zhou jiali

Zhou, Jiali

Dr Jiali Zhou is now a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Urban Planning and Design, the University of Hong Kong. His research interest is in public transportation, simulation, machine learning and multi-modal mobility. He uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, including micro/mesoscopic simulation modeling, machine learning and reinforcement learning.

Jiali’s previous research is in the area of Public Transportation, developing methods to analyze the performance of transit networks, designing and evaluating strategies to improve the level of service (also during COVID-19) they provide to passengers.

He holds a B.E. from South China University of Technology, a M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and a Ph.D. from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Before joining the University of Hong Kong, he worked at the CMU Intelligent Coordination and Logistics Lab and MIT Transit Lab.

Selected Publications

Zhou, J., & Koutsopoulos, H.N. (2021). Virus transmission risk in urban rail systems: Microscopic simulation-based analysis of spatio-temporal characteristics. Transportation Research Record, 2675(10), 120-132.

Zhou, J., Koutsopoulos, H.N., & Saidi, S. (2020). Evaluation of subway bottleneck mitigation strategies using microscopic, agent-based simulation. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2674(5).




1. If I have met the University Entrance Requirements, does this mean I will be admitted?

No, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the programme.
2. I have an undergraduate degree in computer science. Am I eligible to apply?

You can, if you have an appetite and drive for design and transport, if you are certain that you can cope with the design steep learning curve and are conversant with quantitative approaches and have excellent English writing skills. During the first semester (Y1) quantitative and excellent English writing skills will compensate for design and as your design skills progress during the second semester (Y1) and become proficient in design. You take the opportunity for design internship between Y1 and Y2. Over the second year you may achieve a distinction with the research dissertation / Urban Design and Transport Thesis Project giving a very good overall GPA. Please approach the Programme Director to discuss. Most of the students admitted to the programme have not studied urban design before, they might come from design background, yet they are new to urban design. They might be working in transport sectors or have a plan to develop their career interfacing urban design and transport.
4. How many intakes in each academic year? When do they start?

There’s only one intake each year. Application will start in every December-January.
5. When will the results of applications be announced?

Successful applicants will be informed shortly after the interview, informally by email and formally by letter once all application documents have been checked.
6. How large are the classes?

About 24 students are admitted to the MScUDT programme. For studio course there is 1 design tutor for 8-9 students, meeting individually once a week for the duration of the studio with two design review with external professionals. For the capstone experience there is 1 supervisor for 4 students, meeting individually once a week for the duration of the course with two design review with external professionals. For lecture-based course, number vary between 24 and up.
7. How much is the application fee for taught postgraduate admissions and how should I pay for it?

Application fee of HK$300 per application should be made online at http://www.aal.hku.hk/tpg. Your application cannot be processed until you pay your application fee online by Visa or MasterCard credit card.

1. How heavy is the study load?

For a 6-credit course, 150 hours of student working (including 24 contact hours and other student learning activities and efforts) is expected. Full-time students normally enrol in 30-credit courses per semester. There are two semesters a year: the first semester is September to December, and the second semester is January to May.
2. How long does it take to complete the programme?

Full-time students are expected to complete their study in two academic year and take the opportunity of the summer break between year 1 and year 2 to undertake internship.
3. What will happen if I fail a course?

If it is a prescribed course, you are required to resubmit during the same academic years.

1. Does the programme provide ADB-JSP or JJWBGSP Scholarship?

The programme is seeking approval for the ADB-JSP scholarship. Please contact admission officer.

Students should arrange their own visa and accommodation. The brief guidelines below are just for students’ easy reference.
1. Visa

International students should apply for student visa/entry permit for studying at HKU. Please find more details at CEDARS.
2 Accommodation

Residential places on campus for postgraduate students are limited and in great demand. Admission to the University does not guarantee accommodation, and the acquisition of which remains to be the responsibility of each individual student. It is therefore in the interest of overseas applicants to make accommodation arrangements before they arrive. Off-campus accommodation near the University is expensive and students using it will need to budget for extra costs. Applicants are advised to consult the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) for advice, and information is also available from the CEDARS. CEDARS offers assistance to students looking for rental accommodation in the open market.
3. Financial Support

Students may seek financial aids from various sources. See here for more details.
4. The Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS)

CEDARS is committed to fostering an intellectually stimulating and culturally diverse campus to enrich students’ total learning experience at HKU. It supports students by providing a wide range of services, including career advice, counselling, and personal development. To explore more about CEDARS, please browse their webpage here.In addition, the Department of Urban Design and Planning recognizes that non-local students might encounter specific challenges (e.g., cultural adjustment) when they first come to Hong Kong and HKU. Our faculty and staff members would also be happy to meet our students. Students, if wanted, will be assigned one or more advisors (an experienced faculty member) to facilitate adjustment to the university environment, exchange academic interests, develop personal goals, etc.

