FAQ - Engineering Undergraduate Program

About Engineering 

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1. Can you tell me what engineering is?

Engineering involves the acquisition and application of scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge to solve problems in our daily lives.  Engineers are therefore problem-solvers who make things work more efficiently and effectively at lower costs.  Engineering helps to improve our modern life, as exemplified by great engineering inventions such as computer chips, satellites, medical devices and renewable energy technologies, etc.  The work of engineers can be experienced in all parts of our daily life, which include making a call with mobile phone, playing internet games, managing investments, shopping online, riding on a vehicle, walking across a bridge and even wearing body lotion.  Engineering is everywhere in the world around us.

To learn about the various disciplines of engineering, click here .

2. What is the difference between Science and Engineering?

Scientists explore the laws of nature to discover new knowledge.  Engineers apply the knowledge drawn from science to solve practical problems.  Scientists explain observed phenomenon and prove something right or wrong to make scientific discoveries.  Engineers apply the scientific and math knowledge to solve problems faced by humanity and improve their quality of life, through a creative, systematic and exciting process.

3. Who will be suitable to be an engineer?

All students who love science or engineering, and eager to solve problem for a better living of human beings.

4. How is studying in HKUST School of Engineering different from other engineering schools in Hong Kong?

Unique features of HKUST:

  1. HKUST is consistently ranked among the BEST universities in the field of Science and Technology                            

                                    More about HKUST engineering rankings 

  1. HKUST School of Engineering (SENG) is recognized for its research and education excellence with significant impact locally and globally
  2. The Engineering curriculum is carefully designed to enhance students' academic and personal development, nurture their professional and career development, and broaden their community and international outlook
  3. Internationalization – HKUST boosts its internationalized student population with its comprehensive exchange programs and non-local student intake


The Engineering Curriculum at HKUST 

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5. What is an Extended Major?

It is the study of subjects in emerging areas or technologies.  It is not a major by itself but can enrich the major program pursued by students.  Extended Major is a practical balance for students to receive solid training in one discipline (e.g. civil engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.) while diving into an emerging area at the same time. 

6. What is the benefit of studying AI?

AI has wide applications in almost every industry, including all engineering fields.  Our program empowers engineering students to apply AI and related computing technologies to their careers and society. The additional knowledge and skill can sharpen students’ competitive edge in the job market.  With a training in AI, students will also be able to catch up with new developments in AI applications on their own even after graduation.

7. How is your Engineering + AI curriculum different from other AI programs offered by local institutions?

The HKUST AI curriculum is cross-disciplinary and practical.  Students will learn solid knowledge in an engineering discipline PLUS innovative application of AI in their major areas. In addition, students will gain cross-disciplinary problem-solving skills and professional insights through a Design Thinking course and Professional Seminars in AI.   Students are also required to complete a Capstone Project with strong AI components and sponsorship from industry, which enables students to practice AI applications on real world problems.

8. If I take the Extended Major in AI, would the workload be very heavy? Can I graduate within 4 years?

The workload will only be slightly heavier than that without the Extended Major.  On average, students take only one additional course per term throughout the 4 years of studies in comparison with students without AI.  According to our normative study pathway, students should have no problem in finishing both the degree requirements for their major and the extended major in AI within 4 years.

9. Do I still have a chance to enroll in Engineering with an Extended Major in AI if I do not choose it at the time of applying for admission to HKUST?

The School of Engineering offers 2 routes of School-based admission – Engineering, and Engineering with an Extended Major in AI.  Students who are admitted to Engineering can apply for opting in to the Extended Major in AI when they declare their engineering major at the end of Year 1.  Similarly, students who are admitted to Engineering with an Extended Major in AI an also choose to opt out from the Extended Major during their studies if they find that they are no longer interested.

10. How are the credits distributed in the Engineering program?

In general, most courses carry 3 to 4 credits. When you take a course and meet its requirement (e.g. get a pass in the exam), you will earn the credits.  In the Engineering program, students have to complete a minimum of 120 credits for graduation.  Dividing 120 credits into 4 years, students will take 30 credits each year or 15 credits each semester on average.

Among the 120 credits, the University Common Core curriculum will take up 36 credits. On average, the engineering introductory courses and fundamentals will take up about 30 credits.  The major program will take up about 40 - 50 credits.  If students wish to take a minor program, it will take up 18 credits (6 subjects).  They can also earn credits through research or other enrichment programs, e.g. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), experiential learning courses, etc.

