Current Students


Frequently-asked Questions (FAQ)

Study load and length of study


How many credits should I take in each semester/academic year and can I take fewer or more?

The normal study load is 30 credits in each semester and you can take up to 36 credits without having to seek permission. The minimum requirement in one academic year is 60 credits. You should not take fewer than 24 credits in a semester except for the last semester of your BA studies when your outstanding credits may be fewer than 24 credits. The maximum number of credits to be taken in one academic year (including the summer semester) is 72 credits.


How are full-year courses counted towards my study load?

Half of the credits of full-year courses are counted towards the study load for each semester (e.g. 6 credits in the first semester and 6 credits in the second semester for a 12-credit full-year course). The final grades of full-year courses will only be counted in the GPA for the second semester after students have completed the full-year courses.


If I have completed more than 60 credits in an academic year, can I take fewer in the subsequent year(s) of study as long as I will be able to complete a total of 240 credits upon graduation?

Yes, but you still need to take at least 24 credits in a semester except for the last semester of your BA studies when your outstanding credits may be fewer than 24 credits.


If I need to take fewer than 30 credits in the Eighth Semester of study in order to graduate, can I pay my composition fee on a pro rata basis per credit?

No. You will only be allowed to pay the composition fee on a pro rata basis after having paid the composition fees for eight semesters .


Can I extend my period of study to fulfill the requirement of an additional major/minor, even if I have already accumulated the required 240 credits?

No. Since a second major and minors are optional parts of your studies, you will not be permitted to extend the period of study to fulfill such requirements if you have already completed the BA graduation requirements.

Course selection


How do I make my course selections and when do I enroll in courses?

You make your course selections via the online Student Information System (SIS) during the course selection period at the beginning of each semester. You can modify your enrollment during the stipulated add/drop period (usually during the first two weeks of teaching). It is your responsibility to save your course selections and any modifications you make during the add/drop period. You are strongly advised to print a copy of your most up-to-date course enrollment and keep it for future reference.


Can I change my course selections after the add/drop period?

No. Changes to course selections after the add/drop period are only approved in very exceptional cases. You will not be permitted to change your course selections later for reasons that you have forgotten to save or check your enrolment during the add/drop period. Neither will you be allowed to change your course selections if you are not satisfied with your performance in a particular course.


What are the “UG5” requirements? When should I complete the various requirements?

University Regulation UG5 refers to the following University Graduation Requirements:

(a) successful completion of 12 credits in English language enhancement, including 6 credits in Core University English and 6 credits in an English in the Discipline course;
(b) successful completion of 6 credits in Chinese language enhancement;
(c) successful completion of 36 credits of courses in the Common Core Curriculum, comprising at least one and not more than two courses from each Area of Inquiry with not more than 24 credits of courses being selected within one academic year except where candidates are required to make up for failed credits; and
(d) successful completion of a capstone experience as specified in the syllabuses of the degree curriculum.

For details, please refer to the REGULATIONS FOR FIRST DEGREE CURRICULA applicable to candidates admitted under the 4-year "2012 curriculum" in 2012-13 and thereafter.


Can I take an introductory course, e.g. a pre-requisite for a major or minor, in the second or following years of studies?



Will there be different weighting of courses taken in the calculation of my honours classification?

No. All courses carry the same weighting in the calculation of honours classification.


Can I apply to take an advanced course in the first year of study?

Yes, as long as you have fulfilled the pre-requisite(s), if any, of the concerning advanced courses.



When and how should I declare my major(s)/minor(s)?

You will have to declare at least one Arts major via SIS at the beginning of the second year of study. In preparation for your choice of major, you should consider which pre-requisite course(s) you have to take in the first year and which ED course to take for the major in the second year (refer to question 13 below).


What is an "English in the Discipline" (ED) course?

Every major requires students to take a respective ED course offered by the Centre for Applied English Studies. If students intend to take double majors, they are required to complete one ED course only. Also, in case a student intends to major in an Arts major (e.g. Translation) and a non-Arts major (e.g. Economics), he/she can complete the ED course for the non-Arts major. Below are the ED courses for Arts majors:

For students admitted to Year 1 from 2015-16:

Students may take any of the following courses to satisfy the ED requirement.

