Admission process overview

Which programmes are inviting applications?

The Master of Design (MDes) has five specialisms: Practices, Strategies, Interaction, International Design & Business Management (ID&BM) and Urban Environments. All are inviting applications for September 2021 entry, but their focus and requirements differ somewhat. Please visit our website at http://PolyUMDes.Info for specific information.

When is the application period? When will be the applications reviewed?

PolyU is accepting applications for MDes 2021 entry from Sep 24, 2020, to Apr 30, 2021. 

During the application period, the School reviews applications in several admissions rounds. Early Round: December 18, 2020; Round 1: January 29, 2021; Round 2: March 12, 2021; Round 3: April 30, 2021.

What defines an applicant as a non-local student?

People’s Republic of China and foreign nationals may join study programmes in Hong Kong offered in full-time mode of study. They are considered non-locals and will require a student visa.

Holders of dependant visa and IANG are considered as non-locals but do not need a student visa when taking full-time or part-time study.

Holders of a valid employment permit may join our part-time programme (Design Strategies) as locals. If their employment permit expires, they will need a student visa, hence are considered as non-locals.

What is to be expected after submitting an application?

Once you submit your application, an application number and a bill number will be generated from eAdmission. Save these for your records and quote these number when requested, for example, settling the application fee or making an enquiry. 

You can also check the application and fee payment status on eAdmission. When the payment status changes to “paid”, the University’s Academic Registry will release your file to MDes programme team.

Although the team will notify applicants periodically if any required document is found missing, it is in applicants’ interest to ensure their submission is in order. The online application form has all relevant fields filled out and all required support documents uploaded.

Incomplete applications will be held up and cannot be processed promptly. If you experience trouble submitting your required support documents, email 

Meeting entrance requirement determines whether an application is to be considered or not. Suppose you have submitted a complete application, you may expect a review to be conducted within four weeks after the review deadline. 

When the admission committee decides to process your application further, we will reach out and inform you about the interview arrangement at least two working days before the meeting. 

In other cases, the status of your application is pending - it could be on the interview waiting list or undecided. For the latter, your application may be revisited after the following review deadline.

What causes a delay in reviewing an application?

Incomplete applications or applications with a pending application fee cannot be processed timely. The decision to call for an interview will be delayed.

How much is the application fee and how can it be settled?

The application fee is HK$350 for local and non-local applicants. Fees paid are non-refundable. If you are not in Hong Kong, you can choose to settle the fee by Visa/ MasterCard (worldwide acceptance) or UnionPay (issued by banks in China).

Personal cheques and cash are not acceptable. 

For details, please refer to Finance Office website at:

How and when will applicants be informed about the interview arrangements?

All admissions must go through the interview process. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview over internet video calls or in-person (local applicants only and when the situation allows). Invitations are usually sent at least two working days before the meeting.

When do I expect to get the result of my application after attending an interview?

The processing time usually takes about two weeks. Applicants are able to see their application status on eAdmission. Successful applicants will receive an email/ SMS notification. Note that the emails from the University might be delivered to your spam folder due to the email service setting.

If the status is shown as “being considered”, it means the admission committee has not come to a definite conclusion for your admission and you are on the waitlist. We will re-evaluate all candidates on the waitlist on a regular basis and inform you when to expect a final answer. 

When and how will the result be announced?

Admission offers for September 2021 entry will be announced, via eAdmission and by email/ SMS, starting from February 2021. You can also check your application status online at from time to time. The final round of admission offers will be sent no later than June 2021. If there is no news by then, you may assume your application is unsuccessful.

What is “Initial Programme Fee”?

You can see the Initial Programme Fee as a kind of prepayment of your tuition.

At the time of admission, you will be asked to confirm your acceptance of an admission offer by settling a non-refundable Initial Programme Fee (an amount of 4 credits or 10 credits for local and non-local students respectively):

Local students: 4 credits x HK$4,650 per credit = HK$18,600
Non-local students: 10 credits x HK$5,300 per credit = HK$53,000

After the add/drop period for Semester 1, students will receive a debit note for the remaining fee - the balance after deducting the Initial Programme Fee from the number of credits enrolled.

