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Frequently-asked Questions (FAQs)

 Study load and length of study 

1. How many credits should I take in each semester/academic year and can I take fewer or more?

The normal study load is 30 credits in each semester and you can take up to 36 credits without having to seek permission.  The normal requirement in an academic year is 60 credits.  You should not take fewer than 24 credits in a semester except for the last semester of your BA(HDT) studies when your outstanding credits are fewer than 24 credits.  The maximum number of credits to be taken in an academic year (including the summer semester) is 72 credits.


2. How are full-year courses counted towards my study load?

Half of the credits of full-year courses are counted towards the study load for Semester 1 and Semester 2 (e.g. 6 credits in Semester 1 and 6 credits in Semester 2 for a 12-credit full-year course).  The final grades of full-year courses will only be counted in the GPA of Semester 2 after students have completed the full-year courses.


3. If I have completed more than 60 credits in an academic year, can I take fewer in the subsequent year(s) of study as long as I will be able to complete a total of 240 credits upon graduation?

Yes, but you still need to take at least 24 credits in a semester except for the last semester of your BA(HDT) studies when your outstanding credits may be fewer than 24 credits.


4. If I complete more than 180 credits after Year 3 and have fewer than 30 credits of requirements for my BA(HDT) studies in my Eighth Semester, can I pay the composition fee on a pro-rata basis per credit?

No. You will only be allowed to pay the composition fee on a pro-rata basis after having paid the standard composition fees for eight semesters.


5. Can I extend my period of study to fulfill the requirement of an additional major/minor, even if I have already accumulated the required 240 credits?

No.  Since a second major and minors are optional parts of your studies, you will not be permitted to extend the student status to fulfill such requirements if you have already completed the BA(HDT) graduation requirements.  You are advised to plan ahead for pursuing multiple majors/minors in your BA(HDT) studies.


6. What does "final-year students" mean?

Since the normative study period of BA(HDT) degree is 4 academic years (i.e. 8 semesters), all BA(HDT) students in their Year 4 and above are deemed as final-year students by default.  Some courses and funding/activity schemes are only open to final-year students.


Similarly, there are courses and funding/activity schemes only open to non-final-year students, so Year 4 or above students of a 4-year curriculum cannot access these application systems regardless if they will complete the degree requirements by the end of that academic year.  For example, the HKU Worldwide Student Exchange Programme (HKUWW) is among one of these schemes.  The Faculty does not normally support final-year students to defer the completion of their studies in order to take part in these activities.  Students are advised to plan ahead to check the eligibility of a desired funding/activity scheme in their Year 1-3 and prepare for their application profile.


 Course selection 


7. How do I make my course selections and when do I enroll in courses?

You make your course selections via the online Student Information System (SIS) during the course selection period at the beginning of each semester.  You can modify your enrollments during the stipulated add/drop period (usually during the first two weeks of teaching).  It is your responsibility to keep track of your course selections and any modifications you make during the add/drop period.  You are strongly advised to print a copy of your most up-to-date course enrollment and keep it for future reference.


8. Can I change my course selections after the add/drop period?

No.  Changes to course selections after the add/drop period are only approved in very exceptional cases.  You will not be permitted to change your course selections later for reasons that you have forgotten to save or check your enrolment during the add/drop period.  Neither will you be allowed to change your course selections if you are not satisfied with your performance in a particular course.


9. What are the “UG5” requirements? When should I complete the various requirements?

University Regulation UG5 refers to the following University Graduation Requirements:


(a) successful completion of 12 credits in English language enhancement, including 6 credits in "CAES1000 Core University English" and 6 credits in an English in the Discipline course (CAES92xx);

(b) successful completion of 6 credits in Chinese language enhancement;

(c) successful completion of 36 credits of courses in the Common Core Curriculum, comprising at least one and not more than two courses from each Area of Inquiry with not more than 24 credits of courses being selected within an academic year except where candidates are required to make up for failed credits;

(d) successful completion of a capstone experience as specified in the syllabuses of the degree curriculum; and

(e) successful completion of any other non-credit bearing courses as required.

For details, please refer to the REGULATIONS FOR FIRST DEGREE CURRICULA applicable to candidates admitted under the 4-year "2012 curriculum" in 2012–13 and thereafter.


10. Can I take an introductory course, e.g. a pre-requisite for a major or minor, in the second or following Study Years?

