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Getting Started

Term Time Exchange

Getting Started


Why should I go on exchange?

  • Immerse yourself in a foreign culture
  • Expose yourself to a new educational culture at a different university
  • Equip yourself with new academic and interpersonal skill for future career and life
  • Meet new people from different backgrounds
  • Learn how to be more independent
  • Take courses not available at CUHK

Going on exchange will be one of the most productive, career-enhancing and personally enriching experience in your life.

Planning your exchange

Start to plan your exchange during your first year at CUHK. That might sound early, but the process takes longer than you think: about nine months from the time you start planning to the time you leave Hong Kong for your exchange. Bear in mind that a lot of exchange programmes require you to achieve certain academic standards; some also require knowledge of a foreign language. Here are a few things you should think about when planning:


Ideally you should go during your third and fourth year of undergraduate study. Exchange programmes last either a term, a summer or an academic year. CUHK full-time students can go on exchange for a cumulative maximum of one academic year (Term 1, Term 2 and summer).


CUHK offers over 280 student exchange programmes; they include university-wide, college, faculty and department options. University-wide programmes are administered by OAL and available to all CUHK students. Click here for the list of exchange destinations.

Undergraduate students can also go on exchange during the summer through the Summer Exchange Programme.


Full-time registered undergraduate students (except first year students whose expected graduation date is 31 July 2025 or after) and postgraduate students can apply. Applicants must meet certain requirements. These vary from programme to programme, but typical ones include:

  • A valid TOEFL or IELTS score report with a particular minimum score, depending on the programme
  • A good academic record at CUHK – typically a cumulative GPA of at least 2.70, although some exchange programmes set the bar higher
  • A good disciplinary record and standing at CUHK
  • Basic knowledge of the place where you intend to study
  • Maturity and responsibility in social conduct, along with physical and emotional health
  • Readiness to represent CUHK

Exchange Before Fulfilling Graduation Requirements

According to the Regulations Governing Full-time Undergraduate Studies, CUHK students who have satisfied all graduation requirements shall graduate (Regulation 12.1).  Students are strongly recommended to have good planning of their academic study so as to go on exchange before fulfilling all graduation requirements (i.e. avoid extension of study period for exchange after fulfilling all graduation requirements).

You should check your credit unit requirement and other requirements for graduation and decide how many course units you plan to enroll in each academic term and apply to go on exchange before the course unit requirement is fulfilled.  Check Regulation 5.1 of the Regulations Governing Full-time Undergraduate Studies for course unit requirement of your study.

Final Year Students

Students with an expected graduation date on 31 July and 31 December 2022 (as shown on CUSIS in October 2021) who are intended to go on exchange after their expected graduation date can only go for one academic term. The exchange must take place immediately after their last academic term for taking courses for graduation (excludes summer) at CUHK.

They must submit a completed “Indication of Intention to Extend Study Period for Exchange (2IESPE)” form to the OAL on or before 15 December 2021.

Students who, due to special reasons, cannot avoid going on exchange after fulfilling all graduation requirements need to detail the reasons in their Application for Suspension of Studies and Change of Study Period to the Registration and Examinations Section (RES) for (i) approval by major programme and (ii) final approval by the Registrar in the coming May/June.  Failure to submit a completed form as instructed by RES or unsuccess in obtaining the approval will result in cancellation of the exchange nomination.

Please refer to point 2.2 and 2.4 of the Application and Policy Manual for more information.


For enquiries about whether you need to defer your graduation date if you go on exchange, or whether you can graduate right after the exchange, please contact the Registration and Examinations Section.


Remember to check if the exchange programme you’re interested in has any foreign-language requirements. Most university-wide programmes are in English, but some programmes require you to know the language of its home country. We strongly advise you to take a TOEFL or IELTS test as early as possible. Once you are selected to go on exchange, you will be asked for proof of English proficiency along with your application. If you can’t provide it, you risk being rejected. The earlier you take a test, the better chance you have of being accepted.


You are not limited to take courses from your major subject during your exchange, but you will have to meet the course requirements in order to get onto a course in the first place. You are encouraged to enrich your knowledge of varied subjects during the exchange, but make sure you consult the relevant academic departments before taking a course to make sure you can transfer the credits back to CUHK.

Credit Transfer

You should contact the Registration and Examinations Section at CUHK for instructions on transferring credits. Before you come back to Hong Kong from your exchange, you should ask the host institution for an official transcript to be sent directly to OAL in a sealed envelope.

Course Load Requirements

For undergraduate students, the minimum requirement is 9 units and passing at least 6 of them per term or the equivalent, except for summer exchanges. Failure to do so may cause complications to your graduation and/or repayment of financial support provided. If you are a postgraduate student, you should enrol in enough courses to meet the minimum course load requirement of your full-time postgraduate programme at CUHK.


The fees for a typical exchange programme include the following:

  • CUHK tuition
  • CUHK and College Student Union fees (for undergraduate students only)
  • Accommodation (CUHK, host university or private rental depending on the programme structure)
  • Health and travel insurance
  • Meal plan
  • Student visa
  • Books and stationery
  • Personal expenses
  • Cultural activities
  • Transportation
  • For some destinations, warm clothing
  • Airfare

For regular term-time exchanges, you will need to pay the CUHK tuition fee and student union membership fees before you leave for your exchange. Other fees are payable either before or during the exchange, depending on the programme and the nature of the fee. For Summer exchanges, please click here for details.

CUHK Student Ambassadors Scheme

CUHK Student Ambassadors are a diverse group of CUHK students who have attended one of the exchange programmes administered by the Office of Academic Links. If you’re having trouble deciding where to go or looking for tips on living in a particular country, our ambassadors are ready to help. Please contact them if you have any questions. You can find their information here.

Exchange Without Limits

Students with special needs are encouraged to talk to Student Advisors at the i-Centre for assistance in identifying suitable exchange opportunities you may apply to.