Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) in Social Policy
  • Programme Goals and Objectives

    We believe that the state has the basic, essential obligations to plan, finance and provide goods, services and opportunities to fulfill social and national needs, enhance social qualities, social justice and equity. Social policies are therefore not merely responses to claims of partisans or interest groups, nor should be alternative solutions to problems or challenges with structural factors. Social policies can champion for the long-term wellness and development for individuals, cohesion and mutual support among social groups and for a balance of development in society. Administrators or managers of public and community service, other than efficient and effective operators, can also be advocates for positive changes, as well as the change agents of informal, decentralized, distributive and integrated process with due respect to citizen participation and empowerment.

    The programme aims to:

    1. Develop students’ understanding and ability to participate in the making and evaluation of social policies in local, regional and international contexts. Emphasis will be placed on understanding problems of social injustice and the unequal distribution of social resources in the Greater China Region.

    2. Develop students’ understanding of diverse needs and the significance of social development through the studies of interface and relationships between social policies and other social sciences disciplines.

    3. Develop students’ appreciation of and the ability to utilize social research as an integral component of social policy studies.

    4. Develop students’ appreciation of and ability to utilize macro-intervention methods and knowledge to critically analyze the changing relationship between individual and the state in the local, regional and international contexts.

    5. Develop students’ sensitivity to social injustice and inequality as a result of specific social structures, emergences of social changes and the promotion of general wellness of human beings in the contemporary society.

    6. Develop the understanding of the contents and impacts of specific social policies as well as the rights and needs of special social groups such as the young and older people in the society.

    Programme Targets

    The Programme is designed as a two-year full-time programme primarily for HKBU AD graduates in applied social service. AD graduates with equivalent qualifications offered by the HKBU and other recognized institutions may also apply. In particular, those with AD and Higher Diploma in social sciences such as sociology, public administration and social work are encouraged. AD or Higher Diploma graduates in non social sciences discipline may be required to take additional units in social sciences or general education courses.

  • Programme Structure

    The top-up Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Policy is a 66-unit programme made up of Major Core Courses (57 units) and Policy Specialization Electives (9 units). For those AD graduates not in the discipline of Applied Social Service, they may be required to take three more units from the concentration courses of AD in APSS programme (see Appendix C), thus totally of 66 units (refer to 1.5.12 Programme Pre-prequisite Requirement).

    The major core courses aim at providing relevant theories, concepts and essential knowledge and values of policy making, as well as challenges of the public sector administration in the Greater China Region. Students will be able to develop policy sensitivity to issues and challenges stemmed from a variety of structural factors and the critical mind to analyze the contents and processes of policy making in different social contexts in the Greater China Region.

    The policy specialization electives on either youth policy, or social care and protection will enable students to deepen knowledge and skills in discrete policies gearing to the demands and rights of special social groups in society.

    The following is the titles and arrangements of the concerned courses:

      1. Major Core Courses 57 units
      2. Policy Specialization electives 9 units
      1. TOTAL 66 units

    Programme Contents

    Major Core Courses (18 courses)

