Curriculum Structure

The world over, undergraduate education is becoming less specialized – because the world is changing so rapidly that a narrow discipline will no longer stand the test of time. With this trend also comes increasing recognition of enduring values and skills. Thus, the new structure is not just 'one more year', but incorporates a change of emphasis, and a new way of viewing undergraduate education. The curriculum is driven by the desired learning outcomes which are defined in the University's Strategic Plan (2006).

The curriculum is built on a credit-unit system, with flexibility and choices both in the selection of courses and in the sequence and pace of electives. With the exception of a few special programmes, the normative period of study is four years, and students have to complete 123 units and satisfy requirements under separate categories.

With the exception of programmes taking more than four years, the overall curriculum structure is as follows.

Component Unit Range
Major Faculty Package 51 – 72 *
Major Required
Major Elective
Minor (optional) 18 – 30
Languages Chinese 6
English 9
General Education 21
Information Technology 1
Physical Education 2
Free Electives Remaining Units
Total At least 123
* For some professional programmes and programmes of more than 4 years' normative period of study, the maximum exceeds 72.

A common University Core develops generic competencies in and through Chinese, English, General Education, Information Technology, and Physical Education. The Major Programme provides depth and where applicable training in a profession. Within the Major Programme, there is a Faculty Package requirement, so that all students within a Faculty share a largely common experience and gain broad exposure to related disciplines. Appropriate to a curriculum that is informed and led by research, a feature of the Major programme is a Capstone course or experience, in the form of research, internship or other learning activity that helps students synthesize their learning. Students may elect one or even two Minor Programmes, or even take a Double Major. There is also the opportunity to pursue a Double Degree.

Although the first year is emphatically not simply an add-on to the old curriculum, CUHK emphasizes the First-Year Experience in helping students in their transition from school to university, from pupil to self-directed learners.