Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Stats + Econs Freshman Guide Part I

Recently, there was a prospective NUS student, who contacted me seeking my view and advice on various issues pertaining to the academic life in NUS, particularly, as a double major student in statistics and economics. I remember I shared some of her concerns when I was a freshman too and it took me awhile to gather all the information I need as they are scattered all over the web. This prompt me to write a freshman-guide (well, sort of) to address some of the questions that you might have. Hopefully you might find it useful. Do note that whatever follows are based on my personal experience in NUS over the past 3 years only.

Module Biddings

Bidding of modules generally takes place about one week before the official start of the school term and is the main source of my hair-yanking frustration in NUS. I personally find the module bidding experience more torturous than any exams. For the freshmen, everything about CORS can be found here, and I shall not repeat them in this post. I will recommend you to spend some time understanding CORS before the bidding round begins. Tips: Don’t increase your bids unnecessarily during open-biding when you are being outbid. In fact, don’t bid anything until the closed-bidding starts. Otherwise, it will only inflate the min bid further.  

For students who are intending to do a double major in statistics and economics, most of your modules will be core-mods which will be bid using your P-points. All your G-points will be spent on at most 4 to 5 modules throughout your entire candidature in NUS unless you choose to overload on the non-core modules. The unfortunate news is that, as a double major, you do not get more P-points than your peers who are only doing a single major. This means that your P-points will have to be stretched over more modules. So far, I have already bankrupted my P-account at least twice over the last 3 academic years. 

At first glance,. the Module Preference Exercise (MPE) in FASS (for economics modules after you get approved by the statistics department to take the second major) appears to provide some relieve on your P-account as they might pre-allocate your indicated choice of module to you. In the simplest sense, the MPE works by pre-allocating modules to students who have indicated interest in taking the module in the coming semester. If the number of students interested in a particular module is less than its quota, then every student will be pre-allocated the module. If on the other hand, the number of students interested in the module exceeded the quota, then nobody will be allocated the module and students proceed to bid for them in CORS.  This is made slightly more complicated as there are different priorities when it comes to the allocation. More often than not, you as a second major in economics will not be pre-allocated modules that are popular or essential. This is because double major has the lowest priority (among students of the same year) when it comes to allocating the modules. 

As an illustration, assume that there are 200 slots in a particular module and there are 160 students from priority-1, 30 students from priority-2 and 20 students from priority-3 has indicated interest in the module. Then students from the first 2 priority will be allocated the module as their total number is within the quota. However, none of the priority-3 will be getting the module. This actually makes it much more difficult for the double major to secure the module. Instead of 210 students competing for 200 slots, it now becomes 20 students competing for 10 slots, and my experience have shown that the higher the bidder-to-quota ratio, the more points is needed to secure the module. 

Given how frustrating module bidding can be, I would recommend you to have some back up plans when you plan for your modules. Careful planning of modules is especially important for double major as we do not have many choices of module during the first 3 to 4 semesters. 

Program requirement

For those who have already seen the second major in economics requirement, you might be wondering what all those double-counting, preclusion and overlapping modules are about. It took me quite some times to finally figure out what modules I need to take in order to graduate as the relevant information are scattered around the internet. Luckily for you, I will be giving a summary of the modules that you need to take as a double major student. In short, you need the following modules in order to graduate:

·         96 MCs of statistics major requirement as listed here
·         40 MCs of economics second major requirement (after all the double counting)
·         4 MCs of Singapore studies
·         8 MCs of faculty requirement
·         4 MCs of arts GEM
·         4 MCs of sci/arts GEM
·         4 MCs of unrestricted elective module
Assuming each module you take consists of 4 MCs, then you will be taking 37 modules + FYP in total. You may notice that there is no breadth requirement in the list.  This is because the requirement is considered fulfilled under all those economics modules. Also note that the 2 modules for faculty requirement must have different prefix, i.e. you cannot take 2 PC modules to fulfill the requirement. 

I hope that this post would clarify some of your doubts. If there are anything still unclear, feel free to raise them in the comment section. As the title suggest, this is just part I of the series, there will be part II and III or maybe more coming up over the next few days, so do keep a look out.

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