Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Global and Environmental Studies


Program Description

Programme Aims and Learning Outcomes

The programme is a four-year undergraduate interdisciplinary programme that leads to a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree. It equips students with the essential knowledge toolkit to explore the development and environmental challenges of today’s globalising world and to understand how different political, socio-economic, cultural and environmental processes shape the interaction between the global and the local contexts. The programme aims to develop and promote students’ awareness of sustainable development issues and encourages them to contribute actively to the local and global society through social science research and community engagement. Upon successful completion of the programme, graduates are expected to:

  • PILO1: Describe and explain the political, socio-economic, and environmental transformations at local, regional and global levels;
  • PILO2: Identify major players in global affairs, and explain the development trajectories of different political economies through critical inquiries;
  • PILO3: Diagnose the contemporary sustainability challenges, and assess and propose feasible coping responses;
  • PILO4: Apply critical thinking and practical skills in analysing issues pertaining to environmental pollution and sustainable development;
  • PILO5: Demonstrate awareness to sustainability concerns and contribute responsibly to endeavours of the local and global communities;
  • PILO6: Apply qualitative and quantitative techniques in formulating and implementing policy-informing research.

Programme Structure

Component and Credit Points

  • Major Studies
    • Coursework, 48 credit points
    • Overseas Field-based Learning, 3 credit points
    • Internship, 3 credit points
    • Major Interdisciplinary Course, 3 credit points
  • Final Year Project (Honours Project / Capstone Project), 6 credit points
  • Electives / Minor, 27 credit points
  • General Education (GE), 22 credit points
  • Language Enhancement, 9 credit points
    • 2 mandatory credit-bearing English enhancement courses
    • 1 mandatory credit-bearing Chinese enhancement courses
    • Mandatory non-credit-bearing language enhancement courses in English, Chinese and Putonghua
  • Total: 121 credit points

Note: Classes will be held in Tai Po Campus and Tseung Kwan O Study Centre / Kowloon Tong Satellite Study Centre / Sports Centre as decided by the University.

Major Studies

The Global and Environment Studies Major comprises the following:

  1. The foundation stage of Coursework, “Concepts and Aspects of Global and Environmental Studies”, introduces students to basic social science perspectives and key social science and science concepts relevant to other course strands of the programme. It also introduces students to the problems of and debates surrounding global development and environmental change.
  2. The next strand of courses, “Critical Analysis in Global and Environmental Studies”, builds upon the foundation by introducing students to various approaches of analysing and proposing solutions to problems associated with global development and environmental changes. These courses cover political, legal, technological, social-economic, and philosophical perspectives and offer an in-depth examination of sustainable development issues and challenges worldwide.
  3. The strand “Applied Environmental Studies” provides students with the knowledge and scientific skill in conducting analyses related to environmental protection and enhancement. Students will be exposed to different scientific and technological trends and solutions for promoting environmental sustainability in different socio-economic contexts.
  4. The courses in “Other Learning Experiences and Social Science Research Method” domain provides students with learning opportunities which apply and integrate the knowledge of other course strands, and foster students’ critical thinking capacity and professional skills as researchers and in the workplace.
  5. The “Major Interdisciplinary Course” builds upon the major and minor domains of the programme. Students will engage in an in-depth examination of global sustainable development challenges/concerns through applying and integrating various analytical approaches and perspectives related to global development and environmental change. They will come up with analyses and solutions to problems practicable in real-world settings.

Major and Course(s)

  • Concepts and Aspects of Global and Environmental Studies
    • Science for Global and Environmental Studies
    • Introduction to Sociology and Social Research
    • Introduction to Political Science
    • Introduction to Economics
    • Globalisation: Concepts and Debates
    • Development: Concepts and Debates
    • Environmental Change: Concepts and Debates
  • Critical Analysis in Global and Environmental Studies
    • Compulsory courses
      • Global Politics
      • Environmental Management and Economics
    • Choose 2 out of the following 4 courses
      • Global Citizenship: Theories and Debates
      • Global Environmental Governance
      • Global Political Economy
      • Sustainable Development and Policy
  • Applied Environmental Studies
    • Compulsory courses
      • Assessing Environmental Impacts: Policies and Approaches
      • Climate Change and Society
    • Choose 2 out of the following 4 courses
      • Resources, Materials and the Environment
      • Natural Hazards
      • The Technology and Usage of Energy
      • Assessing Environmental Impacts: Principles and Techniques
  • Other Learning Experiences
    • Overseas Field-based Learning
    • NGOs and Social Innovation
    • Internship
  • Major Interdisciplinary Course
    • Global Development and Sustainability: Case Studies and Review

Overseas Field-based Learning

Students are required to participate in the Overseas Field-based Learning in the summer between Years 2 and 3 and shall last for about 2 weeks. It will contain lectures delivered by scholars, researchers and professionals, as well as field-based inquiry learning activities overseas so as to provide opportunities for students to engage in self-directed learning, and to reflect upon the themes covered in the programme.


