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  • Arnest Lim

CHS Common Curriculum Course Reviews (Part 5) - HS2903, HS1403A and A Brief Rundown of NM3550C

Updated: 6 days ago

Coming as no surprise to anyone, it’s time for another semester of CHS Common Curriculum Course Reviews.

Disclaimer: All of the following courses were taken in AY 23/24 Sem 1 and the structures of these courses MAY BE DIFFERENT in subsequent sems. All views expressed in this article are my own so please only take this review as an unofficial guide. More detailed information can be found in the links at the bottom of this article.

Check out other course reviews right here.

HS2903 - Sporting Bodies

Lecturers: Prof Michelle Ho, Prof Koh Hwee Ling

Tutor: Sean Lee

TLDR: Understanding the intersection between the biological and sociocultural definitions of sporting bodies.

Description of course

  • One of the many Interdisciplinary Courses offered by CHS, HS2903 is a course jointly taught by the Department of Communications and New Media and the Department of Pharmacy.

  • The course covers different aspects of the world of sport from both a scientific and arts-based standpoint, looking at the importance of global sporting organisations to the ethics of “sex-testing” female athletes. The nuanced perspective provided on these issues will be useful for the group project, where students are expected to come up with a research proposal related to class themes and content.

  • Fortnightly tutorials are 2 hours long and held on campus, serving as sessions for students to engage in discussions about lecture content as well as brainstorm about their group projects.

  • Students from the Data Science and Economics (DSE-XDP), Environmental Studies (BES-XDP) and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Cross-Disciplinary Programmes (PPE-XDP) are exempted from taking CHS Interdisciplinary Courses.

  • Alternative courses:

  1. USP students - USS2105 (University Scholars Seminar)

  2. NUSC students - NHS or NST courses (Making Connections)

  3. UTCP students - UTC Level-2000 courses (Senior Seminar)

  4. RVRC students - RVSS courses

  5. CHS-College of Design and Engineering Double Degree Programme (CHS-CDE DDP) students - EG1311 (Design and Make)

  6. CHS students can read any of the following -

  • HS2901 (Music, Mathematics, and Code)

  • HS2902 (”Do Play Play”: The Importance of Play)

  • HS2904 (Driving Towards the Future: Battery Electric Vehicles)

  • HS2905 (Cheeseburger in Paradise: Why We Eat What We Eat)

  • HS2906 (Saltwater: Society and the Sea)

  • HS2907 (Earth and Beyond)

  • HS2908 (Nature and Nurture: Rethinking Sex and Gender)

  • HS2909 (The Rise and Fall and Rise of China)

  • HS2911 (Social Media and Mental Health)

  • HS2912 (Polymaths: Innovating Between Art and Science)

  • HS2913 [Representing Live(s): Research, Performance and Stories]

  • HS2914 (How to Get Humans and Machines to Talk to Each Other)

  • HS2915 (Beyond the Good and Evil of Drugs)

  • HS2916 (Love That Kills: A Criminal Justice Perspective)

  • HS2917 (The Meaning of Colour)

  • HS2918 (Pain Points: The Problem with Pain)

  • HS2919 (Blood and Womb: Culture and the Body in Malay Society)

  • HS2920 (Transition to Clean and Just Energy)

  • HS2921 (Effective Altruism in Theory and Practice)

  • HS2922 (Major US Supreme Court Cases and Big Ideas Behind Them)

  • HS2923 (Human-Animal Relations: History, Biodiversity and Ethics)

  • HS2924 (Building Mental Wellbeing and Resilience)


  • Participation (15%)

  • 6 Quizzes (20%)

  • 2 Video Blogs (Vlogs) (30%)

  • Group Research Project (35%)


HS2903 does a good job of providing a well-rounded view of the topics being covered, being a good showing of what an interdisciplinary course should be about. There wasn't too much emphasis on either the scientific or arts-based portion of the course and content was interwoven very well. The course content was accessible for all students regardless of major, making our learning process a lot easier. HS2903 also made use of relevant topics in the real world, pushing students to think outside the box and challenge pre-conceived notions about the world of sport.

In terms of assessments, quizzes are sufficiently well spaced out and only consist of four questions each, with equal coverage of scientific and non-scientific content. They are also set at sufficiently spaced out time frames, such that there was no quiz due when students had to submit an assignment.

What many students would be intrigued about are the vlogs, which gave students the chance to apply course content to real life scenarios and yet be creative with how they wanted to use videos as a medium to share their insights on a case study of their choice. Despite the fact that these were video-based assignments, it was good that students were not graded on how well-made their vlogs were and were instead only graded on content. This put everyone on a level playing field and didn’t give an advantage to students who knew how to edit or make videos of a higher quality.

As you will soon come to find out if you take this course, there’s much more to the world of sport than just sport itself, with politics, ethics and biology being just some of the ideas being covered.