How and when to apply for a student visa?

The Entry Visa Application team in Academic Registry will help you in the process of applying for a student visa. As it may take 8 to 10 weeks for the Immigration Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to process your student visa application, you are strongly advised to submit it as soon as you have accepted a conditional or a firm admission offer from PolyU and settled the Initial Programme Fee.

For details, please refer to “Notes to Self-financed Taught Postgraduate Non-local Students” at:

To learn about the status of your visa application, please contact the Entry Visa Application team by email at

Is there a maximum number for student intake?

There is a limit to the number of admission places for each programme, early applications are advantaged.

Application and entrance requirements

How to apply to the MDes Programmes? What supporting documents are required for the application?

To apply to any MDes specialism, submit an application online via eAdmission at You may update your application data after you create an account, check application status and result on eAdmission.

You are allowed but not encouraged to apply to more than one MDes programme.

Here are the required documents to support your application, for instance, Letter of Intent, Portfolio, three Letters of Recommendation (academic/ profession), Full Official Transcripts, Degree Certificates, TOEFL/ IELTS report, etc.

If you are currently in your final year of study, you should provide a transcript showing your academic record up to your most recent semester. A Certification of GPA/ Average Score is needed if the information is not shown on your transcript.

Documents not written in English must be accompanied by certified, literal English translations. We must have your transcripts and certificates in both the native language and in English to evaluate your qualification. We do not require applicants’ original documents during the application stage - readable scans of original documents would suffice. 

Please also refer to previous question on “How and when will applicants be informed about the interview arrangements?"

What does a complete application include?

A complete application includes:
- Application form (via eAdmission)
- Letter of Intent
- Three Letters of Recommendation (academic/ profession) ~
- Evidence of academic qualification, i.e. Official Full Transcripts and Degree Certificates *
- Portfolio #
- IELTS/ TOEFL report^

~ Design Strategies applicants need to provide employment proof for meeting the entrance requirement (two years of professional experience in a design-related field). This document may be in the form of a certification letter issued by your company’s HR department or a mention in the professional letter of recommendation. 

* For holders of academic qualifications from Mainland China, evidence must include Academic Credential (畢業証書), Degree Certificate (學士學位証書), a certification letter of GPA or average score and explanation notes of the grading systems (課程績點点與等級換算關係表).

# Except for all applicants to Design Strategies and for applicants to International Design and Business Management programme with an academic qualification not in the field of design.

^ If you are not a native speaker of English, and the Bachelor’s degree programme you attended was not entirely taught in English, you are expected to fulfil the following minimum English language requirement for admission purpose: A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 for the Internet-based test or 550 for the paper-based test; OR An overall Band Score of at least 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Ensure all relevant fields are filled out even if you have already provided your CV. Failure to do so will result in an incomplete application. We encourage applicants to provide full details of their Post-secondary Qualification and previous and/or current Employment - information and corresponding evidence submitted on eAdmission will be used to assess applications in meeting entrance requirements. 

Incomplete applications cannot be processed promptly.

I took IELTS test last year. Is it still valid?

All English language test scores are considered valid for two years after the date of the test. 

What is Letter of Intent?

Also known as Personal Statement, this short essay of 1-2 pages should include the following areas: your current position/challenge/priorities in your career, how your background and training led you to this point in your career, your research interests and your expectations towards the programme in supporting your career goals and aspirations. The purpose of this document is specific – to convince the admission committee that the programme you are applying is right for you.

Where do I upload PDFs of my letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendations are to be uploaded to the corresponding sections on eAdmission. 

Combine multiple PDFs of your academic recommendations, transcripts and certificates from the same institution you attended into one single PDF document and upload the file according to the specific academic qualification in the “Education” section.

On the other hand, professional letters of recommendation are to be uploaded corresponding to the specific previous/ current employment in the “Employment” section.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

Three letters of recommendation are required from persons who are most familiar with your studies, research interest, or work.

We suggest you include a tutor in the programme you last attended, and/ or supervisor of your final project/ thesis to be your recommenders. 

