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MPhil and PhD Programs in
Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM)

Courses
  • For the most updated PG course descriptions, please visit here .
  • Courses listed here will be offered based on resources available in each term and year. Details about course offerings in a particular term will be announced at course registration time.

Interdisciplinary Core Course List

ENVR 5290 Climate Change: Science, Policy and Management [3 credits]

This course prepares graduate students for the development of interdisciplinary research on environmental science, policy and management through a detailed investigation of climate change issues. Based on a review of the scientific research and models that have been developed through international cooperation, students will discuss relevant approaches of atmospheric and oceanographic science and the likely consequences in terms of climate change. In addition, the various technologies of mitigation and adaptation will be surveyed, leading to a discussion of appropriate policies for managing climate change at the global or national level.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the critical physical processes responsible for global warming and its impact.
  • Summarize essential components of global climate models and analyze climate data set.
  • Identify key stakeholders in climate discussions and policymaking and explain their roles.
  • Evaluate the difficulties and opportunities of some technology options for climate adaptation and mitigation.
  • Assess the strategy and progress in climate risk management by some countries through literature review and data analysis.

or

SOSC 5770 Policy Analysis and Design for Sustainable Development [3 credits]

Sustainable development problems pose some of the greatest challenges for policy makers around the world, and effective policy design requires analysts with strong subject matter understanding, creativity, and the ability to incorporate diverse perspectives and approaches. The goal of this course is to advance students’ abilities to apply tools and methods, including analytical techniques and presentation skills, which are required for effective policy analysis and decision making in this area. Coursework in the course will be largely case based, and topical issues will be presented and mastered alongside different analytical skills and techniques. Co-list with: PPOL 5190. Exclusion(s): PPOL 5190. Background: Previous study of sustainable development and/or public policy at an undergraduate level; or professional experience in these areas.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Differentiate and use different core sustainability concepts.
  • Choose and use appropriate analytical methodologies for policy design and analysis.
  • Effectively communicate sustainable development policy recommendations to diverse audiences.
  • Critically assess and use different forms of knowledge in the development of effective sustainable development policy proposals.
  • Design policy to be effective in the complex adaptive systems typical of sustainable development problems.
  • Articulate the value of complex adaptive systems (human-environment systems) perspectives in their analysis of policy problems.

ENVR 5360 Sustainable Development Research and Practice [3 credits]

This course introduces postgraduate students to critical sustainability challenges and the state-of-the-art sustainable development practices. The course will cover the up-to-date research in understanding the emergence of sustainability challenges and solution development. It will combine lectures and in-class discussions to provide students with the opportunity to think outside their ongoing research framework and enhance their transdisciplinary research capabilities of delivering useful knowledge and methods that contribute to sustainable development.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize the importance of sustainable development and the necessity of interdisciplinary collaboration in the delivery of sustainable development instruction and assessment.
  • Understand and explain the causes of critical sustainability challenges.
  • Design and integrate multi-disciplinary knowledge to define a research framework for solving a particular sustainable development issue.
  • Experience problem solving and collaboration in studying solution development.
  • Connect and expand their current research domain to the area of sustainable development in pursuit of future academic careers.

or

SOSC 5620 Sustainable Development [3 credits]

This course is designed to give students an understanding of how government and business professionals formulate policies related to the foundations of sustainable development. The course begins with an exploration into the concept of prosperity and conventional view of development in the context of environmental limitations. From that basis we will consider the economic, political and social ramifications of sustainable development and investigate the need for rejuvenation and innovation. Previous Course Code(s): SOSC 562. Exclusion(s): SOSC 301E

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze agglomeration forces in the PRD from a sustainability perspective.
  • Evaluate whether stakeholders in different sector and community contexts are successfully integrating sustainability into development.
  • Generate practical solutions in sustainability for sectors and communities.
  • Develop teamwork and presentation skills.

 

Elective Course List

ENVR 5210 Environmental Microbiology [3 credits]

The course provides an introduction to the fundamental features of environmental microorganisms and an understanding of their roles in the functioning of our ecosystems and their importance to mankind. Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 521, AMCE 521.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize the vast genetic and functional diversity of microorganisms that exist in the biosphere.
  • Explain the importance of the microorganisms in the functioning of our ecosystem.
  • Describe the importance of microorganisms to mankind.
  • Communicate the knowledge in environmental microbiology.

ENVR 5250 Environmental Economics and Management [3 credits]

The course is designed to introduce students to key contemporary concepts in environmental economics and equip them with the approaches in economics that are generally applied to analyze environmental problems and policies. Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 525.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe basic concepts and frameworks in Microeconomics.
  • Apply a structured process to solve environmental problems.
  • Distinguish different ethical basis of environmental actions.
  • Formulate environmental problems to be solved by economic concepts and approaches.
  • Measure the benefits and costs of environmental protection actions by applying cost and benefit analysis (CBA).
  • Explain the economic arguments of promotion of clean technology.

