Frequently asked questions

We have collected some of the most common questions you might ask about your studies. Since Faculties / Units might have different policies and practices with regard to different curriculum requirements, all answers here are for your reference only. If in doubt or wish to have more information, please consult the relevant Faculties/offices concerned.

What advisers are there at the University to help me with studies?
There are six types of Academic Advisers under the University-wide Academic Advising System who can help you with studies:
1. Faculty Academic Advisers (FAA – teachers at your home Faculty);
2. Faculty Temporary Academic Adviser (TAA – teachers who specialize on helping students to explore major/minor options);
3. Faculty Student Advisers;
4. Residential Student Advisers;
5. Academic Advisers in the Academic Advising Office (AAO); and
6. Administrative staff from Faculty / Department offices.

For details, please refer to the video here.

How can I find my Faculty Academic Adviser (FAA) in SIS?
You can check who your FAA is via the web link of https://ugaa.hku.hk/viewugadvisers.php. For enquiries and support, please call us at 39170128.

How should I contact my FAA and what should I do if he/she does not respond?
You could email your FAA first to make an appointment with him/her. His/her contacts are at https://ugaa.hku.hk/viewugadvisers.php (Portal login required). Sometimes, FAAs reserve “consultation hours” for advisees, please check with them. If your FAA is too busy to get back to you, please try emailing him/her for a few times more and approach your Faculty Office/Department for help if needed.

Can I change my FAA?
Under normal circumstances, FAA cannot be changed once assigned. However, if you have some very special reasons or concerns, please liaise with your home Faculty Office on this.

What is Temporary Academic Advisers (TAA)? How can I get one?
TAA is a teacher from Faculty, usually the Programme Director or co-ordinator of a particular programme, to help you explore major/minor options and answer enquiries for a particular discipline. You can go to “Self Services” in SIS, and then click “Request Temporary Adviser” to request for one. Your advising relationship with TAA lasts for 90 days. TAAs are available for all major/minor programmes that are open to non-home Faculty students.

How can I find the student advisers in my Faculty?
You can find the information of the student advisers in your Faculty website, or in SIS under “Find Your Adviser” on the right hand-side if a student adviser has been assigned to you. See here for more information. You can also contact your Faculty Office for further support on peer advising, especially for those Faculties which do not have student advisers yet.

How can the Academic Advising Office help me with studies?
Academic Advisers at AAO supplement the role of FAA through advising students on university regulations, general university requirements, development of study plans, major minor selection, cross faculties learning opportunities and academic progress. For first year students in particular, AAO helps them make a smooth transition to the University and develop study plans to achieve their academic goals. We provide one-on-one advising service. Please make an appointment with us at https://booking.aao.hku.hk/ .

I am interested in the programmes of HKU and would like to know more. Which unit should I contact?
For matters related to admission, please visit the website of our Admissions Office at https://aal.hku.hk/admissions/. Their FAQ section is very useful too: https://aal.hku.hk/admissions/international/frequently-asked-questions-0.

What is advanced standing? Am I eligible to apply for it?
Advanced standings are the credits granted to eligible non-JUPAS entrants in recognition of their studies completed successfully elsewhere before admission to HKU (e.g. IB, GCE A-level, community college, overseas university). You are not required to make up these “advanced credits” during your course of study at HKU so this might enable you to shorten your overall study period. However, no further advanced standing will be granted after admission to the programme or the deadline stipulated by the Faculty. For enquiry and application, please contact your Faculty Office.

What are the “UG5” requirements?
For most curriculums, University Regulation UG5 refers to the following University Graduation Requirements:

  • Successful completion of 12 credits in English language enhancement, including 6 credits in Core University English and 6 credits in an English in the Discipline course;
  • Successful completion of 6 credits in Chinese language enhancement;
  • Successful completion of 36 credits of courses in the Common Core Curriculum, comprising at least one and not more than two courses from each Area of Inquiry with not more than 24 credits of courses being selected within one academic year except where candidates are required to make up for failed credits (Double-degree students are required to do 4 common core courses only under normal circumstances); and
  • successful completion of a capstone experience as specified in the syllabuses of your degree curriculum.

For details, please refer to the Regulations for First Degree Curricula of your cohort.

