Government encouragement of international student enrollment, liberal scholarship programs and affordability, and world-class research programs are all reasons to consider university-level study in Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of islands off China's coast. Many university classes there are taught in English. Four Hong Kong universities in particular rise to the top of the lists compiled by Times Higher Education in 2013 and the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2014.

University of Hong Kong

Founded in 1910, the University of Hong Kong is the oldest university in Hong Kong. Times Higher Education ranked it the third-best university in Asia in 2013. In 2014 the research university was in the process of forming a Center for Marine Environmental Research and Innovative Technology, a Developmental Genomics and Skeletal Research center and a Control of Pandemic and Inter-pandemic Influenza center. The school’s researchers in 2003 were the first in the world to identify the cause of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. For the 2013-14 school year there were 27,000 undergraduates and 7,000 staff members.

Chinese University of Hong Kong

The 339-acre Chinese University of Hong Kong campus overlooking Tolo Harbour is the largest and greenest in Hong Kong, according to the school website. The campus includes libraries, museums, music halls, a swimming pool, sports fields, tennis courts, squash courts and a water sports center. Its researchers are published in the journals "Science," "Nature" and "The Lancet." The university is composed of nine colleges and 18 areas of excellence for research, including the Center for Organelle Biogenesis and Function, the Historical Anthropology of Chinese Society center and the Center for Plant and Agricultural Biotechnology.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Founded in 1991, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology overlooks the Clear Water Bay peninsula. Scholars at the university had applied for 149 patents and received 80 as of 2014. University scientists are working on 753 funded projects on a research budget of $548 million Hong Kong dollars, about $71 million in U.S. dollars. Faculty at the university come with degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, Caltech, Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Stanford universities. The school has 250 exchange programs and its executive MBA program was ranked best in the world in 2013 by the "Financial Times."

City University of Hong Kong

The City University of Hong Kong has student exchange agreements with 100 schools in 28 countries. The university has seven colleges with 24 academic departments. For the 2013-14 school year the university had more than 800 professors, including more than 300 in science and engineering. For the 2012-13 school year the university had 1,735 research projects underway with a research budget of $975 million Hong Kong dollars, about $127 million U.S. dollars. Of the students who graduated in 2013, 88 percent were employed and 8 percent were enrolled in post-graduate programs. Sixty percent of the 2013 graduates with jobs worked in commerce and business.