Outgoing Students

General Information

How does exchange work?

The term "exchange" means that a partner institution accepts a student. Students continue to pay for HKU, but there is no need to pay for host institution. Credit transfer is necessary which should be done towards HKU's curricular requirements.

How can I apply for exchange?

You may choose one of the following three options:

HKUWW Undergraduate Student Exchange Programme

The HKUWW Undergraduate Student Exchange Programme will be open for application around late September. All undergraduate students from all faculties are welcome to join this programme.

Faculty level / Departmental level Exchange Programme

Some faculties or departments may have their own partners for exchange programmes. The application period of faculty level exchange programme varies among faculties. If you wish to participate in the programmes, you may approach your own faculty to seek further information.

Visiting Student / Study Abroad Programme

If you are interested in institutions that are not our existing partners, you may consider joining their visiting or study abroad programmes. Please note that paying tuition fee to the host institution is required. Also, you will have to go through the whole application process on your own. Seek faculty’s approval for credit transfer is also required. Please contact your faculty advisor for further information if you have such plan.

How can I transfer credits from the host institution? Do I need to defer my study in HKU if I go on exchange?

Please apply to your faculty for approval of credits transfer and leave of absence after you have formally admitted by the host institution and selected the overseas courses. During the application stage, you may refer to the course database regarding course approval from previous years. Planning ahead and communication with your faculty is key. Click here to refer to Credit Transfer and Leave of Absence.

What courses can I take at the host university?

Many partner institutions will list out course or programmes restrictions for exchange students. Please check very carefully before you fill in your choices.

Where will I live while I am abroad?

Many partner institutions provide housing for exchange students. Some do not have hostels but they will provide assistance to you to find accommodation. Be prepared that you might need to arrange for your own housing.

Application for Studying Abroad

Who is eligible to apply for exchange?

You are eligible to apply if you are non-final year full time HKU undergraduate students with the following preferential order:

  1. Year 2 or above students under 4-year curriculum
  2. Year 1 students under 4-year curriculum
  • Have NOT joined any semester exchange programmes organised by OISE, faculties or departments before
  • Good academic performance
  • TOEFL score of 80 (iBT) or IELTS score of 6.5
  • Have the support of your faculty
  • Outgoing and eager to meet new challenges
  • Ready to be an ambassador of HKU abroad
  • Willing to share your exchange experience after you return

When can I apply for exchange?

Since 2015/16, there is a fixed application date for HKUWW Student Exchange Programme. No matter which semester you wish to go for exchange, you will have to start the application a year before. Main round of application opens from September 15 to December 1 every year. For example, if you wish to go for exchange in 2016/17 semester 2, you will have to apply for exchange between September 15 and December 1, 2015. Please refer to Planning for Exchange for details.

You may also consider applying in late round applications. Please stay tuned with the regarded schedule.

Please note that most exchange places are usually taken in main round application, and only very limited ones are available in late round applications. Exchange places will be available in late round applications only if:

  • Quotas that have not be given to any students in main round
  • Students given up their offer from main round
  • Students withdrawn from the exchange programme

According to the arrangement from previous years, we usually have at least two rounds of late round applications. Still, late round application will be available only if we have enough exchange places to offer. Please check our website from time to time for the most updated information. 

It seems I can apply for exchange through OISE and my faculty. Which one should I choose?

Please note that there are different types of agreements with our partner institutions. Some agreements are exclusively arranged to specific faculty only. When you refer to our partner list, there are the key words shown under the institution name. Please refer to the following for explanation:

Partner of Faculty A

It means that the institution has agreement with only Faculty A. Faculty A students should apply for exchange directly to Faculty A in order to get into this institution. For students from other faculties, you will not be able to exchange in the institution.

Also Partner of Faculty A

It means that the institution has University-wide agreement as well as agreement with Faculty A. Student from Faculty A should apply for this institution through Faculty A. Students from other faculties should apply for this institution through OISE.

No Specific key words showing in the profile

It means that this institution has University-wide agreement with HKU. Students from any faculty can apply this institution through OISE.

** Please note that different institutions have their own restrictions on programmes offered to exchange students. Some institutions do not allow students to take courses from certain faculties. Please read the fact sheet for the relevant information.

What is the procedure of exchange application?

  1. Apply for exchange programme through related office (OISE / Faculty / Department)
  2. Submit required supporting documents
  3. Attend interviews (if any)
  4. Receive placement result from related office
  5. Being nominated to the host institution
  6. Go through exchange application process
  7. Submit required supporting documents to the host institution
  8. Receive admission / acceptance letter from the host institution
  9. Apply required entry visa (if needed)
  10. Time to fly!

Which exchange period can I choose?

You might choose the exchange period according to the availability. Due to the popularity, only one semester exchange is available for USA and Canada institutions. The quota for full-year study is limited; please explain in the Personal Statement of why you should be considered. If you choose study abroad destination to Asia and Europe, you will have higher chance for full-year study. 

Can I extend semester of my exchange period at a later stage? 

There is no regular extension of exchange study. However, you may consider applying to host institution by changing the status from Exchange Student to Visiting Student. Full tuition fee will be borne by the student.

Can I switch semester of my exchange period at a later stage? 

You are not allowed to change the semester duration once you have accepted the offer.

Can I go to exchange during for my final year last semester?

If you exchange during your final year last semester, there is the chance that you are not able to graduate on time. Since different host institutions have different dates for terms, there will be insufficient time to process the transfer of credits back to HKU, and in turn, defer your graduation. Please be cautious about the risk and planning ahead is important.

