Department of Physics* (options: BSc Applied Physics, BEng Materials Engineering)

Year of Entry 2017
Mode of Funding Government funded
Admission Code 1208
Department of Physics* (options: BSc Applied Physics, BEng Materials Engineering)
Mode of Study Full time
Normal Duration of Programme 4 years
Tuition Fee Click here for more information
Programme/Major Leader (Applied Physics)
Prof CHAN Kwok-sum
+852 3442 7814
Programme/Major Leader (Materials Engineering)
Dr Johnny HO
BSc MSc PhD University of California, Berkeley, USA
+852 3442 4897
Remark: For JUPAS applicants, the programme code is JS1208

* previously Department of Physics and Materials Science

Department of Physics (options: BSc Applied Physics, BEng Materials Engineering)

In the new millennium, the fields of science and technology are facing challenges in the areas of information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, energy and environmental science. Physics and Materials Science issues are ubiquitous in all of these areas and an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics is essential. In 1993, CityU, recognizing the importance of these challenges and the need for synergism between education and research encompassing both physics and materials science, formed the Department of Physics and Materials Science – the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Over the years, the Department has grown to a size of 30 academic staff, approximately 70 research students and 110 research and technical staff with many outstanding achievements in both fundamental and applied research. In order to further develop these two areas with better focus, in July 2017, CityU established the new Department of Materials Science and Engineering and renamed the Department of Physics and Materials to the Department of Physics.

BSc Applied Physics

The objectives of the Department of Physics are: to educate students with advanced knowledge and skills, to conduct cutting-edge research and development leading to the advancement of science and technology and to render professional services for Hong Kong and the Greater China region.

One undergraduate major is offered by the Department of Physics:

  • BSc Applied Physics

The Applied Physics major is not an ordinary Physics major. In Applied Physics, students are taught biomedical physics, nuclear radiation, materials physics and optoelectronics, enabling them to seek employment in hospitals, nuclear radiation facilities and engineering companies or pursue postgraduate study in these areas. We plan to strengthen the training in fundamental physics within the major (subject to approval and resource availability) to enhance the preparation for postgraduate study in physics. Students of the Applied Physics major, who meet certain requirements, can apply for admission to the Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program between City University of Hong Kong and Columbia University in USA. To learn more about the Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program, please visit

The Department also offers a taught Master of Science (MSc) degree in Materials Engineering and Nanotechnology with about 60 students, and post-graduate Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programmes.


BEng Materials Engineering

Being the first of its kinds in Hong Kong, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is established to develop internationally competitive and leading-edge research and provide a professional education curriculum that equips graduates to contribute to Hong Kong, the Greater China, and the whole world in materials science and engineering and related sectors.

The Department serves as a collaboration platform for developing cross-disciplinary academic programmes and interdisciplinary research projects with other academic units in the University. Further, it aspires to become one of the world-leading departments in research and professional education with a focus on four targeted areas, namely –

  1. Biomaterials
  2. Computational materials science
  3. Functional materials
  4. Structural materials

The Department also serves as an international collaboration platform to encourage the collaboration among the leading institutes in the whole world and to enhance our global research reputation.

One undergraduate major is offered by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering:

  • BEng Materials Engineering

In the Materials Engineering major, students acquire knowledge that can be used to solve materials problems in engineering processes. Graduates of this major can seek jobs in engineering companies and join the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers as graduate members. They can become professional engineers after receiving the relevant on-the-job training and completing the professional assessment.


Our Target

The Applied Physics major allows students to specialise in the disciplines of Nuclear and Environmental Physics, Materials Technology, Biomedical Physics or Photonics. We equip students with applied physics knowledge to meet regional needs in the industrial, commercial, government and educational sectors. We provide students with comprehensive knowledge and a thorough understanding of the principles, phenomena and applications of physics. Students learn how to select and use appropriate and effective instrumentation techniques; to critically examine data-capture methodologies and the resulting data; and to evaluate the precision and reliability of the techniques in use.

The major also prepares students for further studies. Many graduates pursue postgraduate studies in nuclear science and technology, biomedical physics, materials engineering and photonics.

The Materials Engineering major aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to meet local and regional needs in the industrial, commercial, government and education sectors.

In particular, graduates of this major understand the production, fabrication and service performance of engineering materials, including conventional bulk materials, advanced thin film and nanostructured materials. Working with other engineering specialists, our graduates contribute to the design, manufacture, maintenance, safety enhancement and testing of engineering components, devices, structures and processing plants.

Admission Arrangements for Direct/Non-JUPAS Applicants

Applicants holding a 12-year school-leaving qualification or a partially completed sub-degree qualification will apply for admission to first-year studies at the Department of Physics. During their first year studies, students will study a broad range of Gateway Education (GE) and College/Department core courses. Students will enter a major after one year of study. The top 40% of students of the Department [based on (i) cumulative grade point average (CGPA) at the end of Semester B; (ii) no failed grades in any courses in Semesters A and B; and (iii) completion of at least 30 credit units in Semesters A and B, including the number of credit units specified by the College/Department for its required courses] will have free choice of majors (Applied Physics or Materials Engineering). The other 60% of students will be allocated a major (Applied Physics or Materials Engineering), subject to the availability of places and the selection criteria set by individual majors.