      1. SOPY 3005 Diversity and Social Structure of Modern States 3 units
      2. SOPY 3005 Diversity and Social Structure of Modern States
        The focus is on studying the impact of social and structural factors on the individuals, families and groups in the modern city states and to encourage a critical thinking on the analysis of social issues from different perspectives. Case studies and other means would be used to illustrate the application of practical theories and analytical models in different social contexts, such as Hong Kong and other territories.
      3. SOPY 3015 Individual, State and Society 3 units
      4. SOPY 3015 Individual, State and Society
        This course provides an introduction to the basic understanding of the interaction between the individual and the state. It situates the individual within the contexts of the state and its embedded environment, the society. It includes an introduction to the relations between individual and society and the different perspectives on the relations. The controversies relating to structure and agency will be explored. It then covers the conception of the state and the different theoretical perspectives relating to its formation and functions as well as the associating conceptions of citizen rights and duties. It then examines the different means of political changes and the implicated roles for individuals.
      5. SOPY 3025 Principles and Theories of Social Policy 3 units
      6. SOPY 3025 Principles and Theories of Social Policy
        This course aims at providing students with a theoretical as well as an analytical framework in understanding social policy in Hong Kong as well as in the Western world. Students will first examine the theoretical underpinnings of social policy, followed by a critical examination of the dimensions and issues of social policy which affect the distribution of resources in the society. Case examples of social policy in Hong Kong will be used as illustrations throughout the course.
      7. SOPY 3035 Social Justice and Social Movements 3 units
      8. SOPY 3035 Social Justice and Social Movements
        The focus is on studying selective theories and perspectives with the aim of fostering a critical view and a thorough understanding of social justice, social conflicts, emergence of social movements,human rights and the impacts in the 21st century. Cases of different social movements would be used to illustrate the application of practical theories and concepts in different social contexts, such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other territories.
      9. SOPY 3045 Social Research 3 units
      10. SOPY3045 Social Research
        This course aims to enhance students’ overall understanding of social research methods, including research design, data collection, data analysis and report writing. The format of the course is a mixture of lectures, group project and SPSS workshops. Students will be provided with not only a good access to a solid knowledge base in social research, but also a platform to learn by doing at a computer lab. By the end of the course, students should be able to identify the basic principles, and learn ethical implication of social research, as well as master basic skills of designing and implementing research projects.
      11. SOPY 3055 Communications and Networking of the Non-profit-making Organizations 3 units
      12. SOPY 3055 Communications and Networking of the Non-profit-making Organizations
        The focus is on studying selective theories related to communications and networking of the non-profit making organizations with the aim of fostering an open system with reasonable connections with the stakeholders and the public through various means and activities. Another objective is to help students to comprehend the values, principles, processes, functions and skills of fund-raising and publicity management in these organizations. Case studies would be used to illustrate the application of practical theories and models in these organizations especially in the context of Hong Kong.
      13. SOPY 3065 Culture and Social Policy 3 units
      14. SOPY 3065 Culture and Social Policy
        This course aims to enhance students’ overall understanding of culture and social policy, including sociology of culture, the western domination of social policy discourse, culturalism, diversity and change. The format of the course is a mixture of lectures, group project and cultural sensitivity workshops. Students will be provided with not only a good access to a solid knowledge base in cultural theory, but also a platform to learn by doing social policy with cultural sensitivity. By the end of the course, students should be able to identify the basic principles, and learn ethical implication of culture and social policy, as well as master basic skills of re-evaluating policy content as part of antioppressive strategies.
      15. SOPY 3075 Globalization and Social Policy 3 units
      16. SOPY 3075 Globalization and Social Policy
        This course aims at providing students with a theoretical as well as an analytical framework in understanding globalisation and social policy. Students will first examine the theoretical underpinnings of globalization, followed by a critical examination of how societies react to globalization through formulation of different social policies. Case examples of social policy in Hong Kong will be used as illustrations throughout the course.
      17. SOPY 3085 Policy Processes and Politics 3 units
      18. SOPY 3085 Policy Processes and Politics
        The focus is on studying selective organizational theories with the aim of fostering a general understanding of the basic concepts of political science, policy making models and the patterns of policy making in different political entities. Case studies would be used to illustrate the application of practical theories and models in different territories, especially in the context of Hong Kong.
      19. SOPY 3095 Social Policy in Chinese Societies 3 units
      20. SOPY 3095 Social Policy in Chinese Societies
        The objectives of this course are to help students to gain an overview of the social development of contemporary Chinese societies, to develop an understanding of the institutional structure of modern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other Chinese societies, to explore the current policy issues and challenges, and to examine the actual welfare implementation and training of welfare personnel.
      21. SOPY 4005 Policy Analysis and Evaluation 3 units
      22. SOPY 4005 Policy Analysis and Evaluation

