International Exchange Program
The School of Science comprises 4 academic units that offer a wide variety of courses and programs in biological science, chemical science, environmental science, mathematical science and physical science.
Being an exchange student at the School of Science, you may choose to study at HKUST for either a term (Fall or Spring), or for a full academic year (Fall & Spring).
You are free to take a combination of courses across different disciplines, with priority in taking courses offered by the School of Science. Credits earned at HKUST are transferrable to your home institution.
It is important to have careful planning on the study plan for your exchange studies at HKUST. Here are the points to note when considering the courses to be chosen:
You are required to indicate your course selection by the time you submit your application. Course information is available at Course Catalog.
Please be flexible in designing your study plan as not all courses stated in the Course Catalog are offered every Term. Confirmed courses and class schedules for the forthcoming term are normally finalized until July for Fall Term and late December for Spring Term respectively.
Generally speaking, you have priority in taking courses offered by the School of Science, subject to the course pre-requisites, class quota and approval of the course instructors. Course codes beginning with CHEM, ENVS, LIFS, MATH, PHYS and SCIE are those offered by the School of Science.
To check courses offered over the past terms, please visit Class Schedule & Quota Website.
In principle, you are allowed to take courses offered by the Business School, the School of Engineering, and the School of Humanities and Social Science. Again, this is subject to the course pre-requisite requirements, class quota and approval of the course instructors.
You may be interested to gain some understanding of Chinese as an exchange student in Hong Kong. Our Center for Language Education offers Putonghua courses for students with non-Chinese backgrounds every term.
You are expected to take mainly courses at undergraduate level. Enrollment in postgraduate-level courses (i.e. course codes beginning with the digit ‘5’ or above) may be possible subject to the course pre-requisites, class quota, approval of the course instructor, etc. Science exchange students are very unlikely to enroll in Business and Engineering postgraduate courses since most of them are either self-financed or with very limited quota.
All HKUST undergraduate students, including the exchange students, are required to take a total credit load between 12 and 18. A course normally carries 3 or 4 credits. You are not recommended to take over 18 credits per term; exemption may be granted only when support from your home institution and approvals from various parties at the School of Science are obtained.
Class enrollment (i.e. registering for courses) is done online in August for Fall Term and January for Spring Term respectively. To familiarize yourself with the class enrollment procedures, please refer to the Guide to Class Enrollment at HKUST and the ‘Course Registration (For UG Students)’ part of the Academic Records and Registration, Academic Registry’s Website. Further details on class enrollment will also be sent to you by email at an appropriate time.
If you do not possess the right of abode or right to land in Hong Kong, you are required to apply for a valid Student Visa issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department in order to study in Hong Kong.
The Global Student Programs Office of HKUST will assist all exchange students in applying for Student Visa. The visa application procedures will be found in the admission package that you may receive when you are successfully admitted to the Exchange Program.
To give you an idea on the documents to be prepared, here are the documents required to be submitted for a Student Visa application:
The visa application handling fee is HKD$600. This covers the fee charged by the Hong Kong Immigration Department, the related administrative and courier costs.
Make sure that you allow sufficient time to apply for a Student Visa. Application usually takes about 8 to 10 weeks after all documents are received.
Please be reminded that you are not allowed to work in Hong Kong during your entire study period. Please visit the Hong Kong Immigration Department Website for further details of the regulations.
All adults that are permitted to stay in Hong Kong for more than 180 days are required to apply for the Hong Kong Identity Cards within 30 days upon arrival. If you will stay in Hong Kong for a full academic year, you have to apply in person at the Registration of Persons Office of the Hong Kong Immigration Department. There is no charge for identity cards issued to new arrivals.
It is compulsory for you to have sufficient insurance coverage for the entire exchange period at HKUST arranged prior to your departure to Hong Kong. You must subscribe to the mandatory University Medical Insurance Scheme for Exchange Student in HKUST. The insurance premium is around HKD$1,000 for a term / HKD$2,000 for an academic year. Details on the application procedures can be found in the admission package that you may receive upon successful admission. Students who fail to comply with the insurance requirements will not be able to officially register at HKUST.
HKUST provides medical and dental services to our students. During your stay as an exchange student, you are entitled to use the Medical Clinic and the Student Dental Clinic upon presenting your student ID card.
As a student coming from outside of Hong Kong, you might have gone through a different immunization program. To ensure that you stay healthy in Hong Kong, you are encouraged to compare your immunization record with Hong Kong’s immunization program. Please consult your physician on your immunization needs before coming to Hong Kong.
You will be accommodated on-campus as far as possible. To apply for on-campus accommodation, you should fill in the housing application form included in the admission package on the exchange application system by the deadline, normally in mid-May for Fall Term and mid-November for Spring Term respectively.
To know more about on-campus accommodation, please visit the Student Housing and Residential Life Office’s website, where you may find the details of hall application information for exchange-in UG Students under 'Apply for Housing'.
To give you an idea about the living expenses at HKUST, here’s a rough estimation of costs for a term exchange:
UG exchange fee
(covering housing, student visa & insurance*)
|Books & supplies||1,500|
|Transportation & other personal expenses||8,000|
(around USD 4,600)
* not applicable to students whose home institutions have obtained the institutional insurance waiver from HKUST
Bank of China, Bank of East Asia and Hang Seng Bank are the three on-campus banks providing extensive banking services to students. Exchange of foreign currency and travelers’ cheques could be conveniently done on-campus.
‘I love the outdoors, nature, and photography. Luckily Hong Kong delivers chances for all of them in fairly close distance. I also like the ability to travel freely and change destinations with ease. It is a great experience to not know what the next day will bring or who you will meet.’
‘Best experience of my life! Bet every expectation imaginable! I've met great people and made best friends! I've seen so much and done things I could have only ever dreamed of! Living the dream!’
‘My semester of HKUST has given me a new outlook on life. I have created new life-long friendship, both with locals and other exchange students. The academic aspect of the exchange has been fruitful, and I might want to come back for research later.’