Hong Kong is a small region in Asia known as one of the continent’s economic powerhouses. Its extensive influences in trade, logistics, and finance have attracted investments from nations all over the world. But while exceptionally modern, Hong Kong remains steadfast to its Chinese values and respects its rich history.

A progressive nation guided by time-honored traditions, Hong Kong promises learning opportunities for international students. Let’s take a look at the best universities in Hong Kong for international students.

Top Universities in Hong Kong for International Students

1. University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Established in 1911, the University of Hong Kong is the best university in Hong Kong for international students. It was ranked 35th worldwide and fourth in Asia in 2020 by Times Higher Education. HKU also performs highly in subjects like education, humanities, biomedicine, architecture, and the sciences. The dentistry program has ranked first globally for two consecutive years as well. Today, HKU comprises ten faculties where all programs are delivered in the English language.

HKU is a research-led and forward-thinking university that is guided by its rich heritage. It actively seeks talented individuals of different cultural backgrounds and nationalities. In fact, over 1300 students participate in exchange programs while nearly 9000 are regular degree-seeking students.

2. Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong is the second-oldest university in the nation. It is the only collegiate university where education and research are delivered through nine constituent colleges. Students can choose across a wide variety of disciplines, including Business, Engineering, Medicine, Law, Social Science, Arts, and the Sciences. This top university in Hong Kong is a world leader in terms of research, too. It is working on the most pressing global issues, such as sustainable agriculture and food security.

Most classes at CUHK are taught in English and are beneficial for international students. It is also the most sustainable-designed campus among all Hong Kong universities. Its convenient location in Shatin, as well as its traditions and ties, create special opportunities for international students to immerse themselves in Chinese culture.

3. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is a young, public research university established in Clearwater Bay in 1991. In just 30 years, the university has risen to be one of the best universities in Hong Kong for international students. It was ranked third in the world by Times Higher Education’s 400 young universities, and 56th globally among over 1000 institutions. By subject area, HKUST excelled worldwide in engineering and technology, and business and finance.

HKUST plays important parts in various academia-industry partnership programs locally and abroad. Like most modern universities, HKUST encourages a multidisciplinary approach to learning. Its 10,000 students, one-third of whom are non-local, receive entrepreneurship and practical experience that are invaluable to their careers.

4. Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)

Established as the first Government Trade School, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University pioneered technical education in Hong Kong in 1937. It was granted its present university status in 1994. Through the years, it became the largest university in terms of the student population – with over 25,8000 students enrolling every year. Today, PolyU boasts several recognitions and accomplishments. This includes ranking 25th in Asia and 15th among young universities by Times Higher Education and 7th overall in the top 50 under 50 universities by QS.

PolyU works towards the values of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Students can expect internships, service learning, and working with industry partners on timely research projects. PolyU is very active in overseas exchange opportunities and lists over 275 partner universities and institutions worldwide.

5. City University of Hong Kong (CityU)

The City University of Hong Kong, commonly referred to as CityU, is another top university in Hong Kong located in Kowloon. It comprises nine schools offering programs in the sciences, engineering, business, social sciences, law, medicine, and much more. CityU established the nation’s pioneering veterinary science school and data science school. Some state laboratories are also managed by CityU – a center for marine pollution and an institute for terahertz and millimeter-wave research.

CityU is quickly building a good reputation towards internationalization. It hosts thousands of international exchange-student programs and is increasing mobility for full-degree students from all over the world. Today, the university is working on campus expansion to house more state-of-the-art facilities.

FAQs about Studying in Hongkong

Is Hong Kong Good for International Students to Study In?

Hong Kong is home to some of the world’s most renowned universities, especially in the fields of science and technology. No less than six of its homegrown higher learning institutions consistently ace major world university rankings like the QS and Times Higher Education. These universities offer internationally recognized programs in engineering, medicine, technology, and many other timely programs in the modern and digital age. Hence, students who wish to make a difference in the world learn the latest in these disciplines in Hong Kong.

Tuition fees in Hong Kong universities are affordable. It is only between $11,000 and $30,000 per year, while the cost of living starts at $9000 a year. It varies on the program and location of the university. To attract more international talent, their government offers plenty of scholarships to deserving students.

Hong Kong was a former British colony until governed by China in 1997. Hence, English and Chinese became the two official languages of the nation. It is easy to learn English and the Cantonese language from your classroom interactions, or simply getting around the region.

Can International Students Work in Hong Kong While Studying?

Many international students in Hong Kong are interested in part-time jobs during their studies. Unfortunately, non-local students are not yet allowed to engage in any forms of employment – paid or unpaid.

Nonetheless, international students can find work on-campus but not exceeding 20 hours a week. They can also take internships and other similar activities related to their degrees as long as endorsed by their institution.

Can International Students Stay in Hong Kong After Graduation?

International students who have graduated from universities in Hong Kong are given an additional 12 months after graduation for job-seeking purposes. Graduates can also apply with the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG) which grants successful applicants conditional stay for a 2-2-3 years pattern.


We hope that this article on the best universities in Hong Kong for international students was helpful! Make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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