        Pre-requisite: SOPY 3045 Social Research

        The objective of this course is to introduce the basic concepts and methods in policy analysis and evaluation. In this course, students will learn to define problems and goals in making a policy, identify appropriate research techniques, gather information, formulate policy solution alternatives and systematically compare and evaluate the alternatives. Besides, they will be given the opportunity to approach policy issues within the relevant social, cultural and historical context in Hong Kong and great China. The course will help students not only to understand various factors that influence policy making and policy outcomes, but also theoretical foundations and methodologies in conducting exante evaluations versus ex-post evaluations, cost-benefit analysis, interpretive policy analysis and others.
      23. SOPY 4015 Social Enterprises and the Third Sector 3 units
      24. SOPY 4015 Social Enterprises and the Third Sector
        Social enterprises constitute a rapidly growing sector of the business communities today. They bring people and communities together for economic development and social gain. This course covers the key business functions required by social entrepreneurs, and managers in social enterprises, with perspectives on strategy, finance, ethics, governance, marketing and people management. It also intends to bring together the knowledge and experience of social enterprise pioneers in the field, local and overseas, to show what it takes to implement and run an effective social venture or organization. Students will receive practical guides including best practices, tools, guidance, models and successful cases for NGOs.
      25. SOPY 4025 Technology, Social Change and Quality of Life 3 units
      26. SOPY 4025 Technology, Social Changes and Quality of Life
        The focus is on studying the impact of social and technological changes on the individuals, families and groups in. Case studies and other means would be used to illustrate the application of practical theories and assessment models for social development in different social contexts, such as Hong Kong and other territories.
      27. SOPY 4035 Welfare Regimes in the Greater China Region 3 units
      28. SOPY 4035 Welfare Regimes in the Greater China Region
        This course aims at providing students with theoretical as well as an analytical framework in understanding welfare regimes in the Greater China Region, including Taiwan, Hong Kong as well as other related regions. Students will first examine the theoretical underpinning of regime model followed by a critical examination of how different regimes have been developed (the liberal, conservative, social democratic and Confucian). Case examples of social policies in relation to different welfare regimes in the Greater China Region will be used as illustrations throughout the course.
      29. SOPY 4045 Administration in Non-profit Making Organizations 3 units
      30. SOPY 4045 Administration in Non-profit Making Organizations
        The focus is on studying selective organizational theories with the aim of fostering a general understanding of the administration of non-profit-making organization. Another objective is to help students to comprehend the values, principles, processes, functions and skills of management in these organizations. Case studies would be used to illustrate the application of practical theories and models in these organizations especially in the context of Hong Kong.
      31. SOPY 4055 Challenges of Sustainable Development 3 units
      32. SOPY 4055 Challenges of Sustainable Development
        This course aims to enhance students’ overall understanding of sustainability and social policy, including green ideologies, green parties, green pressure groups and social policy, quality of life. The format of the course is a mixture of lectures and group project. Students will be provided with not only a good access to a solid knowledge base in green ideologies, but also a platform to learn by doing social policy with green policy agenda. By the end of the course, students should be able to identify the basic principles, and learn ethical implication of sustainability and social policy, as well as master basic skills of opening up the discipline of green social policy.
      33. SOPY 4065 Comparative Social Policy 3 units
      34. SOPY 4065 Comparative Social Policy
        This course aims at providing students with a theoretical as well as analytical framework in understanding comparative social policies. Students will first examine the comparative social policy theories and human rights, followed by an examination of the comparative social policy issues. Cases examples of comparative social policies relevant to the Hong Kong context will be used as illustrations throughout the course.
      35. SOPY 4008 Honours Project [SOPY4008]* 3 units
      36. SOPY 4008 Honours Project [SOPY4008]*

        * SOPY 3045 Social Research

        The Honours Project provides an opportunity for students to complete an independent research project about a particular area of social policy under the guidance of a supervisor. The Project involves an application of knowledge and skills acquired from classes and independent learning of students to address policy issues in the context of Hong Kong or China.
      37. SOPY 4009 Honours Project [SOPY4009]* 3 units
      38. SOPY 4009 Honours Project [SOPY4009]*

