Focus Your Studies

The Faculty of Science & Engineering offers a wide range of generic and interdisciplinary major subjects at undergraduate level. In addition, the Faculty also offers a number of specialisations and general programmes to allow students to really focus their studies on a particular area of interest, enjoyment and ability, as well as to utilise our internationally renowned staff expertise.

So, what exactly is a general programme or a specialisation? And what's the difference between them?

Both specialisations and general programmes are a collection of papers, normally taken to either fulfil, or in addition to, the requirements of a major subject.

A specialisation is a specifically required set of papers, and if the requirements of a specialisation are successfully completed, the relevant specialisation will be annotated on a student's academic transcript and degree certificate. Specialisations are normally attached to specific majors (currently there are some available under either the Biological Sciences or the Environmental Sciences majors) but there are some available that may be attached to any major.

A general programme, on the other hand, is a recommended set of papers under either a Biological Sciences or an Earth Sciences major that does not get annotated on a student's academic transcript or degree certificate.

For example, if you major in Biological Sciences and follow the Restoration Ecology specialisation, then both Biological Sciences and Restoration Ecology will be mentioned on your transcript and certificate. On the other hand, if you major in Biological Sciences and select papers from the Zoology general programme, there will be no mention of zoology on your transcript/certificates, but you can let potential employers know by your transcript that you focused on the Zoology-related papers.

General programmes have slightly more flexibility, as you can choose which of the recommended papers you would like to take, whereas for a specialisation, you must take all of the prescribed papers.

Available General Programmes and Specialisations

General Programmes

  • Animal Physiology
  • Behavioural Ecology and Conservation
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Botany
  • Coastal Science
  • Earth Sciences and Geography
  • Ecology
  • Engineering Geology
  • Environmental Engineering Science
  • Freshwater Biology
  • Genetics
  • Hydrology and Water Resources
  • Microbiology
  • Natural Hazards
  • Plant Physiology
  • Sedimentary Geology and Tectonics
  • Soil and Land Resources
  • Volcanology
  • Zoology


  1. Attached to the Environmental Sciences major.
  2. Attached to the Biological Sciences major.
  3. May be attached to any Faculty of Science & Engineering major.

For more in-depth information about the available specialisations/general programmes and their requirements, please refer to the Undergraduate Handbook in the first instance. For personal advice, please contact us to make an appointment.