ENVR 5260 Environmental Policy and Management [3 credits]

This course focuses both on how to make and how to study environmental policy and management. It will review major theories related to the formulation of environmental policies, including government regulation and economic incentives, and discuss the types of policy measures implemented in various public and business sectors. The discussion of environmental problems and policies will focus on examples that are relevant for Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland, but will also include the experience of other countries and the debate surrounding global environmental issues. Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 526.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify key global socio-economic, socio-technological and ecological trends that influence environmental policy.
  • Explain intricacies of environmental policies.
  • Evaluate issues in environmental policies by taking into account the complex interdependencies between humans, society and economy.
  • Explain the role of science in environmental politics, policy, planning and management.
  • Develop well-supported arguments or points of view by using proficient data mining and literature review skills.
  • Develop basic public speaking and presentation skills.

ENVR 5310 Atmospheric Dynamics [3 credits]

The study of atmospheric motions is essential for a better understanding of the relevant meteorological phenomena. This course introduces the conservation laws for primitive equations and classical concepts in fluid dynamics, which will allow students to gain physical insight into the fundamental nature of atmospheric motions. This course is suitable for students who require the foundation of fluid dynamics for advanced study in meteorology, oceanography, atmospheric and climate sciences. Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 6040G.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Apply the basic concepts of fluid dynamics and key variables describing the structure and motion of atmosphere.
  • Formulate the primitive equations and perform their simplifications.
  • Define circulation and vorticity, and their relationship.
  • Describe dynamical structure of the flow in the planetary boundary layer.
  • Describe the quasi-geostrophic theory to depict and explain the mid-latitude synoptic-scale motions.
  • Interpret the observed characteristics of large-scale atmospheric motions with fundamental principles.

ENVR 5320 Environmental Data Analysis [3 credits]

This course is designed for students at the start of their postgraduate studies. The course will provide students with knowledge in understanding and using statistical methods in environmental science and applications. Probability distributions, parametric tests of significance against non-parametric tests, Monte Carlo methods, Principal Component Analysis, etc. will be taught in the course facilitated by extensive use of real world problems as example. Background: Fundamental knowledge of the statistic concepts and experience in using at least one data analysis tool such as excel, python or Matlab.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the concepts of basic statistical methods.
  • Use probability distributions, parametric tests, non-parametric tests and Monte Carlo methods to analyze environmental database and solve environmental problems creatively.
  • Use Principal Component Analysis, and correlation methods to analyze environmental datasets and discover the linkage between the data results and with environmental problems.
  • Solve the real world environmental problems using statistical tools independently and creatively.

ENVR 5330 Environmental Geographical Information System [3 credits]

This course will cover a broad spectrum of concepts and practices in Geographical Information System (GIS). It starts with the fundamental concepts and elements in geographic science and technology. Spatial data modeling and integration methods will then be discussed followed by various geospatial analysis approaches for both vector and raster data. Cartographic principles, spatial relationships, projection and coordinate systems will be discussed in-depth. During the course, students will be introduced to contemporary GIS software and apply GIS technology support local and regional environmental planning and management. Exclusion(s): EVSM 5240.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Manage spatial data, including images from satellites and field data.
  • Interpret spatial model data such as wind and temperature in Hong Kong.
  • Analyze situations to incorporate environmental considerations into socioeconomic development.
  • Formulate solutions to environmental problems by integrating and applying geospatial technologies.
  • Apply GIS theory to effective resource management, environmental policy formation and decision making.

ENVR 5340 Fundamentals of Sustainability Science and Technology [3 credits]

The course is intended to link the interaction between the human and natural environment, focusing on how the anthropogenic activities have altered the natural environment and provide an overview on the emerging science and technology of sustainability. The course will identify the impacts associated with resource consumption and environmental pollution, and present the quantitative tools necessary for assessing environmental impacts and design for sustainability. At the end of the course, the students should be cognizant of the concept of sustainability, the metrics of sustainability and be able to use the principles of sustainable engineering in their respective field of practice. Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 6040J. Background: Some engineering knowledge will be a plus while not a specific requirement.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe and explain social, environmental, and ecological indicators of Sustainability.
  • Identify grand challenges for sustainability and discuss emerging solutions for these challenges.
  • Define and explain the principles of sustainable engineering and make links to their respective field of practice.
  • Apply a life-cycle thinking in design for environment and conduct life cycle analysis to assess the environmental impacts of different products, processes and systems.
  • Work effectively in a team and interpret the project‘s contribution to sustainability improvement.