Students will further cultivate skills and knowledge developed during coursework by participating in an Internship in a relevant organisation or company with an international orientation in the summer between Years 3 and 4. This experience will allow students to turn their classroom learning into practice in a real-life situation and will provide additional knowledge about global and environmental issues as they apply to the work setting.

Final Year Project (Honours Project / Capstone Project)

The Final Year Project (Capstone Project or Honours Project) is an inquiry-oriented avenue that enables our students to consolidate, integrate, and reflect on their undergraduate experiences for transiting to (and even celebrating) their upcoming post-graduation life – be it related to entering higher degree programmes or entering the workplace.

Electives (or Second Minor)

Students are required to take a total of 27 credit points of elective courses within a wide range of courses offered by the University. Students may also study a Minor (totalling 15 credit points) from among the Minor choices available within the University.

The programme offers an optional “Urban Sustainability Minor” which facilitates articulation with other postgraduate degrees in fields such as sustainable development, resource management and urban studies of local and overseas institutions.

Core courses

  • Urban Growth, Governance and Smart City Development
  • Environmental Science and Urban Sustainability

Choose 3 out of the following 5 courses

  • Building a Sustainable Community
  • Transnational Migration and Development in Global Cities
  • Protected Areas Planning and Management
  • Urbanization and Transportation: Theory and Policy
  • Tourism and Sustainability

General Education

GE Domain and Credit Points

  • GE Foundation Course, 4 credit points
  • GE Breadth Courses
    • GE Breadth Learning Strands 1-3, 3 credit points
    • Positive and Values Education Course, 3 credit points
    • GE Interdisciplinary Course
  • Experiential Learning
  • Co-curricular and Service Learning Course, 3 credit points
  • Experiential Learning Course, 3 credit points
  • University ePortfolio
  • University ePortfolio, 3 credit points
  • Total: 22 credit points

Language Courses

Students in the programme are expected to develop the ability to communicate effectively in English and Chinese (including Putonghua). To assist them in meeting this goal, the Centre for Language in Education (CLE) will offer a comprehensive package of mandatory credit-bearing and mandatory non-credit bearing language enhancement activities, amounting to no less than 297 hours of taught courses and documented self-access study. This comprises 138 hours of English (including two 3-cp courses), 99 hours of Chinese (including one 3-cp course), and 60 hours of Putonghua, over the four years of the programme. The language enhancement package requires students to make use of the Arthur Samy Language Learning Centre (ASLLC) and related facilities available at the Tai Po campus.

Students may be exempted from selected Chinese, English or Putonghua courses in the package if they have fulfilled the exemption criteria of individual courses.

Non-Cantonese-speaking students will be required to study two non-credit bearing Cantonese courses. English-speaking students can study Cantonese and Putonghua courses.

Medium of Instruction

The programme will mainly be conducted in English. All Major courses will be taught in English. For some non-Major courses, Putonghua or Cantonese will be adopted as the medium of instruction when the language is considered to be most effective for teaching.

Career Prospects/Professional Qualifications

There is growing community demand for people with a global perspective, cultural sensitivity, environmental literacy, and strong critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills. This programme will fill this gap and help prepare graduates for a wide range of careers requiring global vision, environmental literacy, and an enhanced understanding of how the wider world affects Hong Kong and China. Graduates are well-prepared to work in government, non-governmental organisations, international businesses, environmental consultancies and other professions.

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

The Education University of Hong Kong is a publicly funded tertiary institution dedicated to the advancement of teaching and learning, through a diverse offering of academic and research programmes on ... Read More

The Education University of Hong Kong is a publicly funded tertiary institution dedicated to the advancement of teaching and learning, through a diverse offering of academic and research programmes on teacher education and complementary social sciences and humanities disciplines. Read less