Postgraduate Research Programmes


The CIS offers two postgraduate research programmes: an MPhil and a PhD in Asian Urbanisms. These programmes build on the observation that as Asia urbanises at a speed and scale never before seen, the scholarly study of cities needs to evolve as well. Complex urban problems need a new paradigm of study: one that might start from the urban studies tradition, but which purposively reaches out into cognate disciplinary fields as well. It is this premise that sets our programmes apart from other postgraduate offerings.

Distinctive features

Study Asia, From the Heart of Asia
World-class faculty
Study Asia, From the Heart of Asia
World-Class Faculty

Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Programmes),
College of Integrative Studies


Our postgraduate programmes in Asian Urbanisms offer a blend of taught core and elective courses, followed by a sustained period of independent study, which culminates in a dissertation. Students will be primarily supervised by CIS faculty, but have the option to be co-supervised by faculty from SMU’s other Schools as well. In this vein, we offer a uniquely interdisciplinary approach to advancing the study of Asian cities. That is, an approach that starts from the urban studies paradigm, but which reaches out into other disciplinary fields as well.

Our graduates will comprise a new breed of urban scholar who is trained to develop empirical insights and theoretical perspectives that speak from Asia. Whilst our PhD graduates will be trained to fill either academic roles, or those that speak to the policy and research-related domains, our MPhil graduates will be equipped with the skills needed to make an impact as urban professionals working in research, policy or consulting-oriented domains that span the public, private and people sectors.

Whether you are interested in studying the effects of changing food consumption practices on sustainability in Singapore, the economics of ride-hailing apps in Bangkok, the effects of sea-level rise on Jakarta, or how the state competes with other political structures to plan smart cities in China, our students will have access to world-class faculty that boast a wide range of research interests in, and expertise on, Asian cities. 


Students undertaking these programmes will benefit from the College of Integrative Studies faculty strengths in interdisciplinary research. Our faculty consists of internationally renown scholar-teachers, including faculty trained in the areas of computer science, economics, environmental science, geography, history, law, literature, religion, political science, and urban sciences, many of whom work across disciplines and are experts in some of the big challenges for Singapore and Asia’s future.

See Our Faculty