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Society and Sustainable Development

Programme Code
Study Period
Open for
Programme Code
Social Science
Study Period
2 Years
Open for
Non-JUPAS Senior Year
Programme Introduction

Society and Sustainable Development (SOCIN-SSD)

Pioneering the path to sustainable development through our interdisciplinary stream!

Sociology stands as a cornerstone for exploring and shaping a sustainable future for society. Throughout recent history, sociologists have made a significant contribution to understanding and addressing critical developmental challenges that societies face, ranging from poverty, inequality, migration and industrial relations during early modernization to contemporary issues, such as gender equality, diversity, urban life, health, education and climate justice in the globalised era. Sociologists examine each of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), investigating the social causes and consequences of human behaviour, social change and social life (ASA). As humanity faces a pivotal moment, exemplified by the COP26 climate deal and the transition away from fossil fuels, sociology provides a theoretical foundation, interdisciplinary connections, and innovative research methodologies to envision a path towards a post-carbon society. It empowers individuals to comprehend and develop strategies to foster sustainability in their communities.

In the 2022–23 academic year, the Sociology programme expanded its Senior Year Entry admission quota by introducing a new interdisciplinary stream: ‘Society and Sustainable Development’ (SOCIN-SSD). Collaborating with the Earth and Environmental Sciences programme of the Faculty of Science and the Gender Studies programme of the Faculty of Social Science, the new stream will provide cross-disciplinary training for students who wish to understand the key social and environmental challenges of our time and seek innovative solutions for them. Available only for Senior Year Entry admission, SOCIN-SSD offers students a unique study path, specific subject knowledge, and technical skill attainment.


#23 in Sociology (#1 in Hong Kong)
(QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023)

Craft Your Path

The SSD stream tackles the intricate nature of sustainable development by bridging Social Science and Science, resulting in three distinct knowledge clusters within the concentration: the Society Cluster, the Climate Knowledge Cluster, and the Diversity Cluster. Students admitted to the SSD stream follow a designated study path from the outset, enabling them to take selected courses from the three aforementioned programmes. They begin with foundational training in sociology, then progress to: (1) expanding their scientific knowledge and technical skills essential for the study of global climate change; (2) advancing their understanding of social science in gender and diversity studies, while exploring the policymaking process to achieve the SDGs.

For more information about the SSD stream, please visit:

Career Prospects

Students completing the SSD stream will benefit from transdisciplinary knowledge and skill sets essential to meet the key challenges of the 21st century. The integrated academic training from the three collaborating CUHK programmes allows them to think beyond a single discipline and to seek innovative solutions for sustainable development from both the social science and science knowledge domains. The SSD stream offers three kinds of ‘literacy’ training to help build their careers:

Climate Literacy
In face of climate change and as nations further their efforts to institutionalise net zero-emission targets, ‘Climate Literacy’ has become an important asset to the government, private and NGO sectors. Climate literacy involves understanding the mutual influence between climate, individuals and society, and the ability to understand the Earth’s climate system, to know how to access and generate scientifically credible information about climate, to communicate climate knowledge in a meaningful way, and to make informed and responsible decisions about climate action (Coalition for Climate Education Policy). Our Climate Knowledge Cluster aims to help students to master climate literacy.

Diversity Literacy
The increasingly interconnected global village of the 21st century requires the ability to think critically about complex social issues about identity, power and differences. Learning how knowledge, skills, and the practice of inclusion and equity shape lives and workplaces are essential for navigating multicultural settings and appreciating the cultural assumptions of others. People who are diversity literate value differences and recognise how they influences lives, and develop the potential to set up good governance for inclusion and social equity (Department of Philosophy, University of Louisville). Our Society Cluster and Diversity Cluster help students develop such soft skills, like critical thinking and problem-solving skills, for developing good governance.

Computational Literacy
Computational thinking is a core asset for graduates who wish to develop a good career in the age of Industry 4.0. Selected sociology courses will help them master the computational method to analyse and solve complex social research problems, drawing large‐scale data from social media, dynamic networks, real‐time digitised and administrative records, and social simulations. Computational training from earth system science will enable them to understand and build climate and basic emission models. These are skill sets to help them attract the attention of private and public organisations looking to strengthen their environmental governance or to solve problems with computational methods.

Other features include benefiting from our unique credit-bearing Internship course, gaining valuable experience through an overseas internship at Princeton University, and expanding their horizons with exchange opportunities at the University of Warwick and the University of Kent in the UK. They can also explore two other concentrations (Sociology and Social Policy; and Research Methods and Data Analytics) to specialise in their area of interest.

According to the Global Employability Rankings and Survey 2021 (GEURS, Times Higher Education), CUHK graduates was ranked third among universities in Hong Kong in terms of employability. GEURS also identified ‘Soft Skills and Digital Literacy’ as the most important consideration factor for employers, followed by Specialization (Technical and Research Expertise). Our SSD stream will help prepare students for a job market that is increasingly looking for talent with SDGs knowledge and technical expertise.

Join us now! Together we shape a sustainable future!

If you are interested in this programme, please review the application requirements and deadlines specific to the respective admission scheme to increase your chances of getting accepted.


More Information:

Department of Sociology:

Department of Sociology, 4/F, Sino Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong

(852) 3943 6604/ 3943 6606