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Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Engineering

At HKUST you can experience quality coursework in English in a broad variety of subjects including business, engineering, science, and the humanities and social sciences. A unique interdisciplinary program at HKUST offers coursework across disciplines and departments. Current interdisciplinary programs include technology and management, risk management and business intelligence, and environmental management and technology.

Unique study opportunities

  • Explore traditional Chinese culture, pop culture in Asia, or Chinese painting.
  • Add a photography, public art, or graphic design course to your curriculum.
  • Take an independent study or research course with a local faculty member.
  • Access state-of-the-art academic, student life, and sports facilities.


Language of Instruction: English

Chinese Language Study: Optional

Although most courses are taught in English, Cantonese is the primary language of Hong Kong. You will encounter Cantonese in dormitories, on the street, and in tutorials, labs, and studios. Some basic Cantonese will help you interact both in classes and in everyday activities. Particularly if this will be your first experience in a Chinese language environment, we highly recommend a beginning Chinese language course. Chinese language instruction is available from beginning to advanced levels, and you can take one language course per semester.

Business, economics, science, and engineering courses are all taught in English. Some social science and humanities courses are taught in English, while some are taught in Chinese.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Four to five courses with a total of 21-25.5 quarter/14-17 semester UC units.
  • You may take up to one-third (33%) of your total unit load per term on a pass/no pass basis.
  • Attend class regularly, take all course exams, and submit written work as required by each instructor.

Current Program Courses

After arrival, on-site staff will help you find and enroll in classes to fulfill degree or general requirements. You can choose courses from the following HKUST schools and programs:

  • Business and Management
  • Engineering and Science
  • Humanities and Social Science

Instructors usually distribute syllabi and reading lists at the beginning of the course.

Research Courses

HKUST offers research and independent study courses, which are usually numbered in the 4900s in the university course catalog. To get approval, you’ll need to meet with the faculty after arrival.

Catalogs and resources

Academic culture

At HKUST you’ll be directly enrolled in classes alongside local Chinese students. Students who succeed in this environment are able to study independently, do the background reading, and incorporate class work in written papers. Local teaching style emphasizes memorization, so be prepared to repeat lecture material on written quizzes and exams.

Some courses involve fieldwork, practical experience, or lab work. Group projects are common in business administration and other disciplines though they are not typical in the humanities.

Tip: Lecturers may have heavy accents. Before you finalize enrollment, make sure you can understand the main lecturer in each course.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework.

Grading at Hong Kong institutions reflects rigorous academic standards. Grading curves are rare, and Hong Kong instructors generally assign grades that are lower than the norm at UC. If you adapt to local practices and expectations, you can earn good grades.

Professors assess academic progress through fieldwork, lab assignments, individual and group projects, quizzes, exams (usually in short answer or essay format), and other criteria relevant to each course. They also consider course attendance and participation. Class participation may be especially important in seminars and in courses that have tutorial sessions.

Language course grades are usually based on periodic quizzes and tests, homework assignments, class performance, and a final oral and written exam. Because the language classes are smaller, they require attendance and special permission for absences. Regular attendance will have a positive impact on your language progress and grade.

Fall grades are usually available from mid-February to mid-March. Spring grades are usually available in early August.