ebola, SARS, and avian flu have shaken countries in recent years. The complex unpredictable nature of infectious diseases has also been a source of fear and threat to humans and other life forms for several centuries. The origin, spread, prevention and control of infectious diseases involve actors including animals, birds, insects, humans, environment, society and economics. This module will explore the interconnections and interdependencies between these actors as models that involve a “system of systems”. Besides helping to relate model structure to dynamic behaviour, the models will be used to design optimal vaccination and control policies.

UTC2704 - Projects in Systems Thinking and System Dynamics+

by lecturers in RC4

This module will foster deeper anchoring in Residential College 4’s (RC4s’) theme “Systems Thinking and System Dynamics” through diverse projects related to systems such as energy, environment, health, society, and business. It builds upon the skill sets that RC4 students acquired in junior seminar and senior seminar 1. Students will do individual projects supervised by RC4 fellows; some of them may involve external collaborations, and field work. Intellectual exchanges between supervisors, collaborators, practitioners on the field, and peers will provide a unique experience to students.

UTC2707/UTS2701 - Understanding Health and Social Care in Singapore

by Dr John Pastor ANSAH

The rapid growth of the elderly population in Singapore is a source of concern due to the health implications of aging. While people are increasingly avoiding fatal events, they are often not avoiding the physiological changes associated with aging and the accumulation of chronic conditions and functional disability. Keeping pace with rising healthcare demand poses a key challenge for policymakers. This module explores the complex relationships between health and social care in the context of an aging society, with Singapore as a case. Students will be introduced to concepts and tools for health system-wide analysis of health and social care policies and strategies.

UTC2708/UTS2702 Singapore – A Smart Nation in Context : IoT & Big Data

by Assoc Prof Sekhar KONDEPUDI

Singapore as a Smart Nation – where its citizens enjoy a high quality of life, seamlessly enabled by technology and opening up new opportunities for innovation and creativity. This module will provide students a high level overview and basic understanding of what constitutes a “smart nation” in the Singaporean context. The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and ‘Big Data’ are essential ingredients to such a “smart nation”.  The module will provide insights into what these terms mean, why they are important, what the business drivers are all from a systems viewpoint. Students will understand how do all the above tie into the concept of “Singapore as a Smart Nation”, through experiential learning, practical examples and case studies.

UTC2712/UTS2704 - Hard to Secure Easy to Waste - Singapore’s Food Story

Dr Jenson GOH Chong Leng

A growing population, changing dietary habits and climate change are contributing to the challenge of securing food for Singapore. Singapore imports over 90% of its food supply and uses under 1% of its land area for agriculture. In 2015, Singapore was ranked the second most food secure country in the world. On the other hand, Singapore’s food wastage has increased by 50% since 2005 and 1 in 10 people in Singapore is food insecure. This module takes a systems thinking and systems dynamics perspective to analyse and understand this apparent paradox between food security and food waste in Singapore.

UTC2713/UTS2705 - Modelling Singlehood, Marriage & Fertility in Singapore

Ms Elizabeth ONG Ling Lee

Singapore has a shrinking and ageing citizen population, owing to its declining fertility rates and longer lifespans, rising singlehood and divorce rates, delay in marriages and family formation. Policies designed to lift its fertility rates have had little success. This module will use system dynamics modelling to gain insights into the dynamics and outcomes of population transitions in Singapore and countries facing similar or contrasting demographic challenges. It will also explore changing attitudes and expectations associated with singlehood, marriage and childbearing in Singapore and the region, and seek to understand the interplay of factors creating policy resistance in the city-state.

UTC2714/UTS2706 – A Social Critique of Markets in Singapore


This module is a social critique of markets and market behaviour in Singapore. Markets are often explained with methodological individualism as opposed to broader social systems that underscore behavioural and motivational determinants. This module presents an inter-disciplinary reading of selected economic concepts and critiques them from a social and holistic angle. It is principally a sociohistorical reading of how markets perform. In its application side, the module will reinterpret the success of Singapore using conceptual tools such as objective value theory, social productivity, the leisure class, and the historically determined social wage.

UTC2715/UTS2707 Decoding Complexity

by Dr WANG Wei Yang

The world today is not only more interconnected and richer in content than ever before, but also more sensitive to disruption. Just as the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado, can a small disturbance in a distant connection result in destruction elsewhere? This module focuses on such phenomena that seem to pervade a wide variety of complex issues in sociology, economics, finance, epidemics, terrorism, and science to name a few. Students will be able to debate through complex issues that Singapore and the world faces, model them, and in the process find handles to manage such complexities.

