Universities in Hong Kong - Rankings, Top Courses, Fee, Admission

by ashmita.tamta

Universities in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is home to around 20 renowned higher education institutions that offer a wide variety of courses. Eight of these institutions are publicly funded universities. In addition, nearly 20 institutions offer a range of locally-accredited sub-degree programs.

  • Most courses are conducted in English.
  • Around 24,000 students graduate every year in Hong Kong with the majority in medicine and dentistry (nearly 2,400).
  • The Hong Kong government spends USD 3.4 million on higher education every year.
  • But of the 17 local degree-awarding institutions in Hong Kong, eight are self-financing institutions.
  • Three of the universities are ranked in the world’s top 50 and Asia’s top 10 - Academic Ranking of World Universities.
Number of higher education institutions in Hong Kong29
Number of degree-awarding institutions20
Number of students enrolled in 2018321,800
Highest-Ranked University in Hong KongHong Kong University (#26 - QS Ranking)

Best universities in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s five universities are among world’s top 100, according to QS World University Rankings. The world-class universities of Hong Kong welcomed nearly 21,000 international students with the majority hailing from mainland China (around 9,000).

Universities in Hong Kong rankings

UniversityQS World University RankingPercentage of International Students
University of Hong Kong2643%
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology3031%
Chinese University of Hong Kong4633%
City University of Hong Kong4941%
Hong Kong Polytechnic University9525%

Top Courses to study in Hong Kong

Hong Kong universities run some of the world’s best business administration and executive business management programs (Financial Times). Here are the top courses to study in Hong Kong.

  • Dentistry
  • Architecture and construction
  • Engineering
  • Business and management
  • Media
Academic FieldsStudent Enrolment (2017-18)
Medicine10,924
Sciences16,697
Engineering and Technology19,941
Business and Management18,002
Social Sciences13,379
Arts and Humanities12,752

Types of higher education institutions in Hong Kong

Publicly-funded Universities  

  • Eight in number.
  • Funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • UGC universities are popular among international students as they offer many scholarships.
  • Each one is an autonomous body.
  • They offer 100 bachelors, 32 masters, associates, and doctoral degrees.
  • Some even offer sub-degree programs.
  • A majority of programs are taught in English.

Vocational Training Council (VTC) institutions

  • They offer vocational and undergraduate technical programs
  • The focus is on applied skills in fields including arts and sciences.

Self-financing institutions

  • Eleven in number.
  • Offer both sub-degree and degree-level programs.
  • The Open University of Hong Kong is the only statutory university (private but receives government funding) with five schools.
  • The government invested USD 400,000 in the education fund for scholarships and quality enhancement efforts.

Specialized institutions

  • Comprise public and independent institutions that provide specialized instruction areas.
  • Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts is very popular.

Other foreign providers

  • Offer more than 1,100 non-local courses in Hong Kong.

Degree Types in Hong Kong

There are sub-degree programmes, associates, bachelors, and graduate degrees available. Most of them offer multiple entry and exit points.

Each university offers various study programs across diverse disciplines categorized into faculties. Every study program has its own set of major, minor, credit, and entry requirements.

After successfully completing secondary school, students can pursue an undergraduate degree course or another degree type that may help them to shift into another program later.

UniversityTotal Enrollment Undergraduate EnrollmentGraduate Enrollment
University of Hong Kong15,8639,2446,619
Chinese University of Hong Kong18,22611,0127,214
City University of Hong Kong11,3588,6882,670
Hong Kong Polytechnic University18,18913,5674,622
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology8,8416,0102,831

Undergraduate degrees

  • Number of undergraduate courses - 329
  • Duration of bachelor’s degrees for full-time students - 4 years
  • Types of undergraduate degrees include Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Arts (BA), and Bachelor of Engineering (BEng).

Fee for international undergraduate students

International studentsUSD 9,000 - USD 10,300 per year
Additional feesUSD 12.90 per year

Postgraduate degrees

  • Admission requirement - Complete a Bachelors degree before proceeding on to postgraduate study
  • Number of postgraduate courses - 32
  • Types of master’s degree include Master of Science (MSc), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Law (LLM), and Master of Business Administration (MBA).
  • Duration of master’s degree - 1 to 2 years

Fee for international postgraduate students

International studentsUSD 5,428 per year
Additional feesUSD 12 per year

Ph.D.

  • Duration of full-time Ph.D.: 3-4 years
  • The 3-year program is for those with a research Masters such as an MRes.
  • The 4-year program is for those with a first in their Bachelors and/or Masters degree.
  • The full-time academic year is bifurcated into a fall semester (September-November) and a spring semester (January-April).
  • Annual tuition fee: USD 11,478 - USD 33,797

Note: International students can also opt for a part-time Ph.D. in a UGC-funded university. In this case, a three-year part-time program will last for 4.5 years and a four-year part-time program for 6 years.

Associate degrees

  • Also known as sub-degree programs.
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Ideal for those who do not want to pursue an undergraduate degree or are unable to get into a bachelor’s degree program.
  • Equivalent to the first two years of a 4-year university degree program.
  • Sub-degree graduates are often exempted from certain subjects bachelor’s degree programs. Although, you can later articulate associate courses with a degree course.
  • You can also obtain a course transfer from a successfully completed higher diploma or associate degree into an overseas degree program with some credit transfer.

Top institutions offering associate degrees

Vocational Training Council City University of Hong Kong
Open University of Hong KongHong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityThe Education University of Hong Kong

Double-degree programs 

  • There are more than 50 dual degrees offered in Hong Kong.
  • Several universities in Hong Kong collaborate with prestigious international universities worldwide to offer double-degree programs – mainly MBAs.
  • These programs enable students to experience different learning environments and cultures while simultaneously pursuing two degrees.
  • Course load options are flexible, allowing students to take up fewer or more courses in a semester as long as they meet the overall requirements by the end of the program.

Admission

  • Most universities in Hong Kong entertain applications through Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) at www.jupas.edu.hk/
  • For other universities, you may have to send your application directly to their international office.
  • Application period for international students - From September to December in the year prior to the year of admission.
  • To apply for admission to the universities in Hong Kong, you need to take an English language test such as TOEFL and IELTS to prove English proficiency. (Only for non-native English speakers)
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