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 1. Academic Terms

There are four Academic Terms in each Academic Year, namely Fall (normally from early September to late December); Winter (normally January); Spring (normally from early February to late May); and Summer (normally from late June to mid-August). Fall and Spring Terms are considered as regular terms. For most students, attendance for Winter and Summer Terms is not required.


2. Academic Year

The Academic Year of the University begins on 1 September and ends on 31 August of the following year.


3. Academic Program

An academic program is an official program recognized by the University, which constitutes a carefully constructed set of academic requirements. Each program is given a unique program code. Unless specified otherwise, the term “program” refers to an academic program wherever it appears in this document.


4. Academic Standing

Students’ academic standing is an indicator of their academic progress. Poor academic progress may result in students being denied the opportunity to continue their studies.


5. Add/Drop Period

At the beginning of each term, there is an add/drop period in which students may make changes to their course registration. Changes made during the add/drop period will not appear in the students’ records. After the add/drop period, students are not permitted to add or drop courses for that term.


6. Award

An Award is an academic qualification granted by the University Senate on the completion of the requirements for the award. The successful completion of an academic program is recognized by the award of a degree or other academic awards. The award title appears on the official diploma.


7. Concentration

A concentration is a defined grouping of electives as stipulated in the program curriculum. Completion of concentration requirements will be formally noted on the student’s official transcript but not the diploma.


8. Course

Courses are the basic unit of instruction from which programs of study are built. All courses are designated by a course code, course title, and vector.


9. Course Code

Each course is identified by a course code which comprises a four-letter code followed by a four-digit number code. The letter code denotes either the area/program of study or the course offering department. The first digit of the number code indicates the academic level of the course while the last three digits represent a departmental coding series.


10. Course Offering Department

The course offering department is the unit responsible for a course, normally a department or division.


11. Course Substitution

Students may be granted course substitution if they can provide evidence that a course is equivalent in content and level to another course taken elsewhere, for which a satisfactory grade has been obtained. No credits will be given for the exempted course, and the student will be required to take an approved alternative course to fulfill the credit requirements of the program of study.


12. Course Vector and Credits

Each course is assigned a course vector which indicates the number of instructional hours required and credits to be earned through the completion of coursework and other assessed learning activities. The requirements for an award normally include completion of a minimum number of credits.


13. Credit Transfer

Subject to the academic regulations, credits may be transferred in recognition of studies completed successfully at an institution other than HKUST to meet the requirements of an HKUST award.


14. Cumulative Grade Average (CGA)

For each term a CGA is calculated for all the courses earning grade points completed since first registration as a postgraduate student up to that point, as follows:

Where Cj is the credit and Gj is the grade point earned in the jth course since first registration.


15. Dean or the Dean’s Designee

Where approval of the Dean or the Dean’s designee is required, applications or requests should be directed to the Office of the Dean or the Associate Dean (Postgraduate).


16. Degrees

The University Senate awards nine types of postgraduate degrees: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Management (MPM), Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Science (MSc).


17. Department

An academic department, division, or any other academic unit of the University administering academic programs. A student’s department is the academic unit which offers the specific academic program that the student is enrolled.


18. Grade Points

Courses may be assessed for grade points. A table of grade points relative to letter grades is provided in the “Course Grading” section of this Handbook. Courses graded HP/P/LP/U/Y, AU, I, P, PP, T or W do not count in the calculation of grade averages.


19. Graduation Grade Average (GGA)

At graduation, a GGA will be calculated from the courses that are presented for an academic award. The GGA for all postgraduate programs must at least be 2.850.


20. Registration

Registration includes registration in course(s) and registration in an academic program. Registration is confirmed only when students have completed the registration process and paid tuition and other prescribed fees of the term concerned.


21. Research Postgraduate Programs

The University offers two types of research postgraduate programs, namely Master of Philosophy (MPhil), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). MPhil programs are normally several terms in duration and require a combination of coursework and independent research; whereas PhD programs are normally several years in duration and require a combination of coursework and independent research, with major emphasis placed on research.


22. School

Postgraduates are registered in programs under one of the Schools or the Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies.


23. Study Load

Students’ study load is the total credits for which they are registered in a specific term.


24. Taught Postgraduate Programs

The University offers nine types of taught postgraduate programs, namely Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Management (MPM), Master of Public Policy (MPP), Master of Science (MSc), Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) and Postgraduate Certificate (PGC). Programs leading to a taught postgraduate award usually only require the completion of coursework, except for DBA which requires a combination of coursework and independent research.


25. Term Grade Average (TGA)

For each term a TGA is calculated across all courses taken in that particular term, as follows:

Where Ci is the course credits and Gi is the grade point earned in the ith course in the term.


26. Transcript

Academic transcripts provide the full record of students’ academic results and performance.


27. University

The term “University” in this document refers to The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou) will be referred to as “HKUST(GZ)”.


28. University Senate

The HKUST University Senate is the highest academic body of the University. The University Senate regulates admissions, degree requirements and all matters relating to teaching and learning. The University Senate also awards all academic awards of the University.