Enquiry for Major/Minor/Programme Requirements

Major Title Major in Ecology & Biodiversity
Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in 2017-2018

This major is directed at teaching students: (1) how organisms interact with each other and their environments, (2) how species are distributed throughout the world, and (3) key threats and approaches to conserving biodiversity. Special reference is made to Hong Kong and Asia; the ways in which humans have impacted upon natural environments; and, the approaches used to manage or ameliorate those impacts. This major is based around an introductory core, which emphasizes plant and animal biology and includes a compulsory week-long residential field trip. Advanced courses in the major teach students about the ecology and biodiversity of different ecosystems (e.g. marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments) with an emphasis on field work, introduces the use of statistical and molecular techniques in ecology, and focuses on certain applied topics such as environmental impact assessment, ecotoxicology, fisheries and mariculture, and biodiversity conservation. Students have an opportunity to conduct independent research in ecology and biodiversity as a final year project or a dissertation under the close supervision of an individual staff member. Apart from the fundamental knowledge and skills in understanding and managing biodiversity offered in the core courses of this major, strong emphasis is placed upon experiential learning such as overseas field expedition and work placement in the environmental sector. Biodiversity conservation requires scientific input as well as passion. Through the range of formal field-based courses as well as extra-curricular activities offered, students taking this major will have opportunities to participate in research, field conservation and education projects both locally and internationally. Assistance will be provided so that students can develop expertise in one or a few groups of plants or animals, as familiarity with species identification is an essential prerequisite for biodiversity scientists or conservation biologists.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this programme, students should be able to:
PLO 1 :

understand and appreciate the major living and non-living components of the regional and global environment, and how they interact; identify threats to them; and know how these threats can be mitigated (by means of coursework, laboratory-based, tutorial classes and/or project-based learning in the curriculum)

PLO 2 :

understand and appreciate the variety of life in Hong Kong's and Southeast Asia's natural habitats, become equipped to understand, study, manage and protect that diversity, and appraise the related moral and ethical issues (by means of coursework, laboratory-based, tutorial classes and/or project-based learning in the curriculum)

PLO 3 :

have sufficient experience of the basic techniques of modern ecological science and prepare to learn new ones for specific tasks (by means of coursework, laboratory-based, tutorial classes and/or project-based learning in the curriculum)

PLO 4 :

use IT tools appropriately, and access and evaluate materials from libraries, archives and the Internet (by means of coursework, laboratory-based, tutorial classes and/or project-based learning in the curriculum)

PLO 5 :

demonstrate original, independent and critical thinking, with mastery of a range of communication skills (by means of coursework, project-based and presentation opportunities in the curriculum)

PLO 6 :

have the skill and knowledge to pursue postgraduate ecological research or to develop a career in nature conservation and environmental education, especially in Hong Kong and southern China (by means of coursework, tutorial classes, project-based and research-based learning in the curriculum)

PLO 7 :

be motivated and sufficiently equipped to apply the knowledge solve local, regional and global environmental problems (by means of coursework, laboratory-based, tutorial classes, capstone learning and/or project-based learning in the curriculum)

Impermissible Combination:

Minor in Ecology & Biodiversity

Required courses (96 credits)
1. Introductory level courses (48 credits)
Disciplinary Core Courses: Science Foundation Courses (12 credits)
SCNC1111 Scientific method and reasoning (6)
SCNC1112 Fundamentals of modern science (6)
Disciplinary Core Courses (36 credits)
BIOL1110 From molecules to cells (6)
BIOL1309 Evolutionary diversity (6)
BIOL2102 Biostatistics (6)
BIOL2103 Biological sciences laboratory course (6)
BIOL2306 Ecology and evolution (6)
ENVS2002 Environmental data analysis (6)
2. Advanced level courses (42 credits)
Disciplinary Core Courses (18 credits)
BIOL3301 Marine biology (6)
BIOL3302 Systematics and phylogenetics (6)
BIOL3319 Tropical terrestrial ecology (6)
Disciplinary Electives (24 credits)
At least 24 credits selected from the following courses:
BIOL3101 Animal behaviour (6)
BIOL3303 Conservation biology (6)
BIOL3305 Tropical and temperate marine ecology field course (6)
BIOL3313 Freshwater ecology (6)
BIOL3314 Plant structure and evolution (6)
BIOL3318 Experimental intertidal ecology (6)
BIOL3322 Marine invertebrate zoology (6)
BIOL3328 Nearshore marine and estuarine ecology (6)
BIOL3419 Insect ecology: the little things that run the world (6)
BIOL4301 Fish and fisheries (6)
BIOL4302 Environmental impact assessment (6)
BIOL4304 Ecosystem functioning and services (6)
BIOL4505 Oyster aquaculture: business and technology (6)
BIOL4861 Ecology & biodiversity internship (6)
ENVS3019 Urban ecology (6)
ENVS3020 Global change ecology (6)
3. Capstone requirement (6 credits)
At least 6 credits selected from the following courses:
BIOL3991 Directed studies in ecology & biodiversity (6)
BIOL4911 Conservation science in practice (6)
BIOL4991 Ecology & biodiversity project (12)

1. Double-counting of courses up to a maximum of 24 credits is permissible when a student with a science major opts to undertake a second major in science. The double-counted courses must include SCNC1111 Scientific method and reasoning (6 credits) and SCNC1112 Fundamentals of modern science (6 credits). Additional credits to be double-counted must be for courses required ('disciplinary core') by both majors. For cases with 24 or less double-counted credits, the student must make up an equivalent number of credits by taking other courses offered by any Faculty.

2. If more than 24 credits (including SCNC1111 & SCNC1112) are listed as required courses ("disciplinary core") in both the first and second majors undertaken by a student, the student must make up the number of credits above the 24 permissible by taking replacement course(s) (disciplinary electives) in the second major. Double counting of credits is not permissible for major-minor or double-minors combinations. For details, please refer to "Students taking double Majors, Major-Minor or double Minors with overlapping course requirements" in the BSc syllabuses.

3. Students are not required to take Capstone if this Science major is taken as a second major on the condition that the capstone experience in the first major requires the integration or application of knowledge from both major disciplines.  If this is approved, a 6-credit advanced level course (disciplinary electives) in the second major must be taken to fulfill the credit requirement of the capstone experience.

4. Capstone requirement for BEd&BSc degree students is different. Students are required to take an additional 6-credit advanced level course (disciplinary electives) in the major to replace the capstone requirement of this Major.  Students should consult the Faculty of Education for details.


Important! Ultimate responsibility rests with students to ensure that the required pre-requisites and co-requisite of selected courses are fulfilled. Students must take and pass all required courses in the selected primary science major in order to satisfy the degree graduation requirements.

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