How can I get exempted from the English requirement, that is, CAES 1000?
If you achieved level 5 or above in HKDSE English, or if you are a non-JUPAS student and have the equivalent qualification, you can choose whether or not to take CAES1000. If you wish to take it, just enroll for it in SIS, no prior application is needed; if you do not wish to take it, a free elective course in lieu is needed. SIS Office will, by around August 30, automatically assign a CAES1000 class to those who need to take it but have not enrolled for it yet and those who have attempted to enroll for it but have not been successful yet.

I cannot write or speak in Chinese, can I be exempted from the Chinese requirement?
Only Putonghua-speaking students and students who have not studied Chinese language during their secondary education or who have not attained the requisite level of competence in the Chinese language may be exempted from the Chinese requirement. They might be asked to take credit bearing Cantonese or Putonghua language courses offered by the School of Chinese especially for international and exchange students; or to take an elective course in lieu. Please check with Faculty Office or School of Chinese for further details.

Do I need to apply for the exemptions of the language requirements, or will it be done automatically by my Faculty?
Yes, you need to apply to your Faculty for exemption of Chinese and/or English language requirements if you are eligible for that. Please apply as soon as possible after you are admitted to HKU.

I wish to brush up my English and Chinese. Are there any support units that I can approach?
For support on English, please contact the Centre for Applied English Studies (CAES) at https://caescss.hku.hk/; For support on Chinese, please go to the School of Chinese at http://web.chinese.hku.hk/main/chinese-language-enhancement-program/

I have some questions regarding the Common Core curriculum, such as the special proviso, the course requirements and many others … who should I approach?
For enquiries on Common Core, please refer to the Common Core Website at https://commoncore.hku.hk/. Many enquiries raised by students have been included in their FAQs at https://commoncore.hku.hk/faqs/.

How and when should I select courses?
You should select courses via SIS (Student Information System) during the course selection period before the semester start for both semester one and semester two. You can modify your enrolment in the add/drop period, usually during the first two weeks of teaching in each semester.

Where can I find more information about my interested courses? For example, its assessment methods and learning outcomes?
You can visit the “Course Information” section in SIS for learning more about your interested courses, such as assessment methods and other important information. The navigation is: HKU Portal -> My Page -> SIS Menu -> Enrollment -> Course Information

How many credits can I take to the maximum? Can I take more than 30 credits?
The University recommends you to take 24-30 credits in one semester (except the summer semester) unless otherwise permitted or required by your Faculty. Theoretically, you can take additional 6 credits to the maximum in one semester, accumulating up to a maximum of 72 credits in an academic year. If you are planning to take more than 6 courses (over 36 credits) in a semester, please apply to your Faculty for overloading. Justifications might be required. For details, please look at UG 4 of the Regulations for First Degree Curricula.

Are there any requirements on the minimum number of courses that I need to take in each semester?
The University recommends you to take 24-30 credits in one semester (except the summer semester). If you are planning to take less than 4 courses (under 24 credits) in a semester, please apply to your Faculty for under-loading. Justifications might be required.

How many courses can I take for the summer semester? Do I need to pay for that?
Under normal circumstances, you can take 2 courses at most for the summer semester. Fee exemption/reduction usually applies for HKU students. For details, please check with the course offering departments.

Can I late drop a course?
Late drop is usually not allowed after the add/drop period. Also, the decision to late drop a course might have far-reaching ramifications, such as jeopardizing your progress of studies and you might not meet the minimum requirement of 24 credits after dropping the course.

Can I late add a course?
Late add is usually not recommended after the add/drop period unless you have a very strong reason for that. Please seek approval from your Faculty on this if needed.

How are full-year courses counted towards my study load?
Half of the credits of full-year courses are counted towards the study load for each semester, that is, 6 credits in the first semester and 6 credits in the second semester for a 12-credit full-year course. Under normal circumstances, the final grades of full-year courses will only be counted in the GPA for the second semester after you have completed the full-year courses.

If I have completed more than 60 credits in an academic year, can I take fewer in the subsequent year(s) of study as long as I can complete a total of 240 credits upon graduation?
Yes, you can. However, you still need to take at least 24 credits in each of your remaining semesters otherwise you might need to apply for under-loading. For your last semester in the programme, it is possible that your outstanding credits might be fewer than 24 credits.

