Common Core Curriculum

The Common Core Program is essential to undergraduate education, complementing studies in specialist disciplines and other learning opportunities.

Since its last implementation in 2012, there have been rapid changes in global technology trends and the growing importance of cross-disciplinary studies. To prepare students for future challenges, the objectives, structure, and implementation of the Common Core Program are being revised.

Starting from the academic year 2022-23, all undergraduates admitted from that year and onwards will follow the 30-credit Common Core framework. The new framework adopts a scaffolding structure with 3 tiers of common core groups (i.e. Foundations, Broadening, and Experiencing) which provide students with more interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities. It also emphasizes competency education, which help students acquire, develop, and practice essential competencies for their study and future.

The table below shows the common core groups, common core areas, and requirements:

Foundations Requirement (12 to 15 credits)

The Foundations group includes Cognitive Foundations of University Education: Critical Thinking and Data Literacy (CTDL), Behavioral Foundations of University Education: Habits, Mindsets, and Wellness (HMW), English Communication (E-Comm), and Chinese Communication (C-Comm) areas. These courses aim to provide students with core skillsets and mindsets training. It is recommended that students take these courses in their first year of study.

Please note that the CTDL area is an elective. Students may take ANY course, including those from their home common core area(s), from the Broadening group to substitute for a course in the CTDL area. However, transferred credits granted in any common core area in the Broadening group cannot be used to fulfill the credit requirement of CTDL area. Students are strongly encouraged to consider taking a course in CTDL area to develop their cognitive skills and enhance their learning experience at the university. 

Broadening Requirement (12 to 18 credits)

Before taking any common core courses in the Broadening group, students must complete one common core course in the E-Comm area at HKUST:

  1. Students who have not received transferred credits for an E-Comm course are required to take and complete either LANG 1401 Intensive English Language for University Studies (previously coded as CORE 1401) or LANG 1402 English Language for University Studies (previously coded as CORE 1402).
  2. Students who have received transferred credits for LANG 1402 English Language for University Studies (previously coded as CORE 1402) must complete either LANG 1403 Academic English for University Studies (previously coded as CORE 1403) or LANG 1404 Advanced Academic English for University Studies (previously coded as CORE 1404).

Each major program at HKUST has designated home common core areas in the Broadening group that correspond to the primary academic disciplines of that program. The home common core area(s) of each undergraduate program are listed below:

  • All programs in School of Science (SSCI): Science (S)
  • All programs in School of Engineering (SENG), except BIEN, CEEV, CENG, and COSC programs: Technology (T)
  • BIEN, CEEV, and CENG programs in SENG: Science (S) and Technology (T)
  • COSC program in SENG: Technology (T) and the second home common core area may differ for individual students, please contact SENG
  • All programs in School of Business and Management (SBM), except WBB program: Social Analysis (SA)
  • WBB program in SBM: please refer to the program-specific credit requirement
  • GCS program in School of Humanities and Social Science (SHSS): Humanities (H) and Social Analysis (SA)
  • QSA program in SHSS: Social Analysis (SA)
  • EVMT program in Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS): Social Analysis (SA)
  • IIM program in AIS: home common core area(s) may differ for individual students, please contact AIS
  • Dual degree programs (DDP) in AIS: home common core areas differ from programs
  • Joint-School programs (JS): home common core areas differ from programs

To provide students with a well-rounded education, HKUST requires each student to complete 12 credits of common core courses outside their home area in the Broadening group. Students should take a minimum of 3 credits from each non-home common core area under the Broadening group. If they fall short of the 12-credit requirement, they may take Broadening courses of any area, including their home common core area(s), to fulfill the requirement.

For example, SSCI majors must complete at least 3 credits from each area in A, H, T, and SA. Similarly, SBM majors (excluding WBB) must complete at least 3 credits from each area in A, H, S, and T.

For students enrolled in an additional major, a dual degree program, or a Joint-School program, their home common core areas consist of the union of all the home common core areas of their individual majors taken. For instance, students in a dual degree program in SSCI and SBM would have home common core areas consisting of the S and SA areas. These students are required to complete at least 3 credits in each of the A, H, and T areas. The remaining 3 credits can be earned by taking courses in any common core area in the Broadening group.

The minimum credit requirement for each common core area in the Broadening group varies across different major programs. In general, students should fulfill the program-specific credit requirement to fulfill the Broadening requirement. However, if students wish to substitute a course in the CTDL/UxOP areas, they can take any course from the Broadening group at HKUST, regardless of their major program. Again, transferred credits granted in any common core area in the Broadening group cannot be used to fulfill the credit requirement of the CTDL/UxOP areas.

Experiencing Requirement (0 to 3 credits)

Before enrolling in any common core courses in the Experiencing group, students must fulfill the requirements of the Behavioral Foundations of University Education: Habits, Mindsets, and Wellness (HMW), English Communication (E-Comm), and Chinese Communication (C-Comm) common core areas, and complete at least two courses from different common core areas in the Broadening group.

The Experiencing group requires students to choose any one of the four structured programs offered as the Undergraduate experiential Opportunities Programs (UxOP):


Each UxOP will have a distinct focus, but all of them will be experiential. Please note that the UxOP area is an elective. Students may take ANY course, including those from their home common core area(s), from the Broadening group as a substitute for a course in the UxOP area. Similar to the requirement in the CTDL area, the transferred credits granted in any common core area in the Broadening group cannot be used to fulfill the credit requirement of the UxOP area. Students are strongly encouraged to consider taking a course in UxOP area to enrich their learning expereince at the university.

Remarks

# The UROP course in the 30-credit Common Core curriculum is different from other existing UROP courses listed at https://urop.hkust.edu.hk/; The details of course information and structure will be released in due course. Students are still welcome to take any UROP courses (e.g., UROP 1100 and UROP 1000) under existing UROP program before satisfying the UROP requirement in Common Core Program.