AnchorAdmission Requirements

To qualify for admission to the University, applicants must meet (i) the University admission requirements; (ii) the admission requirements of the program they are applying for; and (iii) the English language admission requirement.
Applicants seeking admission to an MPhil degree program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution, or an approved equivalent qualification; and satisfied specific requirements prescribed by the School and department concerned as to their fitness to pursue postgraduate study.
Applicants seeking admission to a doctoral program should have obtained a bachelor’s degree with a proven record of outstanding performance from a recognized institution or presented evidence of satisfactory work at the postgraduate level on a full-time basis for at least one year, or on a part-time basis for at least two years; and have satisfied the specific requirements prescribed by the School and department concerned as to their chosen subject of research, as well as their fitness to undertake the research.
University and program admission requirements are minimum requirements for admission. Meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Applicants who possess other qualifications equivalent to the University requirements for admission may submit applications for consideration on the basis of individual merit.
Details of the admission requirements of the University and individual programs are available here.

AnchorEnglish Language Requirement for Admission

Applicants whose first language is not English and whose bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification was awarded by an institution where the medium of instruction was not English are required to fulfill the minimum English language admission requirement with one of the following proficiency attainments:

  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – a paper-based test score of no less than 550; or an internet-based test score of no less than 80; or a revised paper-delivered test score of no less than 60 (effective from 2018/19 admission); or

  2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic Module) - an overall score of 6.0 with no sub-score lower than 5.5.

    N.B. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date.

In addition to the above, individual Schools or departments may stipulate higher English language proficiency requirements. Please click here for details.

AnchorAdmissions Process

Applications for admission to postgraduate programs in Fall Term of the year are normally invited from September in the previous year. Interested persons are strongly advised to apply well before the application closing dates. Application deadlines for individual programs may vary and should be checked prior to submitting an application. In order to allow sufficient time to obtain a student visa/entry permit, non-local applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible.
Selected applicants may be invited for an admission interview. Successful applicants will receive an offer of admission from the Office of Postgraduate Studies, and may be required to satisfy specified conditions. Applicants receiving an offer will be expected to accept or decline by a specified date.
Detailed application procedures are available here.

AnchorNon-local Applicants

The University welcomes applications from non-local students who are seeking admission at the postgraduate level.
For admission purposes, non-local students are defined as those who enter Hong Kong for the purpose of education with a student visa/entry permit issued by the Director of Immigration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This is applicable to all non-local students including visiting and inbound exchange students.
(i)) Student Visa or Entry Permit
All non-local students must obtain approval from the Hong Kong Immigration Department before the commencement of their studies. Without such an approval, they are not allowed to register for any program of study at the University. Students who are unsure of whether or not they need a visa/entry permit should check with the Immigration Department directly (Tel: 2824 6111; Email:
Upon approval by the Immigration Department to enter Hong Kong for the purpose of pursuing the specified program of study at HKUST, Chinese Mainland residents and Chinese residents from Taiwan and Macao will be issued an entry permit label. Non-local students from other places will be issued a student visa.
Students have to apply for student visas/entry permits through the University after they have completed the admission offer acceptance process. While students have to initiate the student visas/entry permits application process, the Office of Postgraduate Studies (PGSO) will provide appropriate assistance.
The Immigration Department normally takes six to eight weeks to process a student visa/entry permit application. Students who are Chinese Mainland residents will receive the entry permit labels from PGSO, and have to apply for an“Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao” and “Relevant Exit Endorsement” at the Public Security Bureau Office where their household registrations are kept, before departure to Hong Kong. This process will take an additional two weeks.
Detailed application procedures for student visas/entry permits are available here.
(ii) Costs of Study
In addition to tuition fees, costs associated with staying and living in Hong Kong include accommodation, medical and living expenses.  Non-local students should carefully consider the financial aspects of their study in Hong Kong before coming to Hong Kong.
An average HKUST student spends approximately HK$100 per day for meals on-campus. The cost of meals off-campus varies and is substantially higher. Depending on the spending pattern of individuals, personal miscellaneous expenses on local transportation, laundry, sundries and entertainment, etc. will be about HK$600-HK$1,000 per week. More information about the cost of living in Hong Kong can be found here.
(iii) Employment During Study
Non-local students should note that, while the Hong Kong Immigration Department has relaxed its employment restrictions, full-time MPhil and PhD students should not take up any employment or internship outside their research studies. They may only apply to take up on-campus part-time work, summer work and study-related internship, subject to rules and conditions specified by the Immigration Department and the University. For further details, please refer to the “Internship & Employment During Study” section of this Handbook.

AnchorDeferred Admission

Under special circumstances, students may apply in writing to the Office of Postgraduate Studies for deferred admission to a subsequent regular term. Requests will be considered on an individual basis by the relevant School/department, who will notify the applicant of the outcome. All approvals for deferred admission are valid for not more than two consecutive regular terms, after which re-application for admission to the University must be made.


Students who have withdrawn from the University may apply for admission into any program of study by following the regular admissions procedure. However, those who are required to withdraw from the University due to academic reasons or failure to meet the prescribed conditions set for re-enrollment at the end of an academic leave may not apply for re-admission into the same program of study.
For re-admitted students, course grades and credits taken within five years prior to re-admission and not used to earn any academic qualification at the University or elsewhere may be used to fulfill requirements of the new program of study, subject to approval of the department.