Can I take introductory courses, for example, pre-requisite courses for a major or minor, in the second or following years of studies, even in my final year?
Theoretically yes. However, for some programmes, such as BSocSc, students are not allowed to take introductory courses in their final year. Please check with your home Faculty if in doubt.

What should I do if I have not met the prerequisite(s) for a course I wish to take?
Please note that almost all courses are very strict on the fulfillment of relevant prerequisite requirements, if any. Please check with the Faculty/course-offering department concerned if you need help on this. Wavier is almost impossible unless you have a very strong justification for that.

Are there any regulations on the number of introductory courses and advanced courses that I need to take?
It depends. Some programmes do have a ceiling on the total number of credits of introductory courses that a student can take. You might need to “make up” the excess credits of introductory courses by taking the same number of credits of advanced courses. Please be reminded that level 2 courses are not necessarily advanced level courses. It is very important for you to check with your home Faculty on this if in doubt.

Can I take an advanced course in my first year of study?
Yes, provided that you have fulfilled the relevant pre-requisite requirement(s).

What should I consider when considering majors / minors?
First, reflect on your interests, strengths and goals and see what major / minor options are available in the University, then try to find out more about each particular subject of interest before you make your choices. For details, please watch the video talks “Major & Minor Selection: What to Consider?” and “Major Minor Declaration and Planning Tools Demonstration” , and check out the relevant planning tools, all at https://aao.hku.hk/how-to-select-mm/.

Whom should I seek advice from for my major / minor selection?
You can seek advice from your Faculty Academic Adviser and the advisers at the Academic Advising Office. You can also request a Temporary Academic Adviser (TAA) in SIS. TAAs are current teachers from specific programmes who specialize on helping students explore major/minor options and attend to questions for a particular subject area. Also, you can try to talk to some senior students who are from your interested majors/minors. If you are concerned about employment prospect of your interested major, you may talk to Careers Advisers at CEDARS (Career and Placement) to understand employers’ expectations and how to make career preparation.

When should I declare major/minor?
For most non-professional programmes, the earliest students can declare major is before the start of their second year. By the start of the third year of studies, students are required to declare their majors/minors. Before deciding on your major, you have to think about your academic interests and career inspirations. It is also very important for you to consider which prerequisite courses to take in your first year in order to declare the major(s)/minor(s) you like.

Are there any academic requirements for declaring a specific major/minor?
It depends. Faculties may have requirements, for example, attainment of a certain level in certain HKDSE subjects or a pre-requisite introductory course for specific majors/ minors. It is very important for you to check the academic requirements of your intended major/minor programme before you declare them.

Is it possible to double major or double minor?
Yes, as long as you have enough credits to do so and all relevant requirements are fulfilled.

How many majors/ minors I can take to the maximum?
There are no rigid regulations in this regard. However, please make sure that you have enough number of credits to take the courses of these major/ minor programmes and that all relevant requirements could be fulfilled by your graduation. On the other hand, please take into account the workload involved and consider whether you could handle them. Most importantly, please always refer to the regulations/ syllabus/ curriculum of your programme when you plan for your majors/ minors.

Can I change my major/ minor later? How many times can I change it?
It depends on the setup which may vary from programme to programme. Under normal circumstances and for most Faculties, if you are in a non-professional programme, after you declare your major/minor, you can still revise/change your choices in the subsequent course selection/ add drop periods (no regulations on the number of times you can make changes) until the first semester of your final year. No changes are allowed to be made in the second semester of the final year. Please consult your home Faculties for assistance if in doubt.

However, please consider the followings before you make your decision:

  • Are you ready to study a major/minor that is completely new to you?
  • Are there any completed courses that can be counted in the major/minor you wish to switch to?
  • Are you serious about this decision?
  • Have you fulfilled the pre-requisite requirements of that major/minor? Will this switch lengthen your study period? You have to think about whether you could pass the required pre-requisite(s) and the respective ED course (for switching majors) and whether you could finish the required number of credits in the remaining period of study. Students are not allowed to take more than 288 credits during their 4 years of studies, unless they are required to make up for the failed credits.