Professional letters of recommendation from those who are able to speak about your professional role, achievements and potential are acceptable. For business owners, CEOs or company directors, the recommendations may come from your clients. For those who are in their final year of study, you may request a recommendation from your supervisor/ team leader during your internship. Applications without a professional letter of recommendation may be disadvantaged. 

Certification of employment is not the same as a letter of recommendation. Also, recommendations specific for admission are preferred than generic reference letters.

Your recommenders should be informed about the programme to which you are applying and your professional goals. It is important for them to give qualifying evidence in the recommendation, providing an account of your strength.

Each recommendation should contain the following: recommender’s name, organisation/ affiliation, position/ title, relationship, contact number and email address and recommender’s signature (for a scanned document).

We suggest you contact your recommenders in advance to ask for a recommendation. Your recommenders can send the recommendations directly to us by email if they prefer. Inform us by email in advance so that we can match them up to your application.

My tutor needs a letter from your institution in order to issue a letter of recommendation. What should I do?

Due to the large number of applications we received, we don’t usually contact recommenders for a recommendation on behalf of applicants.

We suggest you share with your tutor evidence of your application so that they know you have a genuine need for this document.

Can I submit my application with a pending English test result?

Applications without a satisfactory English test score will not be reviewed.

What is the minimum score required to meet the University’s English Language Requirement?

A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 for the Internet-based test or 550 for the paper-based test, or an overall Band Score of at least 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

What English tests are not considered for meeting the University’s English Language Requirements?

English tests other than TOEFL iBT, TOEFL paper-based test, or IELTS Academic tests. Tests such as TOEFL ITP, IELTS General Training, CET4 and CET6 are not considered.

Should I submit an official letter from my institution to prove English as a medium of instruction (EMI)?

Yes, especially when EMI is not indicated on your transcripts or your programme or department uses a different language as a medium of instruction from the university. The official letter must be issued by the office of international affairs, academic registry, or a related authority, printed on letterhead, signed and stamped.

What are the entrance requirements?

In terms of academic qualification, normally a Bachelor’s degree in Design or the equivalent in a related discipline is required; except for Design Strategies and International Design and Business Management specialism, a Bachelor’s degree from other disciplines is also welcomed. Besides, some specialisms may prefer candidates with some professional experience in a design related field. Please refer to study programme web pages for details.

Do I need to take Postgraduate Admission Exam in order to apply to MDes scheme?

No, we are independent from the postgraduate education system under the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China.

Will my application be considered if I do not have a formal training in Design?

Yes – you may apply to the Design Strategies specialism. This MDes specialism is not a studio-based programme as the purpose is academic – to deepen design understanding and integrate design in its business and technological context through reading, thinking, discussing, and writing. 

If your Bachelor’s study is in Business, Engineering or Technology, you can consider the International Design and Business Management specialism. This specialism is structured with some studio subjects, putting together multi-disciplinary teams to think and act creatively, to cross-pollinate among disciplines in order to prepare our graduates to lead in highly competitive businesses.

Will my application be considered if I hold other tertiary qualifications with years of professional experience?

Applications from those who hold other tertiary qualifications complemented by substantial, relevant professional experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Applications considered on a case-by-case basis usually require additional documents for evaluation and approval process, as a result, a longer process time must be expected.

Additional documents may include, but are not limited to: 
- For both local and non-local academic credentials: IELTS/ TOEFL test report;
- For local academic credentials: proof of course registration under Education Bureau’s Qualification Framework; 
- For non-local academic credentials: evidence supporting the national recognition of the awarding institution of the academic qualification, and qualification assessment by Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications. 

Documents not written in English must be accompanied by certified, literal English translations. Readable scans of original documents in the native language must be provided as well.

We suggest you to contact the MDes programme team in advance. Please refer to the question on “What are the contacts for further information/ enquiries?”


What should be in my portfolio?

In general, the content of your portfolio may include the most advanced design you have done. We are interested in the process of the concept development in self-initiated, experimental and commercial works. Support samples of work with succinct descriptions where needed. Indicate your project references (their name and organisation) whenever possible. State the project type, whether they are individual or group projects. For group projects, you must clearly specify your role in the creative process. The organisation and appearance of your portfolio, as an important part of your application, should be presented in professional quality. 

