What common core courses should I take?
The purpose of common core courses is to broaden your perspectives, so select them on the basis of your personal and intellectual interest. In the process of making your decision, read the course description and talk with the instructor and students who have taken the course before. Remember that students in the School of Engineering are required to take a total of 12 credits to fulfill the common core requirements, among which 3 credits each have to be taken from Social Analysis (SA) and Arts & Humanities (A&H) areas. The other 6 credits are free and can be chosen from any area. The list of Common Core Courses can be found at the University Core Education Office website. Before you register for a course, check the Course Catalog to ensure that it will count towards graduation requirement. Another important resource is the 3-Year Program Catalog.
Can I change the courses I selected after the registration period?
There is an add/drop period during which you may make changes to your course enrollment and these changes will not be reflected in your record. However, you are recommended NOT to change the schedule of the required courses that have been pre-registered for you. For courses that you are thinking of adding, you should attend a few classes during the add/drop period and talk with the instructors to find out more about the courses. After the add/drop period, changes to your schedule are allowed only under extenuating circumstances and must be formally approved.
Should I take a minor? What options are available?
All minor programs on offer can be found here. Please take note of the specific enrollment requirements such as CGA (cumulative grade average). As to whether you should take a minor and if so, which one, you should think about your career plan and how having a particular minor will contribute to it. Pursuing a minor does take away some flexibility in your curriculum, so you should talk with different people and gather as much relevant information as you can before making a decision. Any undergraduate students with a CGA of 2.15 or above may enroll in this minor program. They must declare their intention to enroll in the minor program no earlier than the first regular term of their second year of study but no later than the last day of the add/drop period in the first regular term of their final year of study.
Can I do a double major?
A double major is different from a dual degree in that it is a single undergraduate degree instead of two degree awards. Hence students can pursue a double major only under the same undergraduate degree (e.g., BBA, BSc). You will need to complete the degree requirements of two degree programs within the normal period of study and, upon successful completion, will receive both program designation on your diploma.
How can I find out more about a particular engineering program? How would I know which one is most suitable for me?
The introductory courses in the first-semester are designed to give you an idea of what a particular engineering discipline is like. Talk with some practicing engineers (in particular those who are HKUST alumni) and ask them what they do on their jobs. You can also find useful information on the School's and Departments' websites.
What are the career prospects for graduates of the different engineering programs? To what extent will these prospects be affected by the number of graduates?
Nobody can predict what the employment market would be like when you graduate, but you can get a good picture of the employment trends in the past by reading the Graduate Employment Survey Reports. The important point is an engineering education does not prepare you only for a job at graduation, but also for many careers throughout your life. Each year many of our graduates do not practice engineering and serve other sectors with the professional knowledge and skills they have acquired at HKUST. So follow your interest, whether you are choosing a program of study or a career path. You are likely to learn better and enjoy more doing something that you are interested in and are good at.
Are most engineering courses related to physics and mathematics?
Physical and biological sciences provide the foundation for solving engineering problems, so courses related to physics and mathematics are required early in the curriculum. Subsequent courses are also likely to involve some physics and mathematics, but they also go beyond them. Engineering, after all, is about applying basic principles to solve real-world problems.
How heavy is the academic workload at HKUST? What about the workload of an individual course?
You should plan on spending between 1-2 hours per week studying outside of class per each credit that you are taking. For example, you should spend at least 3 hours per week studying (which includes reviewing your notes, reading, and doing homework) for a 3-credit course.
What am I supposed to learn from each course?
The intended learning outcomes, i.e., what you are supposed to be able to do after a course, can usually be found in the course syllabus. If not, ask your instructor about them. A related, but perhaps more important question is: What are you supposed to learn from the program? All undergraduate engineering programs at HKUST are accredited by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers which, as a member of the Washington Accord, expects the following graduate attributes:
- Academic education, Knowledge of engineering science
- Problem analysis, Design/development of solutions
- Modern tool usage
- Individual and team work
- The engineer and society
- Environment and sustainability
- Project management and finance
- Lifelong learning
How do I learn effectively as a university student?
As a university student you are expected to be more independent and take responsibility of your learning. Some of the study skills and habits that served you well in secondary school may not work as well now. You should know what you are expected to learn and why you need to know it. Be active and reflective, spend the necessary time to master the learning task, and seek timely and expert feedback. Remember, also, that you can learn a lot from your peers and that learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom.
How can I study well in order to obtain good results?
Do not study for results; focus on learning instead, and good results should follow. Here are some specific tips that would help you learn:
- Read assignments before class
- Review lecture materials right after class
- Start working on assignments early
- Study with a partner or join a study group
- Study effectively (e.g., take breaks, switch study subjects, etc.)
- Seek help early
Where should I seek help?
For academic matters, in particular those related to the courses that you are taking, talk with your course instructors. For non-academic matters, in particular those related to personal counseling and development, talk with the relevant staff at the Student Affairs Office. Of course, you can always come to the Center for Engineering Education Innovation (E2I) or talk with your peer mentor.
Non Academic Questions
What are the social and academic norms at HKUST?
One impression of HKUST students is that they "work hard and play hard." Students do care about academic results and this often results in competitive tension. They also actively participate in the many extra-curricular activities that are available on campus.
Will I have enough time to study and participate in extra-curricular activities?
HKUST students, like university students elsewhere, often find it difficult to manage their time well. But this is often the result of not having clear goals rather than not having good time management techniques. In other words, you need to know what kind of university experience you wish to have. A university education is not just about academic learning (even though it is still a very important component), so you need to think about what you most wish to gain from it in order to allocate your time wisely.
Which residential hall should I choose?
Different halls do have different cultures, so again you need to be clear about what you wish to gain from residential life. Talk with current residents to get a better sense of what it is like living in each hall. Find out from them the pros and cons of staying in a hall in your first-year versus later years.
How can I develop a good relationship with my classmates? How do I make friends?
Making new friends is indeed an important part of making successful social adjustment to university life. First of all, relax; you have made friends before and you will establish meaningful friendships here. Just be yourself and reach out to other people. Show an interest in them and be a good listener. Above all, behave in such a way that others will find you trustworthy.
How do I know whether I can get along well with the students in the program that I am interested in?
You don't get to choose your classmates, just like you won't be able to choose your co-workers when you enter the workplace. The key then is while you are a university student; learn how to get along with people (the advice in the previous question should help), to respect diversity, and to work effectively in a team. Developing good interpersonal skills will serve you well in the long run.