Research Students

BAI, Mingze
DU, Yao
GUO, Xin
HE, Dongsheng
HU, Lirong
HU, Yijia
KABIR, Kazi Humayun
LAI, Ka Yan
LI, Chenxi
LI, Dong
LI, Maosu
LI, Tingting
LI, Yishiqin
LI, Zheng
LIANG, Yuebing
LUO, Zixin
MA, Hanxi
MA, Yi
PEIRIS, Mutu Tantrige Osada Vishvajith
PI, Jianhua
PI, Xuehui
TAN, Cuiping
WAN, Chenxin
WANG, Dawei
WANG, Siying
WEN, Tianzuo
WU, Jiangyue
XIA, Chang
XU, Yang
YAN, Xiang
ZHAO, Jianting
ZHAO, Mushu
ZHENG, Yiling
ZHOU, Mingzhi
ZU, Jinyan

Regulations and Syllabus

The MScUDT Programme has been approved by the University on the 11th of January 2022. During the week starting 17th January, Admissions will start. Please see deadline under Admissions.

Entering Academic Year 2022-2023:

Regulations & Syllabuses


The MScUDT Programme has been approved by the University on the 11th of January 2022. During the week starting 17th January, Admissions will start. Please see deadline under Admissions.

Admission Talk:Admission Talk Poster

Interested applicants can join the Department’s Admissions Talk to be held on 4 December 2021 (Saturday) at 10:00 am (HKT) in Room 730, 7/F., Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong and via online Zoom at the same time. For registration to attend the admission talk, please register:  https://hkuems1.hku.hk/hkuems/ec_hdetail.aspx?guest=Y&ueid=79139  on or before 1 December 2021 (Wednesday).

Application deadline:

The application is online only and supporting materials must be uploaded by 12:00 noon (HKT) 17 February  2022. During the week starting 17th January, Admissions will start.


If you have query your please send an email to: dupad@hku.hk

The online application form includes the following rubrics: Personal Information, Academic Qualifications, Professional Qualification & Work Experience, English language Qualifications, Referees, Further information, Payment and Submission(s).

Admission requirements:

The Master of Science in Urban Design and Transport is a two academic year, four semesters, full time programme. To be eligible for admission candidate shall fulfil the following minimum requirements:

  • Hold a Bachelor degree with honours in related urban or transport disciplines from the University of Hong Kong or an equivalent qualification from another university or comparable institution;
  • For applicants who do not hold a degree from an institution using English as the language of instruction and/or language of examination, they must satisfy the following language requirement:
    • Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL): 550 or above (paper-based test) or a score of 213 or above (computer-based test); or 80 or above (new internet based). Or
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): a minimum overall band of 6 with no subtest lower than 5.5.
  • If you have an undergraduate design related degree such as Urban Planning, Landscape, Urban Design or Architecture submit an electronic copy of a design portfolio demonstrating your work in design related project, or design related professional work. There are no limits on layout, yet the portfolio should not exceed 40 pages (95 Mb). On the content page, you need to mark the date, the nature of project (i.e., academic, personal, or professional), and collaboration information. If the project is collaborative work, you need to clearly indicate your role in it. Showing other people’s projects or undeclared teamwork are unacceptable plagiarism and will results in serious consequences.
  • An interview is a required component of MScUDT admission. Only short listed candidates will be notified for a Zoom interview after the application deadline.

Admission’s inquiries can be addressed to:

Ms. Michele Leung  mccleung@hku.hk

MScUDT Programme’s inquiries can be addressed to:

Dr. Zhan Zhao: dupad@hku.hk


Programme Structure

The MScUDT Programme has been approved by the University on the 11th of January 2022. During the week starting 17th January, Admissions will start. Please see deadline under Admissions.

The MScUDT programme curriculum provides a unique balance blending theoretical, analytical, and design studio courses. The urban theory courses introduce inter-disciplinary theories of urban design, transport, and urban planning policies. The analytical courses introduce urban science quantitative approaches, machine learning methods and novel behavioural network science analysis and tools for evidence-based urban design and transport policy design. The design studio courses provide students with opportunities to integrate through design thinking the acquired knowledge, analytics, skills, and techniques to engage with the complexity of urban transitioning of communities. The capstone experience emulates professional situation, where research about urban design, placemaking, mobilities, accessibility inform, in parallel, an urban design thesis project and thus expose the student to the challenging issue of behavioural and analytics knowledge translation into visioning and communication of policy evolution proposition, area action plan, urban design and placemaking across spatial scales. This programme equips graduate with know-what, design thinking know-how, research, and analytic skills for a broad spectrum of careers across the urban planning, transport, and urban design industries, leading consulting firms in urban planning, urban design, transport, and infrastructure, serving as bridge between engineering, urban design, and urban planning.