How will my study plan be affected if I switch my majors/ minors?
You can use the “What if” system in Degree Audit in SIS to check study loads if you choose different major/ minor combinations. (Navigation: HKU Portal -> My Page -> SIS Menu -> Academic Records -> My Degree Audit)

Can I take a first-year prerequisite course for a major/minor, in my second/third year of study?
For most majors/ minors, you can. Please check with the Faculty if in doubt.

If I have declared a second major or a minor, but I cannot go on to complete them. What are the consequences?
If you cannot complete the second major or the minor at the end, these second majors/ minors would not be shown on your transcript. The courses that you have done towards these majors/ minors will be counted as free electives. In all cases, please double check with your Faculty Office if in doubt.

Would all the credits that I took for a particular major be ‘totally wasted’ if I switch to a new one? Do I need to start from scratch again?
A major usually requires 72-96 credits. If you switch major, it is very likely that you have to start with the introductory courses in the “new” major again. Therefore, you should consider carefully whether you can finish your degree on time if you switch. Usually, the credits that you have already earned can be counted as electives. In all cases, please double check with your Faculty Office.

Different majors/minors may have overlapping courses for their respective programmes. Can I use the same course taken to fulfill the requirements of more than one major or minor? What should I do if I can’t?
Double-counting of courses for fulfilling more than one major or minor is not allowed. You are advised to consult the programmes concerned and see which replacement course(s) you are required to study so that the total credits completed for each major or minor will not be reduced. You may also refer to the Degree Audit report on SIS for your progress with each declared major/minor.

How do I know if I have fulfilled all the requirements of a major/minor?
It is your responsibility to check the course enrollment on a regular basis to ensure whether you have complied with the relevant curriculum requirements of the majors/ minors you have chosen. You may also refer to the Degree Audit report on SIS for your progress with each declared major/minor.

Will my degree certificate show my major(s)/minor(s)?
Your completed major(s)/minor(s) will only be shown on your academic transcript and the academic attainment profile, but not on the degree certificate.

Can I extend my period of study to fulfill the requirement of an additional major/minor, even if I have already taken the required 240 credits?
Under normal circumstances, no. Since a second major and/or minors are only optional parts of your studies and not graduation requirements, you will not be permitted to extend the period of study to fulfill such requirements if you have already completed the graduation requirements.

Should I select courses for the first semester or both semesters in August each year?
During semester 1, students should enroll on courses offered in both semester 1 and 2. However, students are advised to enroll on courses offered in semester 1 first, and then semester 2; During semester 2, students should enroll on courses offered in both semester 2 and summer semester. However, students are advised to enroll on courses offered in semester 2 first, then summer semester. In general, final year students cannot enroll on summer courses in the summer semester.

Who will consider my course enrolment and when will I know if my course selection is approved/disapproved?
It depends on the course approval nature which will be shown when students are adding a class. Students will also receive emails generated by the System notifying the status of their course enrollment. Students can also check their enrollment status under their SIS menu -> Enrollment -> Enrollment Status.

When the course selection status reads “pending”, what does it mean? When will I know the results?
It means it is still pending for approval or pending for consideration by offering Faculty/Department. The results will vary from course to course and it depends very much on the course approval nature defined for each course.

Where can I check the approval status of the courses I have selected?
Under their SIS menu -> Enrollment -> Enrollment Status

I cannot enroll on a course successfully because of an error “Class has been closed”. Will the class be opened again?
It depends on whether there is any student who drops the class. Class will be opened again when there are students dropping the class.

I have enrolled on a course, but it has been dropped by the System automatically. What happened? What should I do?
It depends on the course approval nature and especially when the student is not approved or has violated the regulations/requirements. The System may drop the class for the student and notify them via email so that they can enroll on other courses/classes as soon as possible.

I dropped my course by mistake. What should I do …?
Students can re-enroll on the same class if it is still open (class will be closed if it is already full). If students cannot re-enroll on the same class when the class is still open, they can try login with another browser and enroll again.

Can I change my course selection in SIS after the add/drop period?
Students are not allowed to change their course selection after the Add/Drop period. They can apply to their home Faculty for special approval and if it is approved, the Faculty will change their course selection manually in SIS.

