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Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Exchange

Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong, China

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
Two Northwestern students studying abroad Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hiking in Hong Kong

In this exchange program, students enroll directly at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in either the School of Science or the School of Engineering. Students are also able to combine research with courses in a wide range of fields. Northwestern students have the option of studying abroad for a semester or full academic year. Students pay Northwestern tuition and are responsible for travel and all other expenses (including room and board). Information about the visa process can be found through the Immigration Department of Hong Kong. HKUST will provide visa application guidance.

Begin Application Process


Students at HKUST may take classes in fields such as biomedical sciences, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, engineering, business, economics, and finance. Courses in the humanities and social sciences, such as history, Chinese Studies and political science, are also offered — explore course offerings in in the course catalog.

Students looking for syllabi to petition for technical credit in McCormick must contact their study abroad adviser. All syllabi requests made before admission to HKUST must be done through Northwestern University.

Please note, students are expected to take the majority of their classes in the School of Engineering if they are admitted to that school. Students in the School of Science have more flexibility when choosing their courses. Students are able to take classes outside their "home" school as available. Students interested in Computer Science should be aware that there is a high demand for those classes and should be as flexible as possible when selecting courses.

Program Requirements


Open to Northwestern students from all majors with a GPA of 3.0 and above and meeting Northwestern's minimum application requirements.


No language requirement is needed.


  1. Apply for permission to study abroad
    All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.
  2. Interview for your program
    • For the interview, please be prepared to:
      • Discuss your specific motivations for study abroad and reasons for selecting this program
      • Explain how the program and coursework aligns with your personal, academic, and/or professional interests, and
      • Ask informed follow-up questions about program details that you have reviewed on the program website
  3. Apply for your study abroad program
    All affiliated programs and all Northwestern exchange programs require an additional external program application. This application will not be accessible until you are nominated by Northwestern to participate in the exchangePlease check the program’s website for more details and deadlines.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

4 to 6 Northwestern units. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations. Refer to the Credit Conversion page for information on the “C” grade equivalent and minimum credit requirement for this exchange program.


Limited space is available on-campus in university residence halls. Meals are not provided, but are accessible in the cafes and restaurants on campus. Students who are not able to reserve a space on-campus will be responsible for finding their own housing off campus. HKUST provides resources to assist students with this process.

Host Institution

Founded in 1991, HKUST is a leading international research university in science, engineering, business, humanities, and social sciences. It is also well known for its state-of-the-art research facilities in fields such as microsystems, energy systems, multimedia technology, biotechnology, nanoscience, and optoelectronics. HKUST is an international university, but at the same time maintains strong ties to Chinese culture and institutions and offers an excellent program in Chinese Studies. The beautiful campus spans a 150-acre site overlooking Clear Water Bay and is an approximate 30-minute drive away from the city center.

Review the international exchange application processes for science and engineering .

2019 Program Handbook

Browse the program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make and travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here. 

Program Cost

Study abroad program costs vary widely and may be more or less expensive than studying at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Fall 2020: $27,059*

Review estimated costs for other terms on the program budget sheet.

*Budget sheets for exchange programs were last updated on September 14, 2020. All international travel associated with undergraduate credit-bearing study abroad programs slated to begin during the Fall 2020 quarter, including all Fall 2020, Fall/Winter 2020-21, and Full Year 2020-21 exchange programs, was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Billed by Northwestern
  • Program fee: $19,409

Students attending exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to Northwestern tuition, which covers academic fees, program administration, orientation, and GeoBlue health insurance.

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Room & board: $4,900
  • Airfare: $1,500
  • Visa fees: $150
  • Books & supplies: $100
  • Local transportation: $200
  • HKUST Compulsory Insurance Plan: $150
  • Personal expenses: $650

Total: $7,650

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern exchange programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend an exchange program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. You are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Program Fee

Students participating in exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to the NU tuition rate for:

  • 1 quarter for fall quarter or spring quarter exchange programs
  • 1.5 quarters for fall-winter or winter-spring exchange programs
  • 3 quarters for full-year exchange programs

The program fee includes tuition and GeoBlue health insurance. It does not include additional program-related costs, such as housing, meals, or airfare. Refer to your estimated budget sheet above for the full estimated breakdown of your expenses abroad.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact GLO for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support from Northwestern.

Northwestern Invoice

You should not pay your exchange institution directly for tuition. Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee (outlined above). You will not be billed for on-campus student fees, and exchange programs are exempt from the study abroad administrative fee.

It is your responsibility to pay directly for all other charges abroad, including your housing. Review estimated costs on your budget sheet, linked above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans from Northwestern, these funds will continue to apply directly to your Northwestern account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from an exchange program abroad after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern programs.

Program Website