Studying in Hong Kong

Studying in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong higher education system is largely modelled on the British system, but with most universities offering a four-year undergraduate degree programme.

There are currently eight government-funded institutions that offer postgraduate courses:

Postgraduate programmes are also offered by The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK).

Some private companies also offer further studies or short courses. These are advertised in newspapers.

What courses can you study?

Hong Kong universities offer postgraduate diplomas, masters (including MA, MPhil, MSc and MBA) and doctoral (including PhD) degrees. Postgraduate courses are often taught in English but you should check with individual institutions before applying.

Most universities offer beginner-level courses in both Cantonese and Putonghua. See individual university websites for details. If taking a course in English but it isn't your native language, you may be required to take a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or equivalent exam.

How do you apply for postgraduate study?

Entry requirements vary depending on the course and institution but, as the Hong Kong education system is modelled on the British one, UK qualifications are generally accepted. Universities have a lot of direct control over entrance and so application deadlines can differ for certain courses.

There isn't one central application process and instead you need to apply to each institution directly, which is usually done online. Some may require you to attend an interview.

Contact your university of choice for further information on applications and deadlines.

Fees and scholarships

Tuition fees vary depending on the course and institution. You may need to pay for each credit unit of a course and should contact the university directly for details. 

Scholarships are available to overseas students and may cover all or part of the tuition fees. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government offers scholarships for non-local students studying in one of the eight government-funded institutions. There is also a PhD Fellowship Scheme which provides a stipend of HK$240,000 annually and a conference and research-related travel allowance of HK$10,000 per year for up to three years.

Other public and private institutions also offer scholarships to international students and you should contact them directly for details.

For further information see Study HK Scholarships.

Are there any exchange programmes?

Hong Kong runs exchange programmes with many universities in different countries, including the UK. Those at undergraduate level or above typically last for up to one year.

Short-term placements for international students are also available, which last from a few weeks to one semester.

You should contact your international office for details of any exchange agreements they have in place with institutions in Hong Kong.

Will your qualifications be recognised in the UK?

Due to the similarities of the UK and Hong Kong higher education systems, Hong Kong qualifications will usually be recognised in the UK. Check with the university or higher education institution where you are hoping to study to see if their qualification is recognised or has an equivalent in the UK.

Do you need a visa to study in Hong Kong?

If you are not a citizen of Hong Kong and wish to study full time or on an exchange programme, you must obtain a student visa or entry permit. You will typically need a local sponsor for this, which your institution can organise.

You should apply for your visa as soon as possible and as well as the necessary paperwork you'll need to submit evidence of your financial situation, including any scholarship details and accommodation information.

If you're studying full time, visas are usually granted for the length of study up to a maximum of six years. Further information on visa requirements is available from the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

Information on studying at postgraduate level in Hong Kong can be found at Postgraduate Studies in Hong Kong and Study HK.

Written by AGCAS editors, June 2016