Senior Seminars Not Offered

UTC2701 - Business Systems: Dynamics and Policy Making

by Assoc Prof Laksh SAMAVEDHAM

Many of us recognize that the world we live in is growing in dynamic complexity. Accelerating economic, technological, social, and environmental change requires managers and policy makers to: (i) expand the boundaries of their mental models, and (ii) develop and work with tools to understand how the structure of complex systems influences their behaviour. This module intends to equip students with the ability to model a wide range of business systems, understand the structure-behaviour links and use such understanding to analyse policy and strategy. System Dynamics modelling will be employed as the vehicle to build these desired skills and abilities.

UTC2702 - Foundations in System Dynamics Thinking and Modelling

by Prof John Martin RICHARDSON

This course provides an opportunity to learn about system dynamics, consisting of systems thinking, modelling, and analysis. Since its inception in the 1960s, system dynamics has been used to analyse and solve problems in development (economic, political, social, sustainable, and urban), management (business, environmental, health care, and project), and public policy. The role of systems thinking and system dynamics modelling in shaping issues of sustainable development, local, national and global, has been transformative.

UTC2705/UTS2700 - Housing, Healthcare and Harmony in Singapore: A Critical Perspective

by Assoc Prof Laksh SAMAVEDHAM

Singapore, in the last 50 years, has evolved from a colonial port to a global city-state. Overcoming unanticipated, unprecedented, multifaceted challenges and severe resource constraints, it has emerged as a successful model-city through flexible and pragmatic policies arguably guided by systems thinking or the “whole-of-nation” approach. This module will use numbers and simple systems models to understand the dynamics of Singapore with special attention on the evolving demographics, housing, healthcare and social harmony aspects. Students will also examine the impact of policy changes, generate scenarios and use them to make policy recommendations and projections for the near future. Students will employ qualitative and quantitative modelling tools learnt from a RC4 JS in this module.

UTC2706/GEM2911X - Committed to Changing Our World: Dana Meadows’ Legacy

by Prof John Martin RICHARDSON

For those seeking mastery of systems thinking and system dynamics modeling, to serve our human species, Donella (Dana) Meadows’ life and work seem uniquely suited to inspire and guide. Her work sets disciplined high standards in multiple areas: systems modeling, systems thinking, modeling methodologies and environmental journalism. She created resilient communities that embodied her values. Mastering skills and practices her work exemplifies will empower students to become proficient, disciplined, humane systems citizens, capable of envisioning and traversing life paths that make a difference.

UTC2709 - Questioning Common Sense

by Assoc Prof CHNG Huang Hoon and Assoc Prof Johan GEERTSEMA

What have been your most significant learning experiences? When have you realised you needed to question your own assumptions, that what had appeared like common-sense truths no longer seemed so certain? How has learning changed the way you view issues? Focusing on questions such as these, in this course we will study the transformative potential of learning. We will focus not only on formal education at secondary and tertiary levels, but also consider informal learning experiences so as to investigate how ideas – whether in the classroom, through reading or travel, or in conversations with others – have changed us.

For further information or if you have any questions about this module, please contact the lecturers A/P Chng Huang Hoon or A/P Johan Geertsema

UTC2711 - Heavenly Mathematics and Cultural Astronomy


Students will study astronomy in a cultural context and look at questions like: How is the date of Chinese New Year determined? Why do the Muslim and Chinese months start on different days? Why was the date of Deepavali moved some years ago? Will the Moon ever look like it does on the Singapore flag? This module will help students appreciate mankind’s effort to understand the mathematics of heavens and how the sky modulates culture.


Ideas & Exposition Modules

RC4’s curriculum includes academic writing modules titled “Ideas and Exposition”. The I&E modules are offered by the Centre for English Language Communication (CELC). These modules can meet the NUS Breadth requirement. For further details, please click here.

  1. Completing the Qualifying English Test (QET) is a pre-requisite for reading I&E modules. If you get Band 1, you need to read and pass ES1000 first before reading ES1103; Band 2 – read and pass ES1103; Band 3 – can read I&E I
  2. Students need to read and pass I&E I before reading I&E II.
  3. Students are awarded letter grades for these modules, with S/U Option.
  4. View IE1 timetable and view IE2 timetable.