During the two academic years of study in the programme, students are expected to complete a minimum of 120 credits of courses, including core courses, two studio courses and one research dissertation and urban design project thesis.

Core Courses (Compulsory)

  • Morphologies and Urban Design Theories (6 credits)
  • Foundations in Spatial Data Analysis (6 credits)
  • Planning Sustainable Cities and regions (6 credits)
  • Spatial Mobilities Analytics (6 credits)
  • Public Space Design Analytics (6 credits)
  • Urban Design Research Methods and Techniques (6 credits)
  • Survey and Data Analysis in Transport Studies (6 credits)
  • Behavioural Travel Demand Modelling (6 credits)
  • Strategic and New Town Urban Design Studio (12 credits)
  • Public Transport Interchange Urban Design Studio* (12 credits)

Dissertation/Capstone experience

  • Research Dissertation and Urban Design & Transport Thesis Project (30 credits)

Studio is a mix of lecture/seminar/workshop, field visits, tutorials, and urban design & transport design reviews. Studio is led by a course lead, organized in group of 1 tutor/8-9 students. Studio combines group tutorial/work and individual tutorial/work.

The Research Dissertation – Urban Design and Transport Thesis Project is individual and led by the student with a supervisor.

* The studio includes an international field study visit.

Elective Courses (6 credits) ** (Choose three)

  • Transport Policy and Planning
  • Transport Economics
  • Optimization Techniques for Transport Applications
  • Transport Network Analysis, Modelling and Project Appraisal
  • Planning, Managing and Financing the Development Process
  • Planning Practice, Law and Ethics in Hong Kong
  • Land and Real Estate Markets: Smart Governance, Finance and Business Models
  • GIS for Urban and Regional Planning Development
  • Housing, Planning, and Sustainability
  • Housing Economics
  • International Housing Policies and Practices
  • Transitional Cities: Urban and Housing Development


**Course titles may vary at the time of offer.

Selection of elective courses is subject to availability and approval.

Master of Science in Urban Design and Transport

The MScUDT Programme has been approved by the University on the 11th of January 2022. During the week starting 17th January, Admissions will start. Please see deadline under Admissions.

The Master of Science in Urban Design and Transport (MScUDT) is a unique inter-disciplinary Programme that links urban design and transport studies, marrying design thinking with evidence-based transport analysis techniques to develop a more effective and balanced placemaking approach to cities.

MScUDT Pamphlet PDF
MScUDT 2022-23 Pamphlet PDF

Traditional urban design focuses on the built environment and placemaking, largely overlooking the social, economic, and environmental dynamics of urban mobilities and access. In contrast, transport studies focus on operations and management of transport systems, tending to ignore the impact of infrastructures on the urban experience, the urban qualities, mobilities equality and its effects on access to opportunities and the enjoyment of places.

The MScUDT focuses on current and emerging challenges at this critical but overlooked confluence of urban design and transport studies. The curriculum aims to enable smart, healthy, equitable and resilient cities of the future, by providing an urban design education informed by knowledge of relationships between transport, land use, built environment and human behaviours. MScUDT PosterThe Programme prepares built environment professionals to tackle the design, creation, and management of people-focused and sustainable cities, whether in Hong Kong, Asia-Pacific or internationally.

The MScUDT curriculum draws on the latest thinking and technologies in urban design, placemaking, transport, urban planning, and major blue, grey, and green infrastructure project development. It will draw on the emergence of new data sources and urban design analytics, to offer exposure to new approaches to urban design, placemaking and transport planning research and design in a design studio setting. The studio setting enables students to develop systemic and holistic design solutions-led perspective in their approach to cities management and change.

Themes that will be explored in the Programme include present and future multi-modal complexities of placemaking and urban design’s interface with transport and infrastructure planning and design; urban design and placemaking theory and practice in an age of climate crisis; the reintegration of slow modes; the emergence of micro-mobilities, surface and air autonomous vehicles.

This programme welcome candidates wishing to work between discipline as deep generalist to bridge ‘silos’ at the strategic levels with an attention to the details of innovative design delivery across spatial scales that aim to create urban wellbeing and equity.

The programme is co-organized by the Department of Urban Planning and Design, the Department of Geography, and the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Hong Kong.

The MScUDT Programme is equivalent to European Master’s Degree measured by the European Credit Transfer System (120 ECTS).

Upon completing the MScUDT programme, graduates are entitled to one-year Hong Kong’s working visa (IANG), which can be renewed.


During the year 2022 the Programme will seek recognition by local and international professional institutions:

  • the UK’s Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a specialism programme
  • the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)
  • the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design (HKIUD)