Joint University Programmes Admissions System

The Joint University Programmes Admissions System (Chinese: 大學聯合招生辦法) or JUPAS (Chinese: 聯招) in Hong Kong is a unified system for applying to the nine member institutions for full-time undergraduate programmes. In 2008 admissions, 35,298[1] students applied for programmes of the nine institutions under this scheme. The scheme initially included all the full-time government funded degrees from the member institute, before the participation of full-time government-funded sub-degrees in 2000, and self-financed full-time degrees in 2006.


Prior to the introduction of JUPAS in 1990, the admission process of tertiary education institutes were independent of each other, and two separate entrance examinations, the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) which was designed for a three years tertiary education curriculum (mainly used by University of Hong Kong), and Hong Kong Higher Level Examination (HKHLE), which was designed for a four years tertiary education curriculum (mainly used by Chinese University of Hong Kong) were provided for students. To reduce the students' pressure of dealing with two examinations and admission processes, the University Grants Committee set up the JUPAS to unite the admission processes of five of the institutions (City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic Institute, Hong Kong Baptist University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and The University of Hong Kong). The UGC also selected the HKALE as the benchmark examination rather than HKHLE. The HKHLE came to its end in 1992, two years after the introduction of JUPAS.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, and Lingnan University, institutions directly under the UGC which were established after the introduction of JUPAS, joined the scheme in 1991, 1996, and 1999, respectively.

As being an alternative of students who want to pursue their undergraduate education with a lesser result due to the high competitiveness of JUPAS (see below). All government-funded sub-degree programmes provided by JUPAS member institutes and managed under JUPAS since academic year 2000. In academic year 2006, Open University of Hong Kong, which provided self-financed degrees, also participated in the scheme. The Hong Kong Shue Yan Institute was also being offered to participate JUPAS, but they did not do so to maintain independency of admissions.

As part of educational reform in Hong Kong, the HKALE will come to its end in 2012 (though it will still accept retakers in 2013). However, the UGC decided to keep JUPAS as their member institutions' admission procedure. In academic year 2011, they will start accepting applications for student who taking part in Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE).

Benchmark examinations

Since JUPAS itself is a system, not an admission examination nor process, JUPAS will collect academic results from student for the references of admissions-related personals in member institutions. Theoretically, all recognised international academic examinations involving in the world are considered in admission into JUPAS, but the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE), and/or the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE, launching in academic year 2011) is a must for every student. No applicant can participate in JUPAS without a valid HKALE (HKDSE) results obtained in the same or previous years in which the applicant apply for JUPAS. The HKALE (HKDSE) is considered the most important factor of admission in all programmes in almost all situations other than the Early Admissions Scheme.

Even without being mentioned, before the introduction of HKDSE, the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) is almost a must for every students since almost every student has taken part in HKCEE before HKALE. HKCEE results are usually considered as an important factor in admissions, and usually being a requirement of admission in most cases. Apart from the above examinations, the two International English benchmark examinations, the TOEFL and the IELTS, are playing important roles in some situations, through most of the cases it is considered unessential.

Participating institutes and courses

Currently, JUPAS applicants can apply for government-funded full-time degrees offered by:

and/or self-financed full-time degrees offered by:

and/or government-funded sub-degree programmes (higher diplomas or associate degrees) offered by:

and/or any full-time programmes involving more than two JUPAS member institutes.

JUPAS applicants do not need to and are not allowed to apply for any undergraduate programmes directly to the member institutions on their own as long as the programme is available by JUPAS. In such cases, JUPAS applications will always have the first priority and will void all other direct applications automatically. However, applications for programmes from non-JUPAS member institutes (like Shue Yan University or Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education) or programmes not available JUPAS (including programmes from JUPAS member institute or community college owned by them) are not affected by this restriction. For 2012 application only, dual-application (separated application of 3-year and 4-year curriculum by having HKALE and HKDSE results) is also not allowed.

It is noted that non-Form 7 students who are not studying degrees provided by JUPAS may apply for JUPAS (as long as they (will) meet the HKALE requirement), even if they are studying non-degree programmes under JUPAS. Students studying in secondary schools approved by EMB can only apply for the above programmes through JUPAS.

Application process

Applicants applying through JUPAS can select up to 25 choices of any programme offered by the 9 local institutes via the online portal, provided that they satisfied the prerequisites. The application form is sub-divided into different bandings, namely Band A, B, C, D & E. Putting choices in different bands will affect the scoring of the applicants in the JUPAS process, therefore putting a programme higher in their priority list will increase the chance of getting into a programme in most cases. Theoretically, the actual choice order, other than bandings, are not available to the admission related-person before the release of the admission results are released.

In 2011, the number of programme choices will be reduced from 25 to 20 for the students sitting for the HKDSE. Though they are allowed to replace at most 5 of their programmes after the announcement of HKDSE results.

