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President’s Scholarship

The President’s Scholarship is widely regarded as Singapore’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to students who have gone beyond excellence in academic pursuits and co-curricular activities to distinguish themselves. In awarding the President’s Scholarship, the PSC looks for outstanding young men and women with a strong ethos for Public Service, sound character and a dedication to improving the lives of Singaporeans.

The President's Scholarship is awarded on top of another Public Sector scholarship.

The President's Scholarship Regulations were established in 1968 as information to the general public. Download the regulations to find out more.

History and Past President’s Scholarship Holders

The President’s Scholarship has its roots in the Queen’s Scholarship, which was founded in 1885. The Queen’s Scholarship was initiated by Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, Governor of the Straits Settlements. It was awarded to the best student of the year by a special selection board comprising six members under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice. The scholarship was “awarded annually to enable those who wish to do so to take an approved course of study at an overseas university or institution”. 

Queen’s Scholarship holders include Mr E.W. Barker (former Minister for Law) and the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo (Mrs Lee Kuan Yew).

The Queen’s Scholarship was abolished in 1959 and replaced by the Singapore State Scholarship when Singapore became self-governing. The State Scholarship was only tenable at the University of Malaya and recipients were selected on the basis of merit from students admitted to the university. 

Singapore State Scholarship holders include Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam (Singapore’s 7th President) and Dr Yeo Ning Hong (former Cabinet Minister).

In 1964, Chairman of the PSC, Dr Phay Seng Whatt, revised the regulations to the State Scholarship so that the scholarship was “awarded to the cream of each school-leaving year, on the basis of the Higher School Certificate results or where appropriate school certificate results, without exclusion on grounds of what or where these students prefer to study.” Students in all language streams of education in Singapore were also eligible for the scholarship. Underpinning this review was the desire to uphold the basic intention of the scholarship, which was that it was to be the most prestigious award available conferred to the very best students on the basis of pure merit.

In August 1964, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara Scholarship was inaugurated to replace the State Scholarship. 

Yang di-Pertuan Negara Scholarship holders include Mr Lim Siong Guan (former head of Civil Service and currently Group President and Chairman of GIC Asset Management).

In 1966, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara Scholarship was renamed the President’s Scholarship following Singapore’s independence. 

The first President’s Scholarship holders include: Mr Lee Yock Suan (former Minister for the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs), Mr Barry Desker (Dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies) and Mr Koh Cher Siang (Chairman of the Housing and Development Board).