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Choosing GCS as your Second Major (For EdUHK Students)


At no time in recent history has a region witnessed such tumultuous economic, political, and social transformation as has Asia. Driven by the enormous growth in China’s economy and the remarkable historical transitions in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, Asia is home to some of the largest and most dynamic economies in the world. At the same time, Asia remains a region of great diversity. The continuing challenges of poverty, inequality and unequal development, rapid urbanization, competition for scarce energy resources, environmental degradation, and the fast changing contours of geo-political power, also make for a series of policy problems that require new, innovative, and bold institutional and political responses if Asia’s success is to be sustained.

At the heart of Asia lies the Greater China region, comprising Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. As the most recent new-comer to rapid economic transformation, modernization and urbanization, China’s growth is changing fundamentally the political-economy of the region? everything from trade patterns, flows of foreign direct investment, industrial location, and the configuration of regional political institutions and international governance.

This Second Major in Greater China Studies is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of this transition, the forces propelling this change, and their consequences for Asia and beyond. The Second Major in Greater China Studies provides students with a unique opportunity to specialize in issues such as urbanization, the policy challenges of managing rapid economic transition, regional governance and geo-politics, changing governance modalities associated with democratization, sustainable development, and the emerging policy challenges associated with meeting demands for housing, health, education, and social security.

Taught by leading specialists from multi-disciplinary and comparative perspectives, the Second Major in Greater China Studies is hosted by the Department of Asian and Policy studies and welcomes students from all around the world to join the Programme.


Students who take Greater China Studies as the second major are required to take 10 courses from the following list:

Course Codes Course Titles cps
GCS1001 Understanding Greater China: History, Politics and Change 3
POS2001 Politics and Governance: Concepts, Issues and Perspectives 3
POS2002 China’s Rise and Globalized World 3
SSC3192 Urbanization in Greater China 3
GCS3002 Economic Growth and Sustainable Livelihood in Greater China 3
SES3011 Environmental Education in a Global Age 3
GCS3010 Education and Society in Greater China 3
GCS3003 Politics and Law in Greater China 3
GCS4004 Comparative Social Policy in Asia 3
GCS4005 Regional Cooperation in Greater China: Challenges and Issues 3
GCS4006 Managing Development and Civil Society in Greater China 3


For further information, refer to Second Major Course Synopsis or the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences’ (FLASS) webpage.

Course Synopsis*

Major Studies

This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the study of Greater China. All aspects of Greater China will be examined, including the emergence of Greater China, the concept of Greater China, economic integration within Greater China, Hong Kong and Taiwan popular culture, Greater China and the Chinese overseas. Important recent developments like the economic rise of China and its impact on Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau will also be addressed. rnrnIn better understanding Greater China, the course will also explore issues that all states in the Greater China region face, with a special attention to the process of democratization. Finally the course will deal with the role of international actors in shaping Greater China’s development.

This course studies the concepts of governance and its related issues from multidisciplinary perspectives. Various definitions of governance will be discussed, followed by a detailed examination of governance’s relationships with the state, legitimacy, democracy, public accountability, bureaucratic corruption, political reform, administrative decentralization, economic performance, the global political economy, public health crises, and corporate management. While the main theme of this course is to introduce various concepts, issues and perspectives of governance to students, another theme is empirical and focuses on how governance issues are tackled by the states in Greater China at the national and local levels. Case studies of mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau will be used to stimulate students to empirically apply the concepts and issues of governance into concrete examples. After taking this course, students will understand the multidimensional and multidisciplinary nature of the concept of governance, its complex relationships with various policy issues, and the unique challenges of governing Greater China.

The course seeks to provide students with an understanding of China’s changing role in the world affairs since the economic reforms and open door policy in 1978. This requires first of all some historical knowledge of the linkage between Chinese domestic and foreign relations, with an emphasis on the developmental trajectory of China and the associated concepts, ideologies and theories of self-reliance, modernization, democracy, Chinese style socialism and China’s peaceful rise through to the present day. The second part will cover the most recent politico-economic relationship of China with the world, including the impact of globalization on China, the dynamic of China’s domestic developments and international relations, China’s grand strategy and China’s relations with other major powers (US, Russia, Japan, India).

