Message From the Head

Welcome to the Division of Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Since our establishment in 1991, the Division has pursued academic excellence through both rigorous research and comprehensive training for students in an interdisciplinary environment. Our faculty are recruited through competitive international searches; and at present, the 30 divisional faculty members are spread across six disciplines: Economics; Sociology; Political Science; Psychology; Geography; and Science, Technology and Society. Several of our faculty are jointly appointed with other academic units in the university, including the Department of Economics, Division of Environment and Sustainability, and the Division of Public Policy. In 2013 and 2014, the Times Higher Education Rankings determined that our division was #1 in Citations in Social Science among all Asian Universities. Meanwhile, our senior faculty serve as editors-in-chief of Chinese Economic Review, Chinese Sociological Review, and China Policy Journal. This is especially remarkable given the modest size of our faculty.

These achievements reflect our commitment to providing outstanding training programs in qualitative and quantitative social science research, typically with reference to China. The postgraduate research programs equip students with the sophisticated skills required to conduct primary research in complex settings, coupled with a broad spectrum of analytical perspectives for critical understanding of pressing issues and phenomena in the contemporary world. In addition to the theoretical and methodological insights from coursework, our students are closely mentored in learning how to select significant and timely research topics, and how to identify and deploy valuable sources in their particular research areas. Our PhD graduates now hold academic positions at prominent institutions such as Academia Sinica, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Fudan University, Peking University, Nanjing University, National University of Singapore, Renmin University, University of Chicago, University of Hong Kong, University of Iowa, and Zhongshan University.  Meanwhile, our MPhil graduates have successfully pursued doctoral training in competitive PhD programs abroad, including Australia National University, Cornell University, Duke University, George Mason University, NYU, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Stanford University, UCLA, UCSD, UT-Austin, University of Chicago, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University.  

In partnership with the Division of Humanities, in 2011 we introduced an undergraduate major in Global China Studies, which enables students to develop theoretically informed and empirically grounded knowledge of China, Hong Kong, and other Chinese societies around the world. In fall 2017 our division launched a new undergraduate major in Quantitative Social Analysis, which provides integrated training in social science, research design, statistical methods, and data management. This program is motivated by a clear need—not only in Hong Kong and mainland China, but also worldwide—to make use of social data in addressing issues in business, city and regional planning, sustainability, and social policy.



Kellee S TSAI
Head & Chair Professor