We expect the portfolio to be structured as a purposeful document tailored for applying to a specific programme in mind. Appropriate portfolios should include related projects to demonstrate your skills and approaches, as a designer and as a communicator, and that you would make a suitable candidate for the programme applied.

How do I submit my portfolio?

Portfolio is required for all applicants to Design Practices, Interaction Design and Urban Environments Design programmes and for applicants to International Design and Business Management programme with an academic qualification in the field of design.

Digital and online portfolios are acceptable and must be in English. We do not accept files saved on CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, not to mention file transfer links and attachments sent through emails. 

Digital portfolio: the preferred file format is PDF in 96 or 150 dpi with file size limited to 15 MB. You can upload your PDF portfolio to PolyU’s eAdmission if all supporting documents add up to 5 MB or less in file size. In other cases, you can submit it via the MDes submission platform at To access this platform, you are asked to enter your credentials and your auto-generated application number given after submitting your application on eAdmission. Only submit your application when you have provided all relevant information and documents – once it is submitted, you cannot edit your application.

Online portfolio: upload your portfolio to hosted portfolio websites or online platforms (e.g. Behance, ISSUU) and indicate the URL to view it on the MDes submission platform at (under “Personal Website”).

I am an Interaction Design applicant with a bachelor’s degree in related non-design discipline. What should I showcase in my portfolio?

Your portfolio should showcase design-related projects with clear research and design processes. Also, specify your contributions in them.

What if I do not have a portfolio?

Some specialisms require a portfolio, but the Design Strategies specialism accepts students based on both academic qualification and professional experience. If you do not have a portfolio related to design, we suggest you focus more on the interview process to describe your background and career interests.

Learning environments – about PolyU MDes and HKG

What is the language of instruction?

All subjects and programmes are taught in English. 

What is the normal duration of study?

Practices, Interaction and ID&BM specialisms take 1 year full-time to complete; Urban Environments takes 1.5 years full-time; whereas Strategies specialism takes 2 years part-time or not more than 1.5 years full-time as most classes are held mostly during the weekends.

What is the average size of a class?

It varies - some classes are large when various specialisms combine; some are small devoted to special topics. There are many tutorial opportunities.

What are the advantages of full-time mode of study?

To non-local students, our intensive 1-year full-time programmes are popular due to the fact that their financial and career considerations are addressed – the tuition fee is the most competitive among the top d-schools list; the 1-year study period will make a sabbatical plan possible when professionals only have a short period of time to be taken out of their career to seek a different experience or to broaden their horizons away from home. 

Some local students choose to study full-time as they see it as potential rapid career advancement or they prefer learning in a studio-based study programme.

Overall, the strong social learning context is very much appreciated by our full-time MDes students. They enjoy the intensive experience throughout the learning and interaction process.

Should I consider an MDes degree?

There is a wide spectrum of design functioning from operational to strategic levels which is well recognised as essential for companies to stay competitive. Consequently, senior designers, managers and professionals in design or related fields need to advance themselves with new visions, updated theories and methodologies and learn to create value through design. 

Design Strategies has been broadening the horizons of students with proven success. On the other hand, the studio-based programmes such as Design Practices, Interaction Design, International Design & Business Management and Urban Environments specialisms, welcome design practitioners to deepen their knowledge and innovation abilities in respective areas and prepare them to be leaders of the field.

What kind of facilities are available for students?

PolyU Design has relocated to the Jockey Club Innovation Tower in 2013 which is built to further drive the development of Hong Kong as a design hub in Asia, and provide additional space to facilitate multi-disciplinary collaboration. The home of PolyU Design provides advanced facilities for teaching and learning, as well as ample exhibition and collaboration spaces that are positioned to attract deserved attention to our students’ work. The Innovation Tower is the first permanent architectural work in Hong Kong of Ms Zaha Hadid, one of the most influential figures in the world of modern architecture.

Workshops and studios are where design students study and nurture their creativity. The School has fully equipped modelling workshops that allow students to have conceptual and physical space to investigate and experiment with materials, tools, processes and ideas. 