Yes, it is possible.  However, please note that some teaching units have imposed enrollment restrictions on SIS.  In such cases, you may need to contact them directly to request special consideration.


11. Will there be different weighting of courses taken in the calculation of my honours classification?

No.  All courses carry the same weighting in the calculation of honours classification.


12. Can I apply to take an advanced course in Year 1?

Yes, as long as you have fulfilled the pre-requisite(s), if any, of the concerning advanced courses.  Similarly, please note that some teaching units have imposed enrollment restrictions on SIS.  In such cases, you may need to contact them directly to request special consideration.


13. Do I have to follow the suggested order of study strictly?

While it is recommended to follow the suggested order of study, some students may need to make changes to their study plans due to various reasons, such as exchange studies, internship opportunities, or preparing for a second major.  It is acceptable to take courses out of order as long as you can fulfill all graduation requirements within the normative study period.  However, it is strongly advised that you consult with your teachers or academic advisers beforehand.

14. When should I decide my Humanities focus?

While it is not necessary to declare your Humanities focus on SIS, it would be helpful for your course enrollment if you could inform the Faculty Office of your Humanities focus before the course selection period in Year 2.  Similar to BA studies, BA(HDT) students can explore their interests by taking several introductory courses offered by different Arts programmes in Year 1 and consult with teachers or academic advisers.


15. When can I take the compulsory internship course HUDT3100?  

You may take the internship during First or Second Semester in either Year 3 or Year 4, or during the Summer Semester in Year 3.  




16. When and how should I declare my major(s)/minor(s)?

Your default major, Humanities and Digital Technologies, will appear in your record from the beginning of Year 1.  You can declare a second major or up to two minors via SIS at the beginning of the Year 2.  In preparation for your choice of optional major, you should consider which pre-requisite course(s) you have to take in Year 1.


17. What is an "English in the Discipline" (ED) course?

Students may take any of the following courses to satisfy the ED requirement.

Below are the ED courses for BA(HDT) students:

CAES9201. Academic English: Countries and Cultures

CAES9202. Academic English: Literary Studies

CAES9203. Academic English: Philosophy and the History of Ideas

CAES9204. Academic English: History

CAES9205. Academic English: Language Studies

CAES9206. Academic English: Creative and Visual Arts


18. What is "capstone experience"?

“Capstone experience" refers to one or more courses within the major programme prescribed in the syllabus to integrate knowledge and skills acquired.  For Major in HDT, “capstone experience" refers to the course “HUDT4001 Research Project in Humanities and Digital Technologies”.  If you intend to complete a second major, you are required to complete the capstone course(s) in Year 3 or 4 in order to satisfy the requirements of that major.


19. Can I change my optional major/minor(s) after my third or subsequent semesters?

Yes, you may change your declared second major/minor(s) during the course selection period from your third to seventh semester.  However, you must ensure that you have passed the required pre-requisite(s) and can fulfil the relevant requirements in the remaining period of study.  If any changes on the major/minor declarations are required afterward, please approach the Faculty Office for approval.  Completion of a major/minor will not be shown on your transcript or Academic Attainment Profile if you did not make the relevant declaration on SIS during your BA(HDT) studies.


Please note that students are not allowed to take more than 288 credits during their 4 years of studies unless they are required to make up for the failed credits.


20. Different majors/minors may have overlapping courses for their respective programmes.  Can I use the same course taken to fulfill the requirements of more than one major or minor (i.e. double-counting the same course for fulfilling the requirements of more than one major or minor)?

No, double-counting of courses for fulfilling more than one major or minor is not allowed.  You are advised to consult the Programmes concerned and see which replacement course(s) you are required to take so that the total credits completed for each major or minor will not be reduced.  You may refer to the Degree Audit report on SIS for your study progress.


21. How do I know if I have fulfilled all the requirements of a major/minor?

You are strongly advised to consult a teacher in the major(s) and minor(s) that you are interested in before making your course selection.  Remember, however, that it is your responsibility to check the course enrollment regularly to ensure that you have complied with the BA(HDT) regulations and the curriculum requirements, including those of a major/minor.

22. Will my Degree Certificate show my major(s)/minor(s)?

The completed major(s)/minor(s) will be shown on your transcript and Academic Attainment Profile when you complete the BA(HDT) degree, but not on the Degree Certificate.