  • CAES9201. Academic English: Countries and Cultures
  • CAES9202. Academic English: Literary Studies
  • CAES9203. Academic English: Philosophy and the History of Ideas
  • CAES9204. Academic English: History
  • CAES9205. Academic English: Language Studies
  • CAES9206. Academic English: Creative and Visual Arts

For students admitted in 2014-15 or before:

  • CAES9220. “Academic English for Students of Chinese Language, Literature, History, and Culture” for those intending to major in Chinese Language and Literature, Chinese History and Culture, or Chinese Studies.
  • CAES9221. “Academic English for Students of Modern Languages and Cultures (SMLC)” for those intending to major in American Studies, China Studies (Arts Stream),Global Creative Industries, European Studies, French, German, Hong Kong Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, or Spanish.
  • CAES9222. “Academic English for Students of Comparative Literature, English Studies, Philosophy, Fine Arts, & Translation (CEPAT)” for those intending to major in Comparative Literature, English Studies, Philosophy, Fine Arts, or Translation.
  • CAES9223. “Academic English for History Students” for those intending to major in History.
  • CAES9224. “Academic English for Students of General Linguistics, and Language and Communication” for those intending to major in General Linguistics, or Language and Communication.
  • CAES9225. “Academic English for Music Students” for those intending to major in Music.


What is "capstone experience"?

"Capstone experience" refers to one or more courses within the major programme prescribed in the syllabus for the purpose of integrating knowledge and skills acquired. You are required to complete a capstone experience in the third or fourth year in order to satisfy the requirements of a major.


Can I change my major(s)/minor(s) after the third or subsequent semesters?

Yes, you may change your declared major(s)/minor(s) during the course selection period from the third to seventh semester. However, you must ensure that you have passed the required pre-requisite(s) and the respective ED course and can take the required number of credits in the remaining period of study. Please note that students are not allowed to take more than 288 credits during their 4 years of studies, unless they are required to make up for the failed credits.


Different majors/minors may have overlapping courses for their respective programmes. Can I use the same course taken to fulfill the requirements of more than one major or minor (i.e. double-counting the same course for fulfilling the requirements of more than one major or minor)?

No, double-counting of courses for fulfilling more than one major or minor is not allowed. You are advised to consult the programmes concerned and see which replacement course(s) you are required to study so that the total credits completed for each major or minor will not be reduced. In order to safeguard your intended fulfilment of major and/or minor courses according to your plan and avoid delay in graduation, the Faculty Office will request students via email to indicate their intended course fulfilment on an online system after the stipulated add/drop period of each semester from the third year of study.


How do I know if I have fulfilled all the requirements of a major/minor?

You are strongly advised to consult a teacher in the major(s) and minor(s) that you are interested in before making your course selection. Remember, however, that it is your responsibility to check the course enrollment on a regular basis to ensure whether you have complied with the BA regulations and the curriculum requirements, including those of a major/minor.


Will my Degree Certificate show my major(s)/minor(s)?

The completed major(s)/minor(s) will be shown on the academic transcript and the Academic Attainment Profile, but not on the Degree Certificate.

Advanced standing, credit transfer and exchange studies


Is it possible to count credits which I have earned in my earlier studies towards the fulfillment of the credit requirements of the BA curriculum?

Eligible Non-JUPAS entrants are granted advanced standing (“advanced credits”) for their entrance qualification(s) upon admission, which will be counted towards the graduation requirements of the BA degree. Those students are not required to make up the “advanced credits” at HKU. However, no further advanced standing will be granted after admission to the BA curriculum.


If I go on exchange studies in the Second Semester but I am taking a full-year course in the current academic year, what shall I do?

The course enrollment record of all courses (including any full-year courses) during the exchange period will be deleted. If you wish to continue the remaining part of a full-year course upon your return from exchange studies, you have to make an application to the Faculty Office in advance for retaining the respective course enrollment.


What are the application procedures and the documents required for credit transfer from exchange studies?

Please refer to the "Credit Transfer" webpage for details.


Is there any Faculty cap policy governing the maximum number of transferred credits?

Yes. Please refer to the "Credit Transfer" webpage for details.


Is it necessary for me to transfer all the credits I have completed on exchange studies to the BA study?

No, you can choose the courses for which you want to apply for credit transfer when you fill in the application form.


Will the courses approved for credit transfer affect my GPAs and honours classification?

Only the name of the host institution, course title(s) and the credits approved to be transferred, and each course fulfilment (for major/ minor/ free elective) will be shown on the academic transcript. Credits and grade(s) of the course(s) approved to be transferred will not be included in the calculation of GPA and honours classification.

Assessment and grading system


How are Arts courses assessed and what is the Faculty's grading system?

