Apply online now at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China for 2022 intake. Info of admissions for international students, scholarships, and more.

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📚About the Program

Master’s in Design (Intelligent Systems Design) (ISD) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)

About PolyU Design

PolyU Design has been an important hub of design education and research for Hong Kong since 1964. The School thrives on its geographical position in bridging the East and the West, allowing its students to develop their design strengths with a uniquely international cultural awareness at both professional and social levels.


Since 2015, the School has been ranked one of the top in the globe on the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings® by Subject - Art and Design. Currently it is one of the top in Asia and the 16th in the world.

PolyU Design has been consistently ranked as one of the top design schools ('The Best Design Schools in the World') in the world by BusinessWeek magazine since 2006.

In 2009, BusinessWeek rated their Master of Design (Design Strategies) programmes one of the World's 30 Best Design Thinking Programmes.

In 2013, PolyU Design became the only School from Asia on Business Insider's World's Best 25 Design School list.

It was listed as one of the Top 10 Best Industrial Design Schools in the World in 2015 and one of the Special Mentioned Graphic Design Schools in the World by Design Schools Hub in 2016.

About the Program

The Master of Design (Intelligent Systems Design) (ISD) is an emerging specialism with interdisciplinarity at its core, based on the integration of intelligent technologies, system theories, and innovation design approaches, pulling together professional knowledge in the areas of design and STEM. To achieve "industrial transformative innovation", ISD aims at bolstering the most cutting-edge and competitive industries, enabled by advanced technologies and processes such as AI, Industry 4.0, robotics, and AIoT (AI+IoT), through systemic design innovations.

Program Aims

A combination of theory, planning strategies, research, and technical skills provides the foundation for studio subjects that explore emerging aspects of user experience (UX) and interaction design, based on human needs and desires as well as technological development.

The aims of this specialism are:

  • to nurture creativity and design ability of the students by enabling them to embrace intelligent and systemic approaches;
  • to develop students' awareness of present and emerging technologies in the innovation industry and advanced manufacturing (e.g. Industry 4.0) environment;
  • to promote an understanding of the supporting marketing and business practices; and
  • to enhance the awareness of the impact of designed objects on human, social, environmental, and global domains through developing more responsible, transparent, and ethical design processes. 

Programme Structure

The ISD comprises a series of intensively taught subjects that directly support the ISD Studios and Lab Studies specialism subjects.

  • The ISD Studios subjects take various forms, from individual work to teamwork, and from self-initiated to externally sponsored projects.

  • The Lab Studies subjects provide a unique platform for students to gain exposure to "real-world" research projects; to familiarise themselves with lab equipment (which is normally more research-oriented, technologically advanced and hands-on than classroom teaching materials); and to work with established and experienced researchers in the field.

In addition, a range of elective subjects is available to tailor the learning experience based on individual interests. Students are expected to be fully committed to their studies and to work well in a studio environment.

The specialism concludes with an Industry Research Project that unites research, industry collaboration, social investigation, creative exploration, user understanding, and prototype testing to provide solutions.

To receive the award of Master of Design, students must successfully attain a total of 36 credits from the following subject categories: Compulsory Common subjects for 6 credits, Compulsory Specialism subjects for 15 credits, Elective subjects for 15 credits (12 credits from Elective Pool A and 3 credits from Elective Pool B).

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🏫About The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)

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 the number of students. As of 2019, the university ranks 19th in Asia by THE, 8th in young universities, and 91st internationally by QS.

As new students at PolyU, you will have opportunities for cross-cultural encounters on and off-campus. Their international student exchange and internship programmes will broaden your global horizons. Through Work-Integrated Education, you will gain work-based learning opportunities in Hong Kong, Chinese mainland and overseas which help enhance your employability after graduation. They will also nurture your sense of social responsibility through service-learning programmes and promotion of “Green Concepts” in different aspects across the campus. At PolyU, their vision is to excel in professional education, applied research and partnership for the betterment of Hong Kong, the nation and the world. They wish to give you the best university experience for achieving academic excellence and becoming all-rounder leaders who are critical thinkers, effective communicators, innovative problem solvers, and socially responsible global citizens to embrace the challenges of the ever-changing world.

Research @ PolyU

PolyU’s internationally recognised research has produced an abundance of innovations, from world-changing discoveries to business and industrial solutions and innovations for social good. The availability of state-of-the-art research centres and facilities have fostered ground-breaking multidisciplinary collaborations and research outcomes.

As a world-class research university, PolyU firmly believes that research is an integral part of academic life on campus. It informs teaching and advances the frontiers of knowledge and technology, thus contributing to enhancing the competitiveness of business and industry and to Hong Kong's move towards a knowledge-based economy.

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
  • 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 Asia, 5th in Hong Kong


The University campus is strategically located in Hung Hom, Kowloon, on a 9.46-hectare site adjacent to the Cross Harbour Tunnel. In addition to classrooms, laboratories and other academic facilities, the campus offers sport, recreational facilities and other facilities including a multi-purpose auditorium, Industrial Centre and language learning centres. A full range of campus services including restaurants, bookstore and banks are also provided. Student hostels are located in the vicinity of the campus.