11. Can I catch up with the curriculum in university?

Most of our students can catch up with the university curriculum without problem.  We will provide professional advising for students who encounter academic difficulties.  Courses intended for students from diverse academic backgrounds are provided.  E.g. There are several versions of mathematics courses that are tailor-made for students with different levels of preparation in the subject.

12. If I do not study M1/M2 in HKDSE, will it be difficult to pick up the engineering courses?

We understand that students' academic preparation can be quite diverse and the subjects they have followed in pre-university studies can be at different levels.  We therefore prepare a range of fundamental courses so as to bring up students' academic attainments to the same level at the end of the first year of study.  By this, students will be able to follow their major programs on equal footing.

13. During my first year without a major, what courses should I take and who should I ask for advice as I don't belong to any department?

During the first year, students should follow the Engineering fundamentals which comprise Engineering introduction courses, basic science courses, language courses, computing courses and the University Common Core.  To offer professional advices and counseling to engineering students, SENG has exclusively established the Centre for Engineering Education Innovation (E2I) to take care of all first-year students.

14. If I take a civil engineering course in Year 1, but later get admitted to Mechanical Engineering program, will this course still be counted (and to satisfy what requirement, school or university)? I'm worried that I have a certain major in mind, take their courses as soon as I get in, but end up wasting my time if I don't get into that major.

Students may choose different engineering introduction courses to get a taste of different engineering disciplines in their 1st year of study.  Regardless of which engineering major to pursue in the 2nd year, the credits will be counted towards the 120-credit requirement for graduation.  To help students plan their own study, there is a recommended pathway that students may refer to and customize a study path to meet their own needs.

 

15. What is the meaning of "University Common Core Courses" and "double counting with University Common Core Courses"?

To broaden the coverage of university studies, there are University Common Core requirements which consist of 36 credits of general education.  "Double counting with University Common Core Courses" means taking one course to fulfill both University Common Core requirement and major requirement.

 

16. What is the difference between Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering?

Bioengineering is broader than biomedical engineering. The latter is more focused on medical applications. Our Bioengineering program also has a significant portion of biomedical content, but it also prepares students for careers in other bioengineering fields, such as synthetic biology (i.e. designing and modifying living cells to make products we want). Offered by the only chemical engineering department in Hong Kong, our Bioengineering program has a stronger emphasis on molecular design and biochemical engineering (e.g. pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, genetic and metabolic engineering, food, etc.), and less emphasis on biomechanics and medical devices and instruments (e.g. bioelectronics, hardware, etc.), compared to similar programs in Hong Kong.  Moreover, our Bioengineering program also recognizes the emerging importance of Big Data in Health.  Therefore, our curriculum emphasizes students’ ability on data analytics in the context of life science and medicine. 

17. What is the difference between Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Electronic Engineering?

Computer Science – Emphasis on computer structure and applications as well as all kinds of software and web technologies development.  Computer Engineering – Interface between the software and hardware models.  Electronic Engineering – Hardware design as well as modern technologies used in different electronic products and network systems cooperating with computing technology.

18. What is the difference between the Data Science and Technology Program and the Decision Analytics Program?

The Data Science and Technology program aims to equip students with a solid foundation in various mathematical and statistical tools, machine learning algorithms, data analytical skills and computing technologies which enable them to make sense of massive data obtained from various sources.  It is suitable for students who have a keen interest in big data analytics and applying them to real life situations.  The Decision Analytics program equips students with portable decision analytic skills and domain specific expertise in the knowledge economy. Decision analytic skills include statistics, machine learning algorithms, simulation, stochastic processes, and optimization.  Students take elective courses in domain specific areas of the knowledge economy to add significant value to many industries including financial and consulting services among others.  While both programs have statistical learning in common, the focus of the data science and technology program is on big data and computing technologies, while that of decision analytics is on modelling and decisions supported by optimization and data.