While the content itself is interesting and the way it's taught is good, HS2903’s assignments, especially the group project, can be better structured. For instance, the research proposal's requirements was quite vague and many groups were unaware of how detailed we needed to be when it came to the research methodology. This made students very confused and ultimately, a clarification was only sent out a couple days before the submission deadline so groups had to scramble to get things done. Communication between the teaching team and the student cohort could've definitely been better and would’ve made the learning experience much better.

Personal thoughts

As one of the Interdisciplinary Courses that CHS students have the option of taking to fulfil graduation requirements, it should come as no surprise to anyone that many students taking HS2903 are only doing it to clear the pillar. Even with that in mind, I think the teaching team did well in trying to get students interested by bringing in guest speakers with a lot of real world connections to the topics being taught.

While there is a good amount of scientific material being covered, such as what happens in the human body when engaging in exercise, it is not covered in a way that alienates FASS students. The teaching team makes a sufficiently good attempt at making the content relatable and relevant to all.

Though not everyone in the teaching team is equally proficient in teaching, there’s definitely effort put in to give students a better learning experience. It also definitely helps that the course content is not difficult to understand and assignments (less the group project) are generally simple to understand. For those who are looking for an Interdisciplinary Course that has interesting content and yet is not too difficult, HS2903 is the course for you.

HS1403A - Career Compass III

Coordinators: Beatrice Tan, Lim Hui Fang

Career Advisor: Kong Kum-Hoong

TLDR: Building upon the skills taught in HS1402A.

Description of course

  • The third course in the Career Compass series, HS1403A prepares students for getting internships or embarking on research projects as a way of enhancing future employability.

  • Allocated to all Year 3 CHS students, this course aims to provide students with various ways of gaining real life experience as well as developing their ability to apply classroom learnings to the outside world.

  • Alternative courses:

  1. FoS students - HS1403S (exact same content but under a different course code)


  • Much like HS1401A and HS1402A, students are required to accumulate 100 points over the course of the AY, with varying number of points being attached to various activities. The course is graded on a Completed Satisfactorily/Unsatisfactory (CS/CU) basis and won’t be reflected on students’ transcripts.

  • Activities are split into four different categories (Immersion, Career Know-How, Industry Awareness, Personal Growth and Skills Development), and include doing a full-time internship, going for the Student Exchange Programme (SEP) or completing two Roots and Wings 2.0 courses.


Like its predecessors, HS1403A is an AY-long non-credit bearing course that doesn’t require much effort to complete. Students can spread their activities out over both semesters or just “speed run” the course’s requirements in the first semester.

Compared to the previous two courses, this course gets students to be a lot more hands-on in various aspects by assigning points to all kinds of activities. Naturally, internship experience would get you points but even holding student leadership positions in certain clubs would contribute to this requirement as well. This would be greatly beneficial in ensuring students are well-rounded individuals who don’t just go “all-in” into one facet of life while ignoring the rest.



Personal thoughts

Since I was doing a full-time internship this semester (NM3550C for all you CNM students out there), I automatically got 100 points for HS1403A and did not intentionally embark on any other activities. However, I think it’s good that students can complete many varied options to complete this course and they give students a good breadth of development.

The world outside of school isn’t just about building up work experience, though that is certainly important, but personal development is also crucial and will definitely help us too when we progress into the working world. Just like with previous courses, I can’t come up with cons because there aren’t any and HS1403A (as with the entire Career Compass series) is a good tool for students to utilise NUS’ career resources.

A Brief Rundown of NM3550C

Most CNM students would have to embark on the 16-week CNM Internship Programme (CIP), otherwise known as the 8-unit NM3550C as part of our graduation requirements. As mentioned above, I embarked on this internship this semester and am currently entering the tail end of my time in the company.

NM3550C isn’t just about getting students to go through internships, it’s also an academic course, with students having to write academic-style papers tackling a particular theme (e.g. networking, imposter syndrome, communication, etc.) with relevance to our internship experiences.

Many students have probably heard seniors constantly telling them that the search for internships must start early and that is very true. Though my internship only started in early July, I began applying as early as February and by March, I had already gone for two interviews and secured my CIP placing. It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one applying for an internship, for you’re not only competing against other CNM students but also students from other faculties in NUS, students from other universities and even graduates.

Like all internships, CIP is crucial for students to try out different industries and roles, figuring out what they want or don’t want to do. The timeframe provided is good for this, with 16 weeks being sufficiently long for one to have a taste of the industry they’re currently in to determine if it’s their cup of tea.

Everyone’s internship experience will be different from one another, so make the most out of it and learn something new!

In terms of getting internship experience, the resources provided by the Centre for Future-ready Graduates, whether they’re workshops, career talks or chats with your career advisor, are very useful. Thankfully, all these activities are offered as part of the Career Compass series and by going through these preparations, students can not only be better prepared for internship applications but also the actual internship itself.

I won’t go in depth into CIP since that’s not the point of this article but if you want to find out more, check out one of our previous articles right here.


For more information, please access the following links-

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