Why Comparison is Complicated

Here are some differences between Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Comparison is never easy, since it requires one to select the criteria, and each criteria requires at least a metric, or better a norm that can be used to evaluate the criteria. In any case, no attempts are made on a comprehensive comparison but rather a subjective choice of features that tell both universities apart.

Comparing the Universities Nevertheless

The facts are based on [1] [2] (as somewhat indicated by trailing zeris, some figures for TUM have been rounded to a certain number of significant digits).

Technische Universität München The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
History Founded in 1868 Founded in 1991
Students 24,400 2010 9,881 2010
International Students 4,300 (18%), 800 from China 2010 2,677 (27%) 2010
Tuition Fees (per year) All students: EUR 1000 Local students: HKD 42,100 ≈ EUR 4,000 2010
International students: HKD 100,000 ≈ EUR 10,000 2010
Role of Tuition Fees Only 1.6 percent of university income generated by tuition fees 2010 22 percent of universitiy income generated by tuition fees 2010
Income EUR 947 million 2010 HKD 2,950 million ≈ EUR 295 million 2010
Campus Spread over Munich Unified campus 30min away from Downtown Hong Kong
Teaching Language German and English; Master programmes often in English English
Focus Science and Technology Business and Technology
Grading Exams; sometimes bonus for assignments Assignments and exams
Academic Year Winter and Summer Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Course Registration Centralized; registration on a first-come, first-serve basis Centralized; randomized turn-based individual registration periods
Student Housing University is not responsible for student halls; many students live privately or in student halls operated by several institutions Many students live on-campus: 4310 student hall places on-campus, 212 off-campus. 1991 further hall places to be constructed until 2015. 2010
Computer barns Well-equipped in both hardware and software; serviceable operating systems that allow running any Linux-compatible software (Faculty for Informatics and Mathematics) Useful for browsing the internet; deficient operating systems with little installed software
Printing facilities Effective, but complicated and inefficient; recharging print budget only possible at certain time frames, printers not accessible by students (Faculty for Informatics and Mathematics) Effective, simple and efficient; using a smartcard reader to recharge print budget from computer barn, printers accessible by students
Public Relations Good; can still learn from HKUST Very good
Relations to Industry Strong Strong
Leisure Activities Mostly off-campus Often on-campus
Hiking Opportunities Awesomely awesome Awesomely awesome


  1. TUM Facts & Figures Sheet. http://portal.mytum.de/ccc/broschueren/facts_figures_2010_english.pdf/download accessed 2011-12-23
  2. HKUST Facts & Figures Sheet. http://www.ust.hk/eng/images/about/pdf/hkust_facts_and_figures_Eng.pdf accessed 2011-12-22