hong kong

    Universities in Hong Kong - Rankings, Top Courses, Fee, Admission

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    Risha Sinha

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    Universities in Hong Kong

    Hong Kong is home to around 20 renowned higher education institutions that offer a wide variety of courses. Eight of these institutions are publicly funded universities. In addition, nearly 20 institutions offer a range of locally-accredited sub-degree programs.

    • Most courses are conducted in English.
    • Around 24,000 students graduate every year in Hong Kong with the majority in medicine and dentistry (nearly 2,400).
    • The Hong Kong government spends USD 3.4 million on higher education every year.
    • But of the 17 local degree-awarding institutions in Hong Kong, eight are self-financing institutions.
    • Three of the universities are ranked in the world’s top 50 and Asia’s top 10 - Academic Ranking of World Universities.
    Number of higher education institutions in Hong Kong 29
    Number of degree-awarding institutions 20
    Number of students enrolled in 2018 321,800
    Highest-Ranked University in Hong Kong Hong Kong University (#26 - QS Ranking)

    Best universities in Hong Kong

    Hong Kong’s five universities are among world’s top 100, according to QS World University Rankings. The world-class universities of Hong Kong welcomed nearly 21,000 international students with the majority hailing from mainland China (around 9,000).

    Universities in Hong Kong rankings

    University QS World University Ranking Percentage of International Students
    University of Hong Kong 26 43%
    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 30 31%
    Chinese University of Hong Kong 46 33%
    City University of Hong Kong 49 41%
    Hong Kong Polytechnic University 95 25%

    Top Courses to study in Hong Kong

    Hong Kong universities run some of the world’s best business administration and executive business management programs (Financial Times). Here are the top courses to study in Hong Kong.

    • Dentistry
    • Architecture and construction
    • Engineering
    • Business and management
    • Media
    Academic Fields Student Enrolment (2017-18)
    Medicine 10,924
    Sciences 16,697
    Engineering and Technology 19,941
    Business and Management 18,002
    Social Sciences 13,379
    Arts and Humanities 12,752

    Types of higher education institutions in Hong Kong

    Publicly-funded Universities  

    • Eight in number.
    • Funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
    • UGC universities are popular among international students as they offer many scholarships.
    • Each one is an autonomous body.
    • They offer 100 bachelors, 32 masters, associates, and doctoral degrees.
    • Some even offer sub-degree programs.
    • A majority of programs are taught in English.

    Vocational Training Council (VTC) institutions

    • They offer vocational and undergraduate technical programs
    • The focus is on applied skills in fields including arts and sciences.

    Self-financing institutions

    • Eleven in number.
    • Offer both sub-degree and degree-level programs.
    • The Open University of Hong Kong is the only statutory university (private but receives government funding) with five schools.
    • The government invested USD 400,000 in the education fund for scholarships and quality enhancement efforts.

    Specialized institutions

    • Comprise public and independent institutions that provide specialized instruction areas.
    • Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts is very popular.

    Other foreign providers

    • Offer more than 1,100 non-local courses in Hong Kong.

    Degree Types in Hong Kong

    There are sub-degree programmes, associates, bachelors, and graduate degrees available. Most of them offer multiple entry and exit points.

    Each university offers various study programs across diverse disciplines categorized into faculties. Every study program has its own set of major, minor, credit, and entry requirements.

    After successfully completing secondary school, students can pursue an undergraduate degree course or another degree type that may help them to shift into another program later.

    University Total Enrollment  Undergraduate Enrollment Graduate Enrollment
    University of Hong Kong 15,863 9,244 6,619
    Chinese University of Hong Kong 18,226 11,012 7,214
    City University of Hong Kong 11,358 8,688 2,670
    Hong Kong Polytechnic University 18,189 13,567 4,622
    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 8,841 6,010 2,831

    Undergraduate degrees

    • Number of undergraduate courses - 329
    • Duration of bachelor’s degrees for full-time students - 4 years
    • Types of undergraduate degrees include Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Arts (BA), and Bachelor of Engineering (BEng).

    Fee for international undergraduate students

    International students USD 9,000 - USD 10,300 per year
    Additional fees USD 12.90 per year

    Postgraduate degrees

    • Admission requirement - Complete a Bachelors degree before proceeding on to postgraduate study
    • Number of postgraduate courses - 32
    • Types of master’s degree include Master of Science (MSc), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Law (LLM), and Master of Business Administration (MBA).
    • Duration of master’s degree - 1 to 2 years

    Fee for international postgraduate students

    International students USD 5,428 per year
    Additional fees USD 12 per year


    • Duration of full-time Ph.D.: 3-4 years
    • The 3-year program is for those with a research Masters such as an MRes.
    • The 4-year program is for those with a first in their Bachelors and/or Masters degree.
    • The full-time academic year is bifurcated into a fall semester (September-November) and a spring semester (January-April).
    • Annual tuition fee: USD 11,478 - USD 33,797

    Note: International students can also opt for a part-time Ph.D. in a UGC-funded university. In this case, a three-year part-time program will last for 4.5 years and a four-year part-time program for 6 years.

    Associate degrees

    • Also known as sub-degree programs.
    • Duration: 2 years
    • Ideal for those who do not want to pursue an undergraduate degree or are unable to get into a bachelor’s degree program.
    • Equivalent to the first two years of a 4-year university degree program.
    • Sub-degree graduates are often exempted from certain subjects bachelor’s degree programs. Although, you can later articulate associate courses with a degree course.
    • You can also obtain a course transfer from a successfully completed higher diploma or associate degree into an overseas degree program with some credit transfer.

    Top institutions offering associate degrees

    Vocational Training Council  City University of Hong Kong
    Open University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Baptist University
    Hong Kong Polytechnic University The Education University of Hong Kong

    Double-degree programs 

    • There are more than 50 dual degrees offered in Hong Kong.
    • Several universities in Hong Kong collaborate with prestigious international universities worldwide to offer double-degree programs – mainly MBAs.
    • These programs enable students to experience different learning environments and cultures while simultaneously pursuing two degrees.
    • Course load options are flexible, allowing students to take up fewer or more courses in a semester as long as they meet the overall requirements by the end of the program.


    • Most universities in Hong Kong entertain applications through Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) at
    • For other universities, you may have to send your application directly to their international office.
    • Application period for international students - From September to December in the year prior to the year of admission.
    • To apply for admission to the universities in Hong Kong, you need to take an English language test such as TOEFL and IELTS to prove English proficiency. (Only for non-native English speakers)


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