Academic Advising FAQs

At the Department of Computing (COMP), we care about your learning experience and understand the anxiety you may face in planning your studies. The FAQs are a collection of questions that are commonly asked by most students during the course of their studies. To help you quickly locate the questions, we have organized them into several broad categories. As always, the answers are for your reference only. If you need further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact your assigned academic adviser to discuss your study plan or any question that you may encounter. We hope to continuously add to the repository of FAQs. As such, if you have a pressing question that is not found on the list, please do not hesitate to email your question to

  • General

    1) Who is my academic adviser?
    Each student is assigned to two advisers. One will be from COMP and the other from the Office of General University Requirements (OGUR). Please login eStudent to check it out if you do not yet know who your adviser is. 

    2) Why do I need advising?
    With the new academic structure, students are given the utmost flexibility to choose a subject mix and study awards that best matches their interests. As such, students are expected to put time and energy into planning. Your academic advisers are there to help you plan your academic path so that you can make the most of your time and experience at PolyU.

    3) How often should I meet my adviser?
    It depends. If you have an urgent matter to discuss, feel free to make an appointment with your adviser. He or she will be most willing to talk to you. We would advise students to at least meet their advisers once every semester.

    4) How do I make an appointment to meet my supervisor? Should I approach the General Office?
    You should always make an appointment with your adviser. You can either email or call him/her. If you have trouble contacting your supervisor, feel free to send an email to

    5) What information should I have prior to the advising session? 

    The meeting would be more meaningful if you prepare the followings in advance:

    • Read the Definitive Programme Document (DPD) of your programme
    • Familiarize with the progression pattern of your programme
    • Write down a list of questions to ask in the meeting

    6) What is the difference between DSR and GUR advising?
    Generally speaking, students are required to take subjects that satisfy both their Discipline-Specific Requirements (DSR) and General University Requirements (GUR). In planning your academic path, if you have questions related to discipline-specific subjects that are offered by COMP or other serving departments, you are required to approach your COMP’s adviser. If your questions are related to GUR subjects, you may want to approach the OGUR adviser for help.

    7) If I have some personal problems not related to academics whom can I approach?
    You can always approach your academic adviser at COMP for help. He or she may be able to talk to you and, if necessary, direct you to the relevant department or office within the university who may be in a better position to help you resolve your problem. Don’t be shy and keep things to yourself.

  • Course Enrolment & Requirements

    1) What is a broad discipline?
    A Broad Discipline (BD) is a collection of programmes that allows flexibility to students who are unable to make up their mind at the time of application for admission. Students admitted to a Broad Discipline may declare their target programme of study (within the broad discipline) no later than the end of semester one in their second year of study.

    2) Can I change my programme within Computing from, say, Information Technology to Enterprise Information Systems?
    A student in the BD of Computing can opt to transfer from one programme to another within the BD, before the end of semester 1 of their year 2 study.

    3) Can I change my broad discipline in Computing to another, say, Engineering?
    A student who has not completed his programme of study may apply to transfer to another programme, and may be admitted, provided that the total period of registration does not exceed the maximum period of registration of the programme with the longer duration. However, Year One new students will not be considered for transfer to another programme offered in the same mode of study during their first semester of registration.

    4) How many credits do I need to graduate?
    The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 120. Students are also required to satisfy all of the requirements stipulated in the Definitive Programme Document, inclusive of GUR, Work-integrated education, and so on.

    5) What is the maximum number of credits that I can take throughout the period of my university studies?
    There is no limit on the number of credits that a student can take before graduating from the programme. However, a student taking more than 150 credits will incur a higher tuition fee.

    6) What is the maximum number of credits that I can take per semester?
    The maximum number of credits per semester is 21. However, if you were put on academic probation, you could only take a maximum of 9 credits per semester until your acadmic probation is lifted.

    7) Can I graduate in less than four years?
    It is possible.

    8) Can I take a semester or a year off from my studies?
    Students may apply for a deferment of their studies if they have a genuine need to do so, such as illness. Students may apply for zero subject enrolment if they do not wish to take any subject in a semester.

    9) A lot of information pertaining to the study is scattered in various places. Is there a definitive document on the Broad Discipline of Computing that I can obtain and read?

    Yes. The Definitive Programme Document on the BD of Computing has been uploaded to the Department’s Intranet ( You can refer to it for many questions concerning your studies. You should also refer to the student handbook for additional general information.