School of Design’s workshops and labs: Digital Print Shop (Large-format Poster Printing, Book Printing/Binding, Color/B&W Copying, Paper Cutting), Production Workshop (Wood Workshop, Metal Workshop, Computer Numerical Control, 3D Prototyping, Fused Deposition Modeling, Laser Cutting), Audio Video Workshop (Editing Lab, Audio Mixing Room, Audio Recording Booth, Stop Motion Lab, Hand-drawing Lab and the Production Studio), Sound Studio, and Photographic Studio.

Full-time students have their dedicated studio space.  The studios feature custom-built hardware that accommodates high-end graphics and multimedia content development. 

The Material Resource Centre (MRC) is central to the School’s learning infrastructure. As a place for leading trends in design, material research and production, MRC brings together thousands of new and innovative materials from all over the world. 

Apart from PolyU’s academic library, Pao Yue-kong Library, that is linked with all public and university library services in Hong Kong and PolyU’s technical library Industrial Centre, students have access to a number of sports and communal student facilities: Outdoor swimming pool, 25-metre all-weather indoor swimming pool, 5-a-side indoor football pitch, Indoor gymnasium, Sports Complex (sports hall, tennis courts, table tennis rooms, golf practice room, fitness room, activity rooms) and Sports Centre (sports hall, squash courts, activity rooms).

Are there any collaborations with other institutions?

PolyU Design collaborates with design schools around the world to offer opportunities within and alongside the curriculum that benefit students’ learning and growth in their desired areas. The collaborations are in the form of exchange programme, double degree arrangement, shared studio subjects, international workshops and international guest lectures. Examples of international academic collaboration include: Parsons School of Design, Royal College of Art (RCA), Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK), University of New South Wales, (UNSW), University of Technology Sydney (UTS), National University of Singapore (NUS), Northumbria University, Politecnico di Milano (MIP), etc.

What are the differences between MDes, MFA, MSc, and MPhil programmes?

All of these are postgraduate programmes vary somewhat. MDes is a taught professional degree for design practitioners. MFA is a terminal graduate degree in an area of performing arts requiring at least two years of study for completion. MSc is a basic degree type in most subjects. MPhil is a research degree, requiring the completion of a thesis; it is also considered the gateway for the PhD.

What do current students say about choosing Hong Kong to study Design?

You can read about students’ firsthand experiences through their blogs at:

Find out more from Designers Inbetween (, a documentary created by two in-bound exchange students of PolyU Design, about the strategic advantages and challenges international designers face in one of the world’s financial capitals and how the industry is generically different from the West and the rest of Asia.

What are the contacts for further information/ enquiries?

Prospective applicants reaching out to us at an early stage is important. This way, we can better support you to navigate the application procedures, and more importantly to know you better. Feel free to contact us should you have further questions on application or academic matters.

You can contact the MDes programme team by tel. at +852 3400 3440 / 2766 5474, or by email at /

Tuition, fees payment and financing your study

How much does various specialism cost?

Tuition fees are calculated based on the number of credit required for graduation (36 credits for all MDes specialisms). Tuition per credit is HK$4,650 (local) / HK$5,300 (non-local) and the programme tuition fee is HK$167,400 (local) / HK$190,800 (non-local).

What is the tuition payment schedule?

The remaining tuition fee, after settling the Initial Programme Fee, is to be settled in accordance with the number of subjects enrolled in Semester 1, Semester 2 and Summer Term, usually after their corresponding Add/ Drop period.

What are the means of payment?

Local payments: ATM, PPS, Internet Banking (incl. credit card), cheque or cash
Cross-border payments: Bank Draft (in HKD) and Telegraphic Transfer, Flywire

Depending on your remitting country, Flywire offers multiple payment options which currently include: Domestic Bank Transfer, UnionPay, Alipay, ebanking, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Paypal. Though PolyU and Flywire do not charge a fee for this service, students are reminded to note the cost differences in their local currency under different payment options before confirming your payment. 

For details, please refer to the payment methods here:

What should I know when settling the payment for Initial Programme Fee?

Don’t forget to quote your bill number in the remittance/ payment information. Make the payment at least 3 working days in advance to allow enough time for respective local and cross-border payments to be fully processed. 

