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Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Entrepreneurship and Development Studies (Two-year Full-time)

Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Entrepreneurship and Development Studies 
(Two-year Full-time) 

Programme Code: A2B103

Programme Aims

The programme prepares young people with the skills and knowledge to create high-impact social careers, with a focus on the developmental needs in the region (such as Asia, and the Greater Bay Area (GBA)). Specifically, it aims to:

provide students with a holistic experience of social entrepreneurship, taking students from ambition stages all the way to developing pitches for investors;
enable students to build support among stakeholders and manage and grow social ventures to scale and maximise impacts;
enhance students’ understanding of the complex dynamics of social transitions and comprehensive understanding of regional developments from a comparative perspective; and
provide students with the academic and professional foundation to become professionals in social enterprises and government / non-government organisations, corporations; and local / national / international associations and organisations, and provide a strong foundation for career advancement and future postgraduate studies.

Programme Features

Social entrepreneurship is one of the most important parts of the modern social economy. In a world that is rapidly changing, it is the social entrepreneurs who create the innovations for problems that are so complex and no easy solutions are available. Students will be equipped with practical organisational and entrepreneurial skills that are necessary for their future career. Meanwhile, students will benefit from rigorous training in development studies and the network they develop through internship and field visits with organisations in Hong Kong and other cities in the GBA.

Programme Intended Learning Outcomes (PILOs)

Upon successful completion of the Programme, students will be able to:

understand the principles, ethics, and practice of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise management (PILO1);
analyse contemporary development and social issues in GBA, Greater China, and Asia from a comparative and multidisciplinary perspective (PILO2);
apply substantive knowledge of development, institutions and processes in social entrepreneurship (PILO3);
design financially sustainable solutions to address issues related to human development in local, national, regional and global contexts (PILO4); and
communicate analysis of social and developmental problems and solutions to relevant stakeholders, investors, and the broader community (PILO5).

Programme Structure

Domain Components cps

Major Core 24
Internship 6
Major Interdisciplinary Course 3
Field Visit (non-credit bearing)
Final Year Project Honours Project I: Research Methods and Proposal/
Capstone Project I: Research Methods and Proposal
Honours Project II: Research Report/
Capstone Project II: Project Output
Electives / Minor Electives / Minor 15
Common Core University e-Portfolio 3
GE Breadth Course / GE Experiential Learning Course 3
Total cps 60
Information Technology Competence Requirement
  • Classes will be held in Tai Po Campus and Tseung Kwan O Study Centre / Kowloon Tong Satellite Study Centre / Sport Centre as decided by the University.


Programme Leaflet


Student Handbook:

Course Synopsis

Major Core Courses (24 cps)

The private sector has made use of the “business approach” to address the unmet social needs. Social Entrepreneurship (SE) have become the buzzwords in the private sector. The boundaries between the public and private sectors are getting blurred where the private sector is delivering social goods and is measuring the social impact and outcome which can be created for the clients and stakeholders. Thus, SE culture is rapidly growing as it offers a way of empowering employees, giving back to the community, or adopting a more sustainable business approach. This course aims to focus on how to create, organize, develop, and scale high-performing social enterprises. The course also provides a thorough understanding of the nature, operational concerns and strategic positions of such organisations. Drawing on theory and practice, the course intends to explore the environment in which social enterprises operate, and how leadership and management competencies can be channelled to maximise the social impact. To better prepare students with effective strategic planning and decision-making, the course will help students to develop essential skills in leadership, people management, and more. Taken together, students will acquire the understanding, skills, and knowledge necessary to lead and sustain high performance in enterprises dedicated to addressing some of the most challenging problems facing the world today.

Course Outline

Effective financial management is a pillar for social entrepreneurship. This course aims to introduce students to the basic issues and problems confronting those responsible for the management of financial resources. With an emphasis on social enterprises, the course will compare and contrast budgeting and financial management in the public, non-profit, and private sectors, examining their origins, principles and constraints. In particular, it will cover the following contents: a) budget and management process and procedures, cash management, accounting and auditing practice; b) methods and tools for financial planning, implementation, and reporting: c) revenue and fiscal sustainability for social entrepreneurs.

It aims to provide students with critical insight into the tradition of financial control and budgeting, the evolution of budgetary models and approaches, and the recent trends for enhancing autonomy, fiscal transparency, efficiency and financial accountability.

Course Outline

Social entrepreneurship is an increasingly prevalent model to combine business models and social missions with the aim of benefitting both the beneficiaries and the customers. Like businesses, understanding the stakeholders and the customers and successfully engage them will determine the success of a social venture.

The course aims at equipping students the knowledge of Stakeholder and customer analysis, those groups or individuals who may be affected by an initiative or who share a common business need or communication plan to ensure the project solution is delivered and accepted. The course also aims at facilitating students using different forms of communication and marketing tools and strategies to engage and empower the beneficiaries, the customers, as well as other stakeholders.