Ideas and Exposition I for Semester 2 AY2016/2017

UTW1001X Exploring Changing Tourist Destinations

by Mr Julian Azfar

How has globalization transformed the nature of tourism? Why have abandoned sites, like derelict historical buildings and now-defunct prisons, become places of attraction today? This module examines the reasons for the emergence of ‘new’ tourist destinations, and the implications of these trends on local development and the environment. Using postcolonalism as a lens of analysis, students will explore the changing paradigms of tourist destinations and the resultant conflicts that evolve between different stakeholders, such as human rights organizations, indigenous communities, tourism operators, and tourists themselves. Topics covered include ethnic tourism, heritage tourism, danger (adventure) tourism, and dark tourism.

UTW1001M Sport and Competition

by Dr. Mark BROOKE

In professional, competitive sport, there appear to be fundamentally distinct ideas concerning human endeavour and the nature of competition that are worthy of critical examination.. Is winning everything? Should participation or self-defining achievement be more valued? Is sport becoming too elitist? Does the obsession to win create the need for performance-enhancing drugs? Should we legalize doping or tighten control measures? Should we change the nature of professional competitive sport? Students will explore these questions through close analysis of viewpoints expressed in both scholarly literature and popular media, ultimately developing their own positions in written arguments.

UTW1001N Public Persona and Self-presentations

by Dr. Maria Luisa C. SADORRA

Public persona is a fundamental yet unarticulated aspect of persuasion in spoken discourse. In this course, students will explore and examine speakers’ public persona with a focus on interactional and social roles in performed presentations before a public audience. What does it mean to perform a public persona? How is public persona shaped, strengthened, or attenuated? Is there such a thing as an “authentic” public persona? In seminar-type classes and, subsequently, in writing assignments, students will analyse verbal and nonverbal performance of a speaker or speakers in mediated and/or non-mediated contexts, and develop informed views of their public persona.

UTW1001R Oratory and the Public Mind

by Dr. Gene Segarra NAVERA

This course discusses the nature of oratory and how it potentially influences the public mind, that is, how the public perceives, understands, and acts upon social and political realities. Students will be introduced to ways of critically analyzing speeches as they interrogate the power and limitations of oratory in influencing audiences. Students will consider the following questions: What elements in the speeches enable speakers to ‘adjust ideas to people and people to ideas’? How do speeches shape and are shaped by their contexts? How are ideas expressed in the speeches transformed to create impact on the public mind?

UTW1001V Exploring Blogs as a Form of Communication

by Dr Lalitha VELAUTHAM

Blogs have become an important part of modern life. Short for weblog, blogs originated as a medium through which authors of personal websites expressed their views on a range of issues. Today, a variety of organizations from universities, the media, business, personal and professional networking sites use blogs to communicate with their target audience. Are institutional and personal blogs performing strategic communication goals such as promoting particular ideologies? Are these blog representations authentic? What other social purposes do blogs serve? In this module, we examine the role of blogs through a critical engagement with the literature and an analysis of blogs from different organizations.

UTW1001W The Online Politician: The Use of Social Media in Political Communication

by Ms. Nazarene Ibrahim

Using social media as a political battleground during the 2011 General Election changed Singapore’s political landscape indelibly. It exemplified an emerging trend: the increasing use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat by politicians to gain greater political support and popularity. In fact, using social media for political communication has gone viral in Singapore, Asia-Pacific and beyond. This module explores the dynamics of social media in political communication, with a focus on Singapore, as well as the United States as case studies. Students will analyse the impact of conventional means of political communication as opposed to those using social media.

Ideas and Exposition II for Semester 2 AY2016/2017

UTW2001K Public Memory, Identity, Rhetoric

by Dr Patrick Wade

How do we make the past useful for the needs of the present? And how do we decide what from the past is worthy of preserving today? This module addresses these questions by examining the intersections of public memory, identity, and rhetoric in Singapore. Students will consider ideas drawn from the interdisciplinary field of memory studies and practice applying them in a variety of local contexts—considering museums and monuments, political speeches and popular narratives, historical and heritage sites, cemeteries, and more. Students will use their new knowledge of course themes to embark on their own research project examining the many uses of memory in Singapore.

UTW2001H Risk and Popular Culture

 by Dr Anuradha Ramanujan

We live in a time characterized by an intensified awareness of risk. Our perception of risk, whether related to new technology or social activity, is greatly influenced by how mass media represents it. Taking prominent social theories of risk as its critical frame of reference, this course will explore the role of news, television shows, popular fiction and films in shaping public opinion on, and responses to, potential and presumed threats. These range from environmental pollution, pathogens and medical procedures to terrorism, cybercrime, immigration/immigrants and un(der)employment. Case studies may include Fukushima, Chernobyl and the Y2K phenomenon.

