Add 16 hours
- Business, Fall and Year
- Engineering, Fall and Year
- Science, Fall and Year
This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) concentrates on business, engineering, or the sciences.
Chinese (Cantonese) language study is not required, but is recommended, as Cantonese is the primary language of Hong Kong. Former UCEAP students have commented that knowing just a little Cantonese made a big difference.
- Minimum of 21 UC quarter units each semester (14 HKUST units); usually five courses per term. Most courses are 3 or 4 HKUST credits (4.5 or 6 UC quarter units).
- At least two courses (preferably the majority of coursework) in the school in which you are placed. No exceptions.
UC quarter units are calculated by multiplying HKUST units by 1.5 (3 HKUST units equal 4.5 UC quarter units). You will take between 14 and 17 HKUST units per term (21 to 25.5 UC quarter units).
Instructors usually distribute syllabi and reading lists at the beginning of the course. Group projects are common in business administration and other disciplines though they are not typical in the humanities.
While courses are taught in English, Cantonese is the language used in dormitories and on the street, and it may also be used in tutorials, labs, and studios. Some basic Cantonese will facilitate your interactions both in classes and in everyday activities. Lecturers may have accents that are difficult to understand. Before finalizing course enrollment, make sure you understand the main lecturer in each course.
You are expected to study independently, do the background reading, and incorporate class work and reading in your written papers. Some courses involve fieldwork, practical experience, or lab work. Student-centered inquiry and problem-based learning are encouraged. At the same time, be prepared for more memorization for exams than you may be accustomed to at UC; local teaching style emphasizes the repetition of lecture material on written quizzes and exams.
Academic expectations at HKUST are high. When choosing courses, be sure you have the requisite preparation; some courses have strict prerequisites. Do not plan to take lower level courses in your major field of study or begin a new field of study while at HKUST. In most cases, you cannot take graduate level courses.
You will take the majority of your courses in the school in which you are placed and additional courses from other schools, including the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Some courses offered through this school require Chinese fluency.
- School of Business departments: Accounting; Economics; Finance; Information Systems, Business Statistics and Operations Management; Management; and Marketing.
- School of Engineering courses: bioproduct engineering; building services; chemical, civil, electronic, environmental, industrial, information, and mechanical engineering; logistics; and computer science.
- School of Science courses: mathematics, physics (materials science and optics), biology (molecular biology, biotechnology, and marine biology), chemistry, and biochemistry. Many courses have required lab work.
Courses include lectures, tutorials, case analyses, class presentations, and written papers or projects. Classes typically meet for three hours per week. Class size averages 30 to 40 students in 2000- and 3000-level courses. Attendance (which is mandatory), class participation, and final exams (format varies) are considered in assigning the final course grade.
Courses have an alpha numeric code (i.e., CHEM 2112, Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry) that denotes the department and the level of the course. Courses with a numeric code that starts with a 1 or 2 are usually introductory courses that will be lower division for UCEAP. Courses with a numeric code that starts with a 3 or 4 are more advanced and will be upper division. These courses usually have prerequisites. Course listings are in the HKUST Course Catalog
HKUST has recently expanded its Chinese language instruction to include intermediate and advanced Cantonese language.
Courses are offered by the language department (LANG).
You will complete your course selection as part of the host university application provided in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist. At HKUST you will register for your courses online before the semester begins. Detailed information about how to register online will be provided with your acceptance letter. During the add/drop period after classes begin, you can make changes to your registration through HKUST’s online system.
Grading at Hong Kong institutions reflects the rigorous academic standards. Grading curves are very rare. If you apply yourself and adapt to local practices and expectations, you can earn good grades. Be aware that grades assigned by Hong Kong instructors are likely to be lower than you are accustomed to receiving.
Your academic progress will be assessed by methods that include fieldwork, laboratory assignments, individual and group projects, quizzes, exams, and any other criteria relevant to the particular course. Course attendance and participation may also be considered.
Most exams are in short answer or essay format. Class participation may be especially important in seminars and in courses that have tutorial sessions. You are required to attend class regularly, take all exams given for courses in which you are enrolled, and submit all written work for each course to the satisfaction of the instructor.
Language course grades are usually based on periodic quizzes and tests, homework assignments, class performance, and a final oral and written exam. You must attend every class unless you receive permission to be absent. Classes are small and absences will affect both your personal progress and grade for the course.
Fall grades are usually available in mid-March.
Spring grades are usually available in early August.
