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Hong Kong University

This year-long study abroad program undertaken in a student’s 3L year awards Penn Law students a Master of Laws degree from one of Asia’s elite legal institutions.

 Julie Picquet L’12 spent her 3L year at Hong Kong University completing a JD/LLM degree.

Program Description

The LLM program at HKU is an unrivaled opportunity to develop relevant, practical skills for the evolving Asian legal market. In my time in the program I was able to take a diverse curriculum, including courses in business and corporate finance, Hong Kong constitutional and human rights law, technology law, and PRC law, all taught by experienced practitioners from business and legal backgrounds. For an aspiring American lawyer with an interest in Asia it was a truly unique experience, and I’m sure the impact on my career will be palpable in the coming years.”
— Judd Abramson L’12


HKU offers the following specialized LLM degrees to develop your legal interests and expertise:

  • Masters of Laws
  • Masters of Laws in Chinese Law
  • Masters of Laws in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution
  • Master of Laws in Human Rights
  • Master of Laws in Corporate and Financial Law
  • Master of Laws in Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law

Prior to their departure, students must ensure they have completed the necessary upper-level semester hours to meet their JD degree requirements.  HKU requires participants to complete a minimum of 8 modules, however, in order to receive 27 credits from Penn Law for your 3L year, you may need to complete additional coursework.

Below is a sample of courses taken at Hong Kong University by former Penn Law participants:

  • Current Issues in Chinese Law
  • Law and Practice of Investment Treaty Arbitration
  • International Environmental Law
  • Law of International Finance
  • China Trade Law
  • Company Law and Securities Trade Regulation in the People’s Republic of China
  • Intellectual Property Protection in China
  • China Investment Law
  • Business and Human Rights
  • International and Regional Protection of Human Rights
  • Constitutionalism in Emerging States
  • Corruption: China in Comparative Perspective
Grading and Evaluation

Academic performance is assessed by various methods, including written exams, oral presentations, and papers.  The HKU grading system is comparable to the letter scale used in the U.S.  All classes at Hong Kong University must be taken for a grade (i.e., not pass/fail) but will not be factored into your Penn Law GPA.

Academic Calendar

Although the program dates vary from year to year, the HKU academic term generally begins in early September with a Fall exam timetable and winter break similar to Penn Law.  The Spring term typically begins in late January, with breaks February and April, and exams in May.  Students are eligible to participate in Penn Law graduation ceremonies.

Cost of Living

HKU offers a very useful “Preparatory Guide for non-Local Students” that includes estimates for living expenses in Hong Kong on their website.

Housing Information

HKU offers limited but affordable ($800-1200 HKD per semester) on-campus housing for students.  Accommodation information including the graduate student application is available via the CEDARS website.

If looking for private options off-campus, it is common to use an agent to identify housing in Hong Kong.  The fee for these services is typically equivalent to 1/2 of one month’s rent.  Several prior Penn Law students have opted to stay in ‘Kennedy Town’.

Visa Information

Students who are admitted to the program will need to apply for a visa.  Information on the visa application process is available on the HKU website.

Health and Safety

Students should arrange accident and sickness insurance for the duration of their studies in Hong Kong. The coverage should include provisions for emergency evacuation/rescuer’s expenses and repatriation. If students plan to travel outside Hong Kong, they should make sure that their insurance policy covers those destinations as well. You are eligible to apply for a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID) card if you are going to spend more than 180 days in Hong Kong, which provides government subsidized rates at public clinics and government hospitals. However, since it can take up to month to obtain the HKID card, you are strongly advised to obtain private medical insurance to cover your initial stay.

Please review the Health and Safety information available on the Penn Global Support Services website.  Details on Travel Warnings, if relevant, are posted under International Travel Guidance.

Disability Access and Special Needs

HKU welcomes students with disabilities, and will work with individuals to achieve a rewarding university experience. For details on accessibility support for students with physical, sensory, or learning disabilities, please access the CEDARS website.

Contact Info for Foreign Institution

Pamela Tam
Faculty of Law
10/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus
The University of Hong Kong,
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
Telephone (852) 3917-2951


Remember to read the Study Abroad Guidelines for answers to the most frequently asked questions about studying abroad.