1.1 General Information and Presentation
1.2 Programme Aims / Objectives and Intended Learning Outcomes
1.3 Medium of Instruction
1.4 Admission Criteria
1.5 Student Intake
1.6 Student Mentoring
1.7 Third and Final Year Studies
1.8 Assessment and Progression
1.9 Attendance
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1.1 General Information and Presentation

European Studies is a four-year, full time undergraduate programme leading to the degree of Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours in European Studies. It is offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences and is located in the Department of Government and International Studies.

The Programme focuses on Europe, the European Union and, more specifically, the French- and German-speaking countries within that continent. It is unique in that it offers the opportunity for a systematic study of European political and social affairs in combination with foreign language acquisition. It forms part of a wider programme of developing the study of Europe and Europe’s relations with China, in both teaching and research, at the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Political Science provides the disciplinary core, which is underpinned by history and contemporary area studies. Supporting courses can be chosen from the Humanities, Science, Business and Communication in Years II and IV.

The Programme also concentrates the European Studies emphasis on the comparison of European societies and politics, on the economic and political integration of Europe, and on the governance of the European Union. The disciplinary emphasis on Government and International Relations serves as the starting point for further in-depth study of wider social and cultural affairs. European societies exemplify many of the salient characteristics of global historical, political and economic development and of the relations between countries in general. It is considered therefore that such a focus will give students a disciplinary idiom and intellectual tools which are widely applicable.

The curriculum devotes considerable room to language study (French or German). Students undergo intensive and rigorous training in either German or French up to certified proficiency level prescribed for full-time academic study and/or professional activities in either German or French speaking countries.

Students are expected to spend one year in Europe with academic study and, whenever feasible, with gaining additional working experience in private companies, public institutions or non-governmental organizations. The main reason is the view that in this way rapid progress in communicative linguistic skills will be achieved. These, in turn, form the essential basis for students’ own independent research and their ability to acquire first-hand experience in European social, political or business life. It is along the dimension of linguistic and cultural ‘total immersion’ that the year abroad is integrated into the academic programme of the degree.

The Year III study component in Europe is carefully constructed to meet individual students' interest, predominantly within the range of Social Sciences and Business.

Knowledge of Europe is deepened by the Honours Project, a final year dissertation in which students conduct their own research into a particular subject related to Europe.

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1.2 Programme Aims / Objectives and Intended Learning Outcomes

1.2.1 Graduate Attributes (GAs)

Hong Kong Baptist University requires all graduates to have the following attributes. They will
  1. Have up-to-date, in-depth knowledge of an academic specialty, as well as a broad range of cultural and general knowledge; (KNOWLEDGE)
  2. Be able to think critically and creatively; (THINKING)
  3. Be independent, lifelong learners with an open mind and an inquiring spirit; (LEARNING)
  4. Have trilingual and biliterate competence in English and Chinese, and the ability to articulate ideas clearly and coherently; (COMMUNICATION)
  5. Have the necessary information literacy and IT skills, as well as numerical and problem-solving skills, to function effectively in work and everyday life; (SKILLS)
  6. Be responsible citizens with an international outlook and a sense ofethics and civility; and (CITIZENSHIP)
  7. Be ready to serve, lead and work in a team, and to pursue a healthy lifestyle. (TEAMWORK)

1.2.2 Programme Aims

In light of these required graduate attributes and the above programme rationale, the B.Soc.Sc. (Hons) in European Studies seeks to satisfy the following aims:
  1. To enable students to grasp the significance of Europe to world history, politics and economics;
  2. To stimulate students‘ curiosity for the real political, economic and cultural circumstances of the European Union, its member states and citizens, and to develop their ability to make empirically validated judgments;
  3. To develop students‘ ability to analyze complex social and political issues thoroughly with the help of methodological and theoretical concepts derived from the social sciences;
  4. To train students to become skilled and knowledgeable communicators between Hong Kong / China and Europe;
  5. To provide orientation and intellectual stimulus to students to understand and appreciate their own and other cultures / societies in an increasingly multi-polar and multi-cultural world; and
  6. To enable students to contribute to Hong Kong's role as a major international commercial and cultural crossroads.

