Faculty of Science, CUHK - FAQ


1) How many students will be admitted into the Faculty of Science?

The projected enrolment is as follows:

Earth System Science (Atmospheric Science / Geophysics) (ESSC-ASG) 20
Enrichment Mathematics (MATH-ERM) 27
Enrichment Stream in Theoretical Physics (PHYS-ERP) 20
Quantitative Finance and Risk Management Science (QFRM) 20
Risk Management Science (RMSC) 27
Natural Sciences (NSCI) 50


2) How will programmes in the Science Faculty admit students?

The Faculty of Science will admit students under 2 schemes. The SCIENCE programme will admit students through broad-based admissions. Meanwhile, other programmes, including ESSC-ASG, MATH-ERM, PHYS-ERP, QFRM, RMSC, and NSCI will admit students via the programme-based admission.

3) Why are some major programmes (i.e. ESSC-ASG , MATH-ERM, PHYS-ERP, QFRM, RMSC, and NSCI) in the Faculty of Science not included in the broad-based admission?

Our broad range of programmes are designed to cater for a wide range of students. Some programmes are slightly more specific than others, and therefore have different requirements for admission. For example, QFRM is co-organised with the Faculty of Business Administration, while RMSC is a professional subject; ESSC-ASG targets at students who want to pursue in-depth studies in either Atmospheric Science or Geophysics; MATH-ERM and PHYS-ERP are designed for students who have a strong interest in studying mathematics and physics; and NSCI is for the articulation of local Associate Degree/Higher Diploma holders. For these reasons, such programmes are not suitable to be included in the SCIENCE broad-based admission scheme.

4) Say I have been admitted to one of the programmes under the individual admission scheme (e.g. MATH-ERM), but I then realize that the programme is not suitable for me. Would it be difficult to change majors afterwards?

According to our record, very few students from these programmes have changed their majors. However, there are common Faculty Package courses between these programmes and the SCIENCE programme, so if you would like to change their majors, there would be a possible channel to do so.

5) Can I apply for admission of SCIENCE with results in more than one sitting of the HKDSE exam?

For 2017 entry, SCIENCE would consider the best subject results in the same subject taken by applicants in the three most recent attempts of the HKDSE examination.

6) Can I apply for admission on the strength of other qualifications?

Students with other qualifications (for example, GCE-AL, IB, HKALE, Associate Degree/Higher Diploma) should apply for admission through the non-JUPAS admission scheme. Applicants who meet the specific requirements as stipulated by the University for particular qualifications (including GCE-AL, IB, HKALE, Associate Degree/Higher Diploma) may apply for “Admission with Advanced Standing”. The number of units for graduation for students admitted with Advanced Standing may be reduced by up to 24 (normative period of study may be reduced by up to one year).

7) Will programmes in the Science Faculty conduct any interviews for JUPAS applicants?

Except for MATH-ERM, all programmes will conduct interviews for JUPAS applicants. The interview arrangement of each programme is as follows:

 Before release of HKDSE ResultsAfter release of HKDSE Results
JS4633 ESSC-ASG V ---
JS4682 MATH-ERM --- ---
JS4690 PHYS-ERP V ---
JS4719 RMSC V ---

Only applicants who place SCIENCE as their BAND A choice may be invited to the interview. Interviews before the release of HKDSE results are tentatively scheduled in May.

Selection Principle: Total Score of 5 Subjects

Subjects with special weighting are as follows:


(A maximum of 3 subjects will be weighed heavier)

2.0 x Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Mathematics (Module 1 or 2), Combined Science, Integrated Science

1.5 x Chinese or English, Economics, Geography, Information and Communication Technology, Technology and Living (Food Science & Technology)


Heavier weighting on Chinese, English, Mathematics, Mathematics (Module 1 or 2), Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Combined Science, Integrated Science


Heavier weighting on Mathematics (Module 1 or 2)


Heavier weighting on Physics, Mathematics, Mathematics (Module 1 or 2)


2.0 x English, Mathematics, Mathematics (Module 1 or 2)


2.0 x Mathematics, Mathematics (Module 1 or 2)
0.5 x Liberal Studies


9) Will you give any bonus points to the additional electives?

Yes, bonus points would be assigned to up to two extra subjects.

10) Is it guaranteed that a student can go to the programme of his/her own choice?

For students admitted to the SCIENCE programme, entry to the major programme of their choice is guaranteed, provided that students have fulfilled the specific requirements as stipulated by the potential major programme.

11) When can I choose my major?

Depending on your preparation, you may declare your major at the time of entry, or the end of Year 1, or Year 2 of your studies.

Details of Major Declaration 

12) What are the purposes of having these major declaration phases?

Phase 1 is intended for students who may have a very strong interest in a particular subject and those who have been determined about their major programme long before entering the University.