  • Major

    1) What is a major?
    A major is the same as a degree in PolyU, following the United States convention. It is a set of subjects that satisfies the requirements for obtaining a degree in a given field, called DSR (Discipline Specific Requirements). In the BD of Computing, we offer three majors: Computing, Information Technology, and Enterprise Information Systems.

    2) When should I decide which major to choose?
    Normally, you should declare your major no later than the end of the second semester of the first year of your studies. If necessary, students can defer their decision until the end of the first semester of their second year, after getting a taste of subjects under different programmes. 

    3) In the Broad Discipline of Computing, what are the differences among the different majors?

    The Computing major is focused on the applied nature of Computing and IT in business settings, with strong practical elements in the development of applied systems.

    The Information Technology major is oriented towards state-of-the-art system design and development, with a focus on innovative software design, networking, and system integration, based on emerging and evolving computing paradigms, such as pervasive computing, interactive computing, social computing, and so on.

    The Enterprise Information Systems major possesses a much stronger flavor of information systems and aspects of their management than the other majors, with the aim of turning out graduates who are capable of performing some system development, as well as to manage information systems effectively for businesses as well as enterprises.

    In short, Computing is closer to Computer Science in other institutions that offer programmes on the development of applied systems, Information Technology is closer to system integration involving new technologies such as mobile and social computing, and Enterprise Information Systems is closer to Management Information Systems for business applications, with some elements of system development.

    4) Can I switch to a major offered by another department or school?

    You could apply to transfer to another major offered by another department or school. The application would be considered by the department that offers that major.

    5) How many credits do I need to obtain to have a major?
    For majors offered by COMP, the minimum requirement is 120. For the BD in Computing, all three awards require only 78 credits of DSR. The addition of 30 credits of GUR will amount to only 108 credits. Thus students may take subjects adding up to 12 credits (except Level-0 subjects and training subjects) offered by any department in the university, inclusive of subjects offered by Computing, as well as additional language subjects. It would be wise to plan your studies in such a way as to end up also getting a minor (requiring 18 credits) by making use of those 12 credits and shared minor subjects in CAR under GUR.

    6) When can I enrol for a second major and what are the requirements?
    You should first obtain approval from COMP. Then you can submit your applications to the second Major-offering department starting from your second year of study. Your major GPA must be at least 3.0. Approval by both departments is required. As a double major is a demanding undertaking, only students with demonstrated abilities are considered.

    7) Can I take another major offered by the Department of Computing?
    This is not allowed.

    8) Do the degrees carry an honours classification?
    Yes, all of the degrees (or majors) that are offered are honours degrees.

    9) If I have a double major, does this mean that I will have two separate degrees?
    Yes, but only one award parchment will be issued for the two majors.

    10) I am finding it difficult to handle two majors and would like to drop one. What would be the consequences of doing so?
    Please refer to the detailed arrangement announced by AS.

    11) Can I extend my study period to beyond four years in order to complete the additional major?
    Yes. Since the number of credits required to complete two majors is quite high, it would be difficult to complete them within four years. We anticipate that students should be able to complete a double major in five years. As long as students can graduate within eight years, there will be no problems.

  • Minor

    1) What is a minor?
    A minor programme is an additional course of study that is taken either to complement your major discipline of study, or out of interest. At PolyU, the requirements for a minor are 18 credits (usually six subjects). 

    2) Is it mandatory for me to have a minor study?
    Minor study will be a free choice by students and not mandatory. Normally, this option to study for a Minor will not be applicable to students who are admitted to the advanced stage of a programme, nor to students who are admitted to an articulation degree programme.

    3) What are the requirements of a minor?
    A Minor programme is a collection of subjects totalling 18 credits with at least 50% (9 credits) of the subjects at Level 3 or above. Depends on the subject requirements, two of those subjects may be CAR subjects and free electives may be used to fulfil both the requirements of your major as well as your minor. Therefore, at Computing, it is possible to do a major plus a minor in 120 credits if you choose two appropriate CAR subjects and use your four free elective subjects to fulfil minor requirements.

    4) Can I graduate with just a minor without any major?
    No, you must have a major area of study.

    5) When can I enrol to take up a minor and what are the requirements?
    You can submit your application for a minor study at the start of second year of study to COMP. Your major GPA must be at least 2.5. The requirements vary from department to department; you should check with the hosting department for details.

    6) I want to take up a minor offered by another department. Where can I get more information?
    The hosting department (i.e. the department that offers the minor programme) is where you would get the details.