Applicants holding a 13-year school-leaving qualification, an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma or a General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCEAL) qualification may apply for admission to Applied Physics major or Materials Engineering major with Advanced Standing I, or to the Department to study the four-year programme without advanced standing (first-year studies).

Entrance Requirements for Direct/Non-JUPAS Applicants

To be considered for admission, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements. In addition to meeting the General Entrance Requirements, applicants are expected to have a science or engineering background.

First-Year Curriculum


Gateway Education

GE English/EAP (6 credit units) *

  • GE English (1): GE 1401 University English (3 credit units)
  • GE English (2): Discipline-specific English (3 credit units)

*Students whose entry qualification in English falls below Level 4 in HKDSE English Language OR Grade D in HKALE AS-level Use of English are required to complete the 6-credit EL0200 English for Academic Purposes course prior to taking the above GE English courses.

College Specified GE Courses (9 credit units)

  • MA1200/MA1300 (3 credit units)
    Calculus and Basic Linear Algebra I/
    Enhanced Calculus and Linear Algebra I
  • MA1201/MA1301 (3 credit units)
    Calculus and Basic Linear Algebra II/
    Enhanced Calculus and Linear Algebra II
  • CS1102/CS1302 (3 credit units)
    Introduction to Computer Studies/
    Introduction to Computer Programming

Any GE Courses (3 credit units)

  • GE1501 Chinese Civilization – History and Philosophy and GE courses from the distributional areas

College Required Courses

College Required Science Courses (6 credit units)

Choose two from the following science courses:

  • AP1201     General Physics I (3 credit units)
  • BCH1100  Chemistry (3 credit units)
  • BCH1200  Discovery in Biology (3 credit units)

Required Courses

Department Required Courses (6 credit units)

  • AP1202     General Physics II (3 credit units)
  • AP1203     General Physics III (3 credit units)

For more details, please click here.

Start Your Career Here

Applied Physics graduates enjoy challenging careers as environmental consultants, materials scientists, biomedical engineers, medical physicists, nuclear technologists and manufacturers of photonic equipment and components, electronic components, semiconductors and computer peripherals. Graduates are also eligible for careers in government departments such as the Hong Kong Observatory, the Environmental Protection Department, the Hospital Authority and the Trade and Industry Department. Many graduates work for technical instrument and materials companies.

Materials engineering is an exciting and fascinating subject. Many of the novel materials invented over the past few decades significantly influence the way we live.

Materials engineering has permeated all industrial sectors. Graduates may choose to work in many different areas such as the electronics, toy, plastic, metal, ceramic and construction industries, or in testing laboratories. Graduates may also be employed as quality control engineers, production engineers, testing engineers or technical sales engineers for equipment, machinery and materials.

A materials engineering education predisposes students to a life enriched by the ability to understand technical information and analyse problems using scientific reasoning. In the past, materials engineering graduates have pursued successful careers in other diverse fields such as finance, business and education.

Industrial Training and International Exchange

The College of Science and Engineering and the Department offer work placement opportunities through different internship schemes that provide students with full-time job attachments in firms in Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta region and overseas. Through such placements, students will:

  •  gain solid experience in a real-world work environment;
  •  develop problem-solving abilities and interpersonal skills;
  •  learn the right attitudes towards work and professionalism; and
  •  broaden their experience and enhance their employability.

For details, please visit the College’s Co-operative Education website.

For students to broaden their educational horizons, gain language experience and enhance their awareness of different cultures, the Department, College and University offer over 110 credit-bearing exchange programmes with various partner universities around the world, including Australia, Canada, Europe, the US and others in the Asia-Pacific region.

For details, please visit the University’s outbound exchange programme website.

Professional Recognition

Applied Physics graduates working in a field related to mechanical engineering are qualified for Grade 1 Affiliate Membership of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. With further professional development, a route exists for Affiliate Members to gain chartered engineer status.

The Materials Engineering major is the first and currently the only Materials Engineering degree accredited by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers.

Bonus Features

CityU’s Department of Physics excels in fundamental and applied research.

Most of our top students choose to remain at the Department to pursue MPhil or PhD studies.

After graduation, some of our top students choose to join research teams in prestigious universities such as Oxford, Stanford and Cambridge to further their studies.

Applied Physics is high tech, and high tech is the future. This major prepares students for the future.

Graduates of the Materials Engineering major are all-round materials engineers who can participate in design, manufacturing and quality assurance teams in high-tech industries.

Did You Know?

Among the many distinguished academics at the Department of Physics and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering:

  • Professor Paul K Chu was elected IEEE Fellow in December 2002, Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2007 and Fellow of the Materials Research Society in 2013. He is an Advisory/Visiting Professor at more than 10 universities and research institutes in the Chinese mainland including Peking University, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Southwestern Institute of Physics and Chinese Academy of Science.
  • Professor Andrey Rogach was ranked 51st worldwide among “100 Top Materials Scientists of the past decade” by Thomson Reuters in 2011 and received the Grand Research Excellence Award from City University of Hong Kong that same year.

Major Option(s) Currently Available (The University reserves the right to make changes to the major offerings.)