How should I declare major/minor in SIS?
Students can follow the steps stated in “Student’s Quick Reference Guide on Major / Minor Declaration” under the SIS website for Students. Declaration can only be done online by students at specified periods, i.e. during pre-enrollment period (starting from August 1 in general), course enrollment period and add/drop period*. For some majors which require applications, students should follow the instructions outlined in the Faculty/Department website.

*Due to technical constraints, MBBS students might not be able to declare majors/minors offered by other Faculties in SIS. They need to contact their Faculty staff who will then inform Academic Support and Examinations Section (IT Project), Registry to perform certain steps for declaring major/minor for them.

How can I change my major/minor in SIS?
The steps are similar to those for declaring major/ minor. Please refer to “Student’s Quick Reference Guide on Major / Minor Declaration” in the SIS website for Students.

After I declare a particular major/minor, will I be given priority to enroll on their required courses (such as the pre-requisite / introductory courses)?
There are different course approval natures which vary from course to course. Some of the courses adopt first-come-first-served, some of them adopt random balloting by system and some of them adopt manual balloting. So it is very much depended on the course approval nature defined for each individual course. Some of the courses have set up pre-requisite requirements which has nothing to do with priority. Once pre-requisite is set up in a course, it checks to see if students have met the pre-requisite requirements before allowing them to enroll to that course. If you have not met the pre-requisite requirements of the course(s), you could not enroll into them and an error message will pop up to inform you that course enrolment is unsuccessful due to unfulfillment of the pre-requisite requirements.

If I cannot complete the requirements of my declared second major/minor at the end, will SIS automatically count those courses as my free electives?
If students have declared a second major or minor and they cannot fulfill those requirements, the courses done towards these programmes will be counted as free electives. However, for the degree audit report, these courses will not be treated as free electives automatically. You need to drop your second major or minor so that those courses can fall into the free electives section of the degree audit report.

If I have fulfilled the requirements (i.e., successfully completed all required courses) of a particular major/minor, but have not declared it at SIS, will SIS automatically “declare” it for me?
In general, for programmes requiring a major for graduation, Faculties will define three periods for major/minor declaration and they are (i) allow to declare from; (ii) must declare by: and (iii) last term to access; These three periods vary from programme to programme but in general, students are allowed to declare a major starting from semester 1 of their second year of study. And they must declare their major by the first semester of their third year of study if they have not declared any major in their second year of study.
SIS will NOT declare the major/minor for students automatically.

Is there a limit on the number of major/minor that I can declare in SIS? For example, can I declare 3 minors?
Please refer to the University Regulations for details of different major/ minor requirements. As for SIS, it is currently designed to allow students to declare a maximum of 2 majors and 2 minors online and checking of overloading is also in place during course selection period. You are advised to observe the University regulations for not exceeding the maximum curriculum study load. You may also seek advice from your home Faculties and seek assistance from them for individual concerns.

When are exams held?
For most programmes, there are two exam periods: one in December for first semester courses and one in May for second semester and full-year courses.

I was sick on the exam date. What should I do now?
According to UG 7 [5] of the Regulations for First Degree Curricula, if you are unable, because of illness, to be present at the written exam of any course may apply for permission to sit for a supplementary exam of the same course to be held before the beginning of the First Semester of the following academic year. You have to make your application to the Examinations Office of the University and submit a completed Form of Medical Certificate to the University Health Service within two weeks of the exam you were unable to attend. For detailed arrangement, please consult your Faculty Office.

When are exam results announced?
For most programmes, exam results are announced in January for first semester courses and June for second semester and full-year courses.

What should I do if I know I will not be able to take a written exam on the scheduled date?
Special arrangement will be made only under exceptional circumstances. You have to write at your earliest opportunity to the Examinations Office which will seek the recommendations from the Chief Examiner(s) concerned on your request. Approval MUST be sought before the original date of the exam.

What should I do if I fail a course?
In general, you have to take course(s) to make up for the failed/outstanding credits immediately in the following semester, by either repeating the same course or taking another course with the required credits. For detailed arrangement, please consult your Faculty Office. In case you need to take more than 36 credits in a semester to make up the failed/outstanding credits, i.e. exceed the maximum semester study load as stipulated under the Regulations, you will have to seek approval from your Faculty for overloading first.