 Advanced standing, credit transfer, and exchange studies 

23. Is it possible to count credits that I have earned in my earlier studies towards the fulfillment of the credit requirements of the BA(HDT) programme?

Eligible Non-JUPAS entrants are granted advanced standing (“advanced credits”) for their entrance qualification(s) upon admission, which will be counted towards the graduation requirements of the BA(HDT) degree.  Those students are not required to make up the “advanced credits” at HKU.  However, no further advanced standing will be granted after admission to the BA(HDT) programme.


24. If I go on exchange studies in the Second Semester but I have to take a full-year course in that academic year to fulfil the requirement(s) of a major/minor, what shall I do?

Since the enrollment record of all courses (including any full-year courses) during the exchange period will be deleted, you should consult the relevant Programme on how you will complete the outstanding requirements of the full-year course at the beginning of Semester 1.


25. What are the application procedures and the documents required for credit transfer from exchange studies?

Please refer to the "Credit Transfer" webpage for details.


26. Is there any Faculty cap policy governing the maximum number of transferred credits?

Yes.  Please refer to the "Credit Transfer" webpage for details.


27. Is it necessary for me to transfer all the credits I have completed on exchange studies to the BA(HDT) study?

No, you can choose the courses for which you want to apply for credit transfer when you fill in the online application form.


28. Will the courses approved for credit transfer affect my GPAs and honours classification?

The name of the host institution, course title(s), and the credits approved to be transferred, and each course fulfilment (for major/ minor/ free elective) will be shown on your transcript when you successfully pass the relevant course(s).  However, credits and grade(s) of the course(s) approved to be transferred will not be included in the calculation of GPA and honours classification.


 Assessment and grading system 

29. How are Arts courses assessed and what is the Faculty's grading system?

Most Arts courses are continuously assessed based on coursework.  All coursework and examinations are assessed according to grading criteria shared across the Faculty.  For more information, please refer to the "Assessment, Examination & Honours Classification" webpage.


30. What shall I do if I have failed in a course?

If you failed in a core course, in general, you have to take course(s) to make up for the failed credits immediately in the following semester, by either repeating the same course or following the suggestion of the teaching unit.  If you failed in a Common Core or elective course, you may either repeat the same course or take another Common Core or elective course with the same credits.


If you need to take more than 36 credits in a semester to make up the failed/outstanding credits, i.e. exceed the maximum semester study load as stipulated under the Regulations, you will have to seek approval from the Faculty by submitting the completed form "Application for undertaking special study load" to the Faculty Office during the course selection period.


31. How are failed credits counted in my academic record?

Failed courses are recorded on the transcript with an 'F' grade.  If you choose to repeat the failed course, the new grade obtained will be recorded in the semester in which you retake the course.  Failed credits do not count towards the fulfillment of the credit requirement of the BA(HDT) degree.  Failed grades are included in the calculation of the Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA), Year GPA (YGPA), Cumulative GPA (CGPA), and Graduation GPA (GGPA).  All failed grades on letter grading basis will be taken into account when determining your honours classification.


32. What are the differences between SGPA, YGPA, CGPA and GGPA?

GPA is the abbreviation of Grade Point Average. Grades achieved from courses assessed on letter grading basis (i.e. A+, A, A-, B+, ..., D+, D, F) will be included in the calculations of GPA. Different calculations of GPA are listed as follows:


SGPA ("Semester GPA") is the GPA concerning courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) during a given semester.

YGPA ("Year GPA") is the GPA concerning courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) during a given academic year.

CGPA ("Cumulative GPA") is the GPA concerning courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) at the time of calculation.

GGPA ("Graduation GPA") is the GPA concerning courses attempted by a candidate (including failed courses) at the point of graduation, which applies to the 2017-18 (Year 1) intake and thereafter.