        * SOPY 3045 Social Research

        The Honours Project provides an opportunity for students to complete an independent research project about a particular area of social policy under the guidance of a supervisor. The Project involves an application of knowledge and skills acquired from classes and independent learning of students to address policy issues in the context of Hong Kong or China.
      1. TOTAL 57 units

    • Policy Specialization Electives (9 units)
      1. Option A. Youth Policy Specialization
      2. SOPY 4105 Youth and Citizenship 3 units
      3. SOPY4105 Youth and Citizenship
        This course aims at providing students with a critical examination of the different models of youth citizenship and youth participation and their theoretical and ideological underpinnings with reference to the advancement of youth welfare and youth’s transitions to adulthood. The controversies regarding the substance of youth citizenship and the framework for achieving this with youth in general and youth at the margin will be examined with reference to both local and non-local examples.
      4. SOPY 4115 Youth in Transition, Employment and Education 3 units
      5. SOPY 4115 Youth in Transition, Employment and Education
        This course aims at providing students with a critical understanding on the subject matter of youth transitions in capitalist societies with specific reference to mainstreaming of and disadvantage in school-to-work transitions. Taking into account the mediating roles played by agency and structure, the diversity, differences and contradictions of activation policy and inclusion measures illustrated with the use of both local and non-local case studies will be examined.
      6. SOPY 4125 Gender, Identity and Young People 3 units
      7. SOPY 4125 Gender, Identity and Young People
        This course is to help students understand the social formation and struggles of gender and gender practices among young people. It also helps to develop critical thinking on the way in which gender is embedded in local cultures, institutional sites and social policies, as well as everyday social relationships. Students will be encouraged to examine how these have impacts on their identities, citizenship and lives.
      8. Or
      9. Option B. Social Care and Protection Policy Specialization
      10. SOPY 4205 Poverty and Social Exclusion 3 units
      11. SOPY 4205 Poverty and Social Exclusion
        Ever since the poverty study at the end of the 19th century, poverty alleviation captured the attention of governments of different orientations and the pro-poor activists in the academic and movement circles. The policy measures for poverty alleviation underwent alteration alongside the changes in the conceptual arena and the social economic context domestically and globally. This course introduces students to the conceptual terrain for understanding poverty, which includes the different interpretations of poverty, the conceptual turn from poverty to (in)equality and the recent dominance of the concept of social exclusion. It then interrogates the domestic and global context with which transformation has been going on in the past decade. The practical implications of the theoretical constructs are examined and contextualized. The process of conceiving strategies for poverty alleviation will be explored to equip students of the needed tools for the endeavour.
      12. SOPY 4215 Pension and Retirement Protection 3 units
      13. SOPY 4215 Pension and Retirement Protection
        This course is to provide students different perspectives on social policy for retirement and retirement protection. It also gives students an understanding of the nature, role and operation of different pension systems as well as their risk and contribution on retirement protection. By understanding the global and local pension and retirement policies and schemes students will be helped to develop a critical sense to appreciate, examine and criticize the strategies and values adopted in the mixed economy of retirement protection and its implications for different populations in the society.
      14. SOPY 4225 Public Health Care Systems 3 units
      15. SOPY 4225 Public Health Care Systems
        The objectives of the course are to prove students a framework for an understanding dimension of social dimensions of well-being, health, illness and disability, to enable students to appreciate the significance of the health and illness dimension of human life and the role of the health care systems in the promoting health and dealing with illness.
      1. TOTAL 9 units


  • Entrance Requirements

    To be eligible for admission, a candidate should hold an AD in Applied Social Service, or related disciplines from the CIE of HKBU, or an equivalent qualification offered by other recognized institutions. The admission requirement for this programme would be cGPA 2.7. Those who have other credentials but the cGPA has not reached 2.7 would be considered on an individual basis and must go through an admission interview.

  • FAQ