ENVR 5350 Climate Dynamics [3 credits]

This course covers the dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean and the coupled dynamics, which govern our weather and climate. The course will introduce the essential features of the atmosphere and ocean circulation, as well as theories about instabilities in geophysical fluids. Knowledge and skills for running weather and climate models and analyzing data are also practiced in the course. Background: Fundamental knowledge of (geophysical) fluid dynamics is recommended.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe basic structures of the atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
  • Explain known mechanisms governing the variability of the climate.
  • Conduct further research related to climate variability.
  • Present their research/practice results to experts and general audience.

ENVR 5370 Energy Systems, Sustainability, and Policy [3 Credit(s)]

This course provides postgraduate students the opportunity to enhance their multidisciplinary understanding of sustainable energy systems, transitions, and policy, with regards to the need to deliver sustainable development for all and accelerating climate action. With climate change accelerating, the ways we generate, distribute and use energy has been duly challenged, opening up new opportunities to rethink a rapid shift from fossil fuel-based generation to the deployment of sustainable energy systems. This course offers students a wide range of topics from conventional to renewable energy generation to electric mobility and transport to transmission and storage to markets and multi-level policy approaches to effect sustainable energy transitions. The course exposes the students to the sociotechnical nature of energy systems—in Hong Kong, China, and internationally, and an understanding that energy systems are not purely technological systems but are also embedded within politics and social dynamics.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain and provide possible solutions to local and global environmental problems with their social and economic contexts using advanced scientific and management knowledge and concepts.
  • Evaluate environmental impacts with scientific and evidence-based approaches.
  • Analyze contemporary and emerging environmental issues from different disciplinary and stakeholder perspectives.
  • Appropriately communicate an environmental agenda to different stakeholders.
  • Develop strategies and solutions to promote sustainability in government, business or educational sectors.

ENVR 5380 The Circular Economy – Institutions, Stakeholders and Modes of Implementation [3 Credit(s)]

This course provides an insight into the circular economy (CE) concept and its modes of implementation. While the central focus is laid on the CE development in China, comparisons with particular CE elements from other countries such as Germany, Japan and the European Union will be conducted. The main thematic content of this course are (1) institutional structures, (2) eco-industrial park estates and (3) waste management.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the significance and performance of institutions (rule systems) in the circular economy (CE) context.
  • Explain key concepts and metrics for CE system analysis.
  • Recognize how competing interests affect the formation of CE structures.
  • Identify municipal solid waste recovery practices and techniques conducive for the CE.
  • Identify and solve circular economy problems.

ENVR 5390 Satellite Remote Sensing and Informatics [3 Credit(s)]

Satellite remote sensing technique measures geophysical parameters from the electromagnetic energy emitted or reflected from the earth, and can be used to estimate earth surface characteristics, atmospheric compositions and profiles, and meteorological processes. This course provides a brief overview of the fundamental essentials to understand the remote sensing process, satellite data products, and their applications in atmosphere, land, and ocean.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the algorithm and process used by satellite remote sensing to measure the physical properties of distant objects.
  • Compare and contrast the most common sensors and techniques for satellite remote sensing.
  • Explain basic electromagnetic concepts and applications to optical sensors.
  • Define and exemplify the principles of applications in atmosphere, land, and ocean.
  • Access satellite remote sensing products from online data archives.
  • Apply data products for spatial and temporal variation analysis on parameters, compositions, and profiles of atmosphere, land, and ocean.

ENVR 5410 Atmospheric Chemistry [3 credits]

A fundamental introduction to the physical and chemical processes determining the composition of the atmosphere and its implications for climate, ecosystems, and human welfare. Atmospheric transport and transformation. Stratospheric ozone. Oxidizing power of the atmosphere. Regional air pollution: aerosols, smog, and acid rain. Nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, sulfur geochemical cycles. Climate and the greenhouse effect. Co-List with: CHEM 5410. Exclusion(s): CHEM 5410. Background: Basic knowledge of physical chemistry.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Apply the fundamental concepts to describe the physical and chemical processes governing air pollution.
  • Identify important chemical reactions and processes in the stratosphere and troposphere.
  • Understand the formation mechanism and destruction processes of various pollutants in the air.
  • Assess the potential impacts of various atmospheric chemical processes on environment, climate and human health.
  • Use investigative skills, critical thinking and ability to evaluate atmospheric chemistry-related information and data.

ENVR 6040 Special Topics in Environmental Science [1-4 credits]

Offerings are announced each term, if deemed necessary, to cover emerging topics in environmental science not covered in the present curriculum.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the latest technologies and scientific developments on topic concerned.
  • Integrate with the status quo knowledge/practices on the topic/subject.
  • Project the near future trend of development concerned.
  • Anticipate the research/business/in-field opportunities on the topic/subject.

