2019-2020 Experiential Learning GE Summer Course
UGEB2296 Experiencing and Rethinking Science and Technology in Agriculture

Agriculture is an art that integrates the knowledge of nature with human needs and values. It continues to evolve with the advancement of scientific technology. Nowadays, the highly industrialized modern agriculture has greatly increased food production to support an ever-growing global population. Yet it also brings forth many global ethical concerns regarding sustainability, food safety, biotechnology, pollution, etc. In the past decades, increasing attention has been given to permaculture, an alternative agricultural practice that emphasizes the development of durable and self-sufficient ecosystems in farming. It is not only a practice of sustainable food production; it is also a philosophy of living in harmony with nature. Permaculture principles are closely related to some of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) initiated by the United Nations in 2015, including the problem of hunger and poverty, biodiversity, lack of clean water and sanitation, etc.

In this course, students will gain an understanding of modern agriculture and its related ethical issues through lectures, and also hands-on practices of permaculture on a six-day study trip to the farmlands in Taiwan. Through experiential learning, it is hoped that students who finish this course will be able to describe and compare major principles and practices of modern agriculture and those of permaculture, analyze the ethical issues related to modern agriculture in contemporary societies, and formulate personal views on how to live ethically with nature.

Course Structure

The course consists of three parts:

  1. Lecture: To prepare for the study trip, students are required to attend two-day lectures in CUHK to gain basic knowledge about agriculture and related ethical issues.

  2. Experiential learning class: In a six-day study trip to Taiwan, students will learn the fundamental principles and the actual practices of permaculture in a permaculture institute.

  3. Seminar: After the trip, students are required to give a group presentation. Each student is also required to submit a personal reflective essay.

Course Review

In May 2019, 20 students from different disciplines and year of study have visited Permaculture College Australia and learned permaculture ethics and design principles from Robyn Francis, a master and educator in permaculture. Students have also taken part in diverse farming and permaculture practices and get close contact with nature. If you want to know more details, please watch the following video for your reference: https://youtu.be/OIZh-Tfz5NU

Medium of Instruction

The lectures and seminars in CUHK will be delivered in Cantonese. The experiential learning class in Taiwan will be conducted in Putonghua.


The Office of University General Education will cover the full cost of the study tour, including tuition, meals and accommodation.

Students are responsible for arranging the air travels between Hong Kong and Taiwan, and any other personal items that will be needed during the trip.

Further subsidies are available for application by students with financial needs (fully granted by The Tertiary Student Finance Scheme - Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS)). Please indicate your interest in the application form and submit the TSFS notification letter for proving. Applications will be judged depending on students’financial needs, the number of applicants and the financial resource of the Office of University General Education.


Students should complete the online application form on or before 26 December 2019.

Students are required to upload a personal statement and a copy of the academic transcript to complete the online application. The statement may include the reasons for taking this course, your expectations, knowledge of agriculture, and previous experience with and reflection on agriculture-related courses or activities. The word limit is 700 words for English or 1000 words for Chinese.

Important Dates

26 November 2019 
10 December 2019
(updated on 27 Nov 2019

Information Session
Time: 5:30-6:45 pm 10:30 - 12:00
Venue: LHC 103 Rm 701, Hui Yeung Shing Building (subject to be changed, depending on the number of applicants, please pay close attention to the website update.)
Language: Cantonese
pdf logo Presentation Powerpoint
video Video Recording

20 December 2019
now extend to
26 December 2019

Application Deadline

Early-January 2020


Early-January 2020

Announcement of Interview Results

Mid-May 2020

Course Begins



As planning the study trip involves a lot of coordination and arrangements, this course will not follow the regular schedule of course enrollment at CUHK. Once the interview results are announced, shortlisted students will be required to indicate acceptance of the offer and pay a deposit of HKD2,000 (fully refund after completing the course) within a week. The Office of University General Education will then proceed with the course enrollment on CUSIS. Except under special circumstances, enrolled students are not allowed to drop the course.

For any queries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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