BSocSc (Hons) in Government & International Studies
Menu

Programme Requirements

I. Major Required Courses30 units
expand_morePOLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science3 units

POLS 1005(3,2,1)

This is a course which introduces students to a comprehensive review of the field of political science. Basic concepts, political theories and methodologies, political institutions, political parties are all examined. The Subfields of comparative politics and international relations are also integral parts of the course so as to lay down the foundation for further studies. Political developments in Europe and China are frequently employed as examples and related to the introduction of political ideas.

expand_morePOLS 2006 Introduction to Political Economy3 units

POLS 2006(3,2,1)

Political economy, with its roots in the European 17th and 18th centuries, was the forebear of what developed in the twentieth century into the two separate disciplines of political science and economic. However, it has become defined in the last twenty years as that sub-discipline of political science and economic which examines the relationship of the individual to society, the economy, and the state with a particular focus on state-market interactions and intersections. It is the study of relations and choices, of structures and institutions, of scales from the personal and local to the national, international, and global. Its originators include John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Max Weber. Including choice theory and market theory, system theory, development theory and public policy theory, contemporary political economy examines the historic and human behavioural linkages among values/morals, politics, economic reality and economic reasoning. Its prime question concerns the role of politics in the economy and the effects and constraints of the economy on the power and functions of politics and of the state.

expand_morePOLS 2007 Introduction to Research Methods3 units

POLS 2007(3,2,1)

This is a course designed to enhance students� ability to perceive, evaluate and understand political phenomena through a systematic introduction to a wide range of approaches, methods and theories of political science. Basic research procedures and academic writing are the other foci of the course. Students are encouraged to analyse and explain the current political development of Europe, China or Hong Kong with the help of particular perspectives and research methods.

expand_morePOLS 2015 Government & Politics of Hong Kong3 units

POLS 2015(3,2,1)

This course examines the development of politics and political institutions in Hong Kong from its colonial founding to the present. The institutional framework of politics in Hong Kong and the development of political culture in Hong Kong are introduced, and the outlines of Hong Kong�s past and present relationship with mainland China are explored with a focus on the Basic Law and the ongoing reforms after the assumption of sovereignty by the People�s Republic of China.

expand_morePOLS 2016 Political Movements: Chinese & European3 units

POLS 2016(3,2,1)

Prerequisite:
For GIS major: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science or POLS 3017 Government and Politics of China
For ES major: EURO 1008 Europe: Unity and Diversity


This course is designed to introduce a conceptual toolkit that is useful for understanding the origins, dynamics, and impacts of political movements. It starts with an attempt to distinguish between �normal� political process and political movements. Then it presents two typologies of political movements, one based on claims, the other based on forms of collective action. The third, and most important, part of the course focuses on a number of key concepts, such as relative deprivation, framing, and political opportunity structure, which are often used when analysing the emergence of political movements.

expand_morePOLS 2017 Foundations of International Relations3 units

POLS 2017(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science

This is a course which introduces students to the basic concepts, methods and processes of International Relations by focusing on four major �perspectives� that have framed analytical work in the field, namely �Realism-Power Politics�, �Dominance- Dependence�, �Transnationalism-Interdependency� and �Cultural Interactionism�. International Relations seeks to build upon and integrate the disciplinary foundations students obtained in the first-year Political Science and Political Economy courses. It does this through a �level of analysis� approach and through a problem-solving treatment of issues relevant, where possible, to Hong Kong�s interaction with its own region and with other areas of the globe.

expand_morePOLS 3006 Statistical & Survey Methods for Political Science3 units

POLS 3006(3,2,1)

Prerequisite:
For GIS major: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science
For GIS minor: Year III standing


The objective of this course is to help students develop some basic working knowledge of quantitative methods in political studies. The course will be divided into three parts. During the first few weeks, we will discuss some basic principles of survey research. Then we will examine how to use statistical tools to describe political phenomena. Finally, we will look at how to use statistical tools to explore causal relationships among variables. Based on the principle of learning by doing, we will deploy SPSS, a statistical computing package for social sciences, to do nine lab work assignments. By the end of the course, students are expected to develop the capabilities to identify puzzles, develop hypotheses and design questions to test hypotheses; collect data, enter data and transform data; and perform basic univariate, bivariate and multivariate data analyses.

expand_morePOLS 3017 Government & Politics of China3 units

POLS 3017(3,2,1)

An introductory course to the government and politics of contemporary China presenting China�s political changes after the fall of the Manchu Empire and focusing on the political system of the People�s Republic of China since the late 1970s.

expand_morePOLS 4005 World Order Issues3 units

POLS 4005(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: For GIS/ES major and GIS minor: Year IV standing

