Goals and Objectives

The “Bilingual and Bicultural” Dimension

The Chinese University of Hong Kong believes that an education for the twenty-first century should nurture a “bilingual and bicultural dimension” (CUHK Vision Statement). If you choose our department, you will join a highly international community of people all sharing the same passion for English language and literature in a global context. The English department at CUHK plays a key role in preparing graduates for career opportunities around the world.

English Literature and Linguistics

In our department, you will study both English literature and linguistics. Studying literature written in English from across the globe will expand your understanding of cross-cultural interactions throughout history. It provides you with a deep sense of the shared values and ideas that connect the world’s literary cultures. At the same time, you will learn how to appreciate language from a scientific point of view — what language is, how it is structured, and how it relates to the mind and society. Our approach encourages you to apply linguistic concepts to your own experiences with language, which will further enhance and strengthen your ability to analyze and interpret all forms of communication. By approaching language from both a literary and linguistic perspective, you will increase your capacity to think logically, critically, and creatively. Learning other languages to the point at which you are “bilingual and bicultural” involves the open-mindedness and flexibility to move between local and global perspectives — qualities much sought after in today’s global job market. We strive to cultivate these qualities in our department.

Employment Opportunities

What are the employment opportunities for English graduates in Hong Kong? In today’s global world, skills such as fluency in English, comprehension, presentation, research, critical thinking and analysis are in high demand. Graduates from our department have acquired a wide range of skills that may be used in many different professions and fields: the traditional areas of teaching, graduate studies, publishing, arts, theatre, advertising, and journalism, as well as government, business, law and administration.

The broad range of possible career paths is one among many things that attract students to our department. To increase employment options, our students often choose to combine a major in English with a minor in e.g. Business Administration, Law, or Journalism. What is important to us is that you make a choice that you are comfortable with. Our department works in close collaboration with the CUHK Career Planning and Development Centre to ensure that students receive the best advice on how to prepare for a successful career in today’s job market.

The English Major

The English major is a four-year program that covers all the basic aspects of English language and literature, as well as offering an opportunity to pursue a particular area of study in depth. The first year consists of three components: communicative skills, linguistics, and literature. The main target of the first year of study is to strengthen your understanding of spoken and written English. You will explore the dimensions of English language through a variety of topics, including sound, grammar, rhetoric, society and culture. By studying major English literary texts and their place in history, you will simultaneously develop a sense of how literary histories are connected across geographical borders. The first year provides the groundwork for more specialized studies in the remaining three years, during which you may choose between courses in linguistics and/or literature. You may expand your knowledge of the practical and theoretical aspects of proficient English usage, while at the same time studying the various developments of English literature from the Renaissance to the present. Finally, in your fourth year you will work on an independent research project of your own choice (you can find more details about courses under “study scheme” or by contacting us).

International Perspectives

Hong Kong is one of the major cultural centers in the Asian region. A large number of distinguished international scholars visit our university every year to give talks and seminars as well as conducting workshops. This is a great opportunity for you to meet some of the world’s leading academics and to get a first-hand impression of the frontiers of knowledge.

Our department actively encourages students to explore study opportunities in other English-speaking countries. Many of our students have benefitted from CUHK’s various scholarships and exchange student programs to study at prestigious universities around the world. We provide guidance and advice to ensure you will get a rewarding and challenging experience abroad.

Postgraduate Study

Students joining our department may explore English language and literature further through our postgraduate degree programs— M.A., M.Phil, and PhD studies. The English department at CUHK has an international reputation for excellent teaching and research. Postgraduate students are crucial to our efforts to create an intellectually stimulating and challenging environment (further details of our Graduate Programs are available in the department’s Postgraduate Program Prospectus or by contacting us).