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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 270 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 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 Period


A. Term-time Exchange (Must be before earning all credit units required for graduation)

  • CUHK students who have satisfied all graduation requirements shall graduate. Therefore, students are strongly recommended to check the credit unit requirements of their major programmes and plan in advance of their academic studies so as to go on exchange before earning all credit units required for CUHK graduation.
  • Students who are in their final year of study can apply for exchange (except those with an expected graduation date on 31 December 2023). However, only students who have outstanding credit units shown on CUSIS by the time of placement allocation is done will be given an exchange offer (if applicable).
  • Students who intend to go on exchange after their expected graduation date can only apply for exchange taking place immediately after their last academic term (excludes summer) at CUHK.

B. Summer Exchange

  • Students can only participate in the summer exchanges which end by their expected graduation date.


  • Full-time postgraduate student with an expected graduation date on 31 July or 31 December 2024 can apply for an exchange but must submit an “Indication of Intention to Extend Study Period” form for approval of their Division. The approved Indication form must be submitted to the OAL by the stipulated deadline. OAL will then forward the form to the Graduate School for their records.
  • Research students should ask their Division in writing for the assessment of their thesis to be deferred; they will be ineligible for all student exchanges once their first draft of thesis is submitted.
  • Click here to download the “Indication of intention to extend study period form” for postgraduates.


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.


  • Some exchange programmes require applicants to provide a valid TOEFL or IELTS score (marked with # in the Admission and Nomination Requirement Tables post on OAL website). 
  • Your TOEFL or IELTS score is valid for this selection if your score report is issued on or after 1 September 2022. TOEFL MyBestscores is not accepted for exchange applications.
  • You are highly recommended to check if the exchange programme you’re interested in has any other foreign-language requirements. Most university-wide programmes are in English, but some programmes require you to know the language of its home country.
  • If you are interest in exchange programmes with English-language requirements, we strongly advise you to observe the valid period of the score requirements (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS) set out by the host institution(s) and schedule a right time to take a test. If you are nominated for such kind of exchange programmes, you will be asked for valid proof of English proficiency along with your application to the host institution.


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.

Financial Commitments

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)
  • Airfare
  • Student visa
  • Health and travel insurance
  • Meal plan
  • Books and stationery
  • Personal expenses
  • Cultural activities
  • Transportation
  • For some destinations, warm clothing

When applying to OAL during October to January (1st round) or February to March (2nd round) for a summer/term-time exchange nomination/offer, you do not need to make any financial commitments, including paying fees or providing financial or bank account information. You will only be asked to pay a nomination deposit of HK$1,500 when you receive an exchange nomination/offer for your application.

For regular term-time exchanges, you will need to pay the CUHK tuition fee and student union membership fees before your departure for 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.

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.