Founded in 1981, the University of Macau (UM) is the only internationalised public comprehensive university in Macao, with a modern governance model. 80 per cent of its faculty members are from outside Macao. With English as the main medium of instruction, the university is committed to producing creative and socially responsible graduates with a global mindset and international competitiveness.
Teaching units at UM include Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Business Administration, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Honours College, Graduate School, and Centre for Continuing Education. Research institutes include Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering, Institute of Collaborative Innovation, Institute of Microelectronics, Centre for Macau Studies, Asia-Pacific Academy of Economics and Management, and Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences.
Currently, there are more than 10,000 students at UM. For undergraduate students, the university provides a unique ‘4-in-1’ education, which consists of discipline-specific education, general education, research and internship education, and community and peer education. Adopting a credit system and a collegiate system, the university offers around 130 degree programmes at bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, covering a variety of fields, including literature, language, business administration, marketing, accounting, finance, international integrated resort management, science, education, biomedical science, law, history, economics, psychology, sociology, communication, engineering, computer science, and Chinese medical sciences.
UM is ranked in the 301-350 bracket in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2020, with a global ranking of No 9 in International Outlook, No 42 in the THE Asia University Rankings, No 60 in the THE Asia-Pacific University Rankings, and No 52 in the THE Young University Rankings. In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2020, it is ranked No 387. It is among the top 1% in Essential Sciences Indicators (ESI) rankings in seven subjects, namely Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Materials Science, Clinical Medicine, and Social Sciences, General.
An International University
UM has earned recognition for its high degree of internationalisation. 80 per cent of its faculty members are from outside Macao. The fact that English is the main medium of instruction at UM has attracted outstanding students from around the world, which in turn has created a vibrant, multicultural campus. The university constantly expands its international network and actively builds new platforms for international collaboration in order to broaden the students’ horizons. It has established collaboration agreements with more than 260 institutions of higher learning in over 33 countries and regions. UM students can choose from 168 institutions around the world for exchange programmes or overseas studies. The university also provides students with many internship opportunities, both local and overseas, in order to enhance their employability upon graduation.
The university maintains close contact with universities in Portuguese-speaking countries and has launched dual degree programmes and joint postdoctoral training programmes with many top universities in the world. UM has an outstanding team of faculty members, many of whom have earned prestigious titles such as member of Academia Europaea (Academy of Europe), fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, member of the Portuguese Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Society for Metals, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, fellow of the American Physical Society, fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, fellow of the American Educational Research Association, president of the IEEE’s Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society, fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences, and Chang Jiang Scholar Chair Professor (Ministry of Education).
Not only does the university constantly search for high-calibre scholars, it also offers attractive work conditions to enable faculty members to achieve their full potential. In addition, it has launched the UM Macao Talent Programme to nurture young local scholars and to encourage talented professionals to develop their careers in Macao.
A Unique Residential College System
UM is the only university in Macao to implement a residential college system. In fact, its RC system is the largest in Asia. There are currently ten RCs at UM, namely Chao Kuang Piu College, Cheng Yu Tung College, Cheong Kun Lun College, Choi Kai Yau College, Henry Fok Pearl Jubilee College, Lui Che Woo College, Ma Man Kei and Lo Pak Sam College, Moon Chun Memorial College, Shiu Pong College, and Stanley Ho East Asia College. As a complement to the faculty-based system, the RCs serve as a vehicle for whole-person education through systematic planning of experiential programmes. RCs aim to nurture students into compassionate and socially responsible individuals with the ability for self-reflection amid a culturally diverse and intellectually stimulating environment.
Adopting a problem-oriented approach, UM devotes its resources to research areas that reflect the university’s strengths. At the same time, it actively establishes world-class research platforms to promote interdisciplinary research, especially collaboration between liberal arts fields and science fields, in order to gain a leadership status and an international reputation in these fields. UM also encourages entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer in order to enhance the social impact of its research. UMTEC Limited and Zhuhai UM Science & Technology Research Institute vigorously support industry-academia collaboration and actively promote commercialisation of research results and cultivation of new industries.
UM provides full support to the three state key laboratories (the State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI, the State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, and the State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City), three new key research areas (precision medicine for cancer treatment, advanced materials, and regional oceanography ), three interdisciplinary fields (artificial intelligence, cognitive and brain science, and data science), and three research platforms for humanities and social sciences (Centre for Macau Studies, Asia-Pacific Academy of Economics and Management, and Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (in preparation)). UM encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, especially the integration of humanities and social sciences on the one hand, and modern technology on the other.
According to statistics from the Web of Science, the number of high-quality academic papers published by UM scholars increased from a little over 140 in 2009 to more than 1,500 in 2018, with citation frequency exceeding 24,000. Chip research is a key research area at UM. The chip research team focuses on developing analogue and mixed signal integrated circuits and systems as well as an advanced R&D platform. The team has received a second prize of the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award. At the 2019 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference, UM was ranked second in the world along with two other institutes in terms of the number of papers accepted at the conference, next only to Intel. Chinese medicine is a signature research area at UM. The Chinese medicine research team is committed to the study of Chinese medicine quality and international standards (standardisation, effectiveness, safety, stability and traceability). The team has received a second prize of the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award. The innovative products developed by the team have won international invention gold awards and more than 40 special science and technology awards in Macao.
The university has spared no effort in the study of the different aspects of Macao, including literature, history, society, law, education, and commerce, in order to provide empirical data and advanced theories for enriching the cultural life and enhancing the well-being of Macao residents. It has established the Macao Base for Primary & Secondary Education in Humanities & Social Sciences, and the Macao Base for Primary & Secondary STEM Education to support basic education in Macao. In addition, UM actively supports Macao’s development into ‘One Centre, One Platform, and One Base’ by nurturing professionals in various fields, including language, Chinese history and culture, data science, innovation and entrepreneurship, physics, chemistry, and biology.
An Environment Conducive to Education
Thanks to the support of the central and Macao SAR governments, UM relocated to the new campus in 2014. Then President Hu Jintao officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the campus. Separated from Taipa by a river, the campus covers approximately one square kilometre, with the lush Hengqin Hill serving as a beautiful backdrop. Designed with a people-centred approach, the campus aims to provide an environment that is conducive to scholarly pursuits. The campus is equipped with a complete set of teaching facilities, including a well-stocked library, the University Hall, an Olympic-standard swimming pool, a sports complex, an archery range, basketball courts, a sports climbing wall, and gym rooms.
Support to the University
UM has progressed in leaps and bounds in recent years, thanks to the support of the central government, the Macao SAR government, and all sectors of society. Both the current president, Xi Jinping, and the former president, Hu Jintao, have visited UM and given important instructions for the university’s future development. They have both expressed expectations for UM to develop into a world-class institution. As the only public comprehensive university in Macao, with the Macao SAR chief executive serving as its chancellor and chair of the University Assembly, UM enjoys the unparalleled advantage of having the unreserved support of the SAR government. In 2016, it became the first institution of higher learning in Macao to receive the Medal of Merit—Education from the SAR government, in recognition of its contributions to education.
Looking to the Future
Today’s UM is on the threshold of a new era. It will continue to uphold the five virtues listed in the university motto, namely humanity, integrity, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity. Having positioned itself as a university that is ‘rooted in Macao to help develop the city, integrated with the Greater Bay Area and China to serve the country, and geared towards the world to make a greater contribution’, UM will constantly improve, optimise, enhance, and innovate, in order to become an first-class institution of higher learning that is the pride of Macao residents and recognised by national and international academic communities.