As the world grows more integrated, as communication and business speed up the changes in our daily lives, the impact of events on our lifestyles deepens, and the necessity to understand and react intelligently to events and forces affecting us becomes more imperative. This course is the capstone required experience for graduating GIS majors. Guest lectures are used to inform and provoke students to apply concepts and data acquired in their time of study to current problems facing the global order, and thus, to themselves, their families, and their careers. The personal and the corporate, the local and the global, the present and the future are intended to be brought together in this issue-oriented course which focuses the life experience and academic study of students on their world and the events and forces changing it on a daily, if not hourly, basis. The first few weeks examines the development of world systems and globalization in order to provide a context for present issues and concerns. News analysis skills are taught, then applied in a role-playing, debate format adapted from UNsponsored forums for a real time experience in negotiating issues of our time. Students choose the topics of debate, and prepare and negotiate proposals to address those issues.

expand_morePOLS 4006 International Political Economy3 units

POLS 4006(3,2,1)

Prerequisite:
For GIS major: POLS 1005 Foundation of Political Science, POLS 2006 Introduction to Political Economy and POLS 2017 Foundation of International Relations
For ES major: (1) POLS 1005 Foundation of Political Science; and (2) POLS 2205 European Politics and Society: French Political and Government System, or POLS 2206 European Politics and Society: German Political Systems and Society, or POLS 3207 Government and Politics of the United Kingdom, or POLS 3215 Government and Politics of the United States


This course examines the intertwining and interaction of economics (wealth creation) and politics (political power) in international and global affairs. The nineteenth century term �political economy� is used here because economic and political forces are always enmeshed with each other. The course provides students with an overview of theories and issues of international political economy. In the first part of the course, we discuss the major theoretical perspectives (economic liberalism, economic nationalism, Marxist theory, etc.) that contend for recognition in international political economy. In the second part, we focus on substantive policy issues that concern the operations of international political economy. These issues include international trade and monetary system, foreign investment and multinational corporations, foreign aid and debt, and North-South relations. They will be examined against the backdrop of the changing global political order.

II. Major Elective Courses (eight courses from the following)24 units
International Relations:
expand_moreEURO 2015 Model European Union 3 units

EURO 2015(3,2,1)

This course seeks to familiarize students with the framework and procedures of international negotiations. It presents the participants with a unique chance of taking part in a simulation of European Council (summit) meetings and thereby gaining �hands-on� experience in perparing for and conducting multicountry political deliberations about current real-life issues. In the process, they will also study in a comparative perspective the political, economic and social backgrounds of European Union member states. The simulation systematically encourages peer learning. The negotiations will include three levels of bargaining: interpersonal, national and international, as participants will be acting as Heads of Governments of all existing EU member states, required to reach political consensus at the end of the simulation.

expand_morePOLS 4206 China & the World3 units

POLS 4206(3,2,1)

This course is designed to provide Government and International Studies majors and China Studies students with knowledge of Chinese foreign policies during the Cold War and Post-Cold War era. Being a socialist country with a strong nationalistic posture, how China situates herself in the world arena, and shifts her foreign policies from pro-Soviet stance (1950s) to isolation (1960s) then opening up to the West (1970s), will be thoroughly examined. The efforts of constructing a �Chinese Theory of International Relations� by Chinese policy analysts will also be studied.

expand_morePOLS 4217 International Organizations & Regimes3 units

POLS 4217(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science, POLS 2006 Introduction to Political Economy and POLS 2017 Foundations of International Relations

The course examines the international organizations and regimes which play a vital part in protecting life and imparting order to international intercourse from transport to environmental pollution, from drug smuggling to AIDS.

expand_morePOLS 4227 Security Studies3 units

POLS 4227(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 2017 Foundations of International Relations

This course is designed for third- or fourth-year GIS major students or advanced master candidates. It seeks to deepen their knowledge in important fields of IR that are security and strategy. The course will address five main areas of security studies: theoretical approaches to security, key concepts of security, institutions of security, contemporary challenges to security and strategy in general.

expand_morePOLS 4236 Theories of International Relations3 units

POLS 4236(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science and POLS 2017 Foundations of International Relations

This course aims to investigate the various theoretical and analytical frameworks in the field of international relations. In an increasingly interdependent world where the new world order is yet to be established, a review of the dominant paradigms in international relations will facilitate a better understanding among students of the transformation of global order in the world in the world entering a new millennium.

expand_morePOLS 4245 Topics in Comparative & Global Politics3 units

POLS 4245(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science and Year IV Standing

The course is intentionally designed to be flexible in order to allow discussion of a range of contemporary issues in global politics.