1.2.3 Programme Objectives

These aims are to be achieved by
  • providing students with a solid and up-to-date knowledge of contemporary European societies, firmly grounded in the social sciences, with an emphasis on the European Union and its member states;
  • developing their ability to search and critically appraise the basic and current academic literature on Europe and the European Union;
  • immersing students for an extended period of time in European academic and/or professional settings, in carefully structured and monitored ways;
  • systematically developing their ability to synthesize first-hand social experience with relevant academic concepts and arguments;
  • developing their ability to clearly express complex issues in one European language other than English clearly, both orally and in writing; therefore initially
  • assisting students to acquire high, professionally relevant proficiency in one major European language (other than English);
  • enabling students to gather and systematically process Europe-related information relevant to academic and/or professional purposes;
  • systematically encouraging the use of information technology in both language learning and social science-related studies;
  • simultaneously enhancing their performance in English as an academic and professional language, and encouraging proficiency in Putonghua.
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1.3 Medium of Instruction

The programme follows a bilingual policy. The main media of instruction are English and French / German*, while Chinese is used in complementary studies whenever appropriate. English is the main international language whose mastery is crucial for our graduates. It is also the link language in courses shared across the two language streams and with students from other programmes (mainly GIS) and international students.

French and German are taught / learned intensively from the first semester onwards by using a particular methodological approach (CLIL = Content and Language Integrated Learning; see section Teaching and Learning), which combines the acquisition of structural language features and communicative competence with social-science-relevant subject matter. In this way, they become a fully integrated tool of academic study and communication throughout the programme. They become the main medium of learning and communication from Year III onwards.

Year IV is characterized by the concurrent use of all languages involved, which corresponds to the real-life linguistic situation our students face after graduation. Courses are held in either English or French/German. The final Honours Project is based on French / German source material and written in either of these languages.

* "The medium of instruction for formal classroom teaching at HKBU is English, except for those courses that are granted exemption. Please refer to the details as specified in Section General Information on online version of Calendar/Bulletin 2013/14".

(retrieved from

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1.4 Admission Criteria

Applicants for admission must satisfy the general University requirements. Further specific requirements to the programme are:

  1. obtain Level 3 or above in Chinese Language (Grade C or above in GCSE / IGCSE / GCE O Level Chinese, or other qualifications recognised by the University for non-Chinese Speaking Students);
  2. obtain Level 3 in English Language in Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) Examinations (or other qualifications recognised by the University as equivalent to Level 3 of HKDSE English); and
  3. obtain Level 2 in Mathematics, Liberal Studies and two elective subjects.

  1. Grade D or above in AS UE


  2. Grade D or above in AS Chin Lang & Culture*


  3. Either Grade D or above in any 2 AL subjects


    Grade D or above in any 1 AL subject
  • +

  • Grade D or above in any 2 other AS subjects

  • * (Those without a Chinese Language qualification at HKCEE level may substitute AS Chin Lang & Culture requirement with a Grade D or above in an additional AL / AS subject)
Students apply separately for either the French or German Stream of the programme. In order to be admitted applicants should have a genuine interest in the social sciences-related study of Europe/the European Union and above-average language and communication skills.

Non-JUPAS applicants and applicants from the Chinese mainland have to attend an interview prior to admission.

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1.5 Student Intake

The annual student intake is set at 30 students, equally distributed between the French and German Stream of the course.

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1.6. Student Mentoring

Throughout the programme, teaching staff strive to assist students in understanding not only the objectives and content of particular courses, but also their relationship to the whole concept of European Studies, and to the curricular progression. To this end, the programme has adopted an extended mentoring system. From the first semester onwards, each student will have an Adviser, whose task it is to counsel students in all matters relating to studying and learning.

During Year III, the programme coordinators play a crucial role in maintaining contact with students in Europe (see Section Year in Europe). At the onset of Year IV, advisers will be reassigned in accordance with the student’s proposed Honours Project. Counseling will be conducted face-to-face and/or through the use of appropriate IT tools (e-mail, Moodle, blogs, etc.).

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1.7 Third and Final Year Studies

Before or shortly after departing for the Third Year in Europe, students are required, after discussion with staff members, to identify a major area of interest for the remainder of their studies. This area of interest will normally form the basis for their Final Year Honours Project. Throughout the Third Year, students will work on this area of interest on their own initiative so as to realize their individual capacities as fully as possible, while continuing to discuss their progress via IT tools with their Hong Kong-based programme coordinator. The aim is to direct students to gain personal, first-hand insight into real-life problems, and to encourage them to apply previously acquired knowledge / skills to these issues.

