Learning Minds Special

Gaining a new perspective

Gaining a new perspective
Mr Basheer Ahamed Mohamed Ismail and Ms Anna Tay are confident that a degree at SUSS would give them a leg up in the industry. Photo: Ong Ze Teng

Gaining a new perspective

Singapore University of Social Sciences’ sociology and psychology degrees help students better understand the human psyche

It is a season of new beginnings for Ms Anna Tay, 25, a programme coordinator at a senior day-care centre, and Mr Basheer Ahamed Mohamed Ismail, 28, a business and operations consultant in the finance industry.

Both of them have changed jobs this year. Besides having to adjust to their new roles, they have something else in common: Both are currently pursuing their part-time bachelor degrees with Singapore University of Social Sciences’ (SUSS) School of Arts and Social Sciences.

The degree programmes by SUSS provide students with a good grounding in the social sciences, while honing their analytical, theoretical and methodological skills.


Ms Tay was working in the public sector when she discovered her passion in serving the community. She wanted to gain more knowledge in social service, so she enrolled in a part-time sociology degree programme at SUSS two years ago.

The Bachelor of Arts in Sociology covers a range of social topics such as ageing, family, gender and religion. It analyses human behaviour and society in a globalised world. Ms Tay enjoyed Sociology of Family the most because it is a study of family life, and discusses variations in family structure, dynamics and the role of families in society. 

Mr Basheer decided to take up a part-time psychology degree in 2013 because he wanted to upgrade his skillsets and ensure that his competencies are relevant to the current and future economies.

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology provides a solid foundation in various fields of psychology, including organisational, social, personality and cognitive psychology. Mr Basheer likes how the programme teaches him about human nature from a scientific perspective.

“I want to know what makes people tick. I find it fascinating how people differ from one another and how their life experiences affect their subsequent behaviour in a specific context,” he said. 


While their reasons for pursuing a degree may differ, both adult learners chose SUSS because of the flexibility to learn at their own pace. 

“Students who are academically inclined may finish their programme in three years, while those who need more time can take longer,” said Mr Basheer. 

He also likes how the courses are transiting to the flipped-classroom learning approach where self-learning is done prior to lessons. 

He said: “It’s an efficient use of time and resources for both students and lecturers. This way, the lecturers can address our doubts and elaborate on the subject matter in detail.”

Students who can’t make it for lessons also have the option of viewing the lecture online in their own time. All study materials are available through the institute’s e-learning platform. 

It is for these reasons that Ms Tay chose to pursue her degree in SUSS.

“We have the flexibility of learning through face-to-face sessions and e-lectures,” she said. 

Fitting the lectures into her schedule is also easier as they are usually conducted from 7pm to 10pm for part-time students. She also enjoys the modular six-week learning structure. It is focused and empowers her to absorb new material quickly.


To broaden the learning spectrum and expose students to subjects outside their programme, students have to complete 10 credits of University Core Curriculum. They have to select one course each from three baskets: Communication, Skills, and The World and I. 

Ms Tay chose Art Appreciation from The World and I where she picked up acrylic painting skills. Courses from this basket connects students to world issues and other fields of knowledge.

Mr Basheer also had the chance to experience hands-on learning as some of the courses in the psychology programme required him to design his own research and collect data. In addition, a group of psychology students and faculty organises volunteer opportunities for students at the Institute of Mental Health.


Thanks to the wide variety of psychology courses at SUSS, Mr Basheer has a better understanding of how people think, feel and behave. More importantly, he is able to apply the theories that he has learnt to his everyday life and at work. 

“I often use the principles that I’ve learnt in the Cognitive Psychology course to help me better communicate with customers at work,” Mr Basheer said.

As for Ms Tay, a degree in sociology helped her to understand the seniors that she works with.

She said: “My job is very person-centric. Courses such as Social Gerontology help me recognise the needs of the seniors and provide them with the proper assistance and support.”

Another plus point of SUSS is that most of the lecturers run their own companies or are affiliated with the workforce sectors.

“The insights our lecturers bring to the table are priceless. When they share their professional experiences, it sheds light on the current trends in their respective fields,” said Mr Basheer. 

Agreeing with him, Ms Tay said that she can better understand the concepts and recall the information because of the personal anecdotes that lecturers share. 


Ms Tay, who will graduate in June next year, feels that she has benefitted immensely from the knowledge gained in class and from her lecturers.

“I believe that this degree will give me an edge above others in the same line of work,” she said.

Mr Basheer, who will graduate at the end of the year, is equally positive. 

“The degree not only aids my career aspirations but equips me with knowledge on the theoretical aspects of human affect, behaviours and cognition. When we understand how people think, feel and behave, we can utilise this knowledge in several ways,” he said.

For details on SUSS programmes, visit

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