HKUST-Minerva Scholars Program

The HKUST-Minerva Scholars Program offers a unique learning opportunity for HKUST undergraduate students, made possible under a partnership between HKUST and the Minerva Schools at KGI.

This program is open to incoming freshmen, allowing them to take Minerva’s Collegiate Accelerator Courses, which are highly interactive discussion-based courses, during the first two years of the undergraduate program. This program seeks academically inquisitive students who are eager to take the initiative with their own learning.

Challenge Yourself

This is the program for you if you are someone who is academically curious, deeply inquisitive and independently motivated to succeed.  The HKUST-Minerva Scholars Program offers unprecedented undergraduate courses that combine courses focused on the science of learning, rigorous academic standards, and an advanced interactive learning platform that leverages cutting-edge technology.

The HKUST-Minerva Scholars Program comprises eight Collegiate Accelerator Courses. Collectively, these courses focus on developing the Habits of Mind and Foundational Concepts that underlie four core competencies – thinking critically, thinking creatively, communicating effectively, and interacting effectively. Classes focus on building skills and understanding – not mere information dissemination.

Students entering this program are bright and driven, and are prepared to contribute to class discussions meaningfully.  Classes are delivered in seminars of fewer than 20 students, facilitated by accomplished faculty versed in the science of learning.

Minerva Forum™

All academic classes take place online via Forum. All of Minerva’s classes are seminars of 20 students or fewer, conducted in real-time via the platform. All seminars are face-to-face on screen— the equivalent of giving each student a front row seat.

Minerva’s Forum platform uses the latest advances in information technology to provide an engaging class experience that is unmatched. Live, video-based seminars enhance student-to-professor and peer-to-peer interactions by ensuring that everyone is visibly engaged and actively participating.

Forum also facilitates numerous rapid mode changes, including moving from full group discussion to smaller breakout groups, one-on-one and team debates, collaborative document sharing and editing, as well as dynamic polling and real-time simulations. The platform’s asynchronous tools provide powerful capabilities for students and professors alike, by enabling deeper and more frequent data-rich feedback, schedule and assignment management, and searchable review of prior class footage.

There is no required physical location for attending a class as long as it is an environment with high-speed internet where you are able to follow classes attentively. You can therefore be in the student lounge, at a cafe, or the library while attending classes in real-time.


The HKUST-Minerva Scholars Program comprises eight Collegiate Accelerator Courses. Collectively, these courses focus on developing the Habits of Mind and Foundational Concepts that underlie four core competencies – thinking critically, thinking creatively, communicating effectively, and interacting effectively.

These courses (32 credits) provide the breadth and depth of knowledge that will be students’ academic foundation for the university years to follow.

Year 1 Fall

Multimodal Communication focuses on communicating effectively. From the languages we speak to the images we see, our world is layered with information. To communicate effectively, we need to learn how to analyze these layers, see how they are organized, and understand how they will be perceived by different audiences. Learning to take critical perspectives improves our ability to weigh evidence, evaluate decisions, and craft persuasive, well-supported arguments. In this course, students learn to extend the principles of close reading and careful writing to a wide range of written and multimedia communications.

Applied Creative and Critical Thinking engages students in the key skills that facilitate effective work in any area: logical reasoning, problem solving, and recognizing and mitigating cognitive biases. In this course, students systematically practice these skills, learn to apply them to concrete problems across domains, and gain a foundation in critical and creative thinking upon which they can build expertise in any disciplinary knowledge.

Year 1 Spring

Statistical Intuitions and Applications prepares students to use probability and statistics to extract useful information from data. The course covers a range of topics including identification of the correct tool to be used for a given application to representing a problem formally by identifying the variables and parameters and creating a model using relevant data to address the problem. Students also investigate the use of descriptive statistics, examine probability and probability distributions, and study Bayesian statistics and inference as a framework for thinking about problems and prediction probabilistically.

Deriving Insights from Evidence emphasizes the tenets of good research design and teaches students how to think creatively and critically when proposing and evaluating research designs in the natural and social sciences. Students will learn to frame problems effectively, develop and test hypotheses, derive insights from empirical evidence, and distinguish among different types of data that can be gathered from experiments.

Year 2 Fall

In Interpretation, Communication and Design students will learn to convey their thinking and persuade others in a compelling manner through written essays, presentations, and artistic works based on the principles of verbal and nonverbal expression and design. Humans organize and interpret what they see and hear according to certain principles. Knowing these principles enhances our ability to evaluate a wide range of products and applying them enables us to create high quality multimodal and multimedia communications.

Systems and Society focuses on effective engagement in social systems. Students examine social interaction through the lens of complex systems theory, which provides a powerful framework for understanding human behavior and group dynamics. Students learn to recognize that they are embedded within many different complex social systems, and they apply their understanding of these systems to analyzing and improving social interactions.

Year 2 Spring

Computational Modeling and Decision Theory teaches students to use computational tools to find either optimal or approximate solutions to problems. In addition, students will study decision-making in the face of risky or uncertain outcomes. The approach is two-fold: investigating quantitative tools for making rational decisions as well as understanding descriptions of common biases and heuristics applied by humans that may lead to non-optimal choices.

Systems and Strategic Leadership builds on Systems and Society, by drawing on student knowledge of complexity in social systems as a basis for acquiring tactics for interpersonal and group engagement. By synthesizing knowledge of complex systems with techniques for influencing individual and groups — such as strategy development, negotiation, and applied leadership — students learn how to interact effectively within and across groups and organizations.

the fit with your HKUST major

Program Pathway

This is a two-year program that commences in Year 1 and should complete in Year 2 in order to have the best fit with your HKUST major program. Each Collegiate Accelerator course lasts for one term and counts for 4 credits.