The main task during the Final Year back in Hong Kong will be the written synthesis, in the form of the Honours Project, of independent study results on-site in Europe and academic knowledge gained through seminars at Hong Kong Baptist University. In this way, the year in Europe is to receive a clear focus for each student, and it will be clearly linked to the overall programme goals. The linkage of Years III and IV is also seen as a suitable course of action to foster mature, self-responsible behavior while living/studying independently in Europe.

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1.8 Assessment and Progression

The B.Soc.Sc. (Hons) in European Studies uses a wide array of assessment methods commensurate with the teaching / learning objectives in the various courses (see Section Course Syllabi).

Specific guidelines for Honours Project assessments are set in the Honours Project Handbook of the programme. The Honours Project Handbook is updated regularly and made available on the WWW (

Examinations are conducted for each course. The examination results, assessment of the Honours Project, and the recommended degree classifications are decided by a Board of Examiners. The award of the classes of degree proposed are made by the Board of Examiners to the Academic Board.

Assessment may take on different forms depending on nature and content of the courses / classes. Assessment methods (AMs) are specified in each course syllabus (see Section Course Syllabi). Language classes normally follow the stipulations of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Languages) issued by the Council of Europe for the teaching / learning of foreign languages, which allow comprehensive and balanced skill assessments. All other courses use a variety of assessment methods, with emphasis on active participation of the student and appropriate forms of academic writing (term papers, written assignments and/or written final examinations).

A Board of Examiners, consisting of members of the Department, is appointed
  1. to ensure comparability of the standard of the degree with Honours degrees offered by other institution;
  2. to ensure that degree assessments are in accord with the objectives, content and stipulated methods of assessment for the Degree as a whole, and for its constituent subjects;
  3. to assess the performance of students in all years of the programme;
  4. to formulate and approve the Examination Regulations for the programme, and to adjudicate as necessary;
  5. to ensure comparability of standards across all programme courses;
  6. to deal with grievances and appeals from students;
  7. to classify and approve the final results;
  8. to transmit the approved pass list to the Academic Board for endorsement.
Students who do not conform to required foreign language standards at the end of Year II, can be excluded from progression into Year III, even though their overall GPA may be sufficient for the given semester. The Examination Board can advise them to repeat Year II. Alternatively, the student can attend remedial language courses at her/his own cost. In this case, re-testing at the end of the academic year is mandated to make sure that the student has sufficiently caught up.

1.8.1 Assessment and Graduation Regulations

The standard method of assessing course work and examination performance at the University is the Grade Point Average (GPA). Letter grades are used to indicate the evaluation of a student's performance in each course. The number of grade points awarded is directly related to the letter grade and the units allotted to the course. These units indicate the workload attaching to the course. For example, a three-unit course involves a workload equivalent to attendance on three meetings per week for one semester.

The workload may be lectures, tutorials or seminars which normally last for 50 minutes; or it may be a combination of these and independent study. Special regulations, however, apply for language courses in Years I and II (see section Subject Syllabi).

1.8.2 Grading system

The grading system is as follows:

Grade Point
Per Unit
Excellent 4.00
An excellent performance on all Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and a thorough mastery of the subject matter.
Good 3.33
A good performance on all ILOs and is competent in knowledge of the subject matter.
An excellent performance on the majority of the ILOs and is competent in knowledge of the subject matter.
Satisfactory 2.33
A satisfactory performance on all ILOs and an acceptable level of knowledge of the course.
A good performance on some ILOs which compensate for marginal performance on others, resulting in an overall satisfactory performance. An acceptable level of knowledge of the course.
D Marginal Pass 1.00 A marginal acceptable performance on the majority of the ILOs and the student is permitted to proceed to more advanced work in the subject area.
E Conditional Pass 0.00 A temporary grade applicable only to the first- semester component of a year course. A student who receives the conditional grade may continue to study the course in the following semester. If the student obtains a passing grade in the following semester, the first-semester grade E will be converted to grade D. In the case of failure (F grade), withdrawal from, or discontinuation of that course in the following semester, the first-semester grade E will be converted to grade F.
F Fail 0.00 An unsatisfactory performance on the majority of the ILOs. A student with grade F in the first semester of a year course is not allowed to continue his studies in that course in the following semester.
S Satisfactory Not included in GPA calculation A satisfactory completion of a course.
U Unsatisfactory Not included in GPA calculation An unsatisfactory performance in a course. It is applicable only to courses approved by the Senate.

