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 industry-led practice and experiential learning, NAFA nurtures creative talents who lead at the forefront of both traditional and contemporary art practices.

The academy offers full-time diploma and degree courses through the School of Art & Design comprising 3D Design, Design & Media, Fashion Studies and Fine Art Programmes; School of Arts Management, Dance & Theatre; and School of Music.

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 has a rigorous and 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 while giving 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. In particular, Interdisciplinary Studies is a unique feature of our curriculum that has an emphasis on Southeast Asian arts, history and culture. With the collaboration between NAFA’s Institute of Southeast Asian Arts (ISEAA) and the Academic Schools, students are offered a platform to work together, experiment with ideas and innovate across disciplines.

With industry-based learning built into the curriculum, students are able to gain broader perspectives, develop problem-solving skills and learn about social responsibility. We work with industry partners so that students can embark on industrial attachments/internships and/or industry/community projects. In addition, Dance, Fine Art, Music and Theatre students also have the opportunity to develop skills in teaching practice where they learn to nurture the next generation of arts practitioners.

[email protected] is an initiative, which further augments our curriculum, with the aim of encouraging a spirit of exploration and innovation in our students. Through various programmes and events organised, students are given the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills and competencies, as well as collaborate and network with peers and industry partners.

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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/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, A*STAR, Resorts World Sentosa, the National Museum of Singapore and 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.

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.

NAFA’s School of Art & Design, for instance, has an overseas immersion programme as an elective in its curriculum for its first year students, which has been held at the Beijing Institute of Technology and Xiamen University of Technology in China since 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 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 3D Design Programme, for instance, has a student exchange programme with King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Thailand where 3D Design diploma students spend upto one semester at KMUTT reading modules, working on projects with Thai students and lecturers, and engaging in activities to learn about Thailand’s society and values.

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 currently collaborates with four universities in the United Kingdom (UK) - 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 the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) also allows our Design & Media diploma graduates to pursue a BA Visual Communication with Business degree at SUSS. Through these strong collaborations, NAFA enables our diploma graduates to further their academic and creative pursuits in the arts.

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