The impact of three-year and four-year undergraduate programs on university students

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


The undergraduate curriculum structure in Hong Kong was changed from three years to four years starting from 2012-13 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 third-year students of the 4-year undergraduate degree program (N = 566) whereas the control group was comprised of third-year 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 did 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
Title of host publicationUniversity Students
Subtitle of host publicationPromotion of Holistic Development in Hong Kong
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781536125375
ISBN (Print)9781536125351
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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