FAQ - Information for Local Non-JUPAS Students & Non-Local Students


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1. What is Engineering with an Extended Major in AI? How can I apply for it?

Engineering with an Extended Major in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another school-based admission choice for students.  In other words, there are 2 school-based choices offered by the HKUST School of Engineering  

  • Engineering
  • Engineering with an Extended Major in Artificial Intelligence

Similar to Engineering, students applying for Engineering with an Extended Major in AI are admitted to the School of Engineering instead of a particular major program, and they declare a major at the end of Year 1.   This group of students are guaranteed studies in AI subjects, which will be incorporated into the curriculum of their engineering major program.   The normative period of this program remains 4 years.  Students are expected to take an additional course per term on average throughout the 4 years.

2. How is the quota split between JUPAS and non-JUPAS students?

There is no fixed quota between JUPAS and Non-JUPAS students.  Offers are made based on the academic standing of applicants.  As long as an application presents a good profile, we’ll consider it.

3. When is your application deadline and when will I receive an offer?

Application Opens 

Late Sep 2020

Early Round Application Closes 

20 Nov 2020

Early Round Offer Announcements 

Late Dec 2020 to Early Jan 2021

*Applicants who do not receive our offer will be considered in the main round with other applicants

Main Round Application Closes 

14 Jan 2021

Main Round Offer Announcements 

Feb 2021 onwards 

Interviews (if needed) 

Nov 2020 onwards 

2021-22 Fall Term Commencement 

1 Sep 2021 (provisional) 

4. Will the School of Engineering notify me of any application result?

All students will be notified by our University’s Admissions Office.  For better coordination, you are advised to contact them at ugadmit@ust.hk on all matters related to your application. 

5. Will you consider giving me a matching offer if I show you an offer letter from another University?

Whatever documents or information you feel can support your application are welcome.  You can upload them onto our admission system after you start your application process.  We consider all applicants and select the outstanding ones for award.  Successful candidates will receive a notification from our online system.

6. If I pay a deposit to the University but I fail to meet the conditions of offer, will I get a refund?

The deposit paid will be refunded only upon presentation of result slips showing that the conditions of the offer are not met.

7. I'm taking international curriculum (e.g. IBDP / GCE A-Level / IAL / SAT / AP), should I apply as a local student or international student?

Classification is based on definition determined by the HKSAR Government, and is not at discretion of applicants or HKUST.  If you are holding a HKID card and you have the right to abode / land in Hong Kong, you will be regarded as a local student.  Some students holding a dependent visa and meet the HKSAR Government’s definition for local students will also be given the status of a local student, if admitted.  For enquiries related to your status in Hong Kong, please contact the Education Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government.

8. What is the credit transfer arrangement?

The University has approved a credit transfer framework for students (depending on their basis of admission) admitted to our bachelor’s degree programs. Students may be granted up to 30 transfer credits which will count towards the minimum graduation requirement of 120 credits.

There are 3 categories of credit transfer for new students:

  1. University Common Core credits – block transfer of 9 credits (only applicable to students admitted on basis of IBDP and GCE A-Level / International A-Level results)
  2. University Common Core English Communication credits – students must reach the required level of proficiency in specified examinations. Details are available here (go to “Advance Credit”).
  3. Course by course mapping – credits are granted for specific subjects taken in specified exams on condition that students have obtained the required grade / mark.

While the actual numbers of transfer credits granted vary from students to students depending on the admission basis, the subjects that have been taken, and the level of attainment, our experience shows that most students with GCEAL / IAL / IBDP / AP are granted more than 20 credits.

9. Do you prefer IBDP to GCE A-Level / IAL or SAT?

We don’t have preference for any of these qualifications. Applicants have to declare which qualification they are using for seeking admission right at the beginning.  Students holding 2 complete sets of qualifications can choose either one of them as basis of admission, while the other will be treated as supplementary information to support their applications.

10. Which subject should I take in order to be admitted to engineering?

Math is a must.  The other subject should be engineering-related, e.g. physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, etc. 

11. I am not taking Physics, would it be a problem?

Admission to engineering programs is not restricted to students taking Physics. Students taking physics, chemistry, biology or computer science will all be considered.  In the first year of study, students will be advised to take the appropriate fundamental courses. These courses aim at bridging the gap between their secondary school education and the coursework at HKUST so that they can proceed smoothly to the subsequent years.

12. What is the score that your School expects / What was the minimum score attained by students that your School admitted in the past?

It’s difficult to tell as applicants’ quality varies from year to year. Interested students may refer to our University admission website.

