First batch of design and artificial intelligence students graduating from SUTD

SINGAPORE – Thirty students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will be the first to graduate with a degree in design and artificial intelligence (DAI) on May 28.

More than half of these graduates have already secured jobs in various industries including e-commerce, telecommunications, aviation and defence technology.

Four more students from this first DAI batch will graduate with an additional master of science in technology entrepreneurship in May 2025.

Since its introduction in 2022, the DAI programme has seen a steady increase in intake, from 34 students in 2022 to 50 students in 2024.

SUTD said this degree programme is among the first of its kind worldwide, and aims to train talent to fill the acute shortage of AI manpower in the industry.

The objective is to produce graduates who can combine technical expertise in design innovation and apply AI to other disciplines.

An SUTD spokeswoman told The Straits Times that students in the degree programme undergo hands-on learning to design solutions for real-world industry projects, through a series of AI-driven design modules throughout their course of study.

These modules teach concepts such as product design, service design, systems design and spatial design.

Students of the 3½ year programme learn about user interface and data-driven design, as well as AI technologies and algorithms to improve design and applications.

Graduates are prepared for job roles such as AI solution architects, data scientists, and data visualisation specialists, in industries such as urban planning, product design and services.

Mr Eugene Hoong, 26, is among the first batch of DAI students graduating from SUTD on May 28.

He has already received three job offers and accepted one from Shopee – a local e-commerce company – for a product manager position.

After graduating from Nanyang Polytechnic in 2018 with a diploma in cyber security, Mr Hoong had been interested in disruptive technology and felt that it was important in an increasingly digital age.

He initially intended to pursue a degree in engineering systems and design when he first enrolled in SUTD in September 2020. But when he heard that the university was launching the DAI degree in 2022, he decided to change his course of study.

“I’m always a firm believer that you should do the hardest thing in school. I think learning hard sciences is something that is worth investing in from very early on. It builds the foundation for other peripheral skills afterwards,” he said.

He added that the internships and industrial projects he undertook as part of the programme equipped him with unique skill sets to tackle novel AI-related challenges head on.

Said Mr Hoong: “Amid all the difficulties and uncertainties in the coming future, we’ve already built up skills to handle situations by knowing what we have at hand, and then building a path forward with concrete steps.”

Professor Phoon Kok Kwang, president-designate and provost of SUTD, said this first batch of graduates will be the first in the world to enter a workforce with a DAI degree.

first batch of design and artificial intelligence students graduating from sutd

Professor Phoon Kok Kwang said the Singapore University of Technology and Design is also working on new graduate-level programmes centred on design and artificial intelligence. PHOTO: SUTD

Said Prof Phoon: “Companies have shown strong interest in our pioneer DAI graduates, and I have no doubt they will go on to make a huge difference in the world. As AI becomes more prevalent in everyday life, I expect many more to take up this degree course in the years ahead.”

He added that SUTD is also working on new graduate-level programmes centred on DAI, which would suit graduates from different disciplines as well as mid-career professionals who are planning a career shift to the AI field.

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