33. How will the honours classification be determined upon my graduation?

The classification of honours shall be determined by the Board of Examiners for the BA degree in accordance with the following Graduation GPA (GGPA) scores, with all courses taken (including failed courses) carrying weightings that are proportionate to their credit values*:

Study load and length of study
Course selection
Advanced standing, credit transfer, and exchange studies
Assessment and grading system
Application for leave of absence

Honours classification may not be determined solely based ona candidate’s GGPA and the Board of the Examiners for the BA(HDT) degree may, at its absolute discretion and with justification, award a higher class of honours to a candidate deemed to have demonstrated meritorious academic achievement but whose GGPA falls below the range stipulated in the above table of the higher classification by not more than 0.1 Grade Point.
*For students who have successfully completed 6 Common Core courses on letter grading basis, the calculation of GGPA is subject to the proviso that either 5 Common Core courses with the highest grades (covering all 4 Areas of Inquiry), or all 6 courses will be counted towards GGPA, depending on which generates the higher GGPA. However, students who have taken any 3-credit Common Core Microcredential Courses will have their performance of all Common Core courses included in the calculation of GGPA. 
For details, please refer to UG9 of the REGULATIONS FOR FIRST DEGREE CURRICULA.

34. What happens if I cannot meet the progression requirements under BA(HDT) Regulation AHD8?
If you are unable to meet any of the progression requirements as stated in the BA(HDT) Regulations, you will have to appear in person before the Faculty Review Committee on Student Performance and Discontinuation, comprising academic staff members and an undergraduate student representative, who will consider your individual circumstances (academic and non-academic) and make a recommendation to the Faculty Board on whether you shall be recommended to discontinue your studies.  At the meeting, you shall be given a chance to explain the difficulties you have encountered and to receive advice on improving your academic performance and resolving study-related problems.

35. What is plagiarism and what happens if I am found to have committed plagiarism?
Regulation 6 of the University’s Regulations Governing Students’ Academic Conduct Concerning Assessment states: "A student shall not engage in plagiarism nor self-plagiarism nor employ nor seek to employ any other unfair means in respect of/in connection with any assessment. Plagiarism is defined as the use of another person's work (including but not limited to any materials, creations, ideas and data) as if one’s own without due acknowledgement, whether or not such work has been published and regardless of the intent to deceive." In other words, you are committing plagiarism if you paraphrase or quote the work of another person without clearly identifying (according to academic conventions) the borrowed material and documenting its source. The prohibition of plagiarism applies to all examinations and covers theses, dissertations, take-home examinations, assignments, projects, and other forms of coursework.  In addition, according to para 2.1 of “Policy on Student Plagiarism in Undergraduate and Taught Postgraduate Curricula”, self-plagiarism is defined as “the reuse of one’s own work without acknowledging that such work has been submitted elsewhere”.  All references to plagiarism herein should be understood to include self-plagiarism.
The University takes plagiarism very seriously and considers it a disciplinary offence. Any student who commits the offence is liable to disciplinary action. Academically, any plagiarized work will receive a failing grade.  In addition, a warning letter will be issued in cases of minor plagiarism.  In more serious cases, the student concerned will be referred to the University's Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action.
Please also refer to the "Plagiarism" section under the "Assessment, Examination & Honours Classification" webpage.

 Application for leave of absence 

36. When do I have to apply for leave of absence and how?
You need to apply for leave of absence if you are unable to attend classes (lectures, tutorials, or any other scheduled teaching) due to exchange studies, medical or personal reasons.  If you go on exchange studies, you have to apply for leave of absence for the semester(s) during which you will be away from HKU by submitting the online form "Application for leave of absence" to the Faculty Office at least three weeks before your departure for exchange.  In the application, you have to explain clearly the reason(s) for taking leave (either for exchange studies, medical or personal reasons) and attach the relevant supporting document(s).  Applications for leave retrospectively are normally rejected and will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances.

37. What shall I do if I am unable to take a written examination because of illness?
If you are unable because of illness to be present for any paper in the examination or if you believe that your state of health either immediately before or during the examination has significantly affected your performance, you should arrange to submit a prescribed Form of Medical Certificate.  You should consult a doctor on the same day of the examination concerned, and also complete Part I of the Form and give it to your doctor for completion of Part II of the Form.  The completed Form, together with the original sick leave certificate issued by the attending doctor, should be submitted to the Examinations Office (address: Room 239B, 2/F, Main Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam) and must reach it within seven calendar days of the examination concerned.  Late or incomplete submission will not be accepted.

38. What shall I do if I am unable to take a written examination on the scheduled date?

If for any reason you have been unable to attend for any paper in an examination you must, within seven calendar days of the examination concerned, write to the Examinations Secretary at the Registry giving reasons for your absence.

January 2024


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