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Programme Aims and Features
If students are interested in studying human behaviour and society or wish to become a future leader in public service, education, industry and commerce, the Bachelor of Social Sciences should be the choice. The flexible programme structure provides students with freedom to decide which discipline they wish to major in after the first year of study, without any quota constraint. Off-campus learning is emphasized through the participation in internships or overseas academic exchange to provide opportunities for students to apply the knowledge acquired to the practical environment and to enhance their international exposure.
Students may choose to major in one of the six core disciplines including China Studies; Geography; Politics and Public Administration; Psychology; Social Policy and Social Development; and Sociology. They may also opt for one of the multidisciplinary programmes as another major, including Cognitive Science; Counselling; Criminology; Media and Cultural Studies; Neuroscience; and Urban Governance. Alternatively, students may opt for a second major / a minor in a variety of disciplines from Faculties of Arts, Business and Economics, Engineering, Law and Science.
Disciplinary Major Programmes
China studies addresses the growing interest among students in the social, economic, cultural and political development of contemporary China. Students benefit from acquiring a multidisciplinary knowledge of social change and development in contemporary China informed by rigorous empirical research in social sciences. In addition to basic rigorous training in contemporary China studies, the programme also allows students to integrate non-core subjects with their understanding of contemporary China as an empirical case.
Geography seeks to understand the location and interaction of the natural environment and human society. It offers important insights into how and why human beings think and behave differently in different environments, how human society and culture are developed in different places, and what policies and decisions can best use locational advantages and natural resources for the mutual benefit of both the human population and its environment. Students are offered a wide range of stimulating, well-structured courses grouped under four main themes: China and the Pacific Rim, environment and resources, tourism and leisure, and urban and transport. Majoring in Geography gives students an edge in careers in urban planning, transport logistics, environmental impact assessment, tourism, international trade and public policy.
Politics and Public Administration
Covers topics including the design of institutions, the management of organisations, the theory and practice of democracy and the craft of living successfully in a state. The Department of Politics and Public Administration offers students the opportunity to study political phenomena in a variety of ways, including empirical, theoretical and applied perspectives. Students are exposed to theories and skills that help them better organise and manage the world of public policy, public administration, and international governance and relations. Majoring in Politics and Public Administration gives students the vocabulary and skills necessary to compete for careers in government and management at local and international levels.
Psychology explores how the mind works, how we learn language and concepts, how family relationships affect our health, and how science can help us raise children more wisely. It also covers decision-making and information-processing. It gives us insights into who we are and why we act, think and feel the way we do. An undergraduate degree with a major in Psychology is essential for a career in clinical or educational psychology.
Social Policy and Social Development
Social Work and Social Administration is of interest to students who wish to learn about people's needs and problems, and the provision of social services in society. It is also useful to students who want to pursue a career in social-service provision, management and administration in government or non-governmental organisations. It includes courses dealing with social problems, social policy and social services. Aside from the core courses in compulsory areas of social work theory-practice integration, knowledge in social sciences, and professional enhancement, elective courses cover four areas: advanced practice models; contemporary social issues; fields of practice and policy issues and intervention. Students can choose any combination of courses according to their interests.
This programme seeks to nurture students to become knowledgeable, critical and caring members of society, offering them a solid intellectual foundation in sociology. The wide-ranging course also allows students to examine a number of specialist areas related to the discipline, including media and culture, anthropology and criminology. The programme aims to:
- Provide students with knowledge for the conduct of social life
- Enhance students' critical understanding of the social world by exposing them to historical and cross-cultural analyses of the subject
- Encourage students to appreciate and care for the continuing efforts to improve social life in today's globalised world
Multidisciplinary Major Programmes
Cognitive Science is the science of intelligence and the mind. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach to understand how we think and learn, how we make sense of the world and how we are creative. Students in the programme take courses from across the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, gaining skills in philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, artificial intelligence and psychology. Cognitive science is useful for a variety of careers including information technology, advertising, education, telecommunications and the media. (Host Department: Psychology.)
Helping people is not exclusively the work of social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. People from other professions not formally recognised as mental health-oriented, such as teachers, doctors and managers, also assist others through periods of transition, adjustment, distress and crisis. This programme is designed to help students learn about counselling from a diverse range of disciplines. It enables them to help people facing mental distress in contexts not only confined to formal mental-health settings. (Host Department: Social Work and Social Administration.)
Criminology is an interdisciplinary field in the social sciences, drawing in particular on the research of sociologists, but with important contributions from fields including anthropology, psychology and legal history. The programme seeks to promote an understanding of how the criminal justice system operates, and why it should or should not operate the way it does. It further seeks to illuminate how and why we commit or do not commit crime. The programme is useful for students who wish to assume a professional position in the criminal-justice system and anyone who has an interest in crime and its control. The programme aims to:
- Provide students with a multidisciplinary framework for understanding crime and its control
- Enhance students' critical understanding of crime and social order by exposing them to historical and cross-cultural analyses of the subject
- Encourage students to appreciate and care about the causes, solutions and problems related to crime and social control locally and globally
(Host Department: Sociology.)
Media and Cultural Studies
The programme seeks to nurture students to become knowledgeable, critical and caring users and producers of media and culture. The flexible programme structure draws on a wide range of related courses from the social sciences and humanities. It aims to:
- Provide students with multidisciplinary knowledge in the operation of the media and the state of culture
- Enhance students' critical understanding of the world of media and culture by exposing them to historical and comparative analyses
- Encourage students to appreciate and care for the continuing efforts to improve the state of media and culture, and through this to improve social life as whole
(Host Department: Sociology.)
This major blends courses in Geography, Politics and Public Administration, and Social Work and Social Administration. In a context of rapid urban change and renewal, and of many policy challenges focused on cities, the major is ideally suited to the needs of Hong Kong, where it responds to the government's policy of large-scale infrastructure construction and development, but also provides excellent employment prospects further afield. (Host Department: Geography.)
The above majors can also be treated as minors. The faculty also offers the following minors:
- Human Resource Management;
- Journalism and Media Studies
In addition, students may take a minor or double minors from most of the departments in the University.
The BSS programme aims to train its students to achieve academic excellence and the personal attributes valued by employers. Off-campus learning prepares them for employment through first-hand practical experience, and can broadening their horizon with overseas exposure. Graduates are well equipped to pursue careers in government, politics, public corporations, community organisations, media and the private sector. Graduates who choose to further their studies are often accepted, with scholarships, by distinguished universities worldwide.
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