Phase 2 is designed for students who may also wish to find their interest and their academic strengths during the course of Year 1. This pathway enables and encourages students to choose a major that they are able to complete.

For students who may have wide interests in various science subjects or those who may need further consideration or extra assistance in learning and advancing, Phase 3 is the path which allows them the greatest flexibility to do so. Students must declare their major after their first two years of studies.

13) If I have not made up my mind on my major, how should I proceed after entry? Which courses should I take?

It is anticipated that some students may not have decided their major at entry. Given the flexibility of the programme structure, you will have plenty of time to think about what you are interested in; what you want to learn and what you want to be. Give it some thought. You should be able to come up with one or two (or more) areas that you are more inclined to study in, which becomes your potential major (to be officially declared in Phase 2 or 3). You should consult the study schemes for these potential majors and, take note of the Faculty Package course requirements of these programmes. You will find that some courses are “overlapped”, meaning that they satisfy more than one major’s course requirements, and you are advised to start with those courses.

At the same time you will be assigned an academic advisor, who will be able to guide you and give you advice. Moreover, you can gather more information on your interested potential majors by talking to the teachers. It is likely that by the end of Year 1, you would have taken Faculty Package courses required for a few major programmes.

14) Can I choose to take more than 3 courses from the Faculty Package courses?

Each programme in the Science Faculty requires its graduates to take 3 courses, or a total of nine units, from the Faculty Package courses. This is merely a minimum requirement. As CUHK runs on a credit-based system, students will have extra credits available to study any other courses as they wish to. In some cases, the study scheme of a science major programme may allow students to take additional courses that belong to the Faculty Package and count these credits as major units. You should consult the major programme’s study scheme for details, and/or seek advice from your major programme or academic advisor.

15) Are the Faculty Package courses to be taken all in Year 1?

Formally in CUHK’s credit-based system, we don’t have the notion of a yearly curriculum. As long as students fulfil graduation requirements of their major including Faculty Package courses, it will be an acceptable plan. Therefore, we do not require students to complete all Faculty Package courses in Year 1. However, academically, the study of science subjects is very often sequential in nature, i.e., one needs some background knowledge before moving to the next stage of learning. These Faculty Package courses are designed to provide the necessary background to move forward within a major programme, as well as to serve the purpose of broadening students’ scope and allowing them to sample different science disciplines. Practically, it is in students’ best interest to take these courses in the beginning stage of their university studies.

16) I’m interested in three different major programmes, does that mean I have to study nine Faculty Package courses?

It is not necessary for you to study nine Faculty Package courses even if you have interest in different science subjects. To better prepare students for selecting a major of study, a flexible first-year curriculum and a Faculty Package of courses have been designed for students. For details, please refer to Curriculum and Faculty Package.

Here are three examples for your reference:
Example 1 – If you are interested in Chemistry, Physics and Earth System Science, you can complete CHEM1070, PHYS1111 and MATH1010 in order to fulfil the three majors’ requirements.

Example 2 – If you are interested in Physics, Mathematics and Statistics, you may complete PHYS1111, STAT1011 and MATH1010 in order to fulfil your desired majors’ Faculty Package requirements. (After having studied those 3 courses, you may also choose to major in Earth System Science.)

Example 3 – Say you are interested in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Mathematics. You will need to study four courses, including CHEM1070, LSCI1002, MATH1010 and STAT1011 to meet the Faculty Package requirements of these three major programmes. (After having studied those four courses, students can also choose to major in Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Earth System Science, Environmental Science, Food and Nutritional Sciences, Molecular Biotechnology, or Statistics.)

17) I want to major in subject X, but I hate to study anything in subject Y. X required Y in the Faculty Package requirement and I really don’t want to study Y. Why does X require us to take a course in Y?

The courses in the Faculty Package are designed to cater to students with different preparations in secondary school. They also provide the necessary background, in terms of contents, skills, and even culture (scientifically speaking) to proceed to more advanced learning. Each major programme was designed to benefit their students the most. If your major programme X requires you to take a course in discipline Y, the course in Y is intended to provide you with the essential background, skills, or viewpoints that will benefit your major. It would be wise to keep your mind open and give yourself a chance to explore and appreciate other subjects.

18) Are there any exchange opportunities?

Definitely! Science students will have plenty opportunities to undertake exchange studies either overseas or in mainland China:

  • The Office of Academic Links provides many exchange programmes;
  • The Faculty has also specially designed some exchange programmes for science students only. Information is available in Experiential Learning;
  • Most programmes also provide various summer exchange or internship opportunities for students. Please consult with the individual programmes;
  • Numerous other exchange opportunities are organized by the respective colleges; and
  • Many other short term exchange opportunities and internship opportunities are provided by various units of the University.