The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Chapter 2Curriculum Structure and an Overview of the Quality Assurance Structure

2.1 The ¡°Outcomes-Based Approach¡±

The outcomes-based approach (OBA) to T&L fosters student attainment of identified learning outcomes. Paramount emphasis is placed on aligning content, pedagogical strategies, learning activities, and forms of assessment with learning objectives, not only for programmes, but also for each individual course. Under the OBA, every student will be guided to acquire expected graduate attributes, which are expressed in terms of knowledge, professional and generic skills, as well as values and attitudes, at their level of study:

2.2 Curriculum Structure

2.2.1 Ug Programmes

The University¡¯s Ug curriculum adopts a credit unit system, which affords flexibility in course selection and study planning.

In the four-year curriculum, students have to complete (i) University Core Requirements, which provide them with generic skills and a foundational intellectual apparatus for their studies, (ii) faculty package courses, which provide students with a broad intellectual perspective on their majors and cognate disciplines, and (iii) major programme requirements, which allow students to acquire in-depth knowledge in their chosen discipline. Major programmes also include a ¡°research component¡±, which may comprise internship, research work, or other learning activities that help students put their learning in practice. Some programmes offer the research component as the capstone component of the Ug curriculum.

Students may also pursue a minor, or an extra major, in addition to their major studies. Students who pursue dual degree programmes or double degree options will be awarded two degrees upon successful completion of the graduation requirements.

Appendix 2-4 provides an overview of the four-year curriculum introduced in 2012. See Appendix 2-5 for the Undergraduate Student Handbook.

2.2.2 TPg Programmes

Full-time and part-time TPg programmes at different levels (doctoral, master¡¯s, postgraduate diploma, or certificate) are offered by Faculties and Departments. The normative study period ranges from one to five years. The General Framework of Taught Postgraduate Programmes (Appendix 2-6) stipulates that TPg programmes employ a modular structure, with coursework as a significant programme component. Individual TPg programmes may also require students to complete dissertations, participate in practicum or internship, as deemed appropriate for the subject matter concerned. Appendix 2-7 shows common requirements for TPg programmes. Other helpful documents that stipulate guidelines and references on TPg programmes include:

2.2.3 RPg Programmes

RPg programmes are offered in both full-time and part-time modes; they lead to the award of the degrees of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and/or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Over half of the programmes are offered in an MPhil-PhD mode, which offers the option for students to enter a PhD programme with a Bachelor¡¯s degree. Students taking this mode fall into one of the three categories: (i) MPhil, (ii) PhD (pre-candidacy), and (iii) PhD (post-candidacy). The normative duration for a RPg programme usually falls between 24 and 64 months.

Although the thrust of RPg programmes is research, all programmes include coursework components, some of which are designed to aid students in their research work and thesis writing. RPg theses must display originality, as well as mastery of sound research methods.

Appendix 2-10 shows requirements for the conferment of degrees. Other helpful materials on RPg programmes include:

2.3 QA Structures

2.3.1 University-level QA Structures

The University has clear QA mechanisms for T&L. The SCTL, chaired by the Pro-Vice- Chancellor (Education), oversees all matters related to T&L. The GC and the GCExCo, chaired by the Dean of the Graduate School, oversees Pg programmes.

Non-formal (or so-called co- and non-curricular) learning activities are likewise overseen by dedicated bodies. The activities of each College are overseen by the College¡¯s Assembly of Fellows, chaired by the respective College Head. Centrally-organized student activities are overseen by the Committee on Student Affairs, chaired by the University Dean of Students, and centrally-organized exchange programmes are overseen by the Committee on Academic Links, chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (External Affairs and Institutional Advancement).

Appendix 2-13 shows a schematic view of all major QA systems in place. Table 2-1 shows overseeing bodies and host units for Ug University Core Requirements. For example, the Senate Committee on Language Enhancement (SCLE) and the Senate Committee on General Education (SCGE) are responsible for Ug core language requirements and University General Education (UGE) requirements respectively. All these Committees report to the Senate and work closely with Faculties and Departments to ensure the delivery of quality education at the University.

Table 2-1: Responsible Bodies for Ug University Core requirements

University Core Requirements Host Department/ Units Overseeing bodies
First tier Second tier
Chinese Language Department of Chinese
Language and Literature
Faculty of Arts SCLE
English Language English Language
Teaching Unit
Faculty of Arts SCLE
General Education
Office of University
General Education
Foundation courses
CGE Respective Assembly of
Fellows at Colleges
Information Technology
Office of the IT Foundation Course Faculty of Engineering Sub-Committee on Education Technologies (SET)
of the University¡¯s IT Governance Committee
Physical Education Physical Education Unit Faculty of Education Senate Committee on Physical Education

RPg and TPg programmes are managed by Graduate Divisions of the respective Departments and Faculties, and are overseen by the Graduate School, which, in turn, is governed by the GC and the GCExCo.

2.3.2 Role of Faculties and Departments

Appendix 2-14 shows the T&L management structure for all programmes. Individual Faculties serve the key roles of overseeing and monitoring academic programmes and courses offered by their Departments/ Units. Individual Departments/ teaching units administer the planning, development, delivery and assessment of courses and programmes through curriculum committees and assessment panels, which report to Faculty Boards. Integrated programmes offered by more than one Department are managed by their respective Faculties and Programme Boards, whereas interdisciplinary programmes report to the Departments concerned.

2.4 Major Documents on QA

The Integrated Framework for Curriculum Development and Review (IF) (Ug programmes: Appendix 2-15; TPg programmes: Appendix 2-16) illustrates the University¡¯s commitment to assure and enhance the quality of taught programmes. It contains clear principles of curriculum development and review, and serves as important reference material for teaching staff in the development, design and review of academic curricula.

Code of Practice for Taught Postgraduate Studies (Appendix 2-9) and Code of Practice for Research Postgraduate Studies (Appendix 2-11) offer practical advice and describe good practices to students, supervisors and personnel supporting TPg/ RPg programmes alike.

These documents are updated on a regular basis by SCTL and GC, the procedures described therein are applicable to all teaching programmes and units.