ENVR 6050 Introduction to Oceanography [3 credits]

An introduction to the fundamentals of physical, chemical, geological, geochemical, and biological oceanography. It unveils the mystery of the oceans including the formation of the continents, oceanic circulation, and formation of precious minerals in the deep oceans; discovers ocean resources from phytoplankton to fish. The course will lay the foundation for sustainable use of the oceans and discuss human threats such as global warming, overfishing, and coastal pollution. Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 605, AMCE 605. Background: second year Science or Engineering.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe ocean sciences from interdisciplinary perspectives including physics, chemistry, biology, and geology.
  • Analyze environmental and earth system problems based on fundamental scientific principles and by applying interdisciplinary skill and knowledge.
  • Communicate problem solutions using correct oceanographic terminology in English.

ENVR 6060 Sustainability Economics [3 credits]

This course is designed to give students an interdisciplinary understanding on the concepts of sustainability, and its contemporary trend of development. The course will cover component concepts on sustainability, its implications from resource (renewable and non-renewable) exploitation; the strength of sustainability with respect to human made or natural capitals; the assessment for sustainability; and the inter-relationships between sustainability and business, governmental policy and human communities. Exclusion(s): SOSC 5620.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the developmental trend from a sustainability perspective.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of different stakeholders in integrating sustainability into development.
  • Generate practical solutions in sustainability for different sectors and communities.
  • Implement sustainability assessment tools in case studies or projects.

ENVR 6090 Special Topics in Environmental Management [1-4 credits]

Offerings are announced each term, if deemed necessary, to cover emerging topics in environmental management not covered in the present curriculum.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

    • Identify the latest development in the technologies or management strategies on the topic concerned.
    • Integrate with the status quo knowledge/practices on the topic/subject.
    • Project the near future trend of development concerned.
    • Anticipate the research/business/in-field opportunities on the topic/subject.

EVSM 5270 Environmental Law [3 credits]

The course will provide students with the basic legal concepts which include the hierarchy of courts in Hong Kong, the difference between civil and criminal proceedings and their possible redresses or remedies available from the courts. Some important provisions of the basic environmental legislation in Hong Kong, environmental prosecution policy of Hong Kong and how to instigate a judicial review against a ministerial decision relating to the environment will also be covered in the course. Previous Course Code(s): EVSM 527.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the basic legal concepts which include the hierarchy of courts in Hong Kong.
  • Interpret legislations and construct legal argument.
  • Explain the difference between civil and criminal proceedings and their possible redresses or remedies available from the courts.
  • Identify the important provisions of basic environmental legislation in Hong Kong, as well as environmental prosecution policy of Hong Kong.
  • Identify the techniques and procedures to instigate a judicial review against a ministerial decision relating to the environment.
  • Formulate opinions to the environment-related legal problems, correctly applying the applicable laws.

EVSM 5280 Introduction to Atmospheric Aerosols [3 credits]

Atmospheric aerosols, also known as, airborne particulate matter, are important air pollutants affecting our health, visibility, and global climate change. This course aims to provide a survey of the physical and chemical properties, the source identification, the atmospheric transformation, the sampling of atmospheric aerosols, and the determination of their chemical compositions.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the air pollution problem, in particular that in Hong Kong and PRD, and the main contributing factors.
  • Explain and use the basic concepts and terminology in atmospheric aerosols and particulate matter for communication and discussion.
  • Identify the common aerosol parameters and atmospheric processes governing the changes of atmospheric aerosols.
  • Apply the concepts and knowledge to analyze aerosol related air pollution issues.
  • Work in a team to analyze and comment on an aerosols-related air pollution issue, like those reported in scientific papers, and present and communicate the findings to a group of audience.

EVSM 6070 Environmental Impact Assessment [4 credits]

Introduction to environmental impact assessment (EIA) and the EIA process in Hong Kong. The components of an EIA report including air, noise, water, waste management, environmental risk, ecological impact, and socio-economic impact assessments will be analyzed. Environmental law, environmental management and the importance of public participation will also be discussed. Case studies from Hong Kong will be used and comparison with EIA in Mainland China will be made. Previous Course Code(s): EVSM 607, ENVR 607, AMCE 607. Exclusion(s): ENVS 5116.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Critically examine a broad range of environmental impacts in the EIA processes.
  • Identify the complex interactions among the various key components in the assessment processes.
  • Develop analytical and presentation skills to locate and evaluate the interactive dynamics between environment and scientific principles.

RMBI 4000B Environmental Risk Management for Corporate [3 credits]

This course is designed to provide students an overview of environmental risk management regarding climate change, energy use, chemical toxicology, waste disposal, water and air pollution to human health and the environment. It focuses on the fundamental concepts of risk management and the impacts of environment risk to a corporate. It will cover the topics of types of environmental risks, risk management standards and guidelines, environment risk management strategies and implementation methods, and case studies.