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Posted By admin On July 21, 2011 @ 10:47 am In | No Comments


We have collected some of the most common questions you might ask about your studies. Since Faculties 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.

Course Enrolment

1. How and when should I select courses? [1]

You select courses via SIS (Student Information System—link) during the course selection period at semester start. You can modify your enrolment in the add/drop period, usually during the first two weeks of teaching.

2. How many credits can I take to the maximum? Can I overload? [1]

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. For details, please look at UG 4 (link) of the Regulations for First Degree Curricula.

3. Should I late drop a course? [1]

Late drop is usually impossible 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.

Major/ Minor

1. When should I declare major? What should I consider? [1]

For most non-professional programmes, you do not need to declare major in your first year of studies. Usually, you have to declare your major during the course selection period (August) before the start of the second year of your studies. 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.

2. Can I change my major later? [1]

If you are in a non-professional programme, after you declare your major/minor, usually you will still have chance to revise your choice in subsequent course selection period. However, please consider the followings before you make your decision:

  1. Are you ready to study a major/minor that is completely new to you?
  2. Have you fulfilled the pre-requisite requirements of that major/minor? Will this switch lengthen your study period?
  3. Are there any completed courses that can be counted in the major/minor you wish to switch to?
  4. Are you serious about this decision?

You should consult the Faculty Office in case of doubt.

3. What should I do if I have not met the prerequisite(s) for a course I want to take? [1]

Sorry, almost all courses stay strict with their prerequisite requirements. You may further check with the Faculty concerned.

4. Can I take a first-year prerequisite course for a major or minor, in my second/third year of study? [1]

For most majors and minors, you can. As for the detailed arrangement and the relevant weighting issue, please consult your Faculty Office.

5. 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? [1]

A first major usually requires 72-96 credits and a second major usually requires 60-72 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.

6. Are there any academic requirements for double majors or major-minor? [1]

It depends. Some Faculties have set a minimum requirement for their majors and minors offered. For example, the Faculty of Business & Economics (FBE) has set GPA requirements for non-FBE students who wish to declare a major/minor offered by FBE. It is very important to check the academic requirements of specific major/minor programme before you commit.

7. If I have declared a second major or a minor, but I cannot go on to complete them. What are the consequences? [1]

If you cannot complete the second major or the minor, it would not be shown on your transcript. Nonetheless, you are highly encouraged to consult your Faculty Office for help.

8. Can a course satisfy the requirement of two different majors (or a major and a minor) if such a course appears in both syllabi? [1]

It depends on the requirements of specific programmes. Please consult the Faculties concerned.

9. Is it possible to double minor? [1]

Yes, as long as all minor requirements are fulfilled.

10. Can I extend my period of study to fulfill the requirement of an additional major/minor, even if I have already taken the required 180 credits? [1]

It depends. Under normal circumstances, if a second major or minors are only the optional parts in your curriculum, there is a possibility that you will not be permitted to extend the period of study to fulfill such requirements if you have already completed the graduation requirement.

Exam and Discontinuation of Studies

1. When are exams held? [1]

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.

2. When are exam results announced? [1]

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

3. I was sick on the exam date. What should I do now? [1]

According to UG 7 [2] 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 Unit 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.

4. What should I do if I am unable to take a written exam on the scheduled date? [1]

Special arrangement will be made only under exceptional circumstances. You have to write at your earliest opportunity to the Examinations Unit who will seek the recommendations from the Chief Examiner(s) concerned on your request. Approval MUST be sought before the original date of the exam.

5. What should I do if I fail a course? [1]

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.

6. Under what circumstances will I be discontinued from my studies? [1]

According to UG 4 [2] of the Regulations for First Degree Curricula, you will be required to discontinue your studies if you have:

  1. 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
  2. failed to achieve an average Semester GPA of 1.0 or higher for two consecutive semesters, or
  3. 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 (FRC) before your case is considered by the University’s Committee on Discontinuation (COD). If you have any study problems, please seek help early! Please make an appointment with us at the Academic Advising Office. We are here to help.

7. Can I appeal for my exam results? [1]

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 [3].


1. When should I start planning for exchange? [1]

If you are interested in going on exchange in your second year, you should start planning in your first semester. Visit the Study Abroad Fair organized by the International Affairs Office (IAO) [4] to get more information!

2. Do I need to extend my study period if I go on exchange? [1]

It depends on whether your host institution offers subjects in your major programmes at HKU. Try to get help from IAO and your Faculty Office should you have any questions.

3. Do I get credits for the courses I completed during exchange year? [1]

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 courses taken at the partner university will be credited towards your HKU degree.

4. What are the application procedures for credit transfer from exchange studies? [1]

Before going on exchange, you have to consult the relevant School(s)/Department(s) at HKU on which courses you can take in your host institution in order to transfer credits when you return. After you return from your exchange studies, please approach your Faculty Office and submit the relevant transcript and application for credit transfer.

Leave of Absence

When and how do I apply for leave of absence? [1]

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. 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.

FAQ Videos

Apart from the questions listed above, there are also some FAQ videos [5] that you may feel interested. These video clips are produced by the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS). They will give you insights on how to better prepare for the challenges ahead and to develop positive attitudes for a fruitful and healthy university life. The video topics include:

  • Will my academic results be revealed to my parents without notifying me?
  • What is IELTS (International English Language Testing System)? Do I have to take it for graduation?
  • I find it difficult to handle my studies. Where can I seek help?
  • How can I build a better relationship with my lecturers?
  • My lecturers seem busy all the time. How and where should I contact them?
  • How can students and teachers work together to achieve better student learning?
  • What should I do if my academic result in the first semester is not good?
  • How can I make the most out of my university life?

Article printed from Academic Advising@HKU: https://aao.hku.hk

URL to article: https://aao.hku.hk/sy3/faq/

URLs in this post:

[1] 1. How and when should I select courses?: #

[2] UG 7: http://pilot.aao.hku.hk/sy3/plan-of-study/reg-and-syl/

[3] Procedures for Checking of Assessment Results of Taught Courses: http://www.hku.hk/exam/pdf/111_511.pdf

[4] International Affairs Office (IAO): http://www.als.hku.hk/admission/exchange/

[5] FAQ videos: http://wp.cedars.hku.hk/web/faqvideos/videos/academic-success/

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