SOP for Hong Kong: Universities Guidelines for UG/PG Courses

SOP for Hong Kong: Universities Guidelines for UG/PG Courses

7 mins read1.8K Views Comment
Aprant Agarwal
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Mar 29, 2023 11:36 IST

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) or a Personal Statement is an important aspect of your application while applying to foreign universities. Along with this document, your Resume and Letters of Recommendation (LORs) also play a crucial role in helping an admissions committee decide on your candidature. Generally, SOPs or personal statements for any country or university are majorly similar in content, i.e., a generic SOP should cover these points:

  • Academic and professional background
  • Motivation to study the selected course
  • Achievements and learnings
  • Career goals
  • Reasons to choose this particular university

SOP for Hong Kong University Requirements

Now that we have covered the basics of SOP writing, let us discuss what universities in Hong Kong look for in an SOP. The admission office holds a holistic view of your application, which means it looks at how well-rounded you are as a candidate. They consider your transcripts, test results, personal statement or SOP, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities. Your test results are not the only critical factor; admission officers take time to screen your personal statements and other relevant documents, thoroughly, before making a decision. Thus, writing a winning SOP is crucial to your overall application. Only one SOP is required, irrespective of the number of programs you are applying to, in a particular university, in Hong Kong. However, SOP requirements for Hong Kong for different universities, at each study level, are different. This means that there may be different requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate applicants.

SOP for Hong Kong Undergraduate Courses

Here are some of the top universities’ document requirements for undergraduate programmes:

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  • The University of Hong Kong (HKU): HKU requires an SOP that should not exceed 1,000 words. Applicants need to elaborate on their interest in studying at the university and why they chose that particular programme.
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST): HKUST has no set word limit for an SOP. Applicants need to highlight their strengths, interest in the programme and how it will benefit them in future, previous achievements and future ambitions.
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University: Submitting a personal statement is optional for undergraduate students at PolyU. However, it is advisable to submit one personal statement to strengthen the chances of getting selected or discuss any gap year or misfortune encountered in life.
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong: A Statement of Purpose is required which should be no more than two pages of an A4-sized page. Emphasis is on why the student chose this particular programme.

SOP for Hong Kong Postgraduate Courses

At the graduate level, Hong Kong universities usually ask for a Letter of Intent/Motivation, an Applicant Statement, or a Research Proposal (for research-based courses). Here are some university-specific examples:

  • The University of Hong Kong: Only a few of the taught programmes require an SOP. Research-based programmes require a statement of research interest. Other courses require a generic personal statement and some additional writing samples. HKU’s MPhil and PhD courses may require a proposal for research that should not exceed 8 pages.
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST): Mostly an SOP is required for taught programmes and is optional in the case of research-based programmes. There is no word limit for the SOP however, research proposals and statements may have a certain word limit. Applicants for research courses also have to submit a past research experience essay.
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University: Most of the programmes require a personal statement with subject-wise specific requirements. Some courses have made it optional to submit this document. Word limits range from 200 to 1000 words as per the course and the document should be limited to one page.
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong: The requirement of a Personal Statement is optional for various programmes at CUHK. Guidelines for SOP also differ as per the course. Some may require a 500-word SOP elaborating the motivations for applying to the program and future aspirations, while others may require 800 to 1000 words SOP. Certain research-based programmes also require the submission of a research proposal.
  • City University of Hong Kong: The university asks for an SOP within 500-1,000 words as per course specifications which should cover the following points:
    • Why do you feel you are eligible to pursue this programme and how it will benefit you?
    • Brief description of employment history and past international experience.
    • Why you are applying to the program?
    • How will you fit into the curriculum and the university?
    • How you will use the programme for career advancement?
    • What are your career goals and how this degree will help in achieving them?
    • Briefly highlight the quantitative and analytical skills acquired during undergraduate studies.

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SOP for Hong Kong Writing Tips

You can also have a look at what not to include in an SOP. Apart from content, you need to take care of the formatting as well, which includes:

  • Font style and font size: Use Times New Roman 12pt font size, unless specified otherwise.
  • Word limit: Usually universities prefer a word limit of 1000-1200 words, or one-page or two-page SOP unless any other specific instructions are given. Essay answers will have a shorter word limit of 200-500 words, per essay.
  • Grammar check: Give a thorough reading before finalizing your SOP; don’t forget to do a grammar check. Poor grammar reflects poorly on the candidate.
  • Plagiarism: All foreign universities are very strict when it comes to copying content from any other sources. Be true to yourself and write your draft yourself relating to your experiences. Be original!
  • Vocabulary: Avoid the use of fancy words and too much technical jargon, unless it is a requirement of the course. Keep your vocabulary rich yet simple, so that the document has a smooth flow of language and content.

Now that you are aware of the various aspects of an SOP for Hong Kong, you must be very careful while drafting your SOP. For help with university applications, students seeking to study abroad can contact our Shiksha Study Abroad Counsellors. The comments section below allows candidates to contact us as well.

SOP for Hong Kong FAQs

Q. What are some tips to write an effective SOP for Hong Kong?

A. Here are some tips that will help you write an effective SOP for Hong Kong:
  • Read the instructions very carefully. It is crucial to thoroughly read and adhere to the instructions because each university and programme may have different criteria for the SOP.
  • Academic background and research interests should be highlighted in the SOP in order to demonstrate how they are compatible with the programme and university in Hong Kong.
  • Be focused and succinct: The SOP should be written clearly and briefly, with a strong emphasis on the issues that need to be communicated.
  • Everything must be connected with the help of logic and reason. There should be a flow in the events.

Q. How do I write an introduction of an SOP for Hong Kong?

A. The aim and focus of the statement of purpose (SOP) for Hong Kong should be made clear in the beginning. It should succinctly describe one's academic background, research interests, and long-term objectives while also demonstrating how they fit with the course and the university. It should also try to capture the reader's interest and make an impact. The introduction should, overall, be succinct yet captivating and offer a clear direction for the rest of the SOP.

Q. How do I write a conclusion of an SOP for Hong Kong?

A. The conclusion of a statement of purpose (SOP) for Hong Kong should outline its main themes and provide the reader with something to think about. A clear call to action should also be included, whether it is to check someone's academic qualifications or to think about admitting them. The conclusion ought to be compelling and provide the reader a clear picture of the applicant's qualifications and motivation. In addition, the conclusion must provide the admissions committee with a sense of closure.

Q. Is an SOP important for admissions to Hong Kong universities?

A. Absolutely, many graduate schools, in Hong Kong and worldwide, require applicants to submit a statement of purpose (SOP) as part of the application process. It gives candidates the chance to highlight their educational background, research interests, and long-term objectives while also highlighting how well they suit the programme and institution to which they are applying. An SOP is frequently utilised by admissions committees to assess an applicant's drive, potential, and appropriateness for the programme, and it can play a significant role in a candidate's acceptance or denial.

Q. Which are the top universities in Hong Kong?

A. Some of the top universities in Hong Kong, according to international rankings, are: The University of Hong Kong; The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; The Chinese University of Hong Kong; The City University of Hong Kong; and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The rankings might change based on the particular ranking methodology employed, however, these universities are usually regarded as some of the best ones in Hong Kong.

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About the Author
Written by
Aprant Agarwal
Study Abroad Expert

Aprant Agarwal is a seasoned study abroad expert at Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in countries that include Canada, the Netherlands, UAE, and Finland. He holds more than 2 years of experience in the study abroa... Read Full Bio


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