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2012 Admissions Q&A
2012 Admissions Q&A
Over a thousand students, teachers and parents attended HKUST 334-Info Day on Jan 29-30, 2011.

School-based Admission

HKUST will implement school-based admission starting in 2012. Students will be admitted to the four schools (Science, Engineering, Business and Management, Humanities and Social Science) instead of individual programs. They will be required to take foundation courses provided by the enrolled school and University Common Core courses covering various subject areas and a broad spectrum of knowledge. Students will choose their major discipline after getting an in-depth understanding of different specialties and finding out what suit them best and interest them most.

Credit distribution of the 4-year Program

Graduation requirement - 120 credits 

Common Core Curriculum - 36 Credits,
covering the following areas -

  • Humanities 
  • Social Analysis
  • Science & Technology
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Arts
  • English Communication
  • Chinese Communication
  • Healthy Lifestyle


1. The last cohort of A-Level candidates and the first cohort of HKDSE candidates will be entering universities in 2012. Are they competing for university places with each other?

No. The two cohorts are not competing against each other. HKSAR Government has allocated additional resources and the provision of first year degree places will be doubled in 2012, with 15,000 for A-Level and another 15,000 for HKDSE candidates. A-level candidates will be admitted to three-year program while HKDSE candidates will be admitted to four-year program.

Schools / Programs Subject and minimum requirement School Requirement
English Language Chinese Language Mathematics Liberal Studies Elective 1

Elective 2/ M1/ M2

Science 3 3 2 2 3 3 Elective subject must include one of the following :

Biology/ Chemistry / Physics/ Combined Science
Engineering 3 3 3 2 3 3 Elective subject must include one of the following:

Biology / Chemistry / Physics / Combined Science / Information & Commumication Technology
Business and Management 4 3 3 2 3 3 No Specific Requirement
Humanities and Social Sciences 3 3 2 2 3 3 No Specific Requirement
Interdisci-plinary Programs To be Advised


2. What is HKUST’s subject and level requirement for HKDSE candidates? Do different schools have different requirements?

HKDSE subject requirement for the 4-year program:

  • 4 core subjects + 2 elective subjects (4+2X); or
  • 4 core subjects + 1 elective subject + M1/M2 (4+1X+M1/M2).
  • School of Business and Management (SBM) and School of Humanities and Social Science (SHSS) do not have specific elective subject requirements.

3. Does the University give preference to candidates who studied science subjects?

No. Modern society needs talents with a wide knowledge base and we aspire to nurture graduates with broad spectrum of knowledge. All elective subjects are important.

4. Do different Schools have different subject preferences?

Students need not worry. HKUST will be implementing school-based admission starting 2012. Students will be admitted to the four schools instead of individual programs. The 4-year program we offer is specifically designed to accommodate educational needs of students with different levels of subject/discipline knowledge and academic background. Students will have a wider selection of subject choices. The University also provides academic consulting services to (new) students, to help them choose the most suitable major discipline.

5. If a student takes more HKDSE elective subjects than required, how would the University consider the extra elective(s)?

When there are students with same scores competing for a place, the University will take additional elective subject into consideration – as tie-breaker.

6. Is it better to take pure science subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) rather than Combined Science? Do Mathematics Extended Module 1 (M1) and Module 2 (M2) carry equal weight?

First Question: No;
Second Question: Yes.

7. What happens if there are (a large number of) students getting the same HKDSE score?

Other than HKDSE results, the University uses the following to form a better picture of each applicant’s quality and caliber:

  • School Reference Report (academic performance, personal and general abilities);
  • Other Experiences and Achievements;
  • Student’s 300-word personal statement;
  • Interview performance

8. From 2012 onwards, there will be only one local public examination, how will the University screen candidates for interview without HKCEE results?

The University will rely on information and reference submitted by secondary schools to screen potential candidates for interviews. Students should note: for "other learning experiences and achievements", the University values quality over quantity and we appreciate students with a sense of social responsibility. Banding of students’ choice of HKUST Schools will also be considered.

9. Which curriculum (3-year or 4-year) will applicants with academic qualifications other than HKDSE (e.g. GCE A-Level, IB) be admitted to in 2012?

In 2012, students who have completed 12-year schooling will be admitted to 4-year UG program; students with IB, GCE A-Level, AP and students who have completed 13-year schooling will enroll in the 3-year program. Starting from 2013, all students will be admitted to the 4-year program, and the later group will be granted transfer credits (up to one year equivalent) toward the foundation requirement. 

10. What would be considered a good personal statement (300 words, part of the JUPAS application)?

In general, we try to find out something about the applicant's personality, aspirations, and motivation/suitability for the program applied. A good essay should tell a story and have a clear focus, reveal passion and expose personality, show creativity and independent thinking so that after reading, reader would form a unique impression about the applicant. 

Assume the folowing students are admitted to HKUST School of Science via jupas and they all wish to major in Physics:

Academic background ( HKDSE electives ) Course Path
Introductory Physics
Advanced Physics
Physics Major
Student A ( Physics + Chinese History )     Required
Student B ( Combined Science: Physics and Biology + Economics )   Required Required
Student C ( Chemistry + English Literature ) Required Required Required

Student will take different courses in their 1st year depending on the subjects they have taken in secondary school.