13. I’ve been receiving instruction in English all my life. Do I have to submit any TOEFL / IELTS score? Why are JUPAS students exempted?

Yes, you have to submit official English test scores. We accept a wide range of English tests – you can find it on our University admission website (go to “Entry Requirements”).

We don’t really waive it for the JUPAS students.  All JUPAS students are required to obtain Level 3 in the HKDSE English exam.

14. I heard that there will be interview in Nov this year? Am I eligible for that? How can I make myself invited?

The interviews to be held in late 2020 are only for JUPAS candidates. For non-JUPAS students, we will review the applications first.  If we find interview helpful, we’ll contact you to set up an interview.  For 2021 intake, we plan to conduct online interviews for applicants from overseas countries.  Applicants will be contacted by our University’s central admission office if they are shortlisted.  Exact details of interview arrangements will be announced by the University in due course.

15. Should I send in my personal profile along the application?

Whatever documents or information you feel can support your application are welcome.  You can upload them onto our admission system after you start your application process.

16. How much weight do you give to extra-curricular activities and other achievements?

We’ll look at the information and it helps us to understand you better.  Do let us know of your MAJOR interest and achievements, but be selective in your entry. 

17. What should I write in the personal statement?

Anything about yourself that will enable us to understand you better, e.g. why you are interested in engineering. 

18. How many references should I provide? Why do you want it?

Academic reference is an important source of information to enables our School to understand your strengths and interest.  Therefore it is an important document to support your application.  Normally 2 would be sufficient. 

19. I will not have my final IBDP / GCEAL / IAL / SAT / AP results by your application deadline, should I still apply? How does it work?

Of course you should apply.  We will give students who do not yet have final results a conditional offer.  The conditions will be specified very clearly on the admission offer letter.  If you accept our offer, you pay the deposit and the place will be kept for you.  When your final results are released, and you meet our conditions, the offer will be automatically converted into a firm offer.  On the contrary, if you fail to meet the conditions, the offer will be withdrawn but the deposit will be refunded.

20. How do I apply for scholarships? When can I get scholarship?

In general, no application is required for scholarships based on academic merits.  We consider all applicants and select the outstanding ones for award.  If you are selected for a scholarship, you will be notified at the same time when you receive an admission offer from us. 

However, there are a few non-academic scholarships that are not based on academic merit, e.g. (a) Student Athletes Admissions Scheme (SAAS) Scholarships, (b) Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship Scholarships, (c) Community Leadership & Engagement Scholarship, etc.  These scholarships are open for applications.  Students who meet the eligibility requirements need to submit an application to HKUST.  For more details of these scholarships, please visit Scholarships and Financial Aid Office.

IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

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21. I’m taking the new IBDP Math subjects. Which ones of them do you accept for admission?

For admission to engineering programs, we accept any one of the following new IBDP Math subjects:

  • Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (HL)
  • Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (SL)
  • Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation (HL)
22. Must I take Physics?

No, we accept any science or engineering-related subjects, including but not limited to chemistry, biology, and computer science.  Also please see Q.10 above.


23. You require at least one science subject. In IBDP curriculum, we have higher level vs standard level. Must I take it at higher level?

No, we accept both higher level and standard level for all science subjects – physics, chemistry, biology, etc.

24. If I am taking IBDP, do I have to submit SAT / AP scores too?

SAT / AP are not required if you apply on strength of IBDP. But if you do well in the tests, you can supply the scores to us as supplementary information to support your application.

25. I’m NOT taking the full IB diploma program, am I still eligible for admission? Would it help if I also send you my SAT / AP scores?

Basically, we need a full IB diploma for admission.  But we can consider IB certificate on a case basis.  If you do not have a full IB diploma, but have some other public exam results (such as SAT/AP, GCE A-Level), do send them in with your applications, and we will review it on a case basis.

26. How much scholarship can I get?

HKUST has a scholarship for holders of IB Diploma program, up to full tuition plus living allowance of HK$55,000, tenable for the normal duration of the study program at HKUST.  For details, please visit the University's Scholarships and Financial Aid Office

Applicants may receive top-up scholarship from the School of Engineering based on academic merit. 

Scholarship offers are issued at the same time when admission offers are issued.

GCE A-Level (GCEAL) / International A-Level (IAL) 

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27. Am I eligible for admission if I have only 1 AS level subjects and 2 AL subject?

Sorry, we require at least 3 subjects at Advanced Level. Subjects at the Cambridge Pre-U Program are also acceptable.

