Academic Programs & Registration

HKUST believes in total education. Our credit-based undergraduate programs combine the advantages of the sharp program focus of traditional Chinese and British universities and the broad approach characteristic of American universities.

Our educational philosophy and your personal development require that you be exposed to fields outside your major area of study. The undergraduate curriculum is designed to ensure that you get this exposure.

Under the 4-year curriculum, programs usually consist of eight regular terms of full-time study. All programs lead to honors degrees.

Most programs are administered by academic departments/divisions. Joint programs involve two or more departments and are administered by a unit set up for that purpose.

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Curriculum Requirements

To attain a 4-year bachelor’s degree, you must:

  • Earn at least 120 credits through approved courses or credit transfer
  • Fulfill the requirements of the University Common Core Program
  • Fulfill the University English Language Requirement
  • Fulfill the University Legal Education Requirement [For students admitted in 2022-23 intake or after only]
  • Fulfill School/AIS requirements set by your school or AIS
  • Fulfill your major program requirements

Any deviation from the minimum credit, English language, Common Core, or Legal Education requirements must be approved by the Provost or the Provost’s designate. Any deviation from school or program requirements must be approved by your dean or their designee.

Students admitted to the University in 2022-23 and thereafter must complete 30 credits of Common Core courses from three Common Core course groups, namely the Foundations, Broadening and Experiencing; while those admitted in 2021-22 and before must complete the 36-credit Common Core Program with a slightly different structure.

The detailed requirements of both the 30-credit and 36-credit Common Core Programs and the list of Common Core courses can be found on the website of the University Common Core Program.

Detailed Information

Students can find details of the academic requirements for your program in the Program Catalog.

Programs are frequently improved and updated, so requirements may change while you are still a student. Some changes will apply to you while others will only apply to students who enter the program after you.

To see if any change has been made that affects you, check the Program Catalog which shows the course and credit requirements for students who were admitted in different years.

First, select your program

Then, the year you were admitted appropriately

The curriculum you see will include any changes that affect you. If what you see in Program Catalog differs from what you saw or were told in earlier years, you must follow what you see in the Program Catalog. In case of any doubt, please consult your home department/School or relevant program office.

Credit Transfer & Exemptions

If you previously studied at another university, polytechnic or other post-secondary institution, you may be eligible for credit transfer or for exemption from some course or program requirements.

Credit transfers and exemptions are also available if you study at an appropriate level elsewhere while you are a student at HKUST, for example, on an exchange program.

A course-credit transfer may be awarded if you complete a course that is recognized as equivalent to a specific course in the HKUST Course Catalog.

For other courses that the University recognizes, you may get a credit-only transfer or an exemption from some course or program requirements without a credit transfer.

Minimum Credit Requirements

To graduate with a 4-year bachelor’s degree from HKUST, you must complete a minimum of two years of full-time study at the University, and obtain a minimum of 60 HKUST course credits.

The minimum number of HKUST credits required for graduation from a major, minor, or the University Common Core Program may also be specified.

Transfer credits granted will not be included in the calculation of your grade averages unless prior arrangements have been made.

Applications

Applications for credit transfer or exemptions based on prior studies must be submitted no later than one month after the start of your first regular term at HKUST.

Applications for credit transfer or exemptions based on studies elsewhere while you are a student at HKUST must be submitted no later than one month after your return to study at HKUST.

Students are able to find the previously approved mappings from the below databases. Before you raise any new mapping, you are highly recommended to search whether there are any useful mappings and use them to proceed your applications.

Credit Transfer Database (For Institutional Courses)

Credit Transfer Database (For Examinations)

Types of Programs

Most undergraduate degree programs are simply called programs but there are some special types.

Major

To graduate with a bachelor’s degree, you must fulfill the requirements of at least one major. You will select your major after admission to the schools except some students who are admitted to specified majors on entry. Registration in a major is not guaranteed and requires the approval of the major-program coordinator.

Option

Options have a distinct set of requirements within the framework of a major program. Options focus on a specific area or scope of study within a general area of study. Completion of the requirements for an option will be noted on your transcript.

