The impact of 3-year and 4-year undergraduate programs on university students: The case of Hong Kong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The undergraduate curriculum structure in Hong Kong was changed from 3 years to 4 years starting from the 2012-2013 school year, with the extra year of study primarily devoted to general education study. At The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), the General University Requirements (GUR) has been designed in response to this change. In this study, the question of whether the development of students in the 4-year program was better than that of the 3-year program was examined via a static group comparison design. The treatment group was Year 3 students of the 4-year undergraduate degree program (n=566) whereas the control group comprised Year 3 students of the 3-year degree program (n=290). Measures on empathy, positive youth development, and student engagement were used as indicators of student holistic development. While the mean age of students in the 3-year program was higher than that of the 4-year program, students in the 4-year program performed better than the students of the 3-year program on several indicators of desired graduate attributes. Bearing in mind the limitations of the static comparison group design, the present study provides support for the positive impact of GUR at PolyU on students of the 4-year undergraduate curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Chinese
  • Hong Kong
  • positive youth development
  • students
  • university

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this