Most Arts courses are continuously assessed on the basis of coursework. All coursework and examinations are assessed according to grading criteria shared across the Faculty. For more information, please refer to the "Assessment, Examination & Honours Classification" webpage.


What shall I do if I have failed in a course?

In general, you have to take course(s) to make up for the failed/outstanding credits immediately in the following semester, by either repeating the same course or taking another course with the required credits.

If you need to take more than 36 credits in a semester to make up the failed/outstanding credits, i.e. exceed the maximum semester study load as stipulated under the Regulations, you will have to seek approval of the Faculty Board by submitting the completed form "Application for undertaking special study load" to the Faculty Office during the course selection period.


How are failed credits counted in my academic record?

Please refer to the section "Failure" under the "Assessment, Examination & Honours Classification" webpage.


What are the differences between SGPA, YGPA, CGPA and GGPA? 

GPA is the abbreviation of Grade Point Average. Different calculations of GPA are listed as follows:

  • SGPA ("Semester GPA") is the GPA in respect of courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) during a given semester.
  • YGPA ("Year GPA") is the GPA in respect of courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) during a given academic year.
  • CGPA ("Cumulative GPA") is the GPA in respect of courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) at the time of calculation.
  • GGPA ("Graduation GPA") is the GPA in respect of courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) at the point of graduation, which is applicable to the 2017-18 (Year 1) intake and thereafter.


How will the honours classification be determined upon my graduation? 

Please refer to the sections "Common Core Courses: Special Proviso in the Determination of the Graduation Grade Point Average" and "Honours Classification" under the "Assessment, Examination & Honours Classification" webpage.


What happens if I cannot meet the progression requirements under BA Regulation A13?

If you are unable to meet any of the progression requirements as stated in the BA Regulations, you will have to appear in person before the Faculty Review Committee, comprising academic staff members and an undergraduate student representative, who will consider your individual circumstances (academic and non-academic) and make a recommendation to the Faculty Board on whether you shall be required to discontinue your studies. At the meeting, you shall be given a chance to explain the difficulties you have encountered and to receive advice on improving your academic performance and resolving study-related problems.


What is plagiarism and what happens if I am found to have committed plagiarism?

Regulation 6 of the University’s Regulations Governing Students' Academic Conduct Concerning Assessment states: "A candidate shall not engage in plagiarism nor employ nor seek to employ any other unfair means at an examination or in any other form of assessment. Plagiarism is defined as direct copying of textual material or wilful use of other people’s data and ideas, and presenting them as one's own without acknowledgement, whether or not such materials, data and ideas have been published". In other words, you are committing plagiarism if you paraphrase or quote the work of another person without clearly identifying (according to academic conventions) the borrowed material and documenting its source. The prohibition of plagiarism applies to all examinations and covers theses, dissertations, take-home examinations, assignments, projects, and other forms of coursework. 

The University takes plagiarism very seriously and considers it a disciplinary offence. Any student who commits the offence is liable to disciplinary action. Academically, any plagiarized work will receive a fail grade. In addition, a warning letter will be issued in cases of minor plagiarism. In more serious cases, the student concerned will be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action. 

Please also refer to the "Plagiarism" section under the "Assessment, Examination & Honours Classification" webpage.

Application for leave of absence


When and how do I have to apply for leave of absence?

You need to apply for leave of absence if you are unable to attend classes (lectures, tutorials, or any other scheduled teaching) due to exchange studies, medical or personal reasons. If you go on exchange studies, you have to apply for leave of absence for the semester(s) during which you will be away from HKU by submitting the form "Application for leave of absence" to the Faculty Office at least three weeks before your departure for exchange. In the application, you have to explain clearly the reason(s) for taking leave (either for exchange studies, medical or personal reasons) and attach the relevant supporting document(s). Applications for leave retrospectively are normally rejected and will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances.


What shall I do if I am unable to take a written examination because of illness?

If you are unable, because of illness, to be present at the written examination of any course, you may apply for permission to present yourself at a supplementary examination of the same course to be held before the beginning of the next academic year. You have to make your application to the "Examinations Office" of the University and submit a completed "Form of Medical Certificate" to the University Health Service within two weeks of the examination you were unable to attend.


What shall I do if I am unable to take a written examination on the scheduled date?

If you are unable to be present at the written examination of any course on the scheduled date, you may apply for special arrangement for written examinations. You have to write at your earliest opportunity to the "Examinations Office" who will seek the recommendations from the Chief Examiner(s) concerned on your request. Approval MUST be sought before the original date of the examination.

June 1, 2016

Updated: August 15, 2017