Extended Major

Extended Major is not a standalone major. It is adhered to a certain relevant Major as expanded choices for students to enrich their major study with cross-disciplinary applications of emerging technology and innovations relevant to their Majors. Completion of the requirements for an extended major will be noted on your transcript.

Minor

A minor program is a set of requirements that relate to an area or scope of study outside the general framework of your degree program. Successful completion of a minor program will be noted on your transcript.

Additional Major

Students who fulfill the requirements of two major programs within the normal period of study can receive a degree award that carries both program majors. The programs that make up the additional major will normally all lead to the same undergraduate degree (that is, BBA, BSc or BEng).

For example, if you fulfill the requirements of two majors, Finance and Marketing, you can receive a degree called BBA in Finance, and in Marketing.

With increasing flexibility in the four-year degree, it is possible for you to take various combinations of majors, not only within the school but also across schools, and the latter may involve different degrees.

For example, if you fulfill the requirements of the BEng program in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management with an additional major in Physics, you can receive a degree called BEng in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management and an additional major in Physics.

Dual Degree

A dual degree program leads to two degree awards, for instance, the dual degree program in technology and management leading to both a Bachelor of Engineering and a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Registration in Programs

You must register in each regular term by paying your tuition and other required fees, and completing the registration process.

Failure to register or withdrawal from all your courses will result in automatic withdrawal from your program and the University unless you have prior approval from your dean or their designee to take leave from study.

Tuition

Before the start of each regular term, the Academic Registry will notify you how much tuition to pay and how to make payment. Be sure to complete these procedures before the deadline.

If you have any financial hardship, you may contact the Scholarship & Financial Aid Office (SFAO) to apply for a deferral of tuition payment.

On your first registration, you must also pay a deposit as caution money in case you fail to pay charges you incur during your time at the University. When you complete your program of study, the caution money will be transferred to settle your graduation fee.

Further details are available on the ARO's Tuition & Fees website.

Late Charges & Other Penalties

You may be required to pay late charges or subject to other penalties for failure to complete certain University procedures by stipulated deadlines. These include fines for overdue library books, services suspension for delinquent payments of tuition/hall fees, and administrative charges for resumption of suspended services. Late charges and penalties are levied in accordance with the rules and regulations set by respective offices.

Minor Program

Each minor program has a minor-program coordinator. To enroll in a minor, you need the coordinator’s approval.

You may need to register in a minor program to take courses included in the program.

If you want a minor to be recorded on your transcript, you must register in the minor no later than the last day of the add/drop period in the first regular term of your final year of study. A declaration of undergraduate minor program can be downloaded here.

If you want to withdraw from a minor program, you must apply to the minor-program coordinator before the deadline specified for the program.

Additional Major

Each major program has a major-program coordinator. With the approval of the relevant coordinators (coordinators of both the first major and the additional major), you may complete the requirements for more than one major program.

If you wish to take the additional major which is offered by another school/AIS, you also need to seek approval from the dean or their designee.

If you want an additional major to be recorded on your transcript, you must normally register in the major no later than the last day of the add/drop period in the first regular term of your final year of study.

To graduate with an additional major, students admitted in 2015-16 or after must fulfill the requirements specified for that major, within which you must complete at least 20 single-counted credits. These 20 credits cannot be used to fulfill any other requirements for graduation except for the 120-credit degree requirement.

Double Registration

You are not permitted to register concurrently for another program or at another post-secondary institution while you are a student at HKUST, unless you obtain prior permission from the University.

The related application form can be downloaded here.

Program Transfer

If you are registered in a school or a major program, and you want to change your program in another school or another major, you need approval from dean of the school in which you are seeking registration, or the dean’s designee.  If you wish to transfer to a program under AIS, you need approval from the dean of the AIS.

Transfers usually take effect at the start of a term. Immediate transfer may be granted if it is academically justified and endorsed by your dean or their designee.