19. What is the difference between BSc in Computer Science and BEng in Computer Science?

BSc in Computer Science (COSC) is designed for students who are pursuing dual majors.  Students in COSC are required to take an additional major in a science subject, e.g. General Mathematics, with approval of the major offering departments.  On graduation, the student will be awarded a single degree (i.e. BSc) with two majors.  Students who entered the Science School with the first major from a Science department can also join this double major program upon approval from the departments that offer the major.  On the other hand, students who wish to attain professional status as an engineer should choose BEng in Computer Science (COMP), which is accredited by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE).  Students do not need to make the choice upon admission.  Students are admitted to the School of Engineering, and declaration of COSC/COMP is done at the end of their first year of study through the major selection exercise.

20. If I wish to study environmental engineering, where can I fit in?

Environmental engineering is an interdisciplinary area.  You can pursue the study of environmental engineering with the following three major programs, which are available for students' selection upon completion of their first year of study. (Note: Students of all Schools, not just SENG, can apply for BSc in Environmental Management and Technology.)

  1. BEng in Civil and Environmental Engineering (offered by Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)

This program provides a sound and long-lasting foundation on civil engineering with a particular focus on environmental technology. Graduates of this program are qualified to join the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) Scheme "A" training and become professional engineers in Environmental discipline, Civil discipline or other related disciplines.

  1. BEng in Chemical and Environmental Engineering (offered by Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering)

This program enables students to understand various industrial processes and realize where environmental control measures can be implemented.  Graduates of this program are qualified to join the HKIE Scheme "A" training and become professional engineers in Environmental discipline, Chemical Engineering discipline or other related disciplines.

  1. BSc in Environmental Management and Technology (offered by Interdisciplinary Programs Office)

This program encompasses sustainable development, environmental management, environmental law and regulation.  This is not an engineering program and is not meant for students who aspire to be professional engineers after graduation.

21. What is the difference between double major and dual degree?

Dual degree means two degrees while double major is one degree with two majors.  Currently, HKUST offers one Dual Degree Program, which takes students 5 years to finish.  Upon completion of the program, students are awarded two degrees – a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or Science (BSc), plus a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).

For double major, on the other hand, students are expected to finish two majors in a single degree in 4 years. Students who wish to take a 2nd major will need to achieve a certain level of academic performance and develop a feasible study plan, which enable them to fulfill the requirements of 2 majors within 4 years.  Please also refer to the Q.23 below.

22. Besides the Dual Degree Program in Technology and Management, what other non- engineering disciplines are available to engineering students at HKUST?

The School of Engineering jointly offers a few programs in collaboration with the School of Science and the School of Business & Management, e.g. Data Science and Technology, Risk Management and Business Intelligence, Environmental Management and Technology, etc.  Engineering students can apply to enrol into these programs through major selection that takes place at the end of their first year of study. 

23. Besides programs available at HKUST, is there any chance for me to attend degree programs of other universities during my study?

HKUST School of Engineering is very forward-looking and always seeks to broaden its students' engineering education.  Recently, it has partnered with the University of Exeter, UK, to provide an accelerated pathway for engineering students to pursue legal courses during their engineering programs.  Upon completion of the collaborative program, students can earn a degree in BEng/BSc in engineering or computer science from HKUST, and a law degree from the University of Exeter.  For more details of this program, please refer to the School of Engineering website .

24. When can I apply for a minor? Is acceptance guaranteed?

Our Engineering program allows flexibility and room for students to take minors or even additional major(s).  Students can declare a minor program starting from the 2nd year of study (but there may be variations in timeline for some minor programs).  Some minor programs will have specific enrollment conditions which would be listed in the program curriculum.


Selecting My Major Department 

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25. After getting into SENG, what are the earliest and latest time I can apply for a particular major? If I am granted a substantial number of transfer credits, is it possible for me to declare my major before I complete Year 1?

Students will select their major departments at the end of the 2nd semester.  There is no fast track for any student as we see it necessary for students to grasp a good understanding of various engineering disciplines during their first year of study before deciding on their choice.  We would greatly value students' choices and interest.  It is our target that around 90% of the students will get one of the 1st or 2nd departmental choices.  At the same time, engineering students can also choose any Interdisciplinary Programs Office (IPO) major or joint-school programs that SENG offers in collaboration with other Schools at HKUST.  These students will be assessed by the program offering units, including interviews.

26. What are SENG's criteria in accepting students into major programs and what is the quota?

We do not only consider the students' preference, but also make use of the first year to help students to find out their own interests and passion so that they can make informed choices of the majors, rather than just following the crowd.  To allow as many students as possible to enter their preferred department, we would open up the largest number of places in each program at the departments' full capacity.