The payment status should be updated on eAdmission after 3 working days. If you have any enquiry regarding payment status, please contact the Finance Office by email at

What will happen if I make a payment after the payment deadline?

It is probable that the payment would not be processed successfully. The offer would go lapsed, meaning that your offer will become invalid. The University may offer the admission place to other candidates.

What is a financial proof?

When applying for a student visa, financial proof is one of the supporting documents. It is a financial resource statement issued by your bank which confirms your bank account balance. The purpose is to prove that you have enough money to cover the tuition fees and living expenses (HKD190,800 or USD24,500) for your study in Hong Kong.

If the financial proof is not under your name, your sponsor is required to provide the "Declaration of Sponsor" and a copy of his/ her personal Mainland Chinese Identity Card or passport.

What are the issues to check with my bank when applying for an education loan?

Some students consider the option to finance their study through an education loan. Upon approval, the bank may only disburse the fees under specific arrangements. It might be a good idea to check with your bank on this and seek advice from the University's Finance Office whether certain arrangement is acceptable in advance. Do not settle the Initial Programme Fee before your issues are addressed as the Initial Programme Fee is strictly non-refundable.

Are there scholarships for non-local students?

No scholarship is available for 2021 entry. Non-local students may seek external sources of funding from legitimate government sponsors (e.g. ministry of education, national agencies), businesses or non-profit organisations that support aspiring individuals to study internationally. 

Can I obtain a letter of acceptance for applying funding from these sponsors?

Some sponsors may require a letter of acceptance to certify the tuition fees and living expenses for study abroad. We are able to issue this letter after you receive a Notice of Offer. Notice of Offer from the Early Round will be available around mid-February.

What financial aid is available for SD's BA graduates?

PolyU Design BA graduates can apply for a 15% tuition fee concession# when successfully enrolled in one of the MDes programmes in September 2021. This concession is administered at the discretion of the School.

# Subject to approval. The School reserves the right to change the terms or withdraw the concession at any time. In case of any dispute or disagreement, the School’s decision is final.

What financial assistance is available for local students?

Continuing Education Fund (CEF) and Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS).

Some subjects in the MDes scheme are Continuing Education Fund (CEF) reimbursable for eligible Hong Kong residents (who have the right of abode or the right to land or to remain in Hong Kong without restriction). Students taking these subjects will benefit from the CEF subsidy ceiling of HK$20,000. For further information on CEF, eligibility and the reimbursable courses list, please visit CEF official website at

Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS), administered by Student Finance Office (SFO) of the HK Governments, offers interest-bearing loans to eligible local residents (who have the right of abode in the Hong Kong or have resided or have had their homes in Hong Kong continuously for three complete years prior to the commencement of the programme) to settle tuition fees. The scheme offers interest-bearing loans to eligible students for covering tuition fees. An administrative fee and a relatively higher interest rate are charged once the loan is drawn down until it is fully repaid. Applications are non-means tested, which means that there is no assessment of the family's income and assets. For details of the scheme, please refer to the Government's website at

What are the financial considerations when non-local students planning the year abroad?

When you budget your expenses, it is important to clarify your funding at an early stage and for the entire period of study. Also, consider to make your budget flexible by reserving a fund set aside for any unforeseen circumstances, such as possible fluctuations in currency value, price inflation, emergencies, travel, etc.

When applying for the student visa after obtaining an admission offer, you are required to produce a financial resource statement issued by your bank which prove the availability of enough funds to cover the tuition and living expenses for your first year of study in Hong Kong.

Can holders of student visa work in Hong Kong while studying?

Holders of student visa are permitted to take up part-time on-campus employment for not more than 20 hours per week during the semester; and employment during the summer months (1 Jun to 30 Aug) without any limit in relation to nature of work, work hours and location. Please refer to Immigration Department of HK SAR for detail:

On-campus employment opportunities include Work-on-Campus Scheme through University’s Office of Careers and Placement Services (CAPS) (Job board: and PolyU research/ project posts (Listing:

Student visa

Do I need a student visa if I stay/ work in Hong Kong under IANG Scheme (Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates)?