When you transfer from one school to another school or one program to another program, your entire course grade and credit record will be transferred to your new school or program and used in the calculation of grade averages. Your transfer-in department will tell you what requirements you must meet to graduate from your new program.

The related application form can be downloaded here.

Leave from Study

You should try not to interrupt studies.

With sufficient justification, your dean or their designee may approve a leave from study. Leave usually takes effect at the start of a term. Under exceptional circumstances, such as poor health, leave can start at other times.

Requests for leave from study totaling more than one academic year will not normally be granted.

The related application form can be downloaded here.

University Withdrawal & Re-admission

You may ask to withdraw from a degree program by making a written application to the Academic Registry.

The University may require you to withdraw if you fail to register in a regular term without having obtained permission to take leave from study, or for another reason.

In all such cases, your registration at the University will be terminated.

If you withdraw or are required to withdraw from the University, you must complete clearance procedures as specified by the Academic Registrar. The related form can be downloaded here.

You may subsequently apply for re-admission to the University by following the usual admission procedures.

If you withdraw from the University and subsequently are re-admitted, course grades and credits that you obtained within five years prior to re-admission may be used to fulfill the requirements for your program, unless you have used these grades and credits to earn another academic qualification, either at HKUST or elsewhere.

Pages In this Guide
1
Who Does What

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

2
CURRENT PAGE
Academic Programs & Registration

HKUST believes in total education. Our credit-based undergraduate programs combine the advantages of the sharp program focus of traditional Chinese and British universities and the broad approach characteristic of American universities.

Our educational philosophy and your personal development require that you be exposed to fields outside your major area of study. The undergraduate curriculum is designed to ensure that you get this exposure.

Under the 4-year curriculum, programs usually consist of eight regular terms of full-time study. All programs lead to honors degrees.

Most programs are administered by academic departments/divisions. Joint programs involve two or more departments and are administered by a unit set up for that purpose.

3
NEXT PAGE
Courses & Enrollment

You are responsible for your own studies. It is important for you to plan ahead to ensure that you can complete the study within the permitted duration of study.

4
Academic Integrity

Academic integrity and honesty are key values at HKUST.

5
Classes & Attendance

The University does not have a policy on minimum class attendance. Instructors may take attendance into consideration when assigning grades, provided this is made clear to the students during the discussion of grading.

The academic year begins on 1 September and ends on the following 31 August. A year consists of four terms – Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.

The Fall and Spring terms are the regular terms. Each has 13 weeks of classes, followed by a short study break and an examination period. Almost all formal instruction takes place in the regular terms.

Normally, the Fall term begins in early September and ends in late December, while the Spring term begins in early February and ends in late May. The Summer term usually runs from late June to mid-August.

The Summer and Winter terms may include regular courses, short credit-bearing skills courses, intensive language courses, workshops, lecture series, mini-conferences and other activities.

Most undergraduates are not required to take courses during the Winter and Summer terms.

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Assessment & Progress

Grades are assigned for all courses. Your instructors will discuss the course content, structure, activities and grading scheme with the class at the start of each course.

Typically, the course grade is based on student performance throughout the term and on the final examination. Instructors may consider factors such as class attendance, tardiness and classroom behavior in assigning grades, provided this is made clear to the students during the discussion of grading.

Final examinations are held after the end of classes. There is normally a short study break before the start of the examination period.

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Graduation & Degrees

You are responsible for ensuring that you fulfill the course and credit requirements for your program in the time allowed. If you wish to graduate, you are required to indicate your intention of graduation via the Student Center in SIS. Failure to apply on time may result in a delay in graduation.

The Academic Registry will track your graduation status based on the application for graduation. Your school/department may also monitor your progress and warn you if a problem appears.

Your program will be completed when you have met all the program requirements. After reviews by your major department and school board, or AIS, your graduation will be approved by the Committee on Undergraduate Studies under authority delegated by the University Senate.

Your degree will be conferred on the date designated by the Senate. You will be awarded at Congregation, which is the formal graduation ceremony. Attendance is not compulsory.

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Useful Contacts