• 1. Be familiar with your curriculum:

    HKU has more than 100 undergraduate curricula, each with unique curriculum requirements. These requirements may change from year to year, so please don’t rely on your friends, do check it yourself! To a very large extent, your curriculum and major/ minor selection have already determined what courses you must take (eg, your disciplinary core courses) and what courses you may choose (eg. disciplinary electives or free electives). If you have any questions regarding your curriculum, please don’t hesitate to contact your Faculty Academic Adviser or Faculty/Department Office. For the contents of a particular course, for example, its learning outcomes and assessment criteria, please refer to the “Course Information” in SIS (Navigation: HKU Portal -> My Page -> SIS Menu -> Enrollment -> Course Information)

    [Further Reading: AAO’s Webpage on Syllabus and Curriculums]

  • 2. Mark down the enrolment dates and plan for both semesters:

    You are required to register for courses for BOTH semesters in the August registration. However, summer courses can only be registered during the Add / Drop period in Semester 2. Both Semester 1 and Semester 2 have Add/Drop period which are usually scheduled in the first two weeks right after the semester starts. As for the Add/ Drop period of summer semester, it is usually in the middle of June, just a few days long. Keep an eye on the schedules and don’t miss the enrollment periods! Usually, late add or late drop is not allowed unless you have extraordinarily strong reasons.

  • 3. Be careful with the selection criteria and the pre-requisite requirements:

    Before selecting courses, make sure you know how to do it in SIS. Read the manual first if you are not 100% sure. It might also be useful to understand how your interested courses “pick” students. Some of the courses adopt first-come-first-served policy, some of them adopt random balloting and some of them adopt manual balloting. Take Common Core courses as an example. They adopt First-Come-First-Served enrollment method during the course selection period but an auto-ballot method during the Add/Drop period. If you wish to know how many places left for your interested Common Core courses, just look at their statistics which is updated regularly. For some other courses, there are pre-requisite requirements which has nothing to do with priority. For courses without such requirements, check if the places are allotted through a First-Come-First-Served method. If yes, remember to get to your computer early!

  • 4. Create a schedule that works and make good use of the Add/Drop period:

    Picking classes in university is different from that in high school. In HKU, there are hundreds, even thousands, of classes and you have to plan out your own schedule. Try to spread your courses out over the week so that you can have time for studying and other activities each day. Beware of time clashes and don’t double book yourself. For tutorial classes, their timetables might only be available after the semester started. Just wait for further announcements from your lecturers and tutors. As for study load, the normal range is from 4 courses to 6 courses in each semester, you can just aim at five. If you find your schedule and/or the courses you have selected are not a good fit, change it during the first two weeks of classes, that is, during the Add/ Drop period.

  • 5. Plan early if you wish to switch majors/ minors:

    You might think about switching majors/ minors from time to time. Before you make up your mind, please use the “What-if” Function in “Degree Audit” of SIS to see how you should fulfill your credit requirements when going for different combinations of major/minor programmes. Changes of majors/minors can only be done during the course selection periods and the Add/Drop periods. As for the number of times of changing them, there are no rigid regulations. If you are in a non-professional programme, after you declared your major/minor, you can still revise/change your choices in the subsequent course selection/ Add/Drop periods until the first semester of your final year. No changes are allowed in the second semester of the final year. Before you make the change, think about these questions:

    • Do you have enough number of credits to take the courses of these changed major/ minor programmes and that all relevant requirements could be fulfilled by your graduation?
    • 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?
    • Will this switch lengthen your study period? Plan early if you really wish to switch.
  • 6. Don’t panic if the course is full:

    It might seem like the end of the world when the course you need to take is full. Please rest assured that it is not. In fact, it is common for students to drop classes all the way up to the end of the Add/Drop period and class will be open again when there are available places. While you are waiting, you might try to explore if there are other options or alternatives for fulfilling your planned study path, for example, if you cannot get in your desired Common Core class, will you consider to do it in the summer semester? If you desperately need to take a particular course in a particular semester, try to consult your Faculty or the course-offering department.

    [Further Reading: ThoughtCo: What to Do If a College Class Is Full]

  • 7. Final reminders -- Check the terminology if you don’t understand:

    There are a lot of academic terminologies in the University and some of them are strongly related to your studies. “Double-Counting”: double counting of overlapping courses is usually not allowed under normal circumstances; however, it is sometimes possible and can be up to a maximum of 24 credits between double majors. Do check the details out with your home Faculty or the course-offering departments since different Faculties might have different policies on double counting; “Exemption”: if you are exempted from a course, you are still required to take another course to make up the credits; “Advanced Standing/ Credit Transfer”: if you are granted advanced standing or credit transfer, you don’t need to take additional courses to make up the credits.