Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. As long as the purpose of re-entry into Hong Kong remains unchanged (that is, to study at HKUST), your student visa will remain valid. This means students do not need to re-apply for a student visa after traveling outside Hong Kong. It is important to note that a Hong Kong student visa does not entitle you to enter Mainland. To enter Mainland China, you must apply for the appropriate visitor visa, which is NOT issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Please refer to the OGL’s homepage for more details on applying for a visitor’s visa to Mainland China. If you are planning to travel to other countries, you may need to apply for a tourist visa, either in your home country or in Hong Kong. Therefore, you are strongly advised to check with the consulates concerned in your home country/Hong Kong before your departure for Hong Kong.



Students are advised to arrive one or two days before the orientation sessions, which are usually scheduled two to three days before the start of each term. The orientation sessions are held for all incoming exchange students to familiarize them with the University and help them get to know other exchange students in the School. Dates of the orientation sessions are usually provided in the admission package.




A comprehensive list of HKUST’s approved courses can be found in the Academic Calendar’s Course Catalogue on the HKUST website. Not all courses are offered every term. The courses offered and class timetables are usually confirmed the week before course registration begins. Each course has a four-digit vector. The first three digits denote the number of hours per week spent on lectures, discussions (tutorials) and laboratory work. The last digit indicates the number of credits assigned to that course.




All students, including exchange-in students, register for courses through HKUST’s web-based course registration system, which is accessed via the University intranet. Office of Global Learning (OGL) / The School of Humanities & Social Science will send each student his/her HKUST student ID number to set up the network account in order to access the HKUST intranet before the start of course registration. Course registration usually takes place in late July or early August for the following Fall term and in early January for the following Spring term.

The Office of Global Learning (OGL) / School of Humanities & Social Science will email the exact dates for course registration to all exchange-in students around a month before registration starts. Due to the significant time difference between your home country and Hong Kong, you may leave enough time for course registration so that you will not miss the deadline.




Most courses at HKUST carry three credits, with three hours of lectures per week. The normal study load for UG exchange students is five courses per term, adding up to about 15 credits. UG exchange students are not allowed to take more than the stated number of credits in one term.




Many of the SBM’s courses are restricted ONLY for SBM’s students. They are not open for exchange-in students. Please pay attention to the remarks under each course during enrollment where you will find the details of restriction.




Credit transfers are approved by students’ home institutions. Students must consult their home institutions on this matter.




Each term has 14 teaching weeks, followed by a final examination period. Students do not have to consider the final exam timetable when selecting courses. The examination timetable and regulations related to examinations are usually announced halfway through the term. The University Registrar, who is responsible for compiling the final exam timetable, will make sure no student is scheduled to sit more than one exam at the same time. However, as there are three different exam timeslots per day, students may need to sit more than one exam on the same day.




The Center for Language Education offers a Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) course each term for students from a non-Chinese background i.e. LANG 1120 and LANG 1121. Exchange students are welcome to enroll in these credit-bearing courses. Enrolment is free as the courses form part of HKUST’s academic programs. Alternatively, exchange students can enroll in one of the non-credit bearing Mandarin or Cantonese courses offered by the Center for Language Education on a fee-paying basis. These courses are meant to help learners adapt to life in Hong Kong. They do NOT offer credits and will not appear on your official HKUST transcript.




Postgraduate exchange-in students should make their own housing arrangement. Information regarding housing resources is available on Student Housing Office’s homepage. Students may also contact SHSS for further assistance.

On-campus housing can be arranged for Undergraduate exchange-in students subject to availability. Undergraduate exchange-in students should apply for on-campus residential halls in Mystudyabroad system as soon as they receive notification of admission from HKUST. Detailed descriptions of the different types of on-campus accommodation can be found on the Student Housing Office’s homepage.




The University provides all students with a free email account. This account is also the students’ HKUST network account, through which students can register for courses online before they arrive in Hong Kong, and check their course enrolment status and personal particulars maintained by HKUST. Exchange students will be notified of setting up their own account prior to course registration. The account will expire after exchange students complete their studies at HKUST. Therefore, students are strongly advised not to use their HKUST email account for important communications that are likely to continue after the exchange period.




A student identity card will be issued to all exchange-in students upon registration. This card gives the holder access to all student facilities on campus.




No. According to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, all student visa/entry permit holders shall not take up any employment, whether paid or unpaid, including volunteer job, or establish or join in any business.