Can I appeal for my exam results?
There are no appeals against the results of exams and all other forms of assessment. You may however request checking of assessment results on grounds of procedural irregularities. The application fee is HK$200 for each assessment result to be checked. For further information, please see the Procedures for Checking of Assessment Results of Taught Courses.

Will my academic results be revealed to my parents without notifying me?
No. Students are protected by the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance. In this respect, parents/guardians have no automatic right to access the personal data of students, such as their academic records.

Where can I find the past exam papers?
The Library has an “Exambase” (http://lib.hku.hk/database/) which provides full text of some HKU past examination papers to facilitate your revision. For those subjects with “restricted access”, students need to contact the lecturer direct.

Could I retake a course if the grade of my first attempt is not good?
No, as long as you have passed the course, even if you are not happy with the grade, you could not retake it.

How are failed credits counted in my academic record?
All courses attempted will be recorded on the transcript, including failed courses. If you choose to repeat the failed course, the new grade obtained will be recorded in the semester in which you have retaken the course but the failed grades will still be included in the calculation of the Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA), Year GPA (YGPA), Cumulative GPA (CGPA), and Graduation GPA (GGPA). All failed grades will be taken into account when determining your honours classification.

Will there be different weighting of courses taken in the calculation of my honours classification?
No. All courses carry equal weighting, regardless of the year in which they are offered and whether they are in the students’ major(s) in the calculation of honours classification.

How will my honours classification be determined upon my graduation?
The classification of honours shall be determined by the Board of Examiners in accordance with the following Cumulative GPA (CGPA) scores, with all courses taken (including failed courses) carrying equal weighting:

Class of honours CGPA range
First Class Honours 3.60-4.30
Second Class Honours 2.40 – 3.59
    Division One 3.00 – 3.59
    Division Two 2.40 – 2.99
Third Class Honours 1.70-2.39
Pass 1.00-1.69

However, please note that honours classification may not be solely determined on the basis of a student’s CGPA sometimes. The Board of the Examiners may, at its absolute discretion and with justification, might award a higher class of honours to a candidate deemed to have demonstrated meritorious academic achievement but whose CGPA falls very slightly below the range stipulated in the above table of the higher classification by not more than a certain Grade Point, for example, 0.1. Different Faculties might adopt different Grade Point on this. Please check with your home Faculty Office if in doubt.

Will the selection of the Pass/ Fail grading for courses affect my honours classification?
To award honours to you, the University normally employs a ‘50% rule’, which mandates that at least half of the credits of your degree curriculum should be letter-graded. This means, if your programme requires 240 credits for graduation, you will normally be required to have at least 120 letter-graded credits in order to be awarded a honour. A student with fewer than half the total credits letter-graded will normally be awarded a pass degree with no honours classification. Therefore, we suggest you to think extremely carefully before opting for pass/fail grading, especially if you are in special situations such as senior-year entry or granted advanced standing. For further enquiries, please clarify with your Faculty.

What are the differences between SGPA, YGPA, CGPA and GGPA?
GPA is the abbreviation of Grade Point Average. Different calculations of GPA are listed as follows:

  • SGPA (“Semester GPA”) is the GPA in respect of courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) during a given semester.
  • YGPA (“Year GPA”) is the GPA in respect of courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) during a given academic year.
  • CGPA (“Cumulative GPA”) is the GPA in respect of courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) at the time of calculation.
  • GGPA (“Graduation GPA”) is the GPA in respect of courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) at the point of graduation, which is applicable to the 2017–18 (Year 1) intake and thereafter. *For students in the 2017–-18 intake and thereafter who have successfully completed six Common Core courses, the calculation of Graduation GPA is subject to the proviso that either five Common Core courses with the highest grades (covering all four Areas of Inquiry), or all six courses will be counted towards Graduation GPA, depending on which generates the higher Graduation GPA.

Under what circumstances will I be discontinued from my studies?
According to UG 4 of the Regulations for First Degree Curricula, you will be required to discontinue your studies if you have:

  • failed to complete successfully 36 or more credits in two consecutive semesters (not including the summer semester), except where you are not required to take such a number of credits in the two given semesters, or
  • failed to achieve an average Semester GPA of 1.0 or higher for two consecutive semesters, or
  • exceeded the maximum period of registration specified in the regulations of the degree.

