Hong Kong is widely celebrated for its fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, traditional elements and modern competitiveness,and has over time established itself as one of Asia’s leading economic powers – and the region’s fast emerging study abroad destination. It has three universities ranked within the global top 50 and another three in the top 300 of the recent QS World University Rankings. This beautiful country has dynamic and diverse city-state concentrations of internationally reputable institutions – a major factor why its included among the world’s top 15 cities for students.
How to Apply to universities in Hong Kong
The academic year in Hong Kong consist of two semesters, one from early September to late December, and a second from mid-January to May. Hong Kong’s university application deadlines typically vary, but run between December and May, for programs starting the following September.
Applicants for undergraduate degrees are expected to have completed secondary education and achieved satisfactory results in their country’s leaving exams (such as A-levels, Baccalaureate or SATs). Public universities in Hong Kong typically teach in English, and proof of proficiency in English is needed for non-native speakers; this means taking an exam such as the IELTS or TOEFL.
The moment you’ve been offered a place, the university will arrange a local sponsor for your visa application. You’ll be required to submit a visa application form, as well as providing proof of identity, evidence of your academic qualifications and a financial statement (either of your own finances or those of someone who is sponsorng you).
The Immigration Department is also likely to request details of where you intend to live while you study in Hong Kong, so it’s best to arrange this well in advance, either through the university or independently. Most visas need to be renewed annually; remember to do this in good time (at least four weeks before the expiry date).
Tuition fees, living expenses & funding
Tuition fees in Hong Kong typically depend on the program and the university. As of May 2014, the government website StudyinHongKong.edu.hk estimated international tuition fees for most courses to be between HK$90,000 and HK$265,000 per year (approx. US$11,500 to 33,840). Another major cost is accommodation. The government guidance here is to budget HK$15,000 to 45,000 per year (US$1,900 to 5,750) if you plan to live in a university-owned student hostel, or HK$96,000 to 180,000 (US$12,260 to 23,000) for a privately rented one-bedroom flat. Additional living costs are put at around HK$50,000 (US$6,400) per year.
Universities in Hong Kong are very keen to attract and retain talented international students, and usually offer scholarships to help support the most talented international applicants. Note that scholarships for international students are usually offered by the Hong Kong government. Major government-funded schemes include the following:
- The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Scholarship, gives gives awards worth HK$80,000 (approx. US$10,300) per year for international students;
- The Self-financing Post-secondary Education Fund, which supports those studying at first-degree level;
- And the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme, which provides funding for talented international PhD students through an annual stipend of HK$301,200 (approx. US$38,460) and an allowance for conference and research-related travel worth HK$12,600 (approx. US$1,600) per year, for up to three years.International students who intend to study in Hong Kong should note that there are restrictions on the types of part-time work they can take up; however, you’ll find study-related internships, part-time jobs on campus and summer vacation work-all these are allowed and permitted. When your visa is approved you should receive a ‘No Objection Letter’ detailing the types of employment you can apply for while you study in Hong Kong
Low Tuition Universities in Hong Kong
There are about 20 degree-awarding tertiary institutions in Hong Kong, of which eight are funded by the government. Interestingly,all eight public universities in Hong Kong use English as the medium of instruction for most courses, and all are highly coveted and respected well beyond the locality.
According to QS World University Rankings® 2019, Hong Kong’s highest ranked institution is the University of Hong Kong at 25th place, which continues to rank ahead of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), which came 37th. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is equally not far off at 49th.
The City University of Hong Kong comes within the top 100 at 55th, while the Hong Kong Polytechnic University is ranked 106th.
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