A BSc Degree Curriculum

The Faculty of Science offers a number of Science majors leading to the award of a BSc degree.  

All students admitted to the 6901 BSc programme under the 4-year curriculum are required to complete at least one Science major out of the 16 Science majors as your primary major for the award of the BSc degree.  In addition to the primary Science major, students may take a second major or a minor in a Science or non-Science discipline.  Students should note that some non-Science majors and minors may require students to have achieved a minimum academic result before they are allowed to enroll in them.  

(a) Curriculum structure of the BSc Degree

(b) A typical BSc curriculum for students admitted under the 4-year ‘2012 curriculum’ in 2012-13 or thereafter:

To complete the BSc degree curriculum, you have to pass at least 240 credits, equivalent to 40 6-credit courses, normally spread over 4-years of full-time study.  A BSc curriculum typically comprises:

  • 16 courses for the Science major including 2 Science Foundation courses, Disciplinary courses  and capstone course (96 credits)
  • 2 English courses and 1 Chinese course for university language requirements (18 credits)
  • 6 common core courses in 4 Areas of Inquiry (36 credits)
  • A choice of 15 courses as elective courses, or to fulfill the requirements of a minor or a second major  (90 credits)

Notes: 

# Student must select at least one and not more than two courses from each Area of Inquiry with not more than 24 credits of courses being selected within one academic year except where candidates are required to make up for failed credits. Common Core courses should be completed normally within the first three years of study. 

 Students who have been admitted to Year 1 in 2015-16 or thereafter and have achieved the following qualifications shall be exempted from taking CAES1000 Core University English and should take a 6-credit elective course in lieu: 

- 5** on the HKDSE English Language Paper
- tested by CAES to be of a native English speaker standard
- holder of Bachelor’s degree from an English-medium university
- achieved an overall IELTS score of no less than a 7.5 and no less than a 7 on the Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing Tests
- achieved an overall TOEFL Internet Based Test score of no less than 102 and no less than a 27 on the writing and speaking sections and no less than a 24 on the listening and reading sections
- achieved a level of no less than 5 in the HL English Language A: Literature or English Language A: Language and Literature Paper or no less than 6 in the SL English Language A: Literature or English Language A: Language and Literature paper in the International Baccalaureate Diploma
- achieved an OLD Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) essay score of no less than 10 and no less than 700 on the Critical Reading and Writing Tests (before 2016) / achieved a NEW Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score of no less than 37 on the Writing & Language Test and Reading Test (from 2016)
- achieved a score of no less than 5 on the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Test or the Literature and Composition Test
- achieved an A* in the English Language, English Literature or English Language and Literature GCE English A Level paper (including specification A or B, if given)

Exempted students will not be able to enroll CAES1000 via Self Service enrollment.

 To satisfy the Chinese language enhancement requirement, students are required to successfully complete the 6-credit Faculty-specific Chinese language enhancement course, except for:

(a) Putonghua-speaking students who should take CUND9002 (Practical Chinese and Hong Kong Society) or CUND9003 (Cantonese for Non-Cantonese Speaking Students). They may take the course in Year 1 or 2 if they so wish; and
(b) students who have not studied Chinese language during their secondary education or who have not attained the requisite level of competence in the Chinese language to take the Chinese language enhancement course should write to the Board of the Faculty to apply to be exempted from the Chinese language requirement, and
  (i) take a 6-credit Cantonese or Putonghua language course offered by the School of Chinese
  especially for international and exchange students; OR 
  (ii) take an elective course in lieu.

^ Credit requirement for different majors or minors may vary. 

* Students having a second major in Science are allowed to double-count the two Science Foundation Courses. The 12 credits can be made up by selecting any courses.

(c) Example of BSc programme structure by year of study:


  CC – Common Core Courses                      Eng 1 – Core University English        Chi – Chinese
  SF – Science Foundation Courses              Eng 2 – English in the Discipline  

Note: Different distributions of courses over the years are possible. Blank boxes can be used for elective courses, or courses leading to a minor or a second major. 

