Why NAFA


Established in 1938, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) is Singapore’s pioneer arts education institution, well-known for grooming diverse artistic talent. Through research-based practice and experiential learning, NAFA nurtures creative talent who lead at the forefront of both traditional and contemporary art practices.

The academy offers full-time diploma and degree programmes across three schools: the School of Art & Design (which offers studies in fine art, design and media, fashion studies and 3D design), the School of Music and the School of Arts Management, Dance & Theatre.

NAFA has nurtured 13 Cultural Medallion Award recipients and 14 Young Artist Award winners among prominent alumni who play integral roles in the arts and creative fields, in Singapore and abroad.


NAFA is committed to achieving excellence in our teaching pedagogy. Our faculty consists of expert and professional local and international specialists who are dedicated to student-centred learning. Their expertise and dedication to the development of students in turn inspire students to pursue a lifelong passion in the arts and become confident leaders in their chosen field.

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NAFA offers a rigorous, practice-led curriculum which allows students to build a solid foundation while nurturing their creative attitudes and critical thinking skills. Our curriculum focuses on in-depth learning and at the same time, gives students the option to choose electives across disciplines based on their personal interests. Through individual and group assessments, students learn to problem-solve and are encouraged to be self-directed learners where they take active responsibility for their own learning.

The NAFA curriculum builds upon our rich cultural heritage that promotes a spirit of innovation and artistic imagination in Southeast Asia. Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis on Southeast Asian arts, is a unique feature of our curriculum that offers a collaborative platform for students to come together to experiment with ideas and innovate across disciplines.

Students are able to gain broader perspectives, develop problem-solving skills as well as learn about social responsibility from industry-based learning that is built into the curriculum. We partner with industries where students can embark on internships as well as industry and community projects. In programmes such as Fine Art and Music, students also have the opportunity to develop skills in teaching practice where they learn to nurture the next generation of arts practitioners.

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NAFA maintains strong links and works actively with creative industry partners to offer our students opportunities for industrial attachments/internships, industry projects, community projects and teaching practice. These industrial partnerships enhance the career pathways of our students and prepare them for their future careers. Through participating in projects that engage with the community, our students also find fulfilment in their personal, intellectual, and artistic development. Organisations which we have collaborated with include Walt Disney Studios, the National Museum of Singapore, A*STAR, Commune and the National University Hospital.

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Having an overseas learning experience is one of the key highlights of an education at NAFA. Visits to education institutions and events overseas are organised for students to gain global exposure to new ideas and innovations in their fields, as well as to foster multi-cultural integration and collaboration.

International Placement
Final-year Bachelor of Music students have the opportunity to attend their international placement at either the Royal College of Music in London (for Western Instruments) or the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing (for Chinese Instruments). Students will not only attend lessons, but will also be offered opportunities to perform in public events.

Final-year students from BA (Hons) 3D Design: New Practice, BA Hons Fine Art and BA(Hons) Graphic Communication spend up to seven weeks at Loughborough University, meeting people from all over the world and attending prestigious events such as the London Design Festival.

Study Trips
Study trips organised at the course or module level complement classroom teaching by giving students the exposure to industries and experts in areas relevant to their course of study. Such trips aim to broaden students’ perspectives and provide them with a better understanding and appreciation of their field of study.

Past study trips include visits to the World Expo Exhibition in Italy; Chulalongkorn University in Thailand; ASEAN Theatre Festival in Nanning, China; Guangzhou and Hong Kong for fabric sourcing, factory tours and market study; and various Southeast Asian countries for interdisciplinary projects on Southeast Asian puppetry.

Overseas Immersion Programmes
Overseas immersion programmes comprise lectures and/or hands-on project work/workshops/industry visits/field trips which are conducted at  institutes of higher learning overseas, during the school vacation. Through such programmes, students have the opportunity to interact with and be taught by faculty members of the host institution, gain insights from industry experts and learn more about other cultures. Students will attain credits towards their NAFA Diploma upon completion of the programme.

Students from the School of Art and Design, for instance, had embarked on an overseas immersion programme at the Beijing Institute of Technology and Xiamen University of Technology in China for 3 weeks in 2016.

Collaborative Projects
NAFA’s strategic partnerships with international institutions overseas provide students the opportunity to collaborate with peers on research, art and design, or performance projects where they can gain invaluable practical or industry experience.

NAFA’s 3D Design programme, for instance, has been collaborating with King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Thailand since September 2013, where students from both institutions worked together with Thai manufacturers to create ideas for a new furniture design collection. This collaborative project allows students to develop skills in design professionalism and entrepreneurship while establishing a network between students in Singapore and Thailand.

NAFA’s School of Music has also collaborated with the Tainan National University of the Arts in Taiwan on the NAFA-Tainan University of the Arts Voice Recital project where a joint recital was put up by the students from both institutions, and practices in teaching and learning of the performing arts  were also exchanged.

Student Exchange Programmes
Student exchange programmes give students the opportunity to experience different learning environments, broaden their outlook and approach to the arts and develop valuable life skills as well as an awareness and appreciation of other cultures. Upon completion of the programme, students will be granted module exemptions for their NAFA Diploma.

NAFA’s Dance programme, for instance, had a student exchange programme with Purchase College, State University of New York, where incoming Purchase College students and outgoing NAFA students spent one semester at the respective host institution, taking modules and participating in dance projects and/or performances.

Listen to what some of the industry leaders, our alumni and students have to say about their experiences with NAFA.

VIEW ALL THE TESTIMONIALS HERE

Generations of talent began their journey at NAFA and our graduates are active contributors of the creative industries in Asia and beyond. They are highly sought after by the industries for their sound foundation skills and creativity. Many of them are leaders in their respective fields, and give back to society by nurturing the next generation, either as mentors in the industry or educators in schools.

Over the years, we have nurtured 13 Cultural Medallion recipients - Singapore’s highest accolade bestowed on art practitioners who have significantly impacted arts and culture. Another 14 alumni have been presented the Young Artist Award. To date, the NAFA alumni community has close to 10,000 members from various parts of the world and is growing from strength to strength.

View our featured alumni

The Arts sector is a substantial contributor to employment and is a notable driver for economic growth. Artists in developed countries like Singapore typically enjoy rewarding, multi-dimensional and fulfilling careers.

At NAFA, we prepare you for your career. As of 1 November 2015, 87% of NAFA graduates were employed within three months after graduation. NAFA graduates in full-time permanent jobs received a gross monthly starting salary of S$2,154 (mean) and S$2,100 (median) for diploma graduates and S$2,639 (mean) / S$2,500 (median) for degree graduates.

View Graduate Employment Survey here

NAFA collaborates with five universities in the United Kingdom (UK) - Loughborough University, University of Central Lancashire, University of East London, University of Essex and Royal College of Music, London - to offer top-up Bachelor with Honours degree courses.

Our collaboration with SIM University also allows our Design & Media diploma graduates to pursue a BA Visual Communication with Business degree at SIM University. Through these collaborations, NAFA aims to offer diploma graduates opportunities to promote independent learning, originality and creativity.

View more about our partner universities here

Upon completion of their courses at NAFA, students may look forward to the some of the career options listed here.

VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST HERE