In support of the University's core mission in learning, teaching and research and in order to provide a functional, sustainable and community-linked campus for staff and students, a number of projects have been completed in recent years while some more are underway.

  • Footbridge (scheduled for completion in 2019) linking the main campus and Block Z - It will form part of the cycle route in the long term campus master plan.
  • Library Extension and Revitalization Project (scheduled for completion in 2019/20) - It will provide additional space for the Library and improve some of the existing facilities.
  • Potential Campus Expansion at Ho Man Tin - It will accommodate more than 1,200 hostel places and provide over 10,000 m2 net floor area of academic and teaching space.

The Hong Kong Community College's campuses in Hung Hom Bay and West Kowloon also provide comprehensive teaching and amenity facilities and infrastructure, including lecture theatres, classrooms, a library, a computer centre, multi-purpose rooms and halls, sky gardens, a cafeteria and communal areas, for sub-degree students.

About Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is a place with multiple personalities as a result of being both Cantonese Chinese and having been under British colonization. Today, the former British colony is a major tourism destination for China’s increasingly affluent mainland population. It is an important hub in East Asia with global connections to many of the world’s cities. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia’s World City.

Student Life @ PolyU

1) Campus Catering

There are a total of fourteen catering outlets within the campus which include Student Canteens, Staff Canteen, Student/Staff Restaurants, Theatre Lounge, cafés and kiosks providing about 2,700 seats and offering an extensive range of Asian and Western cuisines to suit the different needs of the University community. In Student Halls of Residence, students can dine at the Hall Canteens which have about 600 seats and serve local, Chinese and Western food. Currently, eleven different caterers are contracted to operate the respective outlets. The canteens, cafés and kiosks cater to the basic needs of students and staff for fast, low-priced and yet nutritious meals. The restaurants and Theatre Lounge cater to the social needs of students and staff with a better dining environment, higher grade food and full table services. A relatively higher price is charged.

2) Communal Facilities

PolyU offers an environment to meet the social and physical needs of their students. They encourage students to keep a healthy and balanced lifestyle and so they offer an abundance of facilities/amenities for such purposes.

The Amenities Centre is located on the P/F, 4/F and 5/F of the Communal Building for use by all students, and the Centre is comprised of music appreciation and practise rooms, multi-purpose rooms, common rooms, and exhibition venues for the promotion of cultural and social activities among students.

More activity rooms are available on 1/F and 4/F at Block Z. A study room is also available at Z302 at Block Z.

3) Cultural Theatres

a) Jockey Club Auditorium

Combining classical theatre interior design and modern external facade, Jockey Club Auditorium (JCA) has come into operation in 2000. Reminiscent of the grandeur of ancient classical theatre, the Auditorium is elegantly set with balcony and main floor seating accommodating up to 1,084 persons. The Auditorium has been well-equipped with carefully planned technical and architectural details, ranging from modern stage and audiovisual facilities to spacious legroom. The Jockey Club Auditorium provides not just a conducive environment for the development of culture on campus and in enriching campus life, but also a unique venue for events and corporate alike.

b) Chiang Chen Studio Theatre

The Chiang Chen Studio Theatre (CCST), with a capacity of 244seats, is a cosy venue for holding various cultural activities and performances such as drama, recitals, dances, variety shows, film shows as well as conferences, lectures, seminars and ceremonies. Located within the campus of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Studio Theatre is adjacent to the Hong Kong Cross Harbour Tunnel and MTR Hung Hom Station, with Tsimshatsui commercial area in its vicinity and is easily accessible by various means of public transport.

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🏠 Accommodation

There are altogether two blocks of student halls, namely, Hung Hom Halls and Homantin Halls, which are available for the application of the following students, subject to the hall admission policy and the availability of hall places:

a) Full-time research students (within normal study period);
b) Full-time students pursuing publicly-funded degree programmes; and
c) Full-time inbound exchange students in publicly-funded degree programmes

  • You will need to book the accommodation after you have been accepted.
  • You can choose to live on campus or off campus in private accommodation.
  • We have an article about how to find accommodation off campus here.
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💰 Fees

Application Fee:

$50 USD

Tuition fee:

199,800 CNY per year

199,800 CNY in total

💸 Scholarship Information

Merit-based Entry Scholarships

The Master of Design (MDes) is offering two entry scholarship schemes to outstanding non-local creative talent to further their studies in Hong Kong. The scholarship programmes are part of the MDes' new vision to develop proactive leaders and game changers for the future of industries. International Excellence Scholarship (IES) and Top Universities Scheme (TUS) are the two scholarship programmes, with 50% and 15% tuition scholarships valued at HK$106,200 and HK$31,860, respectively. For details, please visit the School website.

📬 Admissions Process

  1. Open a new account: Tell us who you are, where you are from and how to contact you.
  2. Tell us your background: We are going to ask some questions about your education / professional / employment background. Just answer them truthfully and you’ll be fine.

  3. Prepare your documents: Save your academic transcript(s), official examination results and other supporting documents in JPG or PDF format.

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