27. How is the 1st year study relevant to my favorite department?

Students will need to take Engineering fundamentals which comprises Engineering introduction course, basic science courses, language courses, computing courses and the University Common Core.  These courses, including engineering introduction courses, help broaden students' general education and also let students have a taste of different engineering majors.  The students can better understand their strength and interest in studying these courses which help students make an informed choice during department selection.

Among all subjects taken in Year 1, departments will consider the best attained subjects for assessment.  The subjects considered may vary among departments.

28. Do different majors require the same set of courses in Year 1 studies? If not, how many courses are different and what are the same?

While there is a common set of courses offered to Engineering Year 1 students, students have flexibility in deciding their pattern of study by choosing their preferred courses from the list.  They are not required to follow a fixed pattern in each semester.

29. Can I choose more than 1 major after the first year of study, say Science and Engineering? If so, which school should I choose?

Students who wish to broaden their study can choose to do additional majors or minors.  Additional major can be from the same School or another School.  No matter how many additional majors a student has completed, s/he will nevertheless be awarded one single degree only (e.g. BEng or BSc). 

Besides, the School of Engineering offers a dual major program in BSc with the Science School.  Students in that program will have a first major in Computer Science and can select a second major from School of Science.  For more details, please refer to the Q.13 above.

30. I heard that the Dual Degree Program admits students directly from JUPAS. Are there still any places for me if I join the School of Engineering in the first year and want to enroll into Dual Degree program in the 2nd year?

No worry, the Dual Degree Program Office has reserved sufficient places for major selection. Students who enter HKUST in any of the participating Schools (e.g. SENG) through school- based admission can still apply for the Dual Degree Program through major selection at the end of their first year of study.

31. Can I transfer from SENG to Business School later? What procedure/grades are needed?

After students join a major department, they may apply for program transfer should they wish to take other major programs.  The transfer criteria will be determined by the receiving School/department.


Co-Curricular Activities 

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32. What is the percentage of engineering students going to exchange?

On average, about 40% of engineering students go on exchange every year, which is an extremely encouraging figure.  The School has established exchange programs with 120+ universities from 20+ countries and regions around the world.  Students have the flexibility to participate in various enrichment programs including the overseas exchange programs.  Besides regular terms, students can also choose to participate in credit-bearing exchange at one of the School’s exchange partners in the summer term. In addition to no-fee exchange, HKUST has also developed a number of fee-paying summer study abroad programs to suit the interest and needs of students.

33. Do I have the chance to take up an internship during my study?

Students usually go for internship during Year 2 or Year 3 summer, either in Hong Kong or overseas.  Some students may also choose to take leave from study during term time to take up internships.  To promote internship among students, the School of Engineering has established the Center for Industry Engagement and Internship, which provides a platform to facilitate students’ exposure to industrial experience and internship opportunities.

34. What is experiential learning?

Experiential learning is a new pedagogical approach by which students reinforce and enrich their knowledge and skills by hands-on experience through activities like design projects, competitions, community service, etc.  The School of Engineering is a pioneer in experiential learning.  Students are strongly encouraged to participate in various competitions around the globe. Our robotics teams, which are organised under the auspices of the Center for Global and Community Engagement (GCE), for example, have had their presence in many well-known robotics competitions, locally and internationally.  The team has also won many awards (including the championship for 10 times) at the ABU Robocon – HK Contest, which is a major annual robotics competition in HK. 

With a strong belief in the educational value of experiential learning, the School launched an innovative experiential learning program – the USEL Program (Undergraduate Student-initiated Experiential Learning Program) a few years ago.  USEL provides a platform for students to try out project ideas of their own and realise their dreams through the support of designated maker-space that are fully furnished with equipment and offer 24-hour access to eligible users, and the guidance of our professors.    

Many of our Departments/Units also offer credit-bearing experiential learning courses on a wide range of themes to cater for different students’ interest, e.g. electric vehicles, food science, mobile app development, environmental quality control, aerospace engineering, health care (under the auspices of SIGHT), etc.

35. Can I do research during my undergraduate studies?

Certainly.  HKUST is a research university.  Students are encouraged to be engaged in research as early as they wish.  Undergraduate studies who are interested in doing research under the supervision of faculty members can participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), which is a platform to facilitate matching of supervisors and students.


