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Sky no Longer the Limit…
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Sky no Longer the Limit…

Frog in a well knows nothing beyond the coping of its shallow well and the little patch of sky above.

When we say "sky is the limit", it really depends on how much of a sky we see.

When we try to reach for the stars, sky is no longer the limit.

Half a millennium after Christopher Columbus discovered that "the world is round", we are told "it’s a flat world, after all". (Thomas Friedman, 2005)

New techno gadgets become dated the moment they reach the market and information transmits at lightning speed. The unstoppable trend of globalization accelerated by technological advancement has levelled the playing field and opened up a whole world of possibilities.

Opportunities are globalized. So is competition. The worldwide movement of highly educated people has intensified. Graduates of the 21st century are competing with talents from all corners of the world. Their future relies on his/her international competencies – global knowledge and understanding, international experiences, adaptability to different cultures and motivation to explore beyond their comfort zone.

"Today’s higher education must be international in character and quality, turning out students to be effective players in the global economy," said Prof Tony F Chan, President of HKUST.

"HKUST responds to the changing educational landscape by making internationalization a major component of the University’s strategic plan. We strive to equip our graduates all the necessary knowledge and skills to fit into today’s global competition and opportunities," said Prof Chan.

The University’s internationalization initiatives include actively pursuing collaborations with the world’s finest universities in academic research, shaping a curriculum to nurture fully-rounded individuals, providing ample exchange opportunities for student and faculty, participating in international competitions and introducing major effort to recruit international students. With our globally competitive programs, a most international campus (and expanding), a diverse and stimulating learning environment and an enriching student life, HKUST graduates are armed with experiences and confidence to take on today’s global challenges with ease and poise.

No.2, World's Top 200 Asian Universities 2010
(QS Asian University Rankings)
No.41, World's Top 200 University 2010
(Times Higher Education Supplement)
Our Schools / Programs
Natural Sciences No.1 in Hong Kon 2010
(QS Asian University Ranking)
Computer Sciences No.1 in Greater China 2010 (Academic Rankings of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
Engineering and Technology
No.20 in the World, 2010
(Times Higher Education Supplement)
Business School
No.1 in Asia, No.18 in the World, 2010
World Business Schools Rankings Based on Research Contribution 2006-2010
(University of Texas at Dallas)
Kellogg-HKUST EMBA Program No.1 Global, EMBA Rankings 2010 (Financial Times, the 3rd time in four years)
MBA No.6 Global, MBA Rankings 2011 (Financial Times, 3-year Average Rank - No. 10 Global)
Social Sciences No.1 in Greater China 2010 (Academic Rankings od World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

Academic Excellence Internationally Recognized

The University is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year (2011). In a mere two decades, HKUST has received worldwide recognition as a leading education and research institution offering a wide range of internationally competitive programs in science, engineering, business studies, and humanities and social science. Our academic excellence is internationally recognized and we rank among the world’s crème de la crème. 

The University’s speed ascent to international acclaim in higher education rests in large part on the extraordinary quality of our faculty. Our world class international faculty members are all-PhD qualified. Our scientific and scholarly distinction is evident in the numerous research, teaching and leadership awards won by our academicians over the years.

HKUST’s reputable faculty draw the most talented students – locally and internationally. There is a culture of healthy competition and a spirit to strive for excellence on the HKUST campus which help improve student performance in general.

Exchange – in and out

The international character of Hong Kong is a core attribute to its success in the past. Since the return of sovereignty to the PRC, it has become a necessity fundamental to the city’s future success.

"Young people today have to be outward looking and 'global ready'. Overseas exposure is imperative in an increasingly competitive world. The University has been vigorously expanding international exchange opportunities for our students. It has now become our signature program," said Prof Kar Yan Tam, Dean of Students of HKUST.

Today, HKUST is among the top universities in the world in terms of international experience. The University's ability to manage a large student international exchange program was commended in the 2010 University Grants Committee's Quality Assurance Council Audit.  As of 2010, the University has established exchange partnerships with 156 institutes worldwide and the number of HKUST students going on exchange has been increasing steadily. More than one-third of our undergraduates go on international exchange for at least one semester (some may extend to one year) before graduation.

Students coming back after overseas exchange have enriched learning experiences, showed higher incentive for personal development, have enhanced self-confidence, improved language and communication skills, gained a deeper understanding of cultural differences - they are global citizens in the making.

In a recent alumni survey, participating in exchange program is ranked as one of the most beneficial and memorable learning experiences by alumni. Employers also prefer graduates with overseas exchange experience as they are more adaptable to new challenging situations.

Words from Abroad

Matthew Luk (Dual Degree Technology and Management  Program) was an exchange student at the Harvard University in 2010, "The overseas experience is a step out of my comfort zone. Interacting with local students at the exchange university made me understand their culture better. The exposure and experience significantly broadened my horizons and taught me to think globally."

