HKUST's Undergraduates Research Opportunities Program Helps Students Gain Full PhD Scholarships at World's Top Universities

Over 30 students at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have so far been admitted to PhD programs at some of the world’s top universities with full scholarship support, thanks in part to their participation in the University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

The UROP is a special program within HKUST that aims to develop a research culture at the undergraduate level by giving undergraduate students the opportunity to work closely with faculty members and to take part in research, scholarly and creative activities.

Under UROP, an undergraduate student partners with a faculty member to work on a specific subject area, and is required to submit a report at the end of the project period, which is usually several months.

In 2009, over 250 undergraduates completed the UROP, supervised by about 90 professors. When the program was introduced in 2005, 70 students took part.

Miss Rui XU, a student from Xian, China, now in her final year in the at the HKUST Business School, have selected Stanford University for her PhD studies on economics from among many offers from world class universities, including UCLA and Duke. Even at her young age, she has published two academic papers at international conferences as a co-author alongside her UROP supervisor Prof Mike So.

Miss Yangyang LIU, final year student in the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, will pursue her PhD in the area of photonics. She has yet to decide on three offers from top US universities such as MIT, Yale and Colorado at Boulder.

Mr Ho-Chung SIU, a local student in the Mathematics Department, will study pure mathematics at Stanford University despite another offer from UCLA. He partnered with Prof Shiu-Yuen Cheng, now acting Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

Mr John HO, an international student from the US now in his final year in the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, worked on video compression and encryption in his UROP project and has invented a method to detect tampered photographs. He will return to the US to pursue his doctorate at Stanford University, declining other scholarship offers from UC Berkeley and Princeton.


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(from left) John Ho, Siu Ho-Chung, Xu Rui, Liu Yangyang
(from left) John Ho, Siu Ho-Chung, Xu Rui, Liu Yangyang