UGEB2296 Experiencing and Rethinking Science and Technology in Agriculture

2018-2019 Summer General Education Course
UGEB2296 Experiencing and Rethinking Science and Technology in Agriculture

Agriculture is an art that integrates 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 development of durable and self-sufficient ecosystems in farming. Permaculture is not only a practice of sustainable food production; it is also a philosophy of living in harmony with nature.

In this course, students will gain understanding not only through lectures on the basics of modern agriculture and ethical issues arising from its practice, but also through practical experience of permaculture on a six-day study trip to Australia, the birthplace of permaculture. 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 with nature.

Course Structure

The course consists of three parts:

  1. Lecture: Students are required to attend two lectures in CUHK to gain basic knowledge about agriculture and related ethical issues.
  2. Experiential learning class: In a six-day study trip to Australia, students will learn the fundamental principles and the actual practices of permaculture in a permaculture institute.
  3. Seminar: After the study trip, students are required to give group presentations reporting their learning in the trip. Each student is also required to submit a personal reflective essay.

Medium of Instruction

The lectures and seminars at CUHK will be delivered in Cantonese. The experiential learning class in Australia will be conducted in English.


The Office of University General Education will 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 Australia, and any other personal items that will be needed during the trip (e.g. sleeping bags).

Students in needs could apply for financial aids from the Office of University General Education. Applications will be judged case-by-case.


Students must have taken or be taking the course “In Dialogue with Nature” in the General Education Foundation Programme at the time of application. Students should complete the online application form on or before 17 December 2018. Students are required to upload a personal statement and a copy of academic transcript to complete the online application.

The statement may include the reasons for taking this course, your expectations, knowledge of agriculture, and experience with and reflection on agriculture-related courses or activities. The word limit is 1000 words in either Chinese or English. Since year-one students do not yet have a transcript at the time of application,  year-one students should submit their transcripts with grades once the grades are released in early January 2019.

Important Dates

23 November 2018

Information Session
Time: 5:30-6:45 pm
Venue: ELB LT4
Language: Cantonese
pdf icon Powerpoint (Updated after information session)
video Video

17 December 2018

Application Deadline

3 January 2019


Mid-January 2019

Announcement of Interview Results

14 May 2019
(Tentatively whole day)


20 May 2019

Meet in Gold Coast, Australia

21-26 May 2019

Six-day Experiential Learning Class in Djanbung Gardens

27 May 2019

Dismiss in Gold Coast, Australia

11 June 2019


18 June 2019

Final Report Submission



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 (will be fully refunded after completing the course) within a week. The Office of University General Education will then proceed with the course enrollment on CUSIS. Enrolled students are not allowed to drop this course except under special circumstances.

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

Sep 2019