(d) Common Core Curriculum

The Common Core Curriculum is designed to provide key common learning experience for all HKU students and to broaden their horizons beyond their chosen disciplinary fields of study. It focuses on issues that have been, and continue to be, of deeply profound significance to mankind, the core intellectual skills that all HKU undergraduates should acquire and the core values that they should uphold. The Common Core Curriculum is divided into four Areas of Inquiry (AoIs): (1) Scientific and Technological Literacy; (2) Humanities; (3) Global Issues; (4) China: Culture, State and Society. Students have to pass 36 credits of courses in the Common Core Curriculum, comprising at least one and not more than two courses from each Area of Inquiry with not more than 24 credits of courses being selected within one academic year except where candidates are required to make up for failed credits. Common Core courses should be completed normally within the first three years of the BSc study and cannot be extra taken as free electives. 

(e) Capstone Requirement

Capstone experience is an integral part of the major programme which focuses on integration and application of knowledge and skills gained in the early years of study. The capstone course carries a minimum of 6 credits and students must complete this for fulfillment of the graduation requirements. Capstone course is normally taken in the senior years (year 3 or 4) of study. The capstone courses in each Science major may be different but a range of courses (e.g. research project, field work, internship) is offered to suit individual student’s needs and interests. Details of capstone courses for each major can be found in the syllabuses.

(f) Students taking double Majors, Major-Minor or double Minors with overlapping course requirements

1. Double-counting of courses up to a maximum of 24 credits is permissible with double majors. The double-counted courses in both Science majors must include SCNC1111 and SCNC1112. Additional credits to be double-counted must be for courses required (‘disciplinary core’) by both majors. For cases with 24 or less double-counted credits, the student must make up an equivalent number of credits by taking other courses offered by any Faculty.

2. The following list shows the major-major combinations that have more than 24 credits of the same ‘disciplinary core’ courses that appear in both majors and is subject to the rule of double counting:  

Major-Major combination Admission Year
(Year 1)
No. of common ‘disciplinary core’ courses (credits) appear in both majors including SCNC1111 and SCNC1112 No. of replacement courses (credits) to be taken in the 2nd major (‘Major 2’)
Major in Astronomy
Major in Mathematics/Physics
2012, 2013, 2014 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
Major in Astronomy
Major in Physics
2012, 2013, 2014 6 (36 credits) 2 (12 credits)
2015, 2016, 2017 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
Major in Biochemistry
Major in Chemistry
2015, 2016, 2017 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
Major in Biochemistry
Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
2012, 2013, 2014 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
Major in Biological Sciences
Major in Ecology & Biodiversity
All years 7 (42 credits) 3 (18 credits)
Major in Biological Sciences
Major in Food & Nutritional Science
2012, 2014, 2017 6 (36 credits) 2 (12 credits)
2013 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
2015, 2016 7 (42 credits) 3 (18 credits)
Major in Biological Sciences
Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
2012, 2013, 2014 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
2015, 2016, 2017 6 (36 credits) 2 (12 credits)
Major in Earth System Science
Major in Geology
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
Major in Ecology & Biodiversity
Major in Food & Nutritional Science
2013, 2017 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 6 (36 credits) 2 (12 credits)
Major in Ecology & Biodiversity
Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
All years 5 (30 credits) 1 (6 credits)
Major in Food & Nutritional Science
Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
All years 6 (36 credits) 2 (12 credits)

If more than 24 credits (including SCNC1111 & SCNC1112) are listed as required courses (‘disciplinary core’) in both the first (‘Major 1’) and second (‘Major 2’) majors undertaken by a student, the student must make up the number of credits above the 24 permissible by taking replacement course(s) in the second major (‘Major 2’). The replacement course(s) must be the disciplinary elective course(s) in the second major (‘Major 2’) and have the same prefix and at the same or higher level as the double-counted course(s). The double counted credits should count the following courses in this order: (1) SCNC1111 and SCNC1112, (2) introductory level (levels 1 and 2) courses, and (3) advanced level (level 3 or above) courses. For example, if a student takes a first major in Ecology & Biodiversity (‘Major 1’) and the 2nd major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (‘Major 2’), SCNC1111, SCNC1112, BIOL1110, BIOL2102 and BIOL2103 are the common ‘disciplinary core’ courses that appear in both majors. The first 3 courses SCNC1111, SCNC1112, and BIOL1110 would first be counted plus either BIOL2102 or BIOL2103 for the major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology. The student has to take a replacement ‘disciplinary elective’ course (with a prefix of BIOL at level 2 or above) in the 2nd major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology to make up for BIOL2102 or BIOL2103.