Course Outline

This course introduces the theories and practices of development by exposing students to real world developmental problems in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). The theories highlight the importance of institutions in the process of development. Meanwhile, the case studies cover some of the most pressing developmental issues in the GBA, such as corruption, education, pollution, healthcare, and housing. Students complete the course with practical knowledge and skills to frame developmental problems, develop and evaluate innovative solutions, analyze institutional environments, make choices under uncertainty, and ensure commitment to development plans.

Course Outline

The past decade has seen a phenomenal surge of interest in social innovation as a new way to address pressing economic, social and environmental challenges facing local, national and global development. The demand for social innovation is made more urgent in the context of economic recession and fiscal constraints when the widening gap between what the governments provide and the socio-economic development needs of the citizens propels the entrance of a variety of new socially responsible innovators and the emergence of various socially innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives in the societal problem-solving arena. This course aims to prepare students to develop a critical understanding of the potential, strength and limitation of the emerging strategies and practices of social innovations as well as the way in which social innovation and responsible leadership can bring about positive social change and sustainable development outcomes. Instructive case studies of socially innovative action in a diversity of development contexts will be examined to reveal the emergence of new ways of doing things in public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to deal with challenges to inclusive social and economic development. The objective is to equip student with the concepts, mindset, skills and relationship needed for them to develop creative and innovative solutions cutting across organizational, sectoral and disciplinary boundaries.

Course Outline

This course aims to provide students with a clear and all-round introduction to the complex debates around how development has been understood and achieved in a shifting global economic and political landscape. Drawing mainly upon the practices, experiences, lessons and challenges of economic and social development in China, this course will engage students in a critical thinking of and reflection on the evolution and change of development concepts, theories, approaches and policies as they are put into practice in the real world and are entwined with such issues as state and economy, globalization, welfare regime, poverty and inequality, environment and sustainability and so on at local, national and global scales. The objective is to assist students to develop analytical skills and global perspective essential for evaluating the multifaceted dimensions of development on people’s lives and environments in different historical, geographical and institutional contexts.

Course Outline

This course will scrutinize the historical development, political and economic characteristics and importance of the regional cooperation in Greater China. The course begins by outlining the main theoretical approaches (realism, pluralism, idealism and globalism) that are used to examine the regional cooperation, the existence of different type of regional cooperation, and various strategies for its maintenance and for improving its quality. The second part of the course focuses on the institutional system of the regional cooperation in Greater China, with special attention of the interaction between different actors in the region. From a social innovation perspective, students will explore the possibility of fostering regional cooperation at the sub-state level. The final part is concerned with the challenges facing the regional cooperation in Greater China and how the governments  in the region use organizations and policy coordination to respond to the challenges.

Course Outline

Decision-making in social enterprises is a scientific endeavor in the 21st century. Thus, the knowledge of scientific toolkits is necessary to make optimal decisions. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the two most important decision-making tools in social entrepreneurship, namely game theory and quantitative methods. These skills are useful for decision-makers working in social enterprises, private firms, and governments, and are applicable to a wide range of situations. One of the major purposes of this course is to enrich students’ analytic skills in face of an increasingly complex society.

The first part of this course offers brief coverage of game theory. Game theory can offer guidance to individuals on how to make decisions rationally, strategically, and optimally. Social entrepreneurs interact with other players in society all the time while game theory is especially relevant to situations where players are interacting with each other intensively. Hence, mastering the basic concept of game theory is conducive to creating more optimal outcomes for social enterprises.

The second part of this course focuses on quantitative methods that have become increasingly indispensable in social science research and practices. While game theory provides theoretical insights for decision-making, quantitative methods can validate the correctness of these insights in an evidence-based way. In this course, we will offer introductions to both conventional statistical methods as well as more advanced techniques that will dominate the field in the foreseeable future, such as machine learning. The purpose of this part is to prepare students who are interested in a career of social entrepreneurship for upcoming changes in the era of big data.

Course Outline

The Field Visit is a required component of the programme providing students an opportunity to visit cities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) or nearby cities in the region. It aims at enhancing students’ awareness of the ongoing developmental issues in the region, and the importance of social enterprises in tackling those issues. Through collaboration with other university partners throughout the region, students are expected to actively engage in the interactive learning environment where international and local students combine knowledge acquired from lectures and seminars with investigation of problems and prospects of the GBA in the Asian context. A typical field visit will include visits to government offices, international non-profit organizations, think tanks, social services and environmental protection organizations. Renowned businessmen, community leaders, prominent scholars will also be invited as guest speakers for lecturers and professional visits.

Course Outline

Internship (6 cps)

The student Internship aims to help students integrate and apply in a real-life setting the knowledge and skills they have gained in earlier stages of the programme. Students will be expected to engage in reflection throughout their Internship experience and make analyses with regard to the problems and prospects in Greater China. Placement in the public, private or third sectors will enhance students’ sense of social responsibility as well as their regional and global literacy. Practical experience in various fields will also assist students in making decisions on their future career.

