Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is a public research university located in Hung Hom, Hong Kong. The history of PolyU can be traced back to 1937. It became a fully accredited university in 1994 and is one of the government-funded degree-granting tertiary institutions.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Motto開物成務 勵學利民[1]
Motto in English
To learn and to apply, for the benefit of mankind[2]
Established1937, as Government Trade School
1947, as Hong Kong Technical College
1972, as Hong Kong Polytechnic
1994, granted university status[3]
ChairmanLam Tai-fai
ChancellorChief Executive of Hong Kong
(Current officeholder: Carrie Lam)
PresidentTeng Jin-guang
ProvostPhilip Chan
Academic staff
Location, ,
Hong Kong

22°18′18″N 114°10′48″E
9.46 hectares (0.0946 km2)[5]
Colours          Red and Grey[6]
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Traditional Chinese香港理工大學
Simplified Chinese香港理工大学
Cantonese YaleHēunggóng Léihgūng Daaihhohk

PolyU consists of 8 facilities and schools, offering programmes covering applied science, business, construction, environment, engineering, social science, health, humanities, design, hotel and tourism management.

The university offers 220 postgraduate, undergraduate and sub-degree programmes for more than 32,000 students every year. It is the largest UGC-funded tertiary institution in terms of number of students. As of 2019, the university ranks 19th in Asia by THE,[7] 8th in young universities, and 91st internationally by QS.[8]


Origins and establishment

The Government Trade School was founded in 1937. Situated at Wood Road, Wan Chai, the school was the first publicly funded, post-secondary technical institution in Hong Kong. After World War II, the school became the Hong Kong Technical College, and opened new premises in Hung Hom in 1957.

In 1972, the Hong Kong Polytechnic was formally established. Its mandate was to provide professional-oriented education to meet the need for qualified workers. It gained approval from the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee (UGC) for self-accreditation of degree programmes on 25 November 1994, granting full university status and changing its name to The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

2019 siege

In November 2019, the university was occupied by protesters as part of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, confrontation with the Hong Kong Police Force occurred from 17 November to 19 November. On November 16th, police attempted to enter the campus, but failed as protestors used road blocks and petrol bombs to attack them.[9][10][11][12] The police then blocked all exits of the university campus and requested all protesters inside to surrender. On November 18, the protesters launched thousands of petrol bombs and the police returned with tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bags, and sponge grenades.[13][14] The university has been described as being a battleground during the conflict.[15] The university was later sealed off by police, only several protesters to escape.[16] This resulted to a 3-days long stand off. More than 280 protesters were injured while more than 1,000 persons were arrested.[17]


Main campus

Landscape of the main campus in Hung Hom

PolyU's main campus, in Yau Tsim Mong District,[18] has over 20 buildings, many of which are inter-connected. Apart from those named after donors, the buildings are identified in English letters (from blocks A to Z, without blocks K, O and I). In addition to classrooms, laboratories and other academic facilities, the university provides student hostels, a multi-purpose auditorium, sports, recreational and catering facilities, as well as a bookstore and banks. The Jockey Club Auditorium began operation in 2000. Its balcony and main floor seating accommodate up to 1,084 persons.

There are also sports facilities, including a swimming pool (Michael Clinton Swimming Pool), 2 indoor sports grounds (Shaw Sports Complex and Kwong On Jubilee Sports Centre), an outdoor sports ground (Keith Legg Sports Field) with basketball and soccer fields and jogging track, 2 outdoor tennis courts, and a joint-sports centre.

Innovation Tower

The Jockey Club Innovation Tower is located at the northeastern side of the university campus. This 15-story building provides 15,000 square metres of net floor area. It houses facilities for design education including exhibition areas, multi-functional classrooms and lecture theatres, design studios and workshops, as well as a communal lounge. The tower was designed by Zaha Hadid.

Pao Yue-kong Library

The library was established on 1 August 1972.[19] Two centres operated until 1976 at Hung Hom and Quarry Bay, merging into the present building in 1976. The library was named after shipping entrepreneur and philanthropist Yue-Kong Pao in 1995.

In 2014, there were over 2.77 million of library holdings in total, with nearly 600,000 electronic resources. The six-storey library provides 3,900 study spaces and is equipped with a 24-hour study centre and audio-visual information areas.

Hotel Icon

Hotel Icon was officially opened in September 2011. The hotel is wholly owned by the university as a teaching and research hotel of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management.