If you are staying in Hong Kong under the "Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates" (IANG), you do not need to apply for a student visa to study in Hong Kong. When your IANG expires, you need a student visa to study in Hong Kong. In both cases, you will be applying as non-locals.

What are the eligibility criteria for applying student visa?

In general, an application for a visa/entry permit to enter the HKSAR for study may be favourably considered if: the applicant holds a school acceptance letter to confirm that he or she has been accepted to a full-time programme; and he or she is able to meet the fees for the programme, the living expenses for his/her maintenance and accommodation without working and without recourse to public funds. 

For details, please refer to the Immigration Department’s website at:

When and how to apply for a student visa?

Upon admission, the University will help you to apply for a student visa. You will be informed of the details of visa applications, immigration regulations, health care, cost of living and other non-academic matters of concern to non-local students if you are offered admission to one of our programmes.

My passport will expire before the completion of my study next year. What should I do?

Renew your passport first and provide a copy of your new passport in your visa application. Make sure your passport is valid until end of August next year. 

What type of student visa should I apply for if I am based outside Hong Kong and will be making travel arrangements to attend classes on Friday evenings/ weekends?

Non-local students taking up part-time postgraduate studies at PolyU will likely be issued a short-term multiple-entry student visa. To apply this type of visa, students also need to submit a study plan.

How do I prepare a study plan? How will the study plan affect my stay in Hong Kong?

You will be given a tentative time table for the new academic year. Decide on how many subjects you plan to enroll in each semester (Semester 1, Semester 2, and Summer Term). Based on your preference, the programme team will issue a document with your study plan in a required format.

The multiple entry visa approved is usually good for multiple journeys to Hong Kong taking up the programme you are attending from the issuing date of the permit/visa label for a validity period of 12 months. On the cover letter that comes with the student visa label, you will be informed about (a) the maximum number of days per stay and (b) the total number of days allowed in Hong Kong for the validity period.

The study plan will determine (a) and (b).

Can I stay in Hong Kong for other purposes with my multiple-entry student visa?

Unfortunately, the visa does not allow or expect mixed purposes of stay. Therefore, holders of multiple-entry student visa are suggested to exit Hong Kong after their attending their courses and re-enter with a different type of visa if needed.

Do I wait for the admission condition to be met to apply for student visa?

You are strongly advised to submit an application for student visa as soon as you have accepted a conditional or a firm admission offer from PolyU and settled the Initial Programme Fee.

Once your condition status is changed to “conditions have been met”, the Entry Visa Application Team will inform Immigration Department and they will release the visa to the University who will send the visa to your designated mailing address.

Living in Hong Kong - non-locals

What are the living costs like in Hong Kong?

The living costs will depend on one's lifestyle. These costs involve the following major expenses: accommodation, food, local transport, telecommunications, books, etc. Accommodation makes the biggest expenses. 

As PolyU is located in the city centre and very accessible by public transport, accommodation options are off-campus and non-hall housing: private properties, hostels/ guesthouse, serviced apartment, short-term accommodation. Based on their priorities, some students choose to live in a student accommodation offered by accommodation service providers; some prefer first to group together and then rent a privately-owned flat or service apartment, while others prefer to live on their own.

An estimate of around HK$120,000 - HK$140,000 a year per person would be basic for students sharing a flat with one or two students.

You may get an idea of the living costs in Hong Kong if you visit related sites on cost of living, for example, Numbeo (, Expatism (, or online supermarkets (, etc.

What is the culture of Hong Kong like?

Hong Kong is a vibrant international city and yet one of the safest cities in the world. Given its very cosmopolitan outlook, its unique blend of Chinese and Western cultures, students from around the world can easily adapt to the new environment. Its highly quoted “East-meets-West” is the best term to describe the city – where religion, food, architecture, population, entertainment, festivals, etc. span the globe. 

The proximity of Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland and Southeast Asia also attracts many international students from design and business fields to explore these emerging markets. With increasing socioeconomic integration of Hong Kong with the Chinese mainland, efficient cross boundary transportation network enables “1-hour living circle” and that connects the fast growing Pearl River Delta region. This region is the world’s most important manufacturing location that is also emerging as an R&D hub of ICT, automotive, steel and petrochemical industries. This provides ample opportunities to cultivate students’ intercultural awareness and perspective.