Course Outline

Major Interdisciplinary Course (3 cps)

This course explores major social policy challenges and issues confronting societies in Asia, with a particular focus on Greater China. Adopting a comparative approach in analyzing policy formation and implementation, this course will enable students to understand the most recent developments related to major social policy areas like, education, health, social welfare, housing, elderly, youth and ethnic minorities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and other selected cities in Asia. This course also introduces different types of institutions (like the Non-Governmental Organizations) and modes of service delivery (like public private partnership) to students. Students will be engaged in comparing and contrasting major social policy issues of selected Asian societies, and appreciating the complexity of policy formation, implementation and evaluation from comparative perspectives.

Course Outline

Final Year Project (6 cps)

This course focuses on preparing students to conduct an innovative social research project in Development Studies in Honours Project II: Research Report. It equips students with skills and knowledge in problem identification, literature review, research methods, prototyping, ethical principles and the elements of research process within quantitative and qualitative approaches. Students will be required to form groups and prepare a research topic to be presented in the tutorials. They will then be required to write up a research proposal using the knowledge they learn and the comments gathered in the tutorials.

Course Outline

This course aims to develop students as social innovators in Hong Kong; and prepare them for conducting a research-based or an inquiry-based project in Capstone Project II: Project Output.

Capstone Project I equips students with skills and knowledge in problem identification, design thinking, literature review, research methods, prototyping, ethical principles and the elements of community engagement in social innovation and entrepreneurship. Students will be required to work individually and prepare a project topic to be presented in the tutorials. They will then be required to write up a social innovation project proposal using the knowledge they learn and the comments gathered  in the tutorials.

Course Outline

Students will be guided to study a self-chosen topic. The topic may be related to broad, relevant issues, or how these main themes relate to a particular societal/regional context. The skills of quantitative and qualitative research, formulation of proposals, data collection, analysis and presentation of finding, design thinking, and prototyping will be further developed in this process. It leads to a reflective inquiry project that serves as a capstone for the honours degree programme. Students’ learning experiences accumulated through their undergraduate studies will be consolidated in this project. It helps students integrate and synthesize prior knowledge and may extend their scope of exposure in work-related settings. A report (4,000 – 6,000 words) is prepared under the supervision of an academic tutor, who advises the students on the work, and provides feedback at different stages of its development.

Course Outline

This course is a continuation of the Capstone Project I: Research Methods and Proposal, and serves as a culminating academic and practical experience for students. It is a project-based learning avenue that enables our students to consolidate, integrate, and reflect on their undergraduate experiences for transiting to (and even celebrating) their upcoming post-graduation life -such as entering the workplace. Students will be guided to conduct a self-chosen social innovation project. The topic may related to broad, relevant issues, or how these main themes relate to a particular societal context. The skills of social innovation and entrepreneurship, including formulation of project ideas, data collection, design thinking, prototyping, analysis, project management, and pitching, will be further developed in this process. It leads to a reflective social innovation project that serves as a capstone for the honours degree programme. By the end of the course, they are expected to create a project output, present on it, and submit a project report.

Course Outline

Electives / Minor

Apart from the major courses, the programme includes the Minor(s)/ electives domain and the general education domain. Students are free to choose elective courses offered by any of the University’s departments.

Students will be required to take one education course (3cps) through a GE course on education or an elective education course provided by the Faculty of Education and Human Development) in order to fulfill the two-way traffic graduation requirement.

General Education

General Education Breadth / Experiential Learning

The course encourages students to learn through experimentation, observation, reflection and (re-)conceptualisation while undertaking a wide variety of activities.

For more information, please visit General Education website.

University ePortfolio

University e-Portfolio requires students to articulate their learning experiences in both formal and non-formal learning by reflecting critically on the value and significance of what they have learned, making connections to their lives, and imagining or charting their own futures.

Medium of Instruction 



Through dedicated and practical training, the programme will prepare more young people who have the ambition to start a social venture, and grab the numerous funding opportunities that governments and businesses have offered. Graduates may also pursue an impactful career by joining existing social enterprises, government, socially responsible corporations, and NGOs as project or executive officers. In Hong Kong, social enterprises and non-governmental organisations have already provided approximately 80% of social services. These organisations often need to solicit resources from public or private sources, and communicate effectively with different stakeholders in society. Graduates will find ample employment opportunities.


Tel: (852) 2948 6886



Dr Xiao Hanyu (Programme Leader)
Tel: (852) 2948 7821

Dr Nie Lin (Associate Programme Leader)
Tel: (852) 2948 7779


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Course Level

Any aspect of the course (including, without limitation, the content of the Course and the manner in which the Course is taught) may be subject to change at any time at the sole discretion of the University. Without limiting the right of the University to amend the course, it is envisaged that changes may be required due to factors such as staffing, enrolment levels, logistical arrangements and curriculum changes.

Programme Level

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in this website is correct. Changes to any aspects of the programmes may be made from time to time due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control and the University reserves the right to make amendments to any information contained in this website without prior notice. The University accepts no liability for any loss or damage arising from any use or misuse of or reliance on any information contained in this website.