Polytechnic courses

Polytechnic Courses: Who Says Humanities are Not Important?

Many students aiming for entry into Polytechnic think that they can give up on Combined Humanities. They feel that it is not required and that is true for most Polytechnic courses.

However, some Polytechnics courses require students to do well for Combined Humanities. It can also be another Humanities subject like History or Geography. Regrettably, these courses tend to be the most popular.

Polytechnic Course Requirements

There are a few early entry schemes to selected Polytechnic Courses. They are not the subject of this blog, so I will not discuss them. I will only focus on the entry due to O Level requirements.

ELR2B2, which means the English Language, two Relevant subjects and 2 Best subjects, determine what a student can enrol in. This is a point system, and your grade determines the points. If you score A1, you get 1 point. If you score C5, you get 5 points and so on.

The student chooses the Relevant subjects from two groups. These subjects are deemed relevant, which as you can guess from its name. The best subjects are the best scoring ones after English and the two Relevant subjects.

In general, technical courses require science subjects; while courses that require more language use require Combined Humanities.

How do the polytechnics ensure what are the Relevant subjects? ELR2B2 is further divided in ELR2B2-A to -D. In other words, within ELR2B2, there are further refinements. Do take note that certain courses require more Relevant subjects.

The Special Role of English

Before moving to the Combined Humanities, let me stress that all courses require English. Languages are considered Humanities subjects. Whenever someone tells you that Humanities is not required for polytechnic is wrong. It is the only truly compulsory subject.


I will only concentrate on ELR2B2-A as this group has clear Combined Humanities requirements. If you read the polytechnic or MOE websites, you will see these requirements spelt out. To save time, I have included them here:1st Group of Relevant Subjects  

Art / Art & DesignBusiness StudiesCombined HumanitiesCommerce
Commercial StudiesEconomicsGeographyHigher Art
Higher MusicHistoryIntro to Enterprise DevelopmentLiterature in English
Literature in ChineseLiterature in MalayLiterature in TamilMedia Studies (English)
Media Studies (Chinese)   

  2nd Group of Relevant Studies  

Additional MathematicsArt / Art & DesignBusiness StudiesChinese
Combined HumanitiesCommerceCommercial StudiesCreative 3D Animation
Design & TechnologyDesign StudiesEconomicsElementary Mathematics
Food & NutritionGeographyHigher ArtHigher Chinese
Higher MalayHigher MusicHigher TamilHistory
Intro to Enterprise DevelopmentLiterature in EnglishLiterature in ChineseLiterature in Malay
Literature in TamilMalayMedia Studies (English)Media Studies (Chinese)
MusicPrinciples of AccountsTamil 

I have highlighted the common Humanities subjects offered in typical schools. It is possible for students taking Higher Art, for example, to not use a Humanities subject as a Relevant subject. However, it will be rare.

As a side note, one group of Relevant Subjects for ELR2B2-B includes Combined Humanities. The basket of Relevant subjects is the same as the 1st Group of ELR2B2-A, but with the inclusion of Principles of Accounts.


Here are some of the courses available:

Nanyang Polytechnic

Social Sciences (Social Work)6-10Accountancy & Finance6-12
  Banking & Finance3-14
  Business Management6-16
  Food & Beverage Business4-16
  Hospitality & Tourism Management8-14
  Mass Media Management4-13
  Sports & Wellness Management9-16

Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Chinese Studies6-10Accountancy5-9
Community DevelopmentArts Business Management5-10
Tamil Studies with Early Education8-22Banking & Finance4-9
Early Childhood Development & Education6-15Business Studies3-8
Mass Communication4-10International Trade & Business5-10
Chinese Media & Communication6-13Tourism & Resort Management4-11

What have we learnt?

I have only included courses from two polytechnics, but you can see the trends. Media, Social Sciences and Early Education courses usually require Combined Humanities. It is useful for Business courses as well.

These courses have low cut-off points. Many of them are the most popular courses. Hence, scoring well for Combined Humanities will boost the chances of entering a premium polytechnic course.

Critical Thought

Critical Thought English & Humanities is your best resource for English, English Literature, Social Studies, Geography and History.

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