Community college

Established in 2001 under the auspices of PolyU, the Hong Kong Community College (HKCC) is a self-financed post-secondary institution which offers associate degree and higher diploma programmes spanning the domains of arts, science, social sciences, business, health care and design for senior secondary school leavers. HKCC classes are conducted at the Hung Hom Bay and West Kowloon campuses.[20] With a floor area totalling over 57,000 square metres, the two campuses provide teaching and recreational facilities, including lecture theatres, classrooms, a library, a computer centre, multi-purpose rooms and halls, sky gardens, a cafeteria and communal areas. Since its establishment, HKCC has helped over 13,700 graduates matriculate into bachelor’s degree programmes.


Faculties and schools

The University's teaching units are grouped under 8 faculties and schools, offering over 220 postgraduate, undergraduate and sub-degree programmes. The service learning subjects are offered by 20 departments from 8 faculties and schools, covering a variety of community service projects.[21]

Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles Faculty of Business Faculty of Construction and Environment
  • Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology
  • Department of Applied Mathematics
  • Department of Applied Physics
  • Institute of Textiles and Clothing
  • School of Accounting and Finance
  • Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies
  • Department of Management and Marketing
  • Department of Building and Real Estate
  • Department of Building Services Engineering
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics
Faculty of Engineering Faculty of Health and Social Sciences Faculty of Humanities
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Department of Computing
  • Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Department of Electronic and Information Engineering
  • Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Interdisciplinary Division of Aeronautical and Aviation Engineering
  • Department of Applied Social Sciences
  • Department of Health Technology and Informatics
  • Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Optometry
  • Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
  • Department of Chinese Culture
  • Department of English
  • Chinese Language Centre
  • Confucius Institute of Hong Kong
  • English Language Centre
  • General Education Centre
School of Design School of Hotel and Tourism Management College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPCE)


In order to promote and encourage specialized research, various research centres have been set up at PolyU.[22] Each faculty or school has its own centres, and institutes for public policy research and sustainable urban development operate under the Areas of Excellence Committee. With Boeing, PolyU established the Aviation Services Research Centre.[23] It also hosts The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel.[24]

Notable projects

Notable PolyU research projects include:[25]

  • Safety monitoring of high speed rail
  • Defocus Incorporated Soft (Contact) (DISC) Lens
  • Eco-blocks (a construction material made from recycled glass and demolition waste)
  • Electric vehicles
  • Electronic “bat ears” for the visually impaired
  • "Hand of Hope" technology (potentially useful in rehabilitation following stroke)
  • Life-cycle health monitoring of massive infrastructure
  • Micro-injection moulding machine
  • Nano-particles for purifying dirty water
  • Nu-Torque singles yarn technology
  • Organic photovoltaics and LEDs
  • Tools and instruments used in space exploration

Reputation and rankings

University rankings
ARWU World[26] 201-300
THE World[27] 159
QS World[28] 91
Times Asia[29] 20
QS Asia[30] 31

World Rankings of PolyU

  • QS "Top 50 Under 50" list of world's top young universities (2016/17): 7th in the world, 3rd in Hong Kong[31]
  • QS Asian University Rankings 2016/17: 6th in Asia, 5th in Hong Kong
  • QS World University Rankings 2018: 95th in the world, 5th in Hong Kong
  • Times Higher Education's World University Rankings 2017: 192nd in the world
  • Times Higher Education's 150 Under 50 World University Rankings 2016: 27th in the world
  • Times Higher Education's Asia University Rankings 2017: 17th in the Asia, 5th in Hong Kong