Timon Lentz (BBA Operations Management, exchange student at Monterrey Tech University, Fall 2010) writes, "An exchange semester does not only give you a perfect platform to experience and live very new cultures; it also gives you the chance to take a few steps back from your pure academic career in Hong Kong and let you reflect about your future prospects after your undergraduate studies. I can only appeal to all of you to take this great opportunity of going abroad for one semester."

SU Tianyi Sarah (minor in Humanities, exchange student at University of Virginia) said, "During my exchange at UVA, the most exciting thing is meeting new friends every day, which enables me to immerse myself into the American culture."

Vera XU (minor in Social Science, exchange student at University of California, Los Angeles) writes, "It is a wonderful thing to be able to experience the great diversity and multiculturalism first-hand. The exchange experience is far more than study. It is a journey to explore the unknown and rediscover the self."

The University targets at offering exchange opportunities to 50% of the UG student body by 2014 – a target already reached by the School of Business and Management in 2008.  In order to encourage more students to participate in international exchange, the University has been providing financial support for needy students and we are prepared to invest more resources in exchange scholarships and bursaries.

Please visit for more information about HKUST’s exchange program.

International Campus

Exchange agreements with overseas partners are on a bilateral basis meaning with that many HKUST students going on exchange at overseas institutes, the University hosts around 600 international exchange-in students from around the world every year. In addition to that, about 16% (around 300) of our annual undergraduate intake is non-local, making HKUST a very international campus in Hong Kong.

To help exchange-in and non-local students settle in, the University has a well established supportive network. The Peer Mentor Program matches entering non-local freshmen with current students (i.e. Peer Mentors) and the Buddy Program matches exchange-in students with current students who would help new-comers adjust to the new environment.

Credited as a vibrant and diverse cultural blend of East and West, we are proud of our multi-cultural community and a student body of 39 different nationalities.  Students of different cultural and educational backgrounds inspire each other with different perspectives and innovative ideas, creating a dynamic learning environment.  

International Partnership and Collaborations

The University collaborates with a number of the world’s finest institutes to enhance institutional cooperation in academic research, student and faculty exchange and develop join initiatives in undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

In March, 2011 HKUST Engineering School and Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science formed partnership to launch undergraduate summer research exchange program in engineering.  HKUST is the first university in Asia to enter into such partnership with the Princeton University. The program combining hands-on research experience with international exchange seeks to provide engineering students an international research experience of the highest standard.

In 2010, HKUST signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Peking University (PKU) and the University of Virginia in the United States to establish an institute at the PKU campus in Beijing to foster collaborative research, exchange of students and faculty, and paves way toward joint degree programs. Also last year, we formed partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education in Kuwait to encourage exchange of scholarships in both technical and professional education. It is a significant step in HKUST's outreach to the Arab world.

Think Global

Drive on the golden opportunity of Hong Kong's 334 academic reform, HKUST has re-designed undergraduate curriculum to further develop students’ global mindset. The University Common Core program – an extended version of general education requirements, offers over 200 courses providing a broad intellectual foundation that includes exposure to a wide range of academic fields. On top of imparting specialist knowledge, the curriculum incorporates a broad range of transferable competencies. Co-curricular elements like international exchange, internship and service learning are expanded to further enable students to see beyond the national, geographical or political boundaries.

In addition to service learning trips and overseas internships, HKUST students have ample opportunities to actively participate in local, regional and international competitions and conferences. The exposure and training give them a realistic understanding of the competitive environment. Sharing with students from around the world at these competitions also raise their awareness of global trends and helps to inculcate a sense of global citizenship.

Every year, the University brings in the world's foremost scientists, scholars and community leaders to our campus so our students are stimulated and inspired by the most creative minds of today. Our picturesque seaside campus has been graced by Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Thomas Friedman, Oxford University Vice-Chancellor Prof Andrew Hamilton, to name but a few.  This year, Prof Jean-Lou Chameau, President of California Institute of Technology and Prof Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge shared insights with the University community on "Global Higher Education Development – Changes and Challenges" at the "President's Dialogue" hosted by HKUST President Tony F Chan.

At HKUST, we provide our students with a forward-looking, international curriculum and an enriching learning and teaching environment that would help them maximize their full potential in a globalized world.

With an unquenchable thirst for knowledge,

A zealous curiosity in the unknown,

A dauntless courage to explore and create,

Sky is not the limit.

There is no limit.

Top : Steven Hawking (June 15, 2006)

Middle : Thomas Friedman (Jan 7, 2010)

Bottom : Commander Christopher Cassidy NASA Astronant (June 3, 2010)
Top : Timon Lentz

Bottom : Mattew Luk at Harvard (2nd fr right)