The Grade Point Average (GPA) is obtained by adding all the grade points gained and dividing that sum by the total number of units allotted to the courses taken by the students.

The semester GPA is calculated from all the grade points gained and the number of units attempted in a given semester. The cumulative GPA (cGPA) is calculated from the cumulative grade points gained and the cumulative number of units attempted.

There is a "gate mechanism" whereby a student must attain a GPA above 1.67 for a given semester in order to remain in good academic standing. This is particularly important in view of the fact that level three courses are given extra weight in the overall assessment for honours. Without the "gate mechanism" there might be a tendency for students to pay too little attention to their performance in the first two years.

Students must obtain a passing grade on all courses required in the programme. Specific academic requirements apply for progression to Year III (see next section). All courses repeated or taken for points are counted in the GPA calculation in the same way as new courses, yet the number of units gained for the repeated course is counted once only. Students may only repeat courses with Grade C or below for improvement of GPA.

1.8.3 Specific regulations for progression to Year III

Students who do not conform to required foreign language standards at the end of Year II, can be excluded from progression into Year III, even though their overall GPA may be sufficient for the given semester. The Examination Board can advise them to repeat Year II. Alternatively, the student can attend remedial language courses at her/his own cost. In this case, re-testing at the end of the academic year is mandated to make sure that the student has sufficiently caught up.

In order to progress into Year III (i.e. to Europe), students must
  1. Reach a minimum foreign language proficiency level equivalent to Grade C- at the end of Year II, semester 2 (in either FREN 2009 or German 2009); and
  2. Have obtained at least grade C- in all Year II (semesters 1 and 2) required EURO or POLS courses; and
  3. Have reached a semester 2 GPA of at least 2.0.
Students who have received an academic warning at the end of semester 2 OR are on academic probation will be excluded from Year III and must repeat Year II.

1.8.4 Graduation and Academic Awards

The proposed relationship between the GPA and the class of degree awarded is as follows:

Classifications Weighted GPA
First class honours 3.40 - 4.00
Second class (Division I) honours 3.00 - 3.39
Second class (Division II) honours 2.50 - 2.99
Third class honours 2.20 - 2.49
Pass 2.00 - 2.19

It is fully recognized that an overly rigid, mechanistic assessment of student performance is to be avoided, so the Board of Examiners will have powers in difficult or borderline cases to viva candidates and take the results into account in deciding on the class of degree to be awarded. The Board of Examiners will also have, as broad guidelines only, the expectation that, taking one year with another, some 5% of the cohort might be in the first class honours category; 20% in the upper second; 40% in the lower second; and 35% in the third class and pass degree categories.

The grade and class distribution patterns will be kept under continuous review by the Board of Examiners. The frequency distributions for each course will be regularly compared and, where necessary, corrective action will be taken, e.g., by reminding academic staff to use the full range of marks rather than allowing them to bunch around the middle.

For students taking 12 units or more in a semester
  1. President's Honour Roll: Applicable to students with semester GPA of 3.50 and above and with no grades below C for a given semester.
  2. Dean's List: Applicable to students with semester GPA of 3.00–3.49 and with no grades below C for a given semester
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1.9 Attendance

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes for which they have registered. If absence is due to conditions beyond their control and they wish to establish that fact in order to justify make-up work (e.g. papers, assignments), a written explanation together with supporting documents must be presented to the course instructor for approval within 5 days after the absence.

A student who is reported
  1. to have been absent without approval for more than 15 per cent of scheduled classes, or
  2. to have attended less than 70 per cent of scheduled classes (with approved and unapproved absences)
shall receive an F grade for the course. The student will not be allowed to sit for the course examination, if any.

A student who is more than 15 minutes late for a class may be counted as absent by the course instructor. All unapproved absences will be counted.

Official leave of absence applies only to cases where relevant University offices have given specific written approval.

Classes may be suspended in the event of typhoon or bad weather. Normally, classes will be cancelled upon hoisting of Typhoon Signal No. 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning Signal. Students should take note of the "Arrangement of Classes during Typhoon Signal No. 8 or Black Rainstorm Warning Signal" which can be found on the Academic Registry Web page at

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