To better prepare students to select a major of study, a flexible first-year curriculum and a Faculty Package (FP) of courses have been designed for students with different preparations. In the first year, students will study at least three courses from the Faculty Package according to their interest, ability and the courses required for their desired major. The package contains five groups of subjects, and they are as follows:
- Life Sciences
Each group consists of several courses that are available to students with different science backgrounds and interests. The first course shall be chosen from the student’s most desired major programme. The second course shall be chosen from a relevant subject, and the third course shall be chosen from the remaining groups. For details of the faculty package courses, please refer to the section "Faculty Packages" of the Undergraduate Student Handbook.
1) 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 should have taken Faculty Package courses required for a few major programmes.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) I’m interested in three different major programmes, does that mean I have to study nine Faculty Package courses?
No. 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.)
5) 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.