If you are required to discontinue your studies, you will be interviewed by the Faculty Review Committee on Student Performance and Discontinuation (FRC) before your case is considered by the University’s Committee on Discontinuation (COD). There will be academic staff members and an undergraduate student representative on the panel. They will consider your individual circumstances (academic and non-academic) and make a recommendation on whether you shall be required to discontinue your studies. At the meeting, you shall be given a chance to explain the difficulties you have encountered and to receive advice on improving your academic performance and resolving study-related problems.

Will I be discontinued from studies if I have failed the same course for 3 times?
It depends. Some (not all) curriculums stipulate that the maximum number of attempts for a particular course or requirement is three. As such, students pursuing these curriculums might need to sit for the FRC/ COD if they have failed the same course for three times and might be at the risk of being discontinued from studies.

Which units I should seek help from if my academic result in the first semester is not good or if I need to sit for the FRC or CoD?
If you have any study problems, you can always seek help from your Faculty Academic Advisers or from us, the advisers at the Academic Advising Office. You can make an appointment with us here.

When should I start planning for exchange?
There are two main options for exchange: HKU Worldwide Undergraduate Student Exchange Programme (HKUWW) and the Faulty-level exchange programme. No matter which option you wish to go for, we usually suggest students to plan for exchange at least a year ahead. For example, if you are interested in going on exchange in year three, you should plan for it in the beginning of year two. Please visit the website of the International Affairs Office (https://aal.hku.hk/studyabroad/) or your own Faculty for more details.

Do I need to extend my study period if I go on exchange?
It depends on whether your host institution offers subjects in your major programme at HKU and whether you are able to transfer back enough number of credits to satisfy the requirements of your programme. AAO has a 3-min briefing on exchange planning. If you have further questions, consult IAO and your Faculty Office.

Do I get credits for the courses I completed during exchange?
Yes. If you wish to transfer credits, you must apply for credit transfer in advance according to your Faculty’s regulations and requirement. However, the actual transfer of exchange credits happens when you return to HKU. Your Faculty is the final authority to decide on how your courses taken at the host institution will be credited towards your HKU degree.

If I go on exchange studies in the second semester but I have to take a full-year course in that academic year to fulfil the requirement(s) of a major/minor, what should I do?
Since enrollment record of all courses (including any full-year courses) during the exchange period will be deleted, it is very important for you to consult your Faculty on how you could complete the outstanding requirements of your full-year course before you set off for exchange.

What are the application procedures and the documents required for credit transfer from exchange studies?
Before going on exchange, you have to consult the relevant Faculty/School(s)/Department(s) at HKU on which courses you can take in your host institution in order to transfer credits when you return. You are required to submit your application for credit transfer approval prior to your exchange trip. Different Faculties might adopt different procedures on this so please check this out. As for required documents, different Faculties might have different guidelines, but in general, supporting documents related to the dates of exchange semesters, study load and proposed courses for credit transfer should be submitted, such as course syllabuses and course outlines (with credit information and assessment methods, etc.). Please contact your Faculty for details.

Is it necessary for me to transfer all the credits I have completed during exchange?
No, you can choose the courses for which you wish to apply for credit transfer.

Will the courses approved for credit transfer affect my GPAs and honours classification?
Only the name of the host institution, course title(s) and the credits approved to be transferred, and each course fulfilment (for major/ minor/ free elective) will be shown on the academic transcript. The grades you earned overseas will not be included in the calculation of your GPA and honours classification.

How will my credits be counted if the courses I take during exchange are not of 6 credits?
Please contact your Faculty on this for their credit conversion policies on exchange studies.

I want to exchange but my CGPA is not very good. Does that mean I have no chance to study abroad?
IAO offers a range of study abroad programmes, other than semester/year exchange, which vary in length, destination, funding source and CGPA requirements. Check out each programme at IAO website.

I still have some questions about exchange which are not listed above. Where else can I find more information?
The International Affairs Office has compiled a very comprehensive FAQ on exchange planning: https://aal.hku.hk/studyabroad/faq.php?type=outgoing. Please take a look and hope you can find your answers there.