Selection process

Each and every programme offered under JUPAS will make a "Merit order list" for all its applicants based on their academic performances, interview performances and extracurricular activities. The "Merit order list" and the applicants rank list are then entered into a match-making process. The process uses eliminations so that all applicants will only get into a programme that they preferred most in their application form and which they qualify.

Note that most of the programmes only look into the applicants' academic performance when they create their "Merit order list". In most of the cases both the results of the HKALE and HKCEE are taken into account. Although performance in the HKALE is still the most important admission factor, some particular universities do count 40% or 50% or CE results in calculating student's academic performance rather than the usual 0–20%. Because of the cancellation of fine grades in both the HKCEE and HKALE, the HKCEE becomes a very important factor in deciding whether a student is admitted or not when he/she is close to the cutoff line since it is more difficult to compare student's performance with only 5 (passing) rank per subject.

In addition, some of the programmes weigh particular subjects more than others. For example, many commercial subjects double counts or even triple counts the results of HKALE Use of English and HKCEE English in calculating admission scores.

The first round admission results are traditionally released on the Wednesday before the week that the HKCEE results are announced and the whole admission process proceeds until late August, which may be only one week before some member institutions commence their first semester in their academic year.


Because of the high degree of difficulty of the HKALE and the fixed quota of places in universities in recent years, JUPAS is considered one of the most competitive university application schemes in the world, which media and scholars claim to be only second to the National Higher Education Entrance Examination of China. A significant large number (more than 30% since 2011) of applicants achieved minimum Degree Programme requirement would end up not being offered by any Degree-level programmes, or even not receiving an offer, through JUPAS.

The admission rate have a drastic drop in 2012's admission, as because under 334 scheme, most of the secondary school student can enter the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (thus eligible to apply JUPAS) make the number of admissions increase drastically. (Not every students can apply for HKALE due to HKCEE requirements for non-mature candidates.)

In comparing the estimated entrance rate between JUPAS and Direct Entry (from sub-degrees), JUPAS still turns out to be significantly higher. Since JUPAS is open to students not already in full-time programmes under JUPAS, this has prompted some students studying for sub-degrees to retake certain subjects to improve their chances of getting into government-funded degree programmes.

The table below was the school candidates achieved minimum Degree Programme requirement compared with JUPAS Degree Programme intakes. Though, the actual percentage is slightly different as either non-school HKALE/HKDSE candidates was admitted, or candidates not entering the degree of Main Round Offer due to result of HKALE appeal (which made them receive a better offer), or, giving up their offer.

Intakes from HKALE and HKCEE (2003–2012)

Intake Year School Candidates Achieved minimum entrance requirement JUPAS Degree Intake from Main Round Offer Deduced percentage for eligible students received offer
2012 18,212 12,289 67.5%
2011 18,347 12,417 67.7%
2010 17,261 12,244 72.1%
2009 17,130 12,038 70.2%
2008 16,992 11,979 70.5%
2007 16,520 11,525 69.8%
2006 15,581 11,294 72.5%
2005 15,557 11,469 73.7%
2004 16,308 11,748 72.0%
2003 16,222 12,273 75.6%


  1. Requirement and offer in above table stands for degree-level programme(including OUHK self-financed programme since 2006 intake)/requirement due to the difference of admission requirement in degree/sub-degree programmes.
  2. The list does not include Early Admission Scheme intakes and Sub-degree Offers.


Apart from the main selection scheme, JUPAS also offers a few sub-systems and schemes for candidates who may not do well academically, but have proved qualities/needs in other areas.

Sub-system for applicants with a disability

Applicants with the following disabilities may apply through this scheme:

The goal of this sub-system is to allow applicants to find out as early as possible the special assistance and facilities institutions could provide to them on their admission. Applicants may receive separate offers through this sub-system.

Sub-system for school principal's nominations

Each principal of a local secondary school may nominate up to three students from his/her own school. Those students must have outstanding achievements in non-academic areas such as sports, music, social services, other cultural activities, or have demonstrated leadership abilities. The goal of this scheme is to encourage students to go beyond academics during their secondary studies.

Self recommendation scheme

This scheme is for applicants with outstanding achievements in extracurricular activities. Applicants who apply for this scheme in addition to the main scheme will be able to provide a portfolio of extracurricular activities to the institutes they applies to, so the institutes may also consider the applicants' achievements in other areas, in addition to their academic achievements. The goal for this scheme is to encourage students to participate in more extracurricular activities during their secondary studies.

Early admission scheme

An EAS Scheme(subsystem) was set up between academic year 2002/03 to 2010/11. which targeted at academically-well Secondary 6 student achieved excellent result in the previous HKCEE. They can directly enter University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong or the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology without the need of sitting the HKALE upon meeting certain HKCEE requirements. Roughly about 3–5% of total JUPAS intakes are coming from this scheme until not being used again in 2011/12 academic year.


  1. JUPAS Application Statistics provided by JUPAS, 30 June 2006, URL accessed 18 July 2008.

See also

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