UTW2001J Blood, Death and Desire, Interpreting the Vampire

Ms. Coleen ANGOVE

Vampire literature has undergone a twenty-first Century resuscitation, evident in novels such as Twilight and television series including The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. But how similar are these vampires to the traditional vampire in Western and other cultures? In this module you will explore different explanations for the role/function of the Vampire and have the opportunity to research manifestations of the Vampire across cultures, genres and historical periods. You will review different research methodologies, and compile a list of terms and ideas that enable you to participate in the conversation to understand the ongoing fascination with the Vampire.

UTW2001Q What's in a Word? Meaning Across Cultures

by Dr. WONG Jock Onn

It is often assumed that there is a common understanding of what specific words mean. However, can one assume a common understanding across cultures of words describing colour, such as ‘red’ or ‘maroon,’ or emotion, such as ‘happiness,’ ‘pleasure,’ or ‘disgust’? Are forms of address, such as nicknames, or interjections, such as ‘damn’ or the ‘F’ word, used in similar ways across cultures? Are there differences between the ways that speakers of different varieties of English understand the meanings of such words? This module explores how meaning is culture-bound, and helps students understand cultural differences in the choice and use of words.

UTW2001S Masculinities on Film

by Dr. Lynette TAN

The traditional notion of masculinity as homogenous has given way in recent decades to a proliferation of multiple masculinities that questions the relationship between gender and power. This socio-cultural phenomenon is manifested on film. Masculinity can be seen as a contested space where different masculinities fight for dominance, and older forms of masculinity are displaced by new ones. This module invites you to consider social, cultural and historical influences on constructions of masculinity on film, as well as textual contexts such as genre, as you critically reflect on the diversity of masculinities that are represented.

UTW2001T Nobodiness: The Self as Story

by Dr. Andrew YERKES

The sense of having a self pervades everyday experience as well as the stories we encounter in fiction, film, television, and video games. On the other hand, the self has been called into question from various scientific, religious, and philosophical perspectives. This module examines the concept of selfhood, considering the possibility that it may be a fabrication, and examines the positive and negative aspects of positing the existence of the self, especially as it appears in film and literature.

UTW2001P Science Fiction and Empire

by Dr. Jason BANTA

Science fiction is less about the future than it is about the present. Many science fiction narratives critique contemporary social issues, particularly imperialism and colonialism. This course will introduce students to the theories of colonialism and their importance in a modern context. Armed with this knowledge, students will engage with classic and contemporary science fiction texts in order to understand, as well as question, how such narratives describe and proscribe ways of ordering the world. In developing their original research projects, students will explore how this intersection between popular narrative and ideology influences many of the ways we think about culture today.

Module Registration

JS Timetable  |   SS Timetable   |   IE1 Timetable   |   IE2 Timetable
MPE for Semester 2 AY2016/2017 is starting on 30 Dec 2016 at 5pm

Timeline for allocation of Seminar Modules for Semester 2 AY2016/2017

Step Description Website Start End
A Module Preference Exercise (MPE)
(i) selection of modules
Residential College Module Preference System 5.00pm
30 Dec 2016
3 Jan 2017
B Module Preference Exercise (MPE)
(ii) results
Residential College Module Allocation Results System by 11pm
4 Jan 2017
C (iii) appeals Residential College Module Appeal System 9am
5 Jan 2017
13 Jan 2017


Timeline for allocation of Ideas & Exposition (I&E) Modules for Semester 2 AY2016/2017. [New in 1620: Manual Appeal Only]

Step Description Website Start End
A Module Preference Exercise (MPE)
(i) selection of modules
Residential College Module Preference System 5.00pm
30 Dec 2016
3 Jan 2017
B Module Preference Exercise (MPE)
(ii) results
Residential College Module Allocation Results System by 11pm
4 Jan 2017
C Manual Appeal Submission
(strictly by appointments only)
Important: Before making a booking for manual appeal, please read this FAQ.You may access online information on the availability of appeal spaces at CELC shared services
Booking of appt for manual appeal at:
Appointment Booking System (Manual Appeal)Venue: Conference Room 1, Level 1, Stephen Riady Centre
Timing: Pls refer to available slots in the booking system
Thu 5 Jan 2017

1300-1700 hrs

Fri 6, 9-13 Jan 2017

1000-1200 hrs
1300-1700 hrs