The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) will introduce a novel academic framework “Major + X” as a new degree option for undergraduates. Blending traditional programs with emerging hot topics such as artificial intelligence, this new degree structure not only offers students with greater flexibility, but also allows timely curriculum adjustment and better integration between existing and new knowledge to meet with the emerging need of the society.
Under the new framework, two new bachelor degree programs – Science (Group A)* with an extended Major in Artificial Intelligence (“Science-A + AI”) and Engineering with an extended Major in Artificial Intelligence (“Engineering + AI”), will be launched in the 2021/22 academic year. Students enrolled in the two programs will choose their major – such as Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Civil Engineering or Ocean Science and Technology from either science (group A) or engineering before the second year begins, while taking AI courses as an extended major.
“New technology and knowledge are emerging at an unprecedented pace in this digital era, while it may not be the most effective to launch a new program on every emerging knowledge, it is essential to incorporate new knowledge such as AI into our system so students could make sense of such novel technologies in real-life applications. Physics students, for example, would want to learn how to analyze billions of fast-disappearing data on particles with AI; while Civil Engineering students may wish to find out the most optimal location and materials for a project and its relevant risks with AI, this is why we launch the major + X initiative,” said Prof Lionel NI, Provost of HKUST.
This major + X approach allows students to finish their study within a four-year timeframe with a well-defined study pathway, and graduate with a title bearing both the traditional major subject they selected, and the extended major X which covers emerging areas such as AI and probably data science, FinTech or digital media and arts later.
“When computer science or Internet first emerged several decades ago, they were studied under traditional disciplines. Eventually, computer science has developed into a standalone discipline, while Internet remains as a subject area. Our major + X approach could offer more flexibility to our students, so they can seize the opportunities when a new area emerges, while also remain adaptable if an area becomes obsolete,” said Prof. PONG Ting-Chuen, Senior Advisor to the Provost and Chairman of the Undergraduate Admissions Subcommittee.
“Science-A + AI” (JUPAS code: JS5181) and “Engineering + AI” (JUPAS code: JS5282) have an intake quota of around 40 and 150 respectively for the year 2021/22. Students of the two programs will be given priority in selecting AI subjects – both mandatory and elective courses, which comprise around 21 to 24 credits in total. Students will also have to complete a capstone project on applying AI in the area of their major study.
“HKUST has always been a pioneer in innovative education, we are among the first to realize interdisciplinary teaching, e-learning, introduce research opportunities to junior students and novel programs that meet latest societal needs. We hope this new “Major + X” model would again, help us groom the right talent for this era,” said Prof. Ni, adding that the University will consider launching more programs under this new framework in the future.
HKUST will hold a Virtual Information Day this Saturday (October 17) on the University’s latest academic programs and admission requirement. Interested parties can register in advance.