Check admission and application details

Once you have decided on your interested programme, read the University’s admission website and/or attend information session to find out the admission criteria, required documents and application procedure. Jot down the type of supporting documents you need to submit, work backwards from the application deadline to compile your to-do list which may include writing sample or design portfolio. (See “Timeline for Application Preparation” below)

Sometimes specific undergraduate courses might be required for admission into certain professional programmes. If that is the case, enroll for the missing courses as soon as possible at HKU or in study abroad programmes (if those courses are not offered in the coming semesters).

Are admission tests required?

In many cases, official score reports of GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) and/or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) are required. Check Educational Testing Service ( and Graduate Management Admission Council ( for test dates, and you could find online video courses/practice tests for practicing. The common advice is to devote 2 to 3 months for the preparation.

English proficiency test score is also required by some universities for candidates whose first language is not English. To prepare for your TOEFL and IELTS examinations, you can refer to their websites on Educational Testing Service ( and British Council ( In HKU, you can make use of learning materials in the Library and the test materials in the Centre for Applied English Studies (CAES).

Timeline for application preparation

Early preparation is the key to success. You should start the preparation work one year in advance. The flowchart below is for your reference:

Time Tasks
  • Review the application requirements and deadline(s) of preferred programme(s)
  • Shortlist the outstanding item(s) for your application
  • Register and prepare for TOEFL/IELTS/GMAT test(s) (if appropriate)
September to October
  • Complete the TOEFL/IELTS/GMAT test(s) (if appropriate)
  • Attend the information session(s) of preferred programmes
  • Request for the reference letters and draft the personal statement
  • Polish your personal statement with CAES Communication Support Services
  • Gather and double-check the application documents and materials
  • Discuss the postgraduate studies plan with your Academic Adviser
December to March
  • Submit the application and related materials according the deadline(s)
  • Prepare for interview and assessment (if appropriate)

Documents to prepare

After identifying the preferred programmes, it is time to prepare the application materials per application and entrance requirements:

  • An official transcript of undergraduate studies
    You can apply your transcript through this Path: HKU Portal > SIS Main Menu > Online Applications > Application for Transcript. It would take 10 working days to process your application.

    If you need further support, please visit Academic Support and Examinations Section of the Registry’s website (

  • Reference letters or reports
    Besides your grades and the resume which lists your academic, professional and/or extra-curricular achievements, the graduate school would request for references to evaluate whether you are the right candidate for its postgraduate programme(s).

    Your referees should be familiar with you, and be able to highlight your experience, abilities, and character. To select the right referees, you should first refer to the referee requirement of the application. If you have to provide a recommendation letter from a teacher, it should focus on your academic skills and achievements. If you have to submit a reference letter from an employer, the school would expect the letter to reflect skills that are relevant for your postgraduate study.

    Therefore, you can provide your updated resume and personal statement to your referees, and share your postgraduate study plan with them.

  • TOEFL / IELTS / GRE/ GMAT transcript
    If you are planning to apply different programmes in different graduate schools, ensure you have prepared sufficient copies for application. If the school requests electronic score submission, provide the correct institution code to the Test Centre(s).
  • Personal statement
    Personal statement is an important part of your postgraduate study application. You have to describe precisely your background, goals, personal skills, and experience to support your application within certain word limit. There is no perfect template for personal statement, but we have summarized some tips for you:


  • Highlight your unique strengths and characters which are relevant to the programme(s)
  • Use examples to support your highlighted strengths and characters, and elaborate how they apply in your postgraduate study
  • Show your enthusiasm to the programme(s) and outline your future plan after completing the programme(s)
  • Keep polishing your personal statement. You can seek help from CAES Communication Support Services ( and your Academic Adviser for feedback


  • Never copy or buy a personal statement, or share yours. Academic integrity is the fundamental requirement of studying, and such behaviour will affect your application
  • Do not overstate your strengths and achievements. Your interviewer will spot the differences during the interview
  • Never prepare your personal statement in the last minute. You have to spend much time to polish and amend the contents
  • Do not overlook spelling and grammatical errors, and seek help from CAES Communication Support Services ( if needed