World Rankings of Faculties, Schools and Disciplines

Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles
  • 45th in the subject of statistics and operational research according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014
Faculty of Business
  • 55th in the Top 100 World Rankings of Business Schools by University of Texas at Dallas, based on research contributions to 24 leading business journals from 2012 to 2016[32]
  • 1st in shipping research in the world, based on 2010 to 2012 data from Thomson Reuters' ISI Web of Science
  • 1st in PolyU Maritime School Research Rankings from 2010 to 2014.
  • 4th in the world in the area of port research, according to an analysis of port literature presented at the 2011 International Association of Maritime Economists conference in a paper entitled "Port Research since 1980: An analysis of Authorship and Institutional Affiliation".
  • 6th in the field of commerce, management, tourism and service of 2014-15 University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP).
  • 11th in the world according to the Worldwide Business Research Rankings compiled by Korea University Business School (KUBS).
  • 42nd in the world for Finance and Economics research by a study published in the Journal of Financial Economics 93 (2009) 353, 356
  • 40th in the world at the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 - Business & Management Studies sector
Faculty of Construction and Environment
  • 4th in the quality and impact of research publications in the area of civil engineering, according to the National Taiwan University Ranking 2013
  • 10th in the subject of civil and structural engineering, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
Faculty of Engineering
  • 24th in the subject of computer science, according to the National Taiwan University Ranking 2013
  • 39th in the subject of mechanical engineering, according to the National Taiwan University Ranking 2013
  • 51st-100th in the subject of engineering – mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015
  • 51st-100th in the subject of computer science and information systems, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015
Faculty of Humanities
  • 23rd in the subject of linguistics, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014
School of Nursing 35th in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.
School of Design
  • among top 3 design schools in Greater China, according to BusinessWeek (Oct 2009 issue)
  • among top 25 design schools in the world and is the only selected design school in Asia, according to Business Insider magazine (Dec 2012 issue)
School of Hotel and Tourism Management
  • 2nd in research and scholarly activities among institutions specializing in hospitality and tourism, according to the World Ranking of Top 100 Hospitality and Tourism Programs by Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research (Nov 2009 issue)[33]
  • 3rd in the subject of Hospitality & Leisure Management, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Student life

Student halls

There are two student halls of residence buildings provided by the university, in Hung Hom Bay and Ho Man Tin. The residential halls include:

  • Hung Hom Bay – Research Postgraduate: Boyan Hall (19,20/F). Undergraduates: Kaiyuan Hall (17,18/F), Wuhua Hall (15,16/F), Chengde Hall (13,14/F), Wuxian Hall (11,12/F), Lizhi Hall (9,10/F), Lisheng Hall (5,6/F), Minyin Hall (3,4/F). Female residents: Xuemin Hall (7,8/F).
  • Ho Man Tin – Co-ed halls for both all students: 3-7/F (Purple), 5-9/F (Blue), 10-14/F (Green), 12-16/F (Yellow), 17-21/F (Orange), 19-23/F (Red), 24-25/F is warden's floor.

The university also provides three off-campus housing sites, located in Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok, and Tsim She Tsui. It offers around 250 residential places at urban areas, as an accommodation option for non-local students.

Student organization

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union (HKPUSU) is a student-run organization that is autonomous from the University administration for promoting the interests and welfare of full-time undergraduates (excluding postgraduate and College of Professional and Continuing Education students).

Sports teams

  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Fencing
  • Handball
  • Karate-do
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Woodball


The university's faculty-led Student Discipline Committee, with the support of the university council chairman Lam Tai-fai,[34] expelled one student and suspended another for one year in response to an October 2018 incident arising from a dispute over postings by students on the "Democracy Wall" bulletin board then managed by the students' union. The students had posted messages in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the "Umbrella Movement" democracy occupation protests of 2014 and calling for Hong Kong independence from the CCP-ruled People's Republic of China. Another two students were ordered to serve terms of community service. The students had been ordered by management to take them down.[35]

The evidence called at the disciplinary committee hearing, at which the students were denied legal representation, included video footage in which the students were observed shouting and knocking on doors. It was alleged that they had made defamatory comments, assaulted a staff member and damaged property, all of which accusations were denied by the students. The university described their behaviour as "unruly". Among them were a former student union leader, an elected member of the school’s governing council and a former external vice-president of the student union. No avenue for appeal from a decision of the committee is available.[36]

Numerous pro-democracy groups, including more than a dozen legislators and 19 student organisations, protested the decision of the committee. The 90,000-strong Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union described the punishments as excessive.[37]

Notable alumni


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  16. "At embattled Hong Kong university, a dramatic escape". Reuters. 18 November 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  17. "Hong Kong protests: 1,100 people arrested in a day, 3,900 petrol bombs found at university". Channel News Asia. 19 November 2019. Archived from the original on 20 November 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
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  22. http://www.polyu.edu.hk/web/sc/research/research_institutes_research_centres/index.html HKPU Research Website
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  24. "About HKRITA". Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel. Archived from the original on 9 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
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  33. "A World Ranking of the Top 100 Hospitality and Tourism Programs" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
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  35. "Hong Kong Student Is Expelled Over 'Democracy Wall' Protest". Bloomberg. 2 March 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  36. Chan, Holmes (4 March 2019). "Hong Kong Polytechnic University sees backlash after student expelled over 'free speech' protest". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  37. Leung, Mimi (4 March 2019). "Anger at punishment for students' pro-independence posts". University World News. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
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