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Statement of Purpose (SOP) for Hong Kong: Requirements for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programs

Komal Yadav Komal Yadav
Study Abroad Expert

Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement (as it is called by the universities in Hong Kong) is a crucial aspect of any student’s admission application. It is an essay describing an applicant’s motivations behind applying to a university and the program. The word limit for SOP of Hong Kong is usually 1000 words or 1 page.

Statement of Purpose summarizes your previous achievements as well as future goals. It also gives you a platform to explain any bad grades, career breaks etc. Although SOPs are required for admission at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Hong Kong universities, the guidelines and structure for each level are slightly different.

  • At the undergraduate level, the universities mainly want to know the student’s motivation behind applying for the particular program.
  • In Postgraduate-level, focus is more on the employment history, project experiences and future goals of the students.
  • Research track programs may require students to provide a well-planned research proposal as a Statement of Research Interest.

Guidelines for Statement of Purpose of Hong Kong

Most of the Hong Kong universities require students to submit a brief personal statement as part of their application package. Each university has varying questions that need to be answered in the essay and different word limits.

  • Length: The focus of an SOP should be quality over quantity. Students should remember that the Admission Office needs to go over 100s of similar essays. Thus, it should be to the point and content-rich. Some institutes do not set any word limits at all. Others like The University of Hong Kong clearly specify a word limit of 1,000 words.
  • Language: The language of instruction in most of the Hong Kong universities is English. Thus, they prefer that students submit the SOP in English language only.
  • Answer to University Prompts: Students should remember to address any specific university prompts in their statement of purpose essays. If no such prompts are mentioned they should put special focus on their motivations behind applying for the program and the university.

Statement of Purpose for Hong Kong Undergraduate Programs

Submission of SOPs for undergraduate admissions depends on the university you are applying to. Only one SOP is required per student regardless of the number of programs you are applying to in a particular university of Hong Kong.

Requirements for different universities at the undergraduate level are mentioned below:

  • University of Hong Kong: SOP should not exceed 1000 words. Students should elaborate on their interest in studying at the University of Hong Kong and the program.
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong: SOP should be limited to 2 A4 pages only. Students are required to discuss why they chose the program.
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: There is no word limit for submission of SOP. Students should mention their strengths, interest in the program, previous achievements and future ambitions in the essay
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University: Personal statements are optional for undergraduate students at PolyU. It should exhibit that the applicant will be a good fit for the program being applied to. There is no set word limit

The City University of Hong Kong, another top Hong Kong university, does not require SOPs from undergraduate students.

Statement of Purpose for Hong Kong Postgraduate Programs

At the graduate level, SOPs may also be called a Letter of Intent, Applicant Statement, or a Research Proposal. University-specific instructions for personal statement are mentioned below

The University of Hong Kong:

SOP is required for only a few taught postgraduate programs of University of Hong Kong. Almost all research track programs require the submission of a statement of research interest. Following are the instructions for writing SOPs of some programs:

  • MA in English Studies: Applicants to this program must submit a personal statement & a writing sample in English.
  • Faculty of Engineering (MPhil-PhD): Mentioning the proposed topic, research methodology and outcome. There is no restriction of word limit.
  • Faculty of Business & Economics (MPhil-PhD): The proposal should not exceed 8 pages and outline the proposed topic of research, method and the expected outcome.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

Personal Statement may or may not be required at CUHK depending on the program being applied to. Guidelines for SOP of some of the programs are as follows:

  • MA in English: Submit a 500 word SOP elaborating the motivations for applying to the program and future aspirations.
  • Electronics Engineering (M.Phil-PhD): An SOP of 600-800 words is required.
  • Biomedical Engineering (M.Phil- PhD): Statement of Research Interest of 500 words must be submitted.

Other research track graduate programs such as MPhil in Accountancy, Business Administration etc also require the submission of a research proposal.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

  • SOP may be required for certain postgraduate taught programs and is optional for postgraduate research programs.
  • No word limit or specific guidelines are provided by the HKUST.
  • Students applying for research programs have to submit a research proposal and past research experience essay.
  • Proper source should be mentioned if any author is quoted in the SOP.

City University of Hong Kong

Structure and content requirements for SOPs differ according to the program at City University of Hong Kong. The requirements for some programs are mentioned as follows:

  • MA in Global Business Management:
    • Mention why you feel you are eligible to pursue the program and how it will benefit you (200 words)
    • Brief description of employment history and past international experience (200 words)
  • MSc in Financial Engineering:
    • Word Limit: 500 words
    • Discuss why you are applying to the program, why you feel they would fit into the curriculum
    • Mention how you will use the program for career advancement
  • Master of Architecture:
    • Word Limit: 1000 words
    • Should contain: past experiences, career goals, how an M.Arch degree will help in achieving career goals
  • MS in Applied Economics:
    • Word Limit: 1000 words
    • Discussion on at least one topic of economics
    • Quantitative and analytical skills acquired during undergraduate studies
    • Career goals and how MS in Applied Economics will help you in achieving them
  • MS in Construction Management:
    • Word Limit: 500 words
    • Employment history in construction-related jobs
    • Academic history or personal interests in construction management
    • Role of this program in your future goals

SOP or Applicant Statement is also required for MA in Media Studies and MA in Integrated Marketing Communications. Word limit is usually between 500 to 1000 words.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)

Doctor of Business Administration, MA in Language Programs, MS in Engineering Business Management, MA in Fashion & Textile Design, and MS in Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Management are some of the programs of Hong Kong Polytechnic University that compulsorily require submission of Personal Statement.

Other than that following programs have different guidelines than all the other programs of university for submission of personal statement:

  • Master of Design:
    • Length: 1 to 2 pages
    • Should contain: academic history, challenges in current employment, future goals, interest in the program, research interests and expectations from the program.
  • Masters in Corporate Governance: Maximum length should be1 A-4 sized page
  • MS in Geomatics: Maximum length of one page
  • Graduate Programs in Tourism and Hospitality:
    • Word Limit: 400 words
    • Should contain: self-introduction, future goals, motivation for applying to the program
  • MS in Global Supply Chain Management:
    • Word Limit: 200
    • Should contain: self-introduction and future goals for 5 years
    • MA in Guidance and Counselling:
    • Word Limit: 1000
    • Should contain: work experience, addressing a problem related to applicant and possible solution to it

Some programs of PolyU that have Personal Statement as optional admission requirements are MS in Civil Engineering, MS in Electrical Engineering, MS in Electronic and Information Engineering, MS in Environmental Management & Engineering, and MS in Global Food Safety & Risk Analysis.

Tips For Drafting An SOP for Hong Kong Universities

Admissions to Hong Kong universities are highly competitive due to limited seat availability. Students should pay attention to the following points while writing an SOP, as this can be the difference between an offer of admission and a letter of rejection.

  • Should be to the point and precise in language.
  • Should be no grammatical errors, plagiarized content, cliche or generalized statements.
  • All claims of achievements should be backed up with relevant proof wherever possible.
  • Focus should be on convincing the admissions council about the student’s genuine interest in the program.
  • Includes not only what you expect from the institute, but also what you can contribute to the university.

The admissions committee usually looks for a student’s academic and extracurricular achievements, personal interests, future aspirations and expectations from the program they are applying to in the personal statement. A well written personal statement can be a candidate’s ticket to the university of their dreams.

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