2020-21 Summer SDG-GE Course
UGEB2296 Experiencing and Rethinking Science and Technology in Agriculture

Please note that this course will not be offered in 2020-21 summer term.

ugeb2296 2021 posterAgriculture is an art that integrates the knowledge of nature with human needs and values, evolving side by side with the development of science and 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 “Zero Hunger”, “Responsible Consumption and Reproduction”, “Climate Action” etc.

In this course, students will gain basic knowledge about modern agriculture and its application of science and technology; discuss related ethical issues; understand the fundamental principles, philosophy, and practice of permaculture; reflect on relevant SDGs through lectures. Apart from that, students will attend a six-day study trip to Taiwan and experience the practices of modern agriculture and permaculture in farmlands. Students are expected to 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. Lectures: 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 study trip: In a six-day study trip to Taiwan, students will learn the fundamental principles and practices of permaculture in permaculture institutes and neighbouring farmlands.

  3. Seminar: After the trip, students are required to give group presentations. Each student is also required to submit a final term paper.

Course Review

In May 2019, 20 students from different disciplines and year of study visited Permaculture College Australia for six days and learned permaculture ethics and design principles from Robyn Francis, a master and educator in permaculture. Students also engaged in a series of farming and planting practices and get close contact with nature. For a glimpse of the experience, visit the following links to watch two short review videos:

Medium of Instruction

The lectures and seminar in CUHK will be delivered in Cantonese. The experiential-learning classes in Taiwan will be conducted in Putonghua.


The Office of University General Education will arrange and cover all the basic costs 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 for the trip.

Further subsidies are available for application by students with financial needs (recipients of full grant from The Tertiary Student Finance Scheme - Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS)). Please indicate your interest in the application form and submit the TSFS notification letter as proof that you are a recipient of their full grant. Applications will be reviewed depending on students’ financial needs, the number of applicants and the financial resource of the Office of University General Education.


Students must have taken or be taking the course“UGFN1000 In Dialogue with Nature” at the time of application.

Students should complete the online application form on or before 13 December 2020, uploading a personal statement and a copy of an updated academic transcript at CUHK. The personal statement will make important reference for selecting students for the course. Students may explain the motivation for taking the course, expectations of this course, your contribution in experiential-learning activities, prior knowledge or experience (if any) and reflection on agriculture-related courses or activities. It should be no longer than 1000 characters in Chinese or 700 words in English. Year-one students without an academic transcript at the time of application should upload a list of courses taken in the present term; they should submit the transcript once the grades are released in mid-January 2021.

Important Dates

7 December 2020

Information Session (Online)
Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 nn 
Language: Cantonese
pdf logo Presentation Powerpoint (Login required)
video Video Recording (Login required)

13 December 2020

Application Deadline

Early-January 2021


Early-January 2021

Announcement of Interview Results

Mid-May 2021

Course Begins

Please note that this course will not be offered in 2020-21 summer term.



Organizing the study trip involves a lot of planning and coordination in advance. The course will therefore 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 caution deposit of HKD2,000 within one week, which will be fully refundable on the successful completion of the course. The Office of University General Education will then proceed with the course enrollment on CUSIS. Once enrolled, students are not allowed to drop the course except under special circumstances. If this is because of the influence of COVID-19 (for instance, in treatment or mandatory quarantine), students must lodge a written application to the OUGE to seek the“Drop Consent”.

In consideration of the changing situation of COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding travel restrictions issued by the Hong Kong and Taiwan governments, this course might be subjected to alteration or cancellation. Latest information will be released via email to all enrolled students.

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