The city hosts all kinds of international events around the year for arts and culture, music, films, sports, and food enthusiast. Visit the following sites for more information about Hong Kong culture - and

What are the accommodation arrangements for non-local students?

Non-local students in taught postgraduate programmes are to arrange their off-campus accommodation on a self-financing basis. They are ineligible for university-managed accommodations such as student halls.

Finding off-campus accommodation in Hong Kong could be a challenge. The rent for a private apartment in Hong Kong is relatively costly. Besides, many landlords tend to consider only leases of at least one year. 

Before searching for accommodations, you may want to understand the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance and the rental procedures thoroughly.

The Non-local Student Services Team has compiled a list of accommodation providers in the private market. Please visit PolyU's Non-local Student Services Team (NLSST) website for details at

Non-local students may also approach NLSST for one-stop advisory services:

Location: QT308, 3/F, Chow Yei Ching Building (Entrance at Core T), PolyU
Tel: 2766 6800

What is the student life in Hong Kong like?

You can read about students’ firsthand experiences through their blogs at:

Arrival, registration and settling-in

When should students arrive in Hong Kong?

The academic year runs from early September through mid-August. Students should arrive around mid-August.

Allow at least two or three weeks for searching and identifying the suitable accommodation. Before securing a place live, you are suggested to arrange for your temporary accommodation. 

What documents are needed for attending registration?

You must bring the following to attend the registration: personal identity document (HKID/ Passport/ Mainland ID) used in your application, originals of all academic award certificates, relevant transcripts, professional certificates mentioned in or attached to your application, payment record of your initial programme fee (e.g. payment receipt issued by the bank or the hard copy print out for electronic payment). 

For most updated information, please refer to the Notice of Offer. You can view your Notice of Offer on eAdmission at:

What can I do if I am unable to register in person?

Locals students can authorise a representative to complete the procedures. 

Apart from the required documents mentioned in the Notice of Offer (under Registration Procedures), your representative will also need to bring an authorisation letter ( signed by you and a copy of your Hong Kong Identity Card/Passport, which will be returned to your representative after verification.

What can I find information to get started in PolyU?

The non-local student handbook can be downloaded here (pdf):

What kind of insurance and health care are provided for full-time students?

The University Health Service (UHS) provides a comprehensive range of primary health care for all full-time students (URL: For emergency consultation when the clinic is closed, you may reach the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the nearest public hospital, for assistance. 

The University has already prepared a basic insurance coverage (Group Personal Accident Insurance) for students joining PolyU activities during their stay in Hong Kong. However, student are strongly encouraged to arrange for appropriate insurance scheme (e.g. insurance coverage against illnesses, accidents and public liability) for better protection that covers their entire study period. If students have trouble getting insurance coverage in their hometown, they may also consider to getting it in Hong Kong via local banks or insurance brokers. You should compare plan features, coverage, major exclusions, policy terms and condition before making a decision.

The Non-local Student Services Team may also help students to enrol for the optional Group Medical (GM) and/or Public Liability (PL) Insurance Schemes.  The GM insurance covers hospitalisation medical expenses due to accidental bodily injuries but out-patient consultations will not be covered. The PL insurance covers legal liability for accidental third-party property damage (tangible property) and/or accidental third-party bodily injury in connection with the Insured’s business. Non-local students will obtain information about the GM and PL insurance for non-local students in 2021-22 academic year (i.e. 30 August 2021 to 28 August 2022) by email at the end of August 2021.

For details, please visit Non-local Student Services web-site at

What are the banking services available on campus?

There are two banks in the Shaw Amenities Building on campus: Hang Seng Bank and Bank of East Asia. Their business hours are from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM (Mondays to Fridays). Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are also available there and you will find it convenient to use an ATM card to withdraw money, pay bills, transfer funds at any time.

When opening a bank account, the local banks will normally ask you to produce the Hong Kong Identity Card, PolyU Student ID card, passport/ travel document(s), proof of permanent address, etc. In addition, the banks require a minimum deposit which varies for different banks.