Social Design (BA)

Nurturing Creative Changemakers for a Better Society

Brief programme outline

Programme Code (73416 - SDS) BA(Hons) in Social Design                 
Mode of Study Full Time
Number of Credits 60
Normal Period of Study 2 years
Tuition Local Student: HK$42,100 per academic year

Aims and objectives

This programme attempts to expand the scope of design beyond the current commercialised and compartmentalised professional practices by orienting towards the 'social dimension of design', with emphasis on civic participation, social engagement and collaborative design practices. Dedicated to the promotion of social and cultural sustainability, the programme focuses on the realisation of social innovations and civic goals through the framework of design thinking and solution prototyping. The programme aims to:

  • augment students’ (empathic) understanding of social needs/changes from real-life perspectives
  • introduce students to methods for social observation, ethnographic design research and co-designing practices
  • engage students with outside partners to address social issues and develop design resolutions
  • inaugurate designerly thinking into the professional practices of non-design disciplines
  • prototype and realise design solutions for sustainable and positive social change


Upon successful completion of this Programme, students will be able to:

  1. Appreciate and reflect upon the multiple social dimensions of design and their real-world complexity;
  2. Learn independently and continuously develop cultural, social, technological and design literacy through local, regional and global contexts;
  3. Explore and address social and community issues through design research, experimentations and reflective implementation practices;
  4. Make acute analysis of social situations and propose creative and realistic design solutions;
  5. Apply professional skills of design to deliver outcome with real-life impact;
  6. Communicate and collaborate with social institutions, communities and people to experiment with different approaches to social design;
  7. Develop strategic and design insights for relevant business, social and cultural endeavours;
  8. Design projects and create platforms and solutions for positive social change.

Programme structure

The BA (Hons) in Social Design is divided into two levels:

Level 3 (Year 1) - learn to research and apply knowledge and skills

Students are expected to broaden their critical knowledge and analytical ability through contextual research, design thinking and integrate conceptual and technical skills into the development and communication of creative ideas in projects and other opportunities.

Level 4 (Year 2) - learn to be collaborative, initiative and resourceful

Students are expected to incorporate knowledge, insights, design skills and social resources into creative and meaningful projects that will potentially generate positive impacts on societal systems. Students shall identify issues critical to future professional and social conditions and take the initiative to tackle them in collaboration with corresponding partners or stakeholders.


Students of the 2-year programme are required to complete a total
60 credits in order to graduate.

General University Requirements (9 credits)

- Cluster-Area Requirements 
Language and Communication Requirements 
Service Learning

Common Compulsory
Subjects (9 credits)

- Cooperative Project
- Introduction to Design Theories and Culture

Discipline-Specific Subjects (33 credits)

- Professional Communication in Chinese for Design
Professional English for Design Communication
Researching People, Things and Contexts
Visualising Network, Media and Community
Creative Citizenship in Practice
Participatory Design and Innovation in an Ageing Society (with APSS)
Design for Social & Cultural Business
Co-creation and Project Proposal Writing
Capstone Project 1: Research, Planning and Prototyping
Capstone Project 2: Realisation, Documentation and Evaluation

Electives (9 credits) (any 3 subjects)

- Internship
- Communication Design to Foster Sustainable Behavior
- Service and Experience Design
- Public Facility and Street Furniture Design
- Interactive Media and Marