History & Milestones

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Our History

A University with a Proud History

Hong Kong Metropolitan University (HKMU), formerly The Open University of Hong Kong, is not only a provider of quality higher education, but also a well-managed self-financing entity. Over the past three decades, HKMU has evolved from primarily a distance learning institution to become a comprehensive university providing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well as part-time programmes. Through nurturing talent to meet our society's needs, we have made longstanding contributions to the advancement of Hong Kong's economy. Today, we are the largest self-financing university in Hong Kong, grooming more than 140,000 graduates and ranks sixth among local universities in terms of full-time undergraduate number.

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From Distance Learning Institution to Comprehensive University

The University is a pioneer of open and distance education. Established by the Government in 1989 as The Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong (OLI), we have striven to achieve our mission of “Education for All”, making quality and flexible further education opportunities available to working adults. After years of steady development, OLI attained university title in May 1997 and was renamed as The Open University of Hong Kong.

In line with the Government's education reform, we launched the first full-time, face-to-face programmes – five Associate Degree programmes in 2001 and a Bachelor's degree in 2003. These programmes have attracted an increasing number of fresh secondary school leavers since then. Our participation in the Government's Joint University Programmes Admissions System in 2007 is another significant milestone that puts us on par with other established UGC institutions across Hong Kong.

Professional and Practical Programmes to Meet Society's Needs

Parallel with this growth has been our programme development. From a relatively small number of part-time courses offered at the beginnings, we have undergone continuous and vigorous expansion in the range, scope and quality of our programme offerings. Today, we offer around 220 programmes made up of some 800 full-time and part-time courses. And this exponential growth has been a very focused one – we respond dynamically to market trends by tailoring our professional programmes to industry needs. Examples include our signature programmes in Creative Arts, Testing and Certification, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Energy and Environmental Studies, Early Childhood Education, Psychology, Corporate Governance and Hospitality Management.

Our efforts are also recognised by the Government. Since 2015, some of our full-time programmes have been included in the Government's Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP), which subsidises students on programmes offered by self-financing institutions that help meet Hong Kong's manpower shortages in specific industries. In 2021–22, we have been allocated more than a third of the total quota of subsidised places, the largest share among our counterparts. This reflects not only the Government's endorsement of our programme quality, but also our success in making available relevant professional programmes that meet the pressing needs of Hong Kong.

One of the most popular programmes is our nursing studies. Since the launch of the two undergraduate degree programmes in nursing in 2005, enrolment has been increasing and HKMU now produces the largest number of nursing graduates among local institutions each year.

Campus Expansion to Cater for Rapid Growth

To cater for the rapid growth, the University has undertaken significant campus expansion over the years. We moved to Ho Man Tin in 1996 and opened our first off-campus learning centre in Shun Tak Centre in Sheung Wan in 2000 as the headquarters of Li Ka Shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education (LiPACE). In 2009, the University completed Phase II of the Main Campus. In 2013, LiPACE was moved to the Kwai Hing Learning Centre, which provides 3 times the space of the original premises. In 2014, the Jockey Club Campus was opened to house our new programmes in Creative Arts, Testing and Certification as well as Nursing and Healthcare. The expansion has provided not only more space for our growing student population, but also new state-of-the-art facilities to serve the needs of our programmes.

To address the rising needs for healthcare services in the community, the University recently completed a new campus project – the HKMU Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare (IOH). Officially opened in January 2021, the new campus provides not only modern teaching and learning facilities for nursing and healthcare programmes but also spacious amenities for all HKMU staff and students to enjoy.

University Retitling

After more than 30 years of rapid development, the University has gone through remarkable changes. Despite the transformation, many people still perceived the University as a purely distance education institution, which had posed challenges and hindered further development of the University and our graduates.

To better reflect our current status, focuses and strengths, and to facilitate our further development, the University therefore decided in 2019 to explore the possibility of retitling. After a series of consultations with major stakeholders and a stringent process of selection of title, the new University title, “Hong Kong Metropolitan University”, was approved by the Council on 10 December 2020. Formal approval of amending the ordinance governing the University from the Legislative Council was then obtained on 14 July 2021.

On 1 September 2021, the University launched our new title, “Hong Kong Metropolitan University”, which marks our unique position in metropolitan Hong Kong and points to our aspiration in the 21st century.

Our Milestones



Became Hong Kong's first University of Applied Sciences


Re-titled as Hong Kong Metropolitan University (HKMU)


Opened OUHK Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare


Celebration of the OUHK 30th Anniversary


Granted land by the HKSAR Government for construction of new Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare


Approved by the HKSAR Government under 'Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions / Sectors (SSSDP)' Programmes


Opened Jockey Club Campus


Opened Kwai Hing Campus


Opened OUHK-CITA Campus


Opened Phase Two Campus


Became a Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) member university


Launched full-time degree programmes


Launched the first full-time programme at associate degree level


Re-titled as The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK)


Opened Main Campus


Began financially independent, given sound financial performance


Established by the Hong Kong Government as The Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong (OLI) to offer part-time degree programmes