28. Do you accept AS level Math? Do you require Further Math?

We require Math at Advanced Level since good mathematical skills and solid preparation are essential to engineering studies.  While Further Math is not required, it can nevertheless be accepted as equivalent to Math or Pure Math in meeting our admission requirement.

29. Would it be better for me to take more than 3 subjects?

Basically 3 subjects would be good enough if they are science and engineering-related subjects. 

30. Is there any scholarship scheme for GCEAL / IAL holders?

Yes, HKUST has a scholarship for students who obtain outstanding results in GCE A-Level or International A-Level exams, up to full tuition, tenable for the normal duration of the study program at HKUST. 

For details, please visit the University’s Scholarships and Financial Aid Office.  

Applicants may receive top-up scholarship from the School of Engineering based on academic merit. 

Scholarship offers are issued at the same time when admission offers are issued. 


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31. Do you recognize the Redesigned SAT Test (previously called the SAT Reasoning Test)?

Redesigned SAT Test is also recognized, please refer to HKUST UG Admission website for more details.

32. I’m taking SAT Test, but no SAT subject or AP subject tests, can I apply?

Sorry, HKUST requires at least 3 SAT subjects or 3 AP subjects in addition to the SAT Test.  However, if you hold other qualifications which you can use to apply for admission, you may use your SAT Test scores as a supplementary qualification on top of your admission basis. 

33. What difference does it make if I apply with SAT subject tests instead of AP subjects?

Applications with either SAT Subjects and AP subjects will both be considered.  However, as AP subjects are more advanced, candidates may obtain transfer credits for certain subjects if they reach the level of attainment required.  There is no credit transfer for SAT subjects. 

34. I only take SAT Math Level 1. Can I apply for engineering programs?

Yes, you can apply, though Math at a more advanced level is strongly preferred.  We will review the overall profile of an application. 

35. Is AP Calculus AB good enough for admission? Do you prefer Calculus BC to AB?

Cal AB is acceptable.  We don’t have preference between AB and BC. 

36. Do you have preference for any of the Physics subjects in AP?

No, we don’t have any preference. 

37. Is there any scholarship scheme for students with SAT / AP?

The University has no scheme for SAT / AP, but the School of Engineering does offer scholarships to individual applicants on grounds of academic merit. 

Sub-degree and Other Post-secondary Qualifications Holders 

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38. I am studying an associate degree program in HK. Should I apply for admission to the School or to programs?

Students who will have finished only the first year of an associate degree or higher diploma program by the end of the 2020-21 academic year should apply to the School for admission to Year 1.  Those who will have finished the entire associate degree program or higher diploma program by the end of 2020-21 academic year should apply to Programs, and admission is normally to Year 2 (except for BSc in Integrative Systems and Design, which may consider admitting students to Year 1 depending on the academic background of the applicants).

  • Associate Degree/Higher Diploma Program Year 1 students à apply to School of Engineering or Specific Engineering Programs (both for Year 1 entry)
  • Associate Degree/Higher Diploma Program Year 2 students à apply to Specific Engineering Programs (for Year 2 entry) or BSc in Integrative Systems and Design (for Year 1 entry)
39. I am studying an associate degree program in HK and will also retake HKDSE in 2020. Should I apply through direct admission or JUPAS?

You can choose to apply through either route, but can’t take both routes at the same time.  If you decide to apply through direct admission, make sure that you provide information of your associate degree program in your on-line application. This also applies to students who are enrolled in higher diploma programs. 

40. I obtained only Level 2 in Chinese Language in HKDSE last year and I am now enrolled in an associate degree program. Do I need to take Chinese Language again and obtain Level 3 in order to be eligible for admission to HKUST?

No, for students who ae already in an associate degree program (or higher diploma program), they don’t have to present results in Chinese when applying for admission to HKUST if they apply to HKUST directly.  However, if they apply through JUPAS again, then a minimum of Level 3 in Chinese Language is needed.

41. How long does it take for Associate Degree / Higher Diploma holders to graduate?

Associate Degree / Higher Diploma holders (i.e. students who will have completed the entire associate degree/higher diploma program prior to admission to HKUST) may be granted credit transfer up to 60 credits, which is equivalent to 2 years. Therefore, if the credits earned at the post-secondary institute fit really well to the requirements of the HKUST programs that students are admitted to, it is possible that these students can graduate in 2 years.  However, please understand that the requirements vary from programs to programs.  The exact number of credits to be transferred will be reviewed at the point of admission.  You should discuss with the Department to which you are admitted regarding your study pathway after admission offer is received.