Comparative Politics:
expand_moreEURO 2007 The Political Economy of the European Union3 units

EURO 2007(3,2,1)

This is a course which examines the causes and historical evolution of European integration and looks analytically at the institutions and the policies of the European Union. It provides a focused examination of the political economy of European integration, highlighting the dynamic relationship between economic and political integration and the respective roles of the member states, the EU institutions, and the market. Moreover, it highlights the complexities and difficulties in constructing a European constitutional order and offers a critical examination of the process of institutional building. It provides a critical review of the main theoretical contributions to the debate on European integration, and explores the prospects for the enlarged EU in the post-communist era.

expand_moreEURO 3205 Comparative Politics of Post-Communist Central Europe3 units

EURO 3205(3,2,1)

This is a course which examines new European Union Members States in Central Europe (in particular, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) from both historical and comparative perspectives. It begins with a discussion of the nature and weaknesses of the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the causes and processes leading to the 1989 upheavals in the region. It then considers the paradoxes and obstacles in the course of post-Communist transitions to democracy, the market economy and the civil society. The key issues of democratic consolidation and pro-market transformation will be addressed.

expand_moreEURO 4005 Current Issues of European Integration3 units

EURO 4005(3,2,1)

This course aims at offering students a clear overview of the economic, political, social and diplomatic issues raised by recent institutional developments of the European Union. On the one hand, it consolidates knowledge of institutional structures and key policy-making processes in the recent years. On the other, it raises critical awareness of the deeper theoretical and practical questions these developments pose. One of the main components of the course is the growing importance of globalization and the opening of Europe to other regions of the world, in particular China and East-Asia. The course integrates theoretical perspectives and case studies.

expand_morePOLS 2205 European Politics and Society: French Political and Government System 3 units

POLS 2205(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: EURO 1008-9 Europe: Unity and Diversity or POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science

After a brief presentation of the legacy of the past (i.e. the French Revolution and the various regimes which followed), the core of the course is an examination of the evolution of the French political and government system from the unstable structures of the Fourth Republic to the more effective presidential regime that exists today.
Basic concepts of political science, theories and methodologies acquired in POLS 1510 Foundations of Political Science are applied here to the study and analysis of one of the major nation states in Europe.

expand_morePOLS 2206 European Politics and Society: German Political Systems and Society3 units

POLS 2206(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: EURO 1008-9 Europe: Unity and Diversity or POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science

The course studies the structure of successive political systems in Germany within their historical context. Special emphasis will be placed on the traumatic experience of the Third Reich, its origins and its consequences in the post-war construction of a �socialconstitutional state�, a �social market economy�, and the current multi-tiered political system of the Federal Republic of Germany, as it is embedded today in the European Union.

expand_morePOLS 3206 Government & Politics of Japan3 units

POLS 3206(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science

The course focuses on the political development of Japan since 1945. It begins with a historical overview of the rise of modern Japan and an examination of the legacies of the Second World War. The workings of the major political institutions, central and local, are studied, with particular reference to the process of policy-making. It goes on to identify the main political actors, political parties, business groups and labour unions and examines political culture and mass electoral behaviour. The role of Japan in the international system is also assessed.

expand_morePOLS 3207 Government & Politics of the United Kingdom3 units

POLS 3207(3,2,1)

This is a course which intends to examine the growth and workings of the British system of parliamentary government. It identifies the key features of the British political and administrative systems, seeks to explain both the changes and the continuities within British politics, and examines the various pressures and challenges to which it is currently exposed under the New Labour government from Blair to Brown. It also discusses the British approach to European integration since 1945.

expand_morePOLS 3215 Government & Politics of the United States3 units

POLS 3215(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science

This course aims to introduce students to American politics and government by examining the foundational principles and ideas, institutional structures, political processes, and policy-making patterns of the American political system.

expand_morePOLS 3217 Political Philosophy: Chinese & European3 units

POLS 3217(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science or EURO 1008-9 Europe: Unity and Diversity

This course is designed to introduce major issues of political philosophy and approaches to these issues offered by major Chinese and European thinkers. Particular attention will be paid to theories of state, rights, and liberty. This course is a study of the major political thinkers and issues in European and Chinese political philosophy.
Political philosophy would be focused on the lives and ideas of selected political philosophers. The course will teach the Chinese political philosophy of Confucianism, Mohism, Taoism and Legalism, Neo-Confucianism. Moreover, European political philosophers of Plato, Hobbes, John Locke, Karl Marx, and John Stuart Mill will also be taught respectively.

expand_morePOLS 4207 Comparative Public Administration3 units

POLS 4207(3,2,1)

Prerequisite:
For GIS major: (1) POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science, POLS 3017 Government and Politics of China and POLS 2015 Government and Politics of Hong Kong; and (2) POLS 2205 European Politics and Society: French Political and Government System, or POLS 2206 European Politics and Society: German Political Systems and Society, or POLS 3207 Government and Politics of the UK, or POLS 3215 Government and Politics of the US
For ES major: EURO 2007 The Political Economy of the European Union


