What languages do you need to know if you want to study in Singapore?

Do I need to know Mandarin, English, Tamil and Malay? I heard these are the main languages in use there.


Country: Singapore


No you don't have to know any of those languages. Well definitely English. English is our first and mandatory subjects in school. We speak English, the road signs are in English. It's very very easy for you to go around with English. So don't worry. You don't have to know any of those languages other than English!!
NOT a requirement...English would be good enough for a start. Anyway, when you start living here, you will blend in well with the locals and you could pick up another language then as well as some dialects!

It's easy...there's no need to worry!
You just need to know English as it's the first language for all schools in singapore. but if you only know either of the rest of the language eg mandarin, tamil and malay, there are language schools whereby you can learn english languages for a few mths to a year (depends on your current language abilities to pick up english. all subjects are taught in english, eg mathematics, sciences, etc
YEP difinitely ENGLISH! ^-^
Yes you do need to know English as that's the main language of instruction in schools here.
But for daily life, English is sufficient, while a sprinkling of mandarin phrases wouldnt hurt either
English is the main language and the administration language of Singapore.
You can learn the other languages on courses here but everyone speaks English

All you need is to be able to communicate and understand English as English is the main language being use in all education institutes. If you are interested to learn other language you can take up additional classes for it like Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.

Have fun and welcome to Singapore.
Yes, I agreed with everyone that English is the main language you need to be competant and conversant in if you are studying in Singapore. The other languages that you have to learn will depend on your nationality and second language. For instance, Mandarin,Malay & Tamil are second languages. French, German and Japanes are third languages.
You can also check out more on entre requirements with the Ministry of Education at
There are 4 ethnics in S'pore; Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian and our mainstream language is English. Most of institution in S'pore use English as main language. Basic English is available in respective school that you applied for. The rest of languages are extra skill set that you can take up. Hope this helps.
The main language in singapore will be english. But if u would like to take up a mother tongue which is the 2nd language in singapore, u might want to choose chinese or malay
Basic requirement is still english to study here.Any other local language that you know or will pick up along the way is a plus factor.It will allow you to better understand your fellow students who might be locals.
Generally, unless you are looking to do a particular course in a particular language, English is all you need.

If you are a primary or secondary school student looking to study in a government school in Singapore, then a second language is required. However, this may be substituted by a foreign language such as German, Japanese, French, etc or you may apply to the Ministry of Education for an exemption altogether.
English is the language of instruction in schools here, with perhaps a small number of foreign language schools.

More Information

Get travel answers from locals in Singapore

Find places to visit in Singapore