I want to find an internship, what should I do?
You can contact the Careers and Placement Section of CEDARS for support and assistance at https://www.cedars.hku.hk/careers/home

How important is GPA in job search?
Please see advice from the Careers and Placement Section of CEDARS below:

“GPA is only one of the many factors that employers consider when reviewing job applications and suitability of applicants for their vacancies. Apart from academic achievement, they may also look at the candidates’ performance during interview as well as other selection criteria including their past experience, career aspiration, technical fit, attitude and other soft skills.

Due to COVID-19, both the timing and mode of students’ learning and examinations have been impacted in the past year. It would be helpful if students can help their potential employers understand the special circumstance(s), and describe how they have come up with their personal choice of GPA vs Pass/Fail option. If they need advice or assistance, they are welcome to contact the Careers and Placement office or book for a one-on-one session to meet and discuss with our Student Advising Officers.”

I am stressed out and depressed. Is there any emotional support at the University?
Yes, counselling service and person enrichment workshops are available at the Counselling and Person Enrichment (CoPE) Section of CEDARS. You can visit their website for more information (http://cedars.hku.hk/cope) or make an appointment (https://www.cedars.hku.hk/cope/cps/appointment)

What fees do I have to pay?
You can find detailed information on “University Fee” at the website of the Academic Support and Examinations Section of Registry at http://www.ase.hku.hk/fees/ for details.

Are there any bursaries or scholarships available?
For financial subsidies please contact the Campus Life Section of CEDARS (https://www.studentlife.hku.hk/) for information. They provide support on financial management and financial assistance. Please visit https://www.studentlife.hku.hk/financial-assistance for details. In each academic year, Scholarships Office offers a “General Round” of scholarship application which enables students to apply for over 40 scholarship schemes by filling out ONLY one online form. Details at: http://www.scholarships.hku.hk/news/detail/155.

If I need to defer my graduation for one semester and will only take 24 credits in semester 1, year 5, how much should I pay?
If students have paid full composition fee for 8 semesters, they could apply for “pay-by-credit” from their Faculty for their tuition fee arrangements in their remaining semesters at HKU. If approved, tuition fee could be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

I still have other questions regarding the settlement of school fee. For example, if I have been approved to take leave, do I still need to pay the composition fee?
You might try to look at the FAQ compiled by the Academic Support and Examinations Section of the Registry on university fee at http://www.ase.hku.hk/fees/faq.html. Maybe you can find your answers there.

Are there scholarships that accept applications from non-local students? Where could I get more information?
Please visit the website of the Scholarships Office at https://www.scholarships.hku.hk/ for more information. They have also developed a comprehensive FAQ at https://www.scholarships.hku.hk/news/detail/164 for students’ reference.

When and how do I apply for leave of absence?
You need to apply for leave of absence if you are unable to attend classes (lectures, tutorials, or any other scheduled teaching) due to exchange studies, medical or personal reasons. For instance, if you go on exchange studies, you have to apply for leave of absence for the semester(s) during which you will be away from HKU. You have to complete the form “Application for Leave of Absence” and submit it to the Faculty Office at the earliest opportunity, in any case BEFORE the commencement of the leave period. In the application, you have to explain clearly the reason(s) for taking leave (either for exchange studies, medical or personal reasons) and attach the relevant supporting document(s). Applications for leave retrospectively are normally not accepted.

What is plagiarism and what happens if I am found to have committed plagiarism?
To put it simply, plagiarism is defined as the unacknowledged use, as one’s own, of work of another person, whether or not such work has been published. It also includes self-plagiarism, that is, the unacknowledged use of your own previous work(s), for example, your works/ papers for other courses. Any student who commits plagiarism is liable to disciplinary action which can result in very serious consequences – including expulsion from the University. Therefore, you are strongly advised to visit the website “What is Plagiarism” (https://tl.hku.hk/plagiarism/) so to learn thoroughly what plagiarism is, its consequences, how to avoid it, the learning resources and the relevant policies and regulations. More importantly, don’t hesitate to consult your teachers if you have any questions about how to avoid plagiarism.

I have a question that isn’t answered here! Who can I contact for further help?
If you need further advice on some other study matters that are not listed above, please email us at aaoffice@hku.hk, call us at 3917 0128 or WhatsApp us at 5413 6321. We’ll be happy to help.