    7) I am already doing a major offered by the Department of Computing; can I concurrently take a minor offered by the department?
    No. You cannot take a minor offered by your major-offering department.

    8) Can I do a double minor?
    No. Each student is allowed to take not more than one Minor.

    9) How is the minor shown in the award parchment?

    The award title of the Minor programme and the statement on supervised training will not be shown on the award parchment. They will be recorded in the Transcript of Studies.

    10) I am finding it difficult to cope with my minor; can I switch or drop my minor? What would be the consequences of doing so?
    You may withdraw from the minor study up by getting official approval from the Minor offering department before the end of add/drop period of the last semester of study. Switching to another minor programme is not allowed.

    11) Can I extend my study period to beyond four years in order to complete the additional minor?
    Yes, you may. The maximum study period is eight years.

  • General University Requirements (GUR)

    1) I have some questions on GUR subjects. Who can I talk to?
    Each student enrolled in PolyU is assigned an adviser from the Office of General University Requirements (OGUR). That adviser is trained to provide advice to you on subjects that are GUR-specific. If you do not know who your adviser is, please contact OGUR immediately or email us at

    2) Developing a study plan for GUR is difficult and confusing. Is there a suggested study plan to which I can refer?
    To address this legitimate concern, the department offers a suggested study plan, which can be found in the Definitive Programme Document. In it, you will find a wealth of information pertaining to the programme in which you are enrolled. You can download a soft copy of the booklet from the Department’s Intranet site (

    3) A lot of information pertaining to GUR is scattered everywhere. Is there a definitive document on GUR that I can obtain and read?
    The best place to start is to visit the official web site of the Office of General University Requirements (OGUR) at The OGUR is responsible for planning and administering GUR subjects advising students in the area of GUR. In it, you will find a wealth of information on GUR, including the latest offering of GUR subjects for the semester. As always, if you are in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact your appointed OGUR academic adviser.

  • Subject

    1) I notice that the department has enrolled me in several language-related GUR subjects. Can I drop those subjects and replace them with others?
    Students should NOT to do so, as this may delay their graduation.

    2) I notice that the Department of Computing offers its own freshman seminar subject. Can I choose a freshman seminar subject offered by another department?
    No. COMP students should not take the freshman seminar subject offered by another department.

    3) I notice that the Department of Computing offers its own service learning subject. Can I choose a service learning subject offered by another department?
    Yes. Students may choose a service learning subject offered by any department.

    4) Can I choose to retake a subject that I did not do well in, even though I did not fail the subject?
    Yes. Students may retake any subject for the purpose of improving their grade without seeking approval, on the condition that the maximum study load of 21 credits per semester is not exceeded. However, students wishing to retake a subject that they have passed will be accorded a lower priority than those who are required to retake the subject, and can only do so if places are available.

    5) If I fail a core subject in my first year, will it disrupt my study progression plan?
    Only if students fail a subject that is the pre-requisite of another subject.

    6) What is the average number of subjects that a student normally takes in one semester?
    Students normally take five subjects in one semester, or 15 credits.

    7) I am finding it difficult to cope with the number of subjects in which I have enrolled. Can I withdraw from a subject(s) in the middle of a semester?
    If students have a genuine need to withdraw from a subject after the add/drop period, they should submit an application to the department that offers their programme. Such a request will be considered by both the programme leader and the subject lecturer concerned. However, requests to withdraw from a subject will not be entertained after the commencement of the exam period.

    8) Are there subjects that can be doubly counted towards the fulfillment of the credits required for both a major/GUR and a minor?
    Subject to approval by the department that offers the minor, students may count up to six credits from their major/GUR subjects towards their chosen minor.

    9) I have to take a remedial subject this semester. Is the remedial subject credit-bearing?
    Normally a remedial subject is credit-bearing.

  • Work Integrated Education (WIE)

    1) Can I skip WIE?
    No. At the Department of Computing, you can take a summer or term-break placement in any year and must accumulate at least 4 WIE credits before you can graduate.


    2) Is WIE graded?
    WIE is graded either as pass or fail. It is credit-bearing, but it is not included in the 120 academic credits required for graduation. The WIE component will NOT be counted in the calculation of the GPA. Students will earn one credit for every two weeks of WIE activities that they have completed.


    3) Is there an opportunity for me to complete my WIE overseas?
    Yes, opportunities exist for students to complete their WIE in companies located overseas. More information will be made available to students when they are applying for a placement.