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.


You are welcome to contact your School and major department to seek academic advice whenever you need. In preparing your individual study plan, you can refer to online information such as Program and Course catalog for reference.

To understand the structure of a degree program, you will find that each curriculum consists of a structured set of requirements and courses. A course is the basic unit of instruction and is usually taught in either the Fall or Spring term.

Typical course components are lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory exercises, projects, essays, reports, assignments, classroom participation, tests and a final examination.

Through the class enrollment process via the SIS, you carry out and complete your course registration.

Study Pathway

For students studying 4-year degree, each major has an example of a student's pathway for your easy reference to steadily move toward completion of your program within the normal duration of study.

If you have any problems or questions, you can contact your school or major department.

Courses are designated as required or elective.

You should complete all the required courses stipulated in the curriculum.

For elective courses, you may select relevant ones in the areas designated in your curriculum, subject to departmental approval. You have options as to when you take electives. Some postgraduate courses may be available as elective courses.

In each regular term, students within the normal duration of study and in good academic standing must register for courses to a total of 12 to 18 credits.

Advisement Report

You can generate your academic advisement report through the Student Center in SIS. It provides a reference on your study progress. A brief guide on generating and interpreting the report is available here.

Course Registration

To select appropriate courses for registration via the class enrollment process in the SIS, you should refer to the course descriptions and other details given in the Course Catalog.

Each course has:

  • A course code that starts with four letters followed by four digits.  The letters show the area or program of study or the department offering the course.  The first digit of the number code indicates the academic level of the course:

          1    =  Introductory courses

          2    =  Intermediate courses

          3/4 = Advanced courses or courses for specialist study

  • A specified number of credits, for example, 0, 1, 2 or 3. To earn 1 credit, you can generally expect to spend 40 to 50 hours, including scheduled hours of instruction, preparing, revising and doing assigned work.

Eligibility and Conditions

Some courses are restricted to specific students. For example, only students registered in a major may be allowed to take courses required for the major. Enrollment conditions may be included in course descriptions or announced before or during the class enrollment period. You should make sure you satisfy all the requirements before you enroll in a course. If in doubt, seek advice.

Prerequisites and Co-requisites

A prerequisite for a course may be a specific level of attainment in a public examination or a course that must be taken and passed before you can enroll for the course in question.

A co-requisite is a course that must be taken prior to, or at the same time as, the course in question.

Exemptions from a prerequisite or co-requisite requirements require the approval of the instructor responsible for the course.


An exclusion means you cannot enroll in the course in question if you reached a specified level of attainment in a public exam or if you have taken, or are registered in, a specified HKUST course.

Co-listed, Multi-coded and Equivalent Courses

Courses marked with [Co-list with] on the Course Catalog may share most or all lectures and other learning activities with other courses. Co-listed courses would differ from each other at least partially in assessment schemes or assignments. You may register and earn credit for only one of the co-listed courses. These courses may not be arranged for co-listing on each offering, but are subject to the discretion of the course offering department(s).

Course carrying [Alternate code(s)] is a single course that is offered under two or more course codes with identical course content and assessment scheme. You may register and earn credit for only one of the codes under a multi-coded course.

Equivalent courses are courses that can meet the same program requirement. You may earn credit for only one of the equivalent courses.

Class Enrollment Process

Class enrollment process for undergraduate students involves selecting courses and enrolling in classes for a specific term. You should pay attention to the enrollment schedule for each term set out by the Academic Registry. The add/drop period at the start of the term gives you a chance to modify your selections.

Before selecting a course, you should read the relevant curriculum and course requirements carefully to ensure that you meet any enrollment conditions. You should also maintain a manageable study load in every term.

Enrollment Process

Class enrollment involves three stages: pre-enrollment, validation and class enrollment, and add/drop. All three stages are processed through the web-based Class Enrollment System of the SIS.

Before class enrollment starts, you will find all the information you need on the Course Registration website.

You should also check with the class schedule information carefully.

You may make changes to your class enrollment during the add/drop period. Changes made in this period will not appear on your transcript.

Before the end of the add/drop period, carefully check your class enrollment record to ensure that any errors are corrected in time.

Requests to add a course or to withdraw from a course after the add/drop period will not be accepted, except under extenuating circumstances approved by your dean or their designee. The related application form can be downloaded from here.

You must properly complete the class enrollment and add/drop procedures. Students who are not on the class roster for a course will not be awarded any grade for the course.

Auditing a Course

With the permission of the course instructor, you may be allowed to audit a course. This means you can attend lectures and participate in activities, including writing the final examination, but you will neither receive a grade nor earn credits for the course.

The desired activities and participation must be mutually agreed by you and the instructor at class enrollment time. Schools and departments may decide to exclude auditors from all or some of their courses, or impose additional restrictions.

If you satisfactorily complete the requirements set by the instructor, the course will be designated AU on your transcript. Otherwise, the course will be removed from your enrollment record.

You need to complete class enrollment procedures to enroll as a course auditor. If you wish to change to regular class enrollment status you must do so no later than the end of the add/drop period.

You are allowed to re-take an audited course to earn credits subject to the requirement that you must properly enroll in the course.

Course Evaluation

HKUST recognizes excellence in teaching as an important part of its mission. Student course evaluations are one means the University uses to assess teaching quality.

Since Fall 2008, Student Feedback Questionnaires (SFQs) have been adopted to collect students' feedback on learning experience. You can find SFQ through Canvas, SFQ survey system and HKUST iLearn app ( iOS / Android ). The evaluation is conducted once a term for all courses, usually during the last two weeks of the term.

After you have completed an SFQ survey, your response will be processed by an online system.

To maintain anonymity, the system removes your identity information before your responses are transmitted and stored in the database.

Paper questionnaires and answer sheets may be used for sections that are evaluated in the middle of a Fall or Spring term or during the Summer or Winter terms.

A student penalized for cheating in a course may be excluded from participating in the course evaluation at the request of the department that offers the course.

Pages In this Guide
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.

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.

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.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity and honesty are key values at HKUST.

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.

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.

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.

You will be awarded at Congregation, which is the formal graduation ceremony. Attendance is not compulsory.

Useful Contacts