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Masters in Hong Kong

by Charlotte Griffiths

Its British colonial history has seen Hong Kong incorporate Western capitalism with traditional Chinese spiritualist values. From finance to Feng Shui, Hong Kong is an ultra modern cosmopolitan city and a global hub for commerce, trade and logistics.

With some of the best universities in both Asia and the world, combined with its diverse cultural history, Hong Kong is a popular destination for students considering Masters study abroad.

We've put together a detailed advice guide on everything you need to know about postgraduate study in Hong Kong. Alternatively, if you already know your yin from your yang, you can start searching for Hong Kong Masters degree here.

Why study for a Masters degree in Hong Kong?

With more skyscrapers than any other city in the world, Hong Kong’s Masters degrees offer the chance to join leading and forward-thinking research in business, technology and the arts.

How popular is Masters study abroad in Hong Kong?

‘Chinese in spirit and international in outlook’, Hong Kong universities welcome postgraduate students from all countries and all backgrounds.

Hong Kong currently has 96,000 students in higher education, 14,000 of which are international.

Universities in Hong Kong: an introduction for postgraduates

British colonial rule over Hong Kong influenced many aspects of the city’s modern culture, and the higher education system is no exception.

The University Grants Committee (UGC) of Hong Kong is an advisory committee that consults with the Government of Hong Kong on the development and funding needs of the region’s universities.

Public universities

There are eight public universities funded by the state in Hong Kong, seven of which are UGC run. Public universities in Hong Kong include some of the world’s most highly regarded institutions:

  • University of Hong Kong – Oldest university in Hong Kong, highly competitive and reputable. Specialises in: Finance, Medicine, Law, Architecture and Political Science
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – Ranked 2nd highest in 50 under 50. Specialises in: Science, Engineering, and Business
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong – Five State Key Laboratories. Largest, and greenest, campus in Hong Kong
  • City University of Hong Kong – Two State Key Laboratories – ranked 4th in QS 50 under 50 university ranking. Specialises in: Business, Engineering, Law and Social Sciences
  • Hong Kong Polytechnic University – Specialises in: Construction, Engineering, Design, Business and Tourism
  • Hong Kong Baptist University – Christian education heritage. Specialise in: Arts, Science, Business and Social Sciences
  • Hong Kong Institute of Education – Only public university in HK dedicated to teacher education and humanities development
  • Lingnan University – Only public university in HK specialising in Liberal Arts

The above public universities are consistently recognised through the world ranking tables of both The Times Higher Education and QS, demonstrating their high quality learning environments.


The Times Higher Education (THE) University World Rankings: Hong Kong
University THE Ranking THE Asia Region Ranking
University of Hong Kong =44 3
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 59 7
Chinese University of Hong Kong =138 13
City University of Hong Kong 201-250 23
Hong Kong Polytechnic University 201-250 29
Hong Kong Baptist University 351-400 45
Information in this table is based on the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Asia University Rankings 2015. Visit their websites for more information.

The QS World Unviersity Rankings: Hong Kong
University QS World Ranking Top 50 under 50
University of Hong Kong 28 -
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 30 2
Chinese University of Hong Kong 51 -
City University of Hong Kong 57 4
Hong Kong Polytechnic University 116 6
Hong Kong Baptist University 281 22
Information in this table is based on the 2015-16 QS World University Rankings and Top 50 under 50 years old. Visit their websites for more information.

Private universities

There are also 8 private universities in Hong Kong. As these institutions are not included in the UGC funding, they are self-funded.

Hong Kong's private universities are:

  • Hong Kong Shue Yan University
  • Chu Hai College of Higher Education
  • Hang Seng Management College
  • Tung Wah College
  • Caritas Insititute of Higher Education
  • Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong Nang Yan College of Higher Education

Hong Kong Masters degrees: programme types and course content

Masters degrees in Hong Kong can be either taught or research based programmes.

Taught Masters will have a similar structure to undergraduate degrees, combining lectures, seminars, group and individual coursework.

Course length

The academic year in Hong Kong begins in September and ends in August.

Similarly to other countries, Masters programmes in Hong Kong normally take between 1-2 years to complete.

Applying for a Masters in Hong Kong

To apply for a Masters degree in Hong Kong you’ll need a relevant undergraduate degree. It is common for universities to expect you to have an undergraduate B grade average or 3.0 GPA (grade point average). However, some specific programmes may require higher grades.

The application process takes place online for the majority of degrees in Hong Kong. Once you have registered for an application account on your chosen university’s website, you will be able to complete the application form.

Supporting documents

To support your application for a Masters programme, you may need to provide the following documents:

  • 2-5 referees with written reports
  • Proof of undergraduate degree certificates and transcripts

Language requirements

Masters courses in Hong Kong are taught in both English and Cantonese; the city’s two official languages.

If English is not your first language and you wish to study a Hong Kong Masters degree delivered in English, you will likely need to submit a language test score.

Universities in Hong Kong will normally accept either the IELTS (International Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) tests.

Minimum score requirements will normally be as follows:

  • An IELTS score of 6.0 or better
  • A TOEFL score of 550 (paper based) or 79 (computer based)

If you are interested in studying a local language while in Hong Kong, most universities offer beginner level courses in both Cantonese and Putonghua. Check with your chosen university for more information.

Want to know more about postgraduate language tests?

