This UMass Program is highly competitive and we recommend having a second choice.
Timeline for Spring Semester Exchange Applicants:
This is a highly competitive program. Please see the nomination and application timeline below for information about when and how to begin the process. This program is first-come, first-served.
First Round (second round will be announced on August 31st if there are spaces available)
April: Attend the Essentials Workshop ASAP and make an appointment to meet with the Asia Programs Advisor by calling the Education Abroad Advising Center at (413) 545-5247.
July 1st: UMass Abroad application deadline to be considered for the first round of nominations.
July 10th: Nominations announced and students begin working on the host institution application.
August 31st: Deadline students to complete host institution application AND send confirmation to the Asia Programs Advisor. After this deadline, if a spot opens up, a second round of nominations will begin.
September 12th: UMass Abroad application deadline to be considered for the second round of nominations.
Program and Location Description
Located in the New Territories, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is the largest university campus in Hong Kong. The 331 acre campus is located on a hillside overlooking Tolo Harbor and near the town of Shatin. The New Territories are rapidly developing and students will have ready access to modern urban centers, as well as traditional farming and fishing villages.
Hong Kong is a fascinating place that offers students a unique opportunity for learning about the Chinese people, culture and language. It is an exhilarating mixture of Chinese dialects and cultures. From the urban poor to the educated middle class, from the Cantonese jet-set to the Mandarin speaking emigrants of China, from the ultra-modern business minded to the traditional old village families, there are many contrasts to take in.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a first tier, bilingual university. About one-third of the courses offered are taught in English; the rest are taught in either Mandarin, Cantonese, or in a combination of either of those with English. Competition for admission among local Chinese is keen and hence most local students take their studies very seriously. In addition to their regular studies, CUHK students devote much of their free time to clubs, associations and college activities. Foreign students are encouraged to do the same as there are a wide variety of extracurricular and sports activities available to them.
The International Asian Studies Programme (IASP) is a comprehensive program that enrolls approximately 300 students from around the world. Students can register for a wide variety of courses taught in English, such as Business, Journalism, Communications, Economics, History, etc. Multiple levels of Mandarin (Putonghua) as well as Cantonese are offered during the fall and spring semesters. Each semester the IASP offers Asia-related courses, and in addition students can take courses taught in English or Mandarin across the comprehensive curriculum.
For information about courses, including lists of courses available for online enrollment and those not open to exchange students, and instructions for navigating the Timetable (ie course catalog), follow the directions here: http://www.oal.cuhk.edu.hk/files/incoming/Timetable_Course_Desc.pdf
Upon successful completion of the program, students usuall receive 15 - 18 University of Massachusetts credits per semester (this may vary depending upon participation in elective courses). Grades will appear on the UMass transcript but will not be averaged into the GPA. CUHK will send the transcripts directly to the International Programs Office at UMass. CUHK uses letter grades and all courses must be taken for a grade. IASP participants will be evaluated according to the standards of each academic department at CUHK. Criteria for assessment may include any one or any combination of the following: attendance, class work, written work, papers, tests and any other criteria. Grades at the Chinese Language Centre are based on periodic quiz and test results, homework assignments, class performance and a final oral and written examination. Attendance is critical to good results. Students must attend all classes or receive special permission to be absent. Absence from language classes affects the progress and rhythm of not only the individual absent but the class as a whole. One third of the final grade is based on class performance. By definition, attendance underlies this assessment.
UMass students who are majoring/minoring in Chinese should be aware that the Chinese Language Program at UMass has a particular procedure for screening student work done at another university before allowing the credits to count towards the major or minor. This is called a "Challenge by Examination Procedure" and involves proving to the faculty member for a particular course required for the major that you have covered material equivalent to the similar UMass course. Please consult with the Chief Undergraduate Advisor for Chinese for more information.
Students should have a 3.0 GPA at the time of application, though those with a slightly lower GPA may apply with a letter of recommendation from a UMass faculty person. There is no Chinese Language requirement. Applicants should be current undergraduates or recent graduates. Those who already hold a bachelor's degree can attend as non-degree graduate students. However, only undergraduate credit may be earned.
Cantonese and English are the most commonly used languages in Hong Kong. However, students who speak Mandarin have had little difficulty in getting around and finding Mandarin speaking friends. In addition, a number of the CUHK faculty speak Mandarin fluently and all incoming local students are encouraged to study Mandarin.
CUHK has undergraduate and graduate dormitories. Students will be assigned to double or triple occupancy rooms with local roommates. The rooms are modestly furnished with a direct telephone line and network connection (ResNet). All rooms have smart card operated air-conditioning. Heating is not available but also mostly unnecessary. Blankets and bed linens are supplied. There are shared bathrooms with showers on each floor, smart card laundry facilities, shared kitchens equipped with water boilers, refrigerators, stoves and sinks, recreation areas and study rooms. Some dorms also have mini-marts. All dorms have closing hours at night and visitors' regulations. Smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the hostels. More information.
Meals can be purchased at one of many canteens (cafeterias) on campus. Menus vary from canteen to canteen with a range of fare from standard Chinese dishes to deli sandwiches and pasta. North American style coffee shops and delis are also available and are quite popular with students.
Find more helpful information about studying at CUHK and living in Hong Kong at the below links:
CUHK Office of Academic Links Exchange Program Information
CUHK Fact Sheet 2017-18
CUHK Survive and Thrive Booklet
Applying to CUHK
CUHK's online application system is open March 1 - April 1 for fall or academic year applications, and from July 1 through October 2 for spring semester applications. However, the UMass Abroad Application is due well before the CUHK deadlines. See the timeline at the top of the page. The Asia Programs Advisor must nominate applicants, including a transcript by March 15 or September 15, respectively, so students must contact the Asia Programs Advisor well in advance of this date. Once students have submitted the online application, they must bring a printed copy of their application, supporting documents including one letter of recommendation for students with a GPA of less than 3.0, and a printed copy of their application record sheet for completion to the Exchange Coordinator at IPO. The Exchange Coordinator will mail applications on behalf of students to CUHK. Exchange students do not need to pay the application fee.
Students will be notified of their admission results by email in July or November, and must prepare to return, by courier service, to CUHK, enrollment documents including the visa application form and a financial declaration, within 10 days of receiving notice of admission by email. Acceptable financial declarations include a bank statement in the student's name, a bank statement or letter from the bank in a parent or guardian's name with a signed letter and copy of the parent's passport, or a letter from UMass. The amount per semester that must be shown on any of the above is HK$33,000 per semester, or approximately US$4,300.