This course aims to examine critically the major concepts and theories of public administration within a comparative framework. It compares the European model with those of other countries such as USA, China and other Asian countries. Case studies from those countries will be used in lectures, tutorials, and as research foci for students. Problems in the stages of policy formulation and implementation will be studied with emphasis on two major variables, the civil service and the legitimating ideology of the state concerned. Comparative policy formulation, implementation, ethics, problems, and politics-bureaucracy relations will be discussed with a specific reference to its application in the Hong Kong settings.

expand_morePOLS 4215 Contemporary Europe & Asia3 units

POLS 4215(3,2,1)

This is a course designed to integrate the study of Europe with a knowledge of Europe�s relations with Asia since 1945. Emphasis is on the post-colonial development of Asian states� ties with Europe, and with Europeans� economic, political, and cultural exchanges with Asia. The problems posed to Euro-Asian relations by relict anti-colonialism, by Cold War rivalries and by geostrategic political economic competition will be examined within the framework of both continents� internal/external dynamics and the development of world trade, communication, and cultural interchange. The increased movement of Asian peoples to Europe and Europeans� renewed movement into Asia as part of the global processes and trends of the forecast �Asia-Pacific 21st Century� will be examined.

expand_morePOLS 4216 Democratization in East & Southeast Asia3 units

POLS 4216(3,2,1)

Prerequisite:
For GIS major: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science and POLS 3017 Government and Politics of China


This course examines the theories on democratic transition and process of democratization in East and Southeast Asia. Comparisons will be made with current situations in Taiwan, South Korea, China, ASEAN states, etc. China�s prospect of democratization will be a major focus, too. The course exposes students to the theoretical debate on the universality of liberal democracy by exploring conceptual issues such as �Asian values and democracy� and �illiberal democracy�. The course will use a broadly comparative methodology incorporating evidences from a range of countries in East and Southeast Asia.

expand_morePOLS 4225 Political Cultures & Economies in Transition3 units

POLS 4225(3,2,1)

Prerequisite:
For GIS major: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science, POLS 2006 Introduction to Political Economy or POLS 2015 Government and Politics of Hong Kong
For ES major: EURO 1008-9 Europe: Unity and Diversity and EURO 2007 The Political Economy of the European Union


This is an interdisciplinary course which explores the recent political and socio-economic evolution of selected societies in the East and West. It focuses on the dynamic interplay of political, economic and cultural forces at the state level of the international system. It also considers similar forces at the regional and global levels which may link or interact with the development of states. Emphasis will be on Hong Kong and China, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Soviet successor states, and the European Union in exploring such transitional currents.

expand_morePOLS 4226 Public Affairs & Public Policy3 units

POLS 4226(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: Year III standing

This course introduces public affairs and public policy analysis to students, particularly how to understand these issues as relations between governments and different segments of society, such as professional interests, social and civic organizations, local communities, etc. Students will be taught to identify main public policy issues such as economic growth, social inequalities, urban development, community conflicts and environmental protection faced by contemporary governments.

expand_morePOLS 4237 Topics in Asian Politics3 units

POLS 4237(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science and Year IV Standing

The course is intentionally designed to be flexible in order to allow discussion of a range of contemporary issues in Asian politics.

expand_morePOLS 4246 Topics in European Politics3 units

POLS 4246(3,2,1)

The course is intentionally designed to be flexible in order to allow discussion of a range of contemporary issues in European politics.

Chinese Politics:
expand_morePOLS 3205 Chinese Legal System3 units

POLS 3205(3,2,1)

The course aims to introduce students to some of the major areas of the current Chinese legal system and traces their historical and political backgrounds. Major areas covered are constitutional, civil, commercial, administrative and criminal laws, as well as the court system and the legislative process. The Basic Law will be examined in relation to its provisions and its significance to Hong Kong after the change of sovereignty in July 1997.

expand_morePOLS 4235 Social & Political Developments in Contemporary China3 units

POLS 4235(3,2,1)

Prerequisite: POLS 1005 Foundations of Political Science and POLS 3017 Government and Politics of China

The course examines the social and political dynamics of China�s reform. It will begin with a conceptual overview of transition politics in a comparative perspective. It then will analyse political context and reform strategies. The main part of this course will focus on issues such as rural and industrial reform, political and administrative reform, ideological debates and intellectual political thinking. Social consequences of reforms will be critically assessed.

III. Honours Project6 units
expand_morePOLS 4898-9 Honours Project6 units

POLS 4898-9(6,*,*)

Prerequisite: Year IV Standing in the GIS major

A final year project is required from all prospective graduates of the GIS major. The project is an extended written report on a specific topic within the field of political science, produced by the student under the supervision of a member of staff.

IV. General Education Courses38 units
V. Free Electives30 units