The Common Core
The HKU Common Core provides a space for building friendships across all the Faculties; for enhancing creative and critical thinking; and for addressing complex questions of the contemporary world. Focusing on significant issues, the Common Core will help you make connections both to and beyond your chosen disciplinary fields of study and to develop the intellectual, social, and innovative skills that all HKU undergraduates will need, as well as the ethical perspectives that the entire HKU community is striving to practise.
What are the goals?
The overarching goals of the Common Core are:
What will you study?
The Common Core Curriculum is designed to help you see connections across history, culture, knowledge, and experience through an exploration of:
How will you be assessed?
Since learning occurs best when it is most active, Common Core courses utilize diverse modes of assessment such as essays, journals, scrapbooks, or observation logs; making a short video, map, or soundscape; engaging in relevant experiments and fieldwork; constructing a website; creating a public exhibit; or undertaking group projects or presentations. Occasionally, there will also be a traditional examination or a quiz.
How will you learn?
Student workload hours for a 6-credit course amount to 120-180 hours. Common Core courses normally, but not always consist of 36 contact hours, with a 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week. Within these sessions, you may be asked to solve problems, address difficult social questions, discuss different perspectives, or decide on issues you wish to investigate further. The remainder of the hours will be accounted for through engaging in a variety of learning activities including, among others, close reading, reflective writing, media production, fieldwork, group projects, quizzes or exams, interviews and other forms of research.
How is the Common Core Curriculum structured?
In order to ensure a balanced exploration, the Common Core is divided into four Areas of Inquiry (AoIs): Scientific and Technological Literacy, Humanities, Global Issues and China: Culture, State and Society. However, it is important for you to realize that while these AoIs serve as a means of organizing the curriculum, they are inter-related rather than mutually exclusive.Please click the icons below for more information.
How do you select your courses?
Common Core courses are selected online through the Student Information System (SIS). It is important to note that selecting a course online does not guarantee a place on the course as Common Core courses have a fixed quota.
Course Selection Period (Course approval method: First-Come-First-Served)
After the course selection period closes, all the waiting lists generated during the course selection period will be purged. You will not be allowed to make any changes to your course selection until the add/drop period.
Add/Drop Period (Course approval method: Auto-Ballot)
*IMPORTANT: You should ensure that your Common Core course selection does not violate the requirement of not taking more than one course from any AoI in an academic year. Otherwise, your enrollment will be disapproved by the system automatically.
You are strongly advised to refer to the Course Selection Schedule as well as the Quick Guide on Course Selection and Enrollment available on the HKU Portal before performing your course selection.
Why are tutorials important?
Tutorials, which are normally conducted weekly in a small groups setting, are an essential and compulsory element of study in the Common Core Curriculum. The purpose of tutorials is to provide a context for you to clarify and deepen your understanding through dialogue with others in an interactive setting. Additionally, tutorials offer an environment for you to improve your communication skills and develop your confidence. Each member of the tutorial group has responsibility for creating an effective learning experience for all concerned, and it is therefore important that you prepare adequately by reviewing lectures, formulating questions for discussion, and completing any preset tasks such as reading, writing, or research requirements.
What are the Common Core Curriculum requirements?
You are normally required to take 6 six-credit courses, one from each AoI and not more than 2 from any AoI. However, the number of courses required and the year and semester in which they are taken vary from programme to programme. The majority of Common Core courses are taught on Wednesday afternoon, with a smaller number of them on Saturday morning.
Please note that whatever the requirements for your programme you are not allowed to take more than one course from any AoI in an academic year (except for students admitted in 2014-15 and thereafter who are required to make up for failed credits).