3. Double counting of credits is not permissible for major–minor or double-minors combinations. When a course is required (‘disciplinary core’) both by the major and minor or by both minors, the student must take a replacement course for the minor. The replacement course must be the disciplinary elective in the minor and have the same prefix and at the same or higher level as the course to be replaced.

4. For students taking the Mathematics related majors/minors should note the following exemption and replacement arrangement:

Students who fall into the following exemption situation for the introductory level Disciplinary Core Mathematics courses in Science Majors/Minors are required to take the specified replacement course(s) as prescribed in the table:

Exempted Course Exemption granted under the following circumstances Specified Replacement Courses
MATH1013
University mathematics II

For students taking Minor with an overlap of Disciplinary Core Course :

MATH1013

Select 6 credits from the following to replace MATH1013:

- MATH2012 Fundamental concepts of mathematics (6)
- MATH2241 Introduction to mathematical analysis (6)
- Any 6-credit advanced level Mathematics Disciplinary Elective chosen from the Programme/Major/Minor structure in which MATH1013 is the disciplinary core course

For students taking Programme/Major/Minor with Disciplinary Core Courses :

MATH1851 and MATH1853
(which are together deemed equivalent to MATH1013)

For students taking Professional Core in Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science with Disciplinary Core Course :

MATH1821
(which is equivalent to MATH1013)

MATH2014
Multivariable calculus and linear algebra

For students taking Professional Core in Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science with Disciplinary Core Course :

MATH2822
(which is equivalent to MATH2014)

Select 6 credits from the following to replace MATH2014:

- MATH2012 Fundamental concepts of mathematics (6)
- MATH2241 Introduction to mathematical analysis (6)
- Any 6-credit advanced level Mathematics Disciplinary Elective chosen from the Major/Minor structure in which MATH2014 is the disciplinary core course

MATH2101
Linear algebra I

For students taking Minor with an overlap of Disciplinary Core Course :

MATH2101

Select 6 credits from the following to replace MATH2101:

- MATH2012 Fundamental concepts of mathematics (6)
-  MATH2241 Introduction to mathematical analysis (6)
- Any 6-credit advanced level Mathematics Disciplinary Elective chosen from the Minor structure in which MATH2101 is the disciplinary core course

MATH2211
Multivariable calculus

For students taking Minor with an overlap of Disciplinary Core Course :

MATH2211

Select 6 credits from the following to replace MATH2211:
 

- MATH2012 Fundamental concepts of mathematics (6)
- MATH2241 Introduction to mathematical analysis (6)
 - Any 6-credit advanced level Mathematics Disciplinary Elective chosen from the Minor structure in which MATH2211 is the disciplinary core course

18 credits of Introductory level courses requirement of the Minor:

MATH1013
MATH2101
MATH2211

 For students taking Professional Core in Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science
with Disciplinary Core Courses :

MATH1821 and MATH2822
(which are together deemed to have satisfied MATH1013, MATH2101 & MATH2211)

Select 18 credits from the following to replace the credit requirement of MATH1013, MATH2101 & MATH2211:

- MATH2012 Fundamental concepts of mathematics (6)
(if not the disciplinary core course in the structure); and/or
- MATH2241 Introduction to mathematical analysis (6)
(if not the disciplinary core course in the structure); and/or
- Equivalent credits of advanced level Mathematics Disciplinary Elective(s) chosen from the Major/Minor structure in which MATH1013, MATH2101 & MATH2211 are the disciplinary core courses

 5. For the situations of 2, 3 and 4 above, students have to complete the application form, seek the written endorsement from the Course Selection Adviser of the second major (‘Major 2’) / minor and then return it to the Faculty Office by the closing dates of course selection or add/drop periods.