Career Prospects 

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36. How soon can I become a qualified professional engineer after I graduate?

Students can become a qualified professional engineer 4 years after their graduation the soonest.  After students obtain a recognized degree, they need to receive 2-3 years of formal training under the Graduate Scheme "A" Training of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers.  Students will learn through practical experience in their companies under this scheme.  After this, students need to gain 1-2 years of responsible experience.  After the 4 years of training and experience, students can then apply for Professional Assessment to become a qualified professional engineer.

Professional skills of engineering are worldwide applicable. All Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) programs offered by HKUST are accredited by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE).  Through the Washington Accord and the Seoul Accord, HKUST BEng degrees are also widely recognized around the world, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, etc., thus opening up an international spectrum of jobs and career prospects.

37. What are the job opportunities after graduation?

Our graduates have no problem in securing employment. Over half of our graduating class of 2019 had received more than one job offer at the time of graduation.  While the majority of our graduates work in the engineering field and relevant industries, around a third choose to embark on careers in the commerce and business sector.  Some others, around 13% of the class, choose to go on with graduate studies.  Engineering graduates are popular among employers because of their good quantitative skills and logical thinking. 

38. What is the career prospect for each of the engineering program/discipline?

Our graduates take up a wide variety of positions across many industries. Students may learn about the career prospects of each discipline in greater details from the following:

BEng in Bioengineering

BEng in Chemical Engineering

BEng in Chemical & Environmental Engineering

BEng in Sustainable Energy Engineering

https://cbe.ust.hk/academic/download/cbe.pdf

 

BEng in Civil Engineering

https://www.ce.ust.hk/sites/ce.prod01.ust.hk/files/CIVL%20Leaflet.pdf

 

BEng in Civil & Environmental Engineering

https://www.ce.ust.hk/sites/ce.prod01.ust.hk/files/CIEV%20Leaflet.pdf

 

BEng in Computer Engineering

http://www.cpeg.ust.hk/eng/admission/career_prospects.html

 

BEng in Computer Science

BSc in Computer Science

http://www.cse.ust.hk/ug/admissions/career/opportunities/

 

BSc in Data Science and Technology

https://dsct.ust.hk/career-prospects

 

BEng in Decision Analytics

https://www.ieda.ust.hk/eng/detail.php?catid=3&sid=64&tid=89

 

BEng in Electronic Engineering (Please scroll down to the paragraph on "Career Prospects")

http://www.ece.ust.hk/public/programs/4yr_ug_beng_elec.html

 

BEng in Industrial Engineering & Engineering Management

https://www.ieda.ust.hk/eng/detail.php?catid=3&sid=64&tid=90

 

BEng in Aerospace Engineering

BEng in Mechanical Engineering

https://www.mae.ust.hk/en/alumni-careers/mae-careers/career-prospects

39. Do large engineering corporations have bigger demands for engineering graduates in specific disciplines?

Large engineering corporations look for engineers from various disciplines rather than one single discipline.  Even for civil engineering companies, they do not only need civil engineers but also mechanical or electrical engineers, etc.

40. If I do not want to be an engineer in the future, what sort of options do I have after graduation?

An education at SENG helps students to develop into skilled communicators, analytical and inventive researchers, and adaptable problem-solvers capable of continuous learning and taking up a range of roles in different types of organizations or running their own business.  SENG emphasizes developing students’ logical thinking, analytical skills and creativity.  These transferable skills enable them to excel in various positions in many industries and to adapt to the continuously evolving working environments in today’s fast-changing world.

41. If I am an engineer, do I need to work at construction sites?

Engineers fall into many disciplines, from chemical engineers to civil engineers, electronics engineers to mechanical engineers.  Whether an engineer needs to work at construction sites depends on their disciplines, the nature of their work, the level of their positions, etc.

42. Any chance for further studies after getting my Bachelor degree?

Graduates may further their studies by enrolling into Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Master of Science (MSc) programs.  The former one is research-based, while the latter one is a course-work program.  Outstanding students may be admitted directly into PhD programs too.  Apart from HKUST, some students may choose to study abroad with top-notch universities.  Because of the high quality of our graduates, they are often sought after by many of these world-class universities.