Academic language tests are a common part of applications for postgraduate study abroad, but they don't have to be confusing. Our guides to postgraduate language tests cover popular tests of English such as the TOEFL and IELTS.

Masters student visas in Hong Kong

Once accepted by a Hong Kong university, as an international student you must apply for a student visa/entry permit.

Visa application and fees

International students who wish to study in Hong Kong are required to have a student visa.

You will be required to complete and sign the ID995 A and B forms which are available on the Government of Hong Kong website. The student visa application will cost HKD $500 (£45).

In addition to the visa, you will need a local sponsor. Your university will normally be able to provide this service, or arrange it for you.

Supporting visa documents

The Immigration Department will usually require the following supporting documents to be submitted to support your visa application:

  • ID995 A form, completed and signed
  • ID995 B form completed by university representative
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Travel itinerary with proof of flights
  • Recent passport photo
  • Proof of admission letter from an education institution in Hong Kong
  • Evidence of financial support such as bank statements or proof of scholarship funds
  • Evidence of your accommodation arrangement in Hong Kong

It can take up to six weeks to process a visa, so make sure you leave enough time to receive yours before you travel. You will also need to renew your visa each year you study.

Part time work

As permitted by the student visa, international students are allowed to take up part time work. The job must be either a study-related internship, part-time on-campus job of up to 20 hours a week, or summer jobs during the period of your study (providing it’s longer than one year).

Health insurance

It is compulsory for international students to have health insurance throughout the entire duration of study in Hong Kong. Be sure to arrange this before you arrive in the country.

Masters fees and funding in Hong Kong

Tuition and living fees in Hong Kong can be fairly high. However, there are a number of funding opportunities to apply for that can help you cover some of the costs of your Masters degree.

Application fees for Masters in Hong Kong

A Masters application fee in Hong Kong normally ranges between HKD $180 - $500 (£16 - £45).

This fee is payable after completing your online application through the university website.

Tuition fees for Masters in Hong Kong

International Masters students in Hong Kong can often be expected to pay a significantly higher rate of tuition fees to local students.

Annual tuition fees for international students range depending on university and programme, but can cost between HKD $75,000– $145,000 (£6,680 - £12,900) per year.

Other fees

It is common in Hong Kong for universities to charge students a Caution fee of HKD $300 (£27) when registering.

Charges will be made against this deposit if there are any unpaid claims against you at the end of your study, such as outstanding library charges. If you have no outstanding charges against your student account, the caution fee will be fully refunded.

It is also normal for a Graduation fee of around HKD $300 (£27) to be charged before your degree is awarded to you. However, should your caution fee be refunded to you, the graduation fee can be covered by the transfer of your refund.

Scholarships for Masters in Hong Kong

Although the cost of tuition in Hong Kong is high, fortunately there are many scholarships available for international students.

Application processes are similar to the UK and you should check individual university websites for available scholarships.

Government scholarships in Hong Kong

The HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund has established a HKD $1 billion fund to distribute to outstanding local and international students. The scholarship for internationals is HKD $80,000 (£7,000) per year, for full time programmes at any of the 8 UGC institutions.

For more information visit the HKSAR Education website.

Student living costs in Hong Kong

The cost of living in Hong Kong is generally much higher than in other parts of Asia, but international students can still enjoy a good standard of living without footing too high a bill.

Student accommodation

Whilst studying in Hong Kong, you can choose either to live in University or Private accommodation.

University accommodation in Hong Kong is normally cheaper, more modern and more convenient than private housing. You can expect to pay HKD $5,000-$20,000 (£445 - £1,800) per semester on-campus, whereas private housing may cost you about the same per month.

Living costs

As can be expected with a city that is an economic trade hub, living costs can be similar to London or New York. However, the city has a cheap public transport system and clothes stores that sell items at a lower price.

Below are the average prices for groceries, monthly bills and leisure activities in Hong Kong.


Groceries
Item Price (HKD Price (£)
Milk (1 litre) 21.70 1.90
Loaf of bread (500g) 14.70 1.30
Potatoes (1kg) 19.50 1.70
Chicken breasts (1kg) 65.70 5.80
Rice (1kg) 16.40 1.45

Monthly Utilities
Item Price (HKD) Price (£)
Monthly travel pass 450 40
Broadband internet (10mbps, unlimited, Cable/ADSL) 210 18.70
Domestic utilities (Electricity, Heating, Water and Waste) 1,460 130

Activities
Item Price (HKD) Price (£)
Cinema ticket 90 8
Gym membership (monthly) 670 59.50
Cappuccino (regular) 34 3

Note Information in the above tables is based on crowd-sourced data collected by Numbeo Figures are approximate and provided for comparative purposes only. They do not take account of student discounts and may vary over time.

After graduation: careers and opportunities with a Hong Kong Masters degree

Hong Kong is very accommodating to international students who wish to stay and work after their degree. The "Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates" scheme allows international graduates to apply for 12 months' stay. It is not necessary to secure a job offer before applying to stay.

Alternatively, your university’s careers adviser will be able to assist you with local industry knowledge.

Ready to start looking for a Masters in Hong Kong?

Hopefully this page has answered your questions about Masters degrees in Hong Kong. If you're ready to start your postgraduate study abroad adventure, the next step is to search for a Hong Kong Masters degree.

Last updated - 10/06/2016

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