For more information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Travel to Your Host Country
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
There are Hang Seng Bank and Bank of China branches at HKUST. The campus branches are open Monday through Saturday and provide normal banking services.
The university’s computer facilities are extensive, and some labs are open 24 hours a day. Access is reliable except during exam time when it is busy. All dormitory rooms are also wired for computer access.
There are three different schools and multiple dormitory options at HKUST. You will receive your mailing address after arrival in Hong Kong.
You may live on campus in a residence hall with local students and other foreign students. Many of the rooms have spectacular views overlooking Clear Water Bay. Residence halls consist of double and triple rooms.
“HKUST dorms are fantastic, and many have gorgeous ocean views. Not bad for an exchange student!" - UCEAP Student
Rooms are furnished with desks, chairs, bookshelves, and beds, and provide closet space. The rooms have either bunk beds or two twin beds. All rooms are wired for computer access to the university network. Common facilities include bathrooms, showers, TV rooms, pantries with microwave ovens and phones. Air-conditioning, washing machines and dryers require prepaid card activation.
You must provide your own pillows, linens, towels, and kitchen utensils. While most students purchase these items after arrival, you may want to bring a twin-size sheet set and a towel to get started. The rooms are cold during January and February, so you will want to purchase additional blankets or quilts at that time.
"The HKUST dorm rooms are a bit smaller than you may be used to. Try to avoid a dorm room with a bunk bed— they
are the smallest type." - UCEAP Student
HKUST requires a housing application, which is included with your admission notice. You may indicate room and roommate preferences on the housing application form; however, HKUST determines the final assignments. A notification about your housing placement will be sent via e-mail prior to departure.
Upon check in, you must pay the housing fees for the entire term in addition to a refundable security deposit in Hong Kong dollars. Credit cards are not accepted for payments, so you must pay with cash or travelers checks in Hong Kong Dollars. Last year’s rates for the residence hall were HK $6,000 per person per semester for a room with a twin bed. These costs include all utilities except air-conditioning (which requires a prepaid card for activation).
The residence halls open a few days before orientation. A security officer or housing staff member will be available 24 hours a day for check-ins. If you arrive late at night, go to your assigned housing and then complete the official check-in process with the housing office the next day. Keys will not be issued until all the housing charges are paid.
You are encouraged to arrive during regular business hours on the Official Arrival Date so you can easily check into your room. If you arrive in Hong Kong before then, you may have to pay additional fees for your room for that time (pending availability) or arrange temporary accommodations. See the UCEAP program calendar for details.
You have the option to make your own off-campus housing arrangements. However, UCEAP students recommend living on campus for convenience and social interaction with local students. HKUST is located in the New Territories and is slightly difficult to access by public transportation. Therefore, arranging off-campus housing and commuting may be problematic and more expensive.
“I strongly recommend living on campus. The cost of rent on campus was a fraction of the cost of rent off campus. The living proximity to classes and other university facilities proved to be very convenient." - UCEAP Student
The average cost of lunch at HKUST is between HK $20 and HK $30. Set meals, breakfast through dinner, are available for HK $15–$50. Eateries on campus include a coffee shop, cafeterias, and restaurants serving Chinese and international cuisine. You can also find a small grocery store on campus. One of the restaurants at HKUST serves fabulous dim sum.
"Eating was very convenient. There was an eatery next to my dorm at HKUST that was open past midnight. The food was home cooked and you got varieties of stir-fry combinations with rice. The main dining hall was further away, but there you
could have McDonald’s, Japanese, Chinese, pizza, or noodle soup. Downstairs from the main dining hall was cafeteria-type dining, serving more authentic local food with a nice cup of dong-lai cha (ice tea with milk) or dong-ling cha (ice tea with lemon)." - UCEAP Student
A trip from HKUST to downtown Hong Kong takes about 45 minutes.
Students with Disabilities
University Health Centers
University health centers serve as primary care facilities and provide clinical services to all local and international students. The host university is not responsible for any charges incurred for visits with a private physician without a referral from a university health center physician.
There is a medical and dental clinic at HKUST that is open Monday through Saturday for non-emergency appointments. Outpatient and specialist services are provided at the clinics and are subject to charges. If hospitalization is required, students are referred to the local public hospital.
There are steps you can take to manage or minimize risk. Stop and think. Inform yourself of risks you can encounter while traveling. Remain aware of your surroundings. Cell phones and Ipods can be distracting. When you remain aware of your surroundings your instinct will alert you to conditions or persons that are potentially unsafe. Trust your instincts.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Planning
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.