Credit Recognition

The Collegiate Accelerator Courses fit well with your HKUST undergraduate program by providing 32 credits that satisfy part of the Common Core. Students who successfully complete the Collegiate Accelerator Courses will receive credits from Minerva Schools at KGI.  A formal transcript outlining the courses taken and the grades obtained will be issued by Minerva Schools at KGI.  These credits can then be transferred to HKUST as follows:

Applied Creative and Critical Thinking (4 credits) and Computational Modeling and Decision Theory (4 credits)

  • 8 credits towards Common Core (Quantitative Reasoning)

Deriving Insights from Evidence

  • 4 credits towards Common Core (Science and Technology or Social Analysis)

Multimodal Communication (4 credits) and Interpretation, Communication and Design (4 credits)

  • 8 credits towards Common Core (Humanities)

Systems and Society (4 credits) and Systems and Strategic Leadership (4 credits)

  • 8 credits towards Common Core (Social Analysis)

Statistical Intuitions and Applications (4 credits)

  • 4 credits towards Common Core (Quantitative Reasoning, Science and Technology, or Social Analysis)

Applicant Qualifications

This program is open to students entering Year 1 of an undergraduate degree program at HKUST.

The teaching and learning model of this program requires students to have certain learning traits and styles in order to be successful.  The below listed are some of the traits that form part of the requirements in selecting the best matched candidates for this program:

  • Academically curious and deeply inquisitive
  • Have broad interests in a variety of subjects
  • Are independently motivated
  • Possess a drive to continuously excel
  • Are globally minded
  • Ability to collaborate and lead

In addition, a high level of English language ability is required for succeeding in this program.   As such, attainment in one of the below English language exams and the corresponding grades is part of the requirements in selection of the right candidates.

  • HKDSE: 5* or above, with no sub-score lower than 5
  • HKAL: B or above, with no sub-score lower than C
  • IELTS: 7.0 or above, with no sub-score lower than 6.5
  • TOEFL (paper-based): 600 or above, and 5 or above on TWE
  • TOEFL (internet-based): 100 or above and 24 or above on Writing
  • Certificate in Advanced English: B or above
  • AP English Language and Composition / Literature and Composition: 4 or above
  • IB English A (HL/SL): 4 or above
  • IB English B (HL/SL): 6 or above
  • GCEOL / GCSE / IGCSE English (First Language) : A*
  • GCE English (AL/AS): A

To Apply

Applications are now invited from students who will enter HKUST on an undergraduate degree program in September 2019.  Local JUPAS candidates are welcome to apply.  Local Direct Entry and Non-local applicants holding a conditional or firm admission offer are also eligible to apply.

Interested students should submit your application here.  As part of the application, students are required to submit a statement describing their fit in terms of how they have so far developed the core competencies of the program, their expectations, and purpose for applying to this program.  This statement should be around 350 words, and is submitted online within the application form.

Attendance at a selection interview is a required part of the selection process.  You will be asked to indicate your preferred interview time slots in the application. Interviews will be conducted via an online platform.  Interviews will be conducted in May, July and August 2019.  Interested students are advised to submit their applications early in the summer.

Decisions will be made and announced on a rolling basis. Note that being successfully selected into this program does not imply admission to HKUST, as students must first be officially admitted to HKUST before they can enroll in this program.

Other Matters



1. Background Knowledge and Summer Preparation

A basic knowledge of calculus, algebra and programming in Python is required. Please review the list of background knowledge and recommended preparation you may consider taking in the summer before the program commences in September.

2. Required Technology

Students are required to have their own laptops and the related computer equipment that meet the requirements for use of Minerva Forum. You will also need access to high-speed wireless internet, which is available on the HKUST campus. Please review the list of computer and equipment requirements.



1. Course Add/Drop

As with all course enrollment, there is the option to drop a course in this Program after the course have commenced. Students are advised to follow the HKUST Add/Drop deadline so that a drop of a Minerva course can be replaced with a HKUST course if needed.

2. Transcript and Credits

Students will receive a transcript issued by Minerva Schools at KGI indicating the course(s) taken and the grade(s) obtained. The credits will be transferred into your HKUST student record following the course mapping outlined above. As with all credit transfers, the grades obtained and listed on the Minerva transcript will not be transferred to HKUST. The transferred grade will be a “T” grade, indicating that the credits are transferred. The “T” grade does not count towards the calculation of grade averages at HKUST.

3. Certificate of Completion

Students who successfully complete all eight Collegiate Accelerator Courses with “Pass” will receive a Certificate of Completion issued by HKUST.

4. Academic Honor Code

Charge of Honor Code Violation: Initial Charge and Informal Process

It is the responsibility of HKUST-Minerva Scholars Program students, staff, or faculty who suspect a violation of the Honor Code given in the HKUST-Minerva Student Handbook to make a charge in writing, using the Academic Dishonesty Charge Form.


The HKUST-Minerva Scholars Program is a partnership between The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Minerva Schools at KGI.

The execution at HKUST is jointly coordinated by the Center for Education Innovation (CEI) and the Office of Global Learning (OGL), with the close collaboration of Schools, Interdisciplinary Programs Office, Center for Language Education, Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Office, Academic Registry and the Office of Institutional Research.

If you have any questions about this program, you can check the list of FAQs For enquiries, please contact:

Center for Education Innovation
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Email :