Given the emergence of Industry 4.0 as a key trend that is shaping the future, innovation and technology have become the new driving force for the economy of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. In addition to acquiring professional knowledge, young people are required to master the skills needed by contemporary society and to possess an entrepreneurial spirit, in order to demonstrate diverse strengths such as creativity and problem-solving capability on different occasions. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is committed to providing high-quality education that keeps pace with the times. To better equip our students for societal needs, the University will fully implement department scheme-based admissions from the 2022/23 academic year onwards, thus providing students with more flexible study options and helping them to enhance their competitiveness.
Starting from the 2022/23 academic year, the new department scheme-based arrangement will be applied to all programmes (except for some specialised programmes such as Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Nursing). Under the new arrangement, when students apply to PolyU, they will first select a scheme from a department. Upon enrolling to the University, students only need to undertake the common courses of the department in their first academic year. They will then select their Major in the second academic year. This will offer them more time to gain a better understanding about their own interests and aspirations, so as to make the most suitable choice in selecting their Major.
Furthermore, two new elements, namely “Artificial Intelligence and Data Analysis” (AIDA) and “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” (IE), will be incorporated into the General University Requirement (GUR) from the next academic year. All undergraduate students must complete at least 2 credits of the AIDA courses and at least 1 credit of the IE courses within their 4-year study period to fulfil the minimum requirements for graduation.
Under the department scheme-based arrangement, students can choose to take a secondary Major in AIDA and IE. They are required to complete at least 66 credits for their primary Major, and at least 36 credits should be from AIDA or IE. The former includes Artificial Intelligence, Programming and other related subjects; while the latter features initiatives such as a 12-week company attachment and visits to the Greater Bay Area to learn about the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In addition, they must also acquire 30 credits from the GUR, totalling at least 132 credits to meet the graduation requirement. Students can also opt for a Minor in either AIDA or IE by taking 18 credits from the chosen subject area.
PolyU’s Vice President (Education), Prof. Kwok-yin WONG, said that by enhancing the undergraduate curriculum, PolyU aims to provide students with more flexible and customised programmes to meet societal needs. He explained, “University education aims to nuture future-ready leaders for society. We hope PolyU graduates will not only gain solid academic knowledge, but also have the diverse strengths that are essential for the future development of society. Therefore, PolyU is keen to promote a series of strategies to enhance the undergraduate curriculum in this respect, to be fully implemented in the next academic year. I believe these initiatives will help students acquire vital interdisciplinary knowledge, and also equip them with creative thinking to cope with the rapid changes in our world.”
To encourage undergraduate students to undertake research, PolyU launched the “Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scheme” (URIS) in the summer of 2021, providing funding for participating students to conduct scientific research projects. Students can submit applications individually or in groups, and each approved project will receive funding ranging from HK$50,000 to HK$100,000. Since the launch of the scheme, more than 110 projects have been approved, covering different research fields including Applied Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, etc. A total of more than HK$ 5 million in funding has been granted so far. In addition to research funding, PolyU will also provide additional types of support to participants, such as guidance on research, as well as auto admission to the College of Undergraduate Researchers and Innovators (CURI). They will furthermore be given priority in the allocation of hostel places at PolyU’s new Residential College in the Homantin Student Halls of Residence, and will be provided access to seminars and sharing sessions on different topics with resident researchers.
Prof. Daniel SHEK, Associate Vice President (Undergraduate Programme) of PolyU, said: “Through the scheme, we hope to strengthen students’ curiosity in academic research and nurture the next generation of researchers. The first cohort of the scheme was launched in the summer of 2021, and drew a positive response with close to 250 applications. Among the more than 140 proposals received, over 80% were approved. We are pleased to see students demonstrate interest and enthusiasm in scientific research, and we hope they can learn from the experience and acquire knowledge to lay a solid foundation for their future career in research.”
PolyU will hold an Undergraduate Education Info day on 9 October 2021 (Saturday) to provide students with the latest information about its full-time undergraduate programmes, and will share further details of the new department scheme-based arrangement.
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