What will happen if I do not get into my first preference?

If you are not given a place of your top preference, we will try to place you to your second or third preferences. There are many factors affecting the placement result especially due to the number of available places and competitiveness of your fellow students.

Tips! Be flexible when choosing your exchange preferences.

Can I apply if my current CGPA is not high enough?

According to past record, the chance of getting into the programme is relatively high by having CGPA 2.8. However, please note that the competition is very fierce. During exchange placement, 2015/16 (Semester 1) results will be taken into consideration of your cGPA.

I am a Year 1 student and I don’t have my CGPA now. Can I apply for exchange programme?

Yes, you can. We will refer to your CGPA after 2015/16 (Semester 1) results have been announced.

Can I apply for both HKUWW Exchange Programme and Faculty Level Exchange Programme?

Since different faculty will have a different policy on the related issue, please do ask your faculty of the related policy. 

You can only apply for both, if your faculty allow you to do so. 

What Should I Prepare?

English Language Proficiency Verification

What is English Language Proficiency Verification?

ESL stands for English as Second Language. Most of our partner institutions require our student to have certain documents to prove their level of English Proficiency. Usually, ESL supporting documents refer to IELTS or TOEFL. You may find out more information as follows:

Please note that both tests only valid for two years. It is required by the host institution that the test results have to be valid in the period of application or even the period of study.

For other possible ESL supporting documents (IB, GCSE, DSE, etc), you have to check the factsheet to find out more about the specific requirement.

How can I apply for IELTS or TOEFL test?

Please visit the related website for further information:

There are only limited seats for each test in certain date. You are advised to apply to take the test at least two months prior. Test results usually releases 2 to 3 weeks after you have taken the test. You may refer to the related website for more details.

Is it a must to apply with TOEFL / IELTS result?

TOEFL / IELTS score is necessary for application, unless all institutions you choose are in mainland China and/or Taiwan. If students are not able to provide the related result, they may have a disadvantage during the exchange placment. 

Please note that we will not accept any supporting documents after the application deadline. 
(For Main Round application, the related deadline is December 1)

I studied at international school, is TOEFL / IELTS still necessary for me?

If you are from international school or high schools abroad, you may submit IB / SAT / GCSE or other international qualification. However, if institution does not recognise the alternative English proficiency proof, you will still be required to submit TOEFL / IELTS report for exchange application.

I am a native English speaker, is TOEFL / IELTS still necessary for me?

If you are a native English speaker, proof of English Proficiency is still required given that the host institution will need to review the proof as one of the exchange admission requirement.

If I only have expired IELTS / TOEFL test result, what should I do?

We do accept expired IELTS / TOEFL test result for the HKUWW Exchange Programme application. 

However, you may need a valid one for the application of the host institution. Only if the test was taken within two years, will be seen as valid proof. You may consider to apply for another test according to the following timeframe:

Feburary to May: Application of host institution, in which the exchange event happen in semester 1 (HKU semester schedule)
May to September:  Application of host institution, in which the exchange event happen in semester 2 (HKU semester schedule)

Special Arrangement: For IELTS, should I apply for IELTS (Academic) or IELTS (UKIV Academic), if I wish to apply for UK institutions?

If you are required to apply for Tier 4 student visa, only IELTS (UKIV Academic) will be accepted. Please be reminded to apply for the specific test rather than the regular one.

If you are not required to apply for Tier 4 student visa in order to study in UK, both IELTS (UKIV Academic) and regular tests can be accepted for exchange application. 

Please obtain update for the related policy regularly as it may change from time to time.

Official Transcript

What is transcript?

A transcript is an inventory of the courses taken and grades earned of a student throughout a course. HKU official transcript should be verified, attested, and issued by the Registry.

How can I apply for transcript?

You may apply for transcript through “Online application”, or by paper form.

Online application (Only accept Visa Card payment)

  1. Login your portal account through https://hkuportal.hku.hk/
  2. Locate SIS Menu
  3. Click “Application of Transcript” under the menu of “Online application”

Paper form (Accept other payment methods)

  1. Download the form for application of transcript from http://www.ase.hku.hk/asoffice/
  2. Submit the form through one of the following method:
  • in person or by mail to the Academic Services Office, Room G-04, G/F, Run Run Shaw Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong; or
  • by fax at (852) 2540 1405 (for payment made by credit card or internet banking); or
  • by email. Please scan and email the application to asoffice@hku.hk (for payment made by credit card or internet banking).

Exchange Terminology 101

What is home Institution?

The institution that you will complete your undergraduate degree – The University of Hong Kong.

What is host institution?

The institution that you will complete your exchange study. 

What is partner institution?

The institutions that have reciprocal exchange agreement with HKU.

What is exchange nomination?

Exchange nomination is the process of officially suggesting selected candidates as exchange students to the host institution. HKU coordinator will send relevant information to the designated host institution to review.

What is ESL?

English as Second Language. Most of our partner institutions require our students to submit ESL proof. Such proof is usually IELTS or TOEFL test result.

IELTS – The International English Language Testing System

You may refer to https://ielts.org/test_takers_information/what_is_ielts.aspx for more information.

TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language.

You may refer to http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/about/resource_centers/ for more information. 

What is Official Transcript?

A transcript is an inventory of the courses taken and grades earned of a student throughout a course. HKU official transcript should be verified, attested, and issued by the Registry.