This course enables students to understand the process, dynamics and scope of urbanization, and its implications for policy and governance in the four regions of Greater China–Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Although the forces of globalization have drawn these different regions of Greater China ever closer together, they remain separate and distinctive. Their differences are reflected in socio-economic, urban development and political governance. This course will equip students with knowledge to examine the causal factors that have shaped the different parts of Greater China as well as forces that are pulling them together.

This course aims to enable students to have opportunities to take an explicitly comparative perspective to understanding major issues related to social development in the Greater Chinese societies. The course will engage students in a critical analysis of key development issues and challenges in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, with particular emphasis on examining policy responses to the challenges in these Chinese societies. With consideration of continuing development challenges, the course aims to introduce students to the question of whether economic growth can contribute to a more equitable distribution of income and wealth, whether and how government policies can expand and improve accessibility to public services (especially for vulnerable groups), and whether and how economic development can be sustainable.

The relationship between the environment and human development has become a major political and social issue, with global interest and attention focusing sharply on the critical challenges faced by developing countries. This course will consider the scientific knowledge required to understand the inter-relations between development and environment in the greater China and international contexts and will prepare students with various transferable skills to facilitate environmental education. Covering a wide range of topics, from global climate change and energy use to biodiversity conservation, an emphasis will be made on understanding approaches in development planning, the environmental conflicts, the need for long-term environmental sustainability and social justice, and attempts to incorporate a deeper awareness of these issues into policy making, planning and management.

This course focuses on several key topics in education and society in Greater China, bringing together issues of education policy and reform, social inequality, diverse populations, higher education, globalization, and economic, political, and social development. The course takes an explicitly comparative approach with each of the issues examined through case studies of different societies within Greater China. Largely student-centered, the course is structured around student-guided discussions of assigned readings, with the goal of encouraging the drawing of conclusions about important educational issues from the comparison of different cases. Through preparation for discussions and their final assignments, students will develop independent inquiry skills to explore the interrelationships between education and social phenomena.

This course is designed to introduce students to the role and function of the politics and law in shaping social transitions in four geographic regions of Greater China, i.e., Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. The course will familiarize students with the concepts, issues and perspectives essential for understanding the politics and law in Greater China, with focus on the key issues of political authority, political decision making, the rule of the law, law-making machinery, and the relationships among the state, political party, and lawmaking institutions in shaping political and legal issues in the specific social contexts in the four Chinese societies. The course will engage participants in a critical and comparative analysis of these issues and their impact on social transitions in Greater China.rnrnThe course will first examine concepts and theories on political culture and political decision making. The second part will review the historical development of politics and legislation in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. The third part will compare the similarities and differences in the political structures and legal systems in specific social contexts in Greater China. Based on the comparative analysis, the fourth part will engage students in exploring the role and function of politics and law in shaping social development in the four Chinese societies.

This course explores major social policy challenges and issues confronting the societies in 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 policies like education, health, social welfare, labour and housing policies in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and other Chinese societies in Southeast Asia. Students will be engaged in comparing and contrasting major social policy issues of selected Chinese societies, and appreciating the complexity of policy formation, implementation and evaluation from comparative perspectives.

This course will scrutinize the historical development, political and economic characteristics and importance of the regional cooperation in Greater China. The course begin 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. 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.

This course serves to provide students with a foundational knowledge about the development issues and challenges confronting major societies in Greater China, with particular reference to discuss how different economic development strategies adopted by Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan have affected social development of these societies. Students will be engaged in studying how civil society has emerged and developed in these societies, especially examining how and what major approaches/ measures that the governments have adopted to manage the growing complexity of social problems, the autonomization of society and the changing role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

* Course Synopsis: 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.


Only students in programmes under the new 4- or 5-year curriculum (ie 4-year non-BEd programmes such as BSocScEd(GCS), BA(LSE), BScEd(SS), and 5-year BEd programmes) are permitted to enroll in a Second Major, subject to the followings:

1. Programmememe specific requirements; and

2. GPA requirement of normally 3.0 or above in the first year of study.

However for some programmes there may be some restrictions on the choices of Second Majors. Normally, the minimum credit requirement for Second Major is 30 credit points out of the available credit points in the Elective domain.

Student who are interested to have Greater China Studies as second major, please apply online at


Interested applicants please submit your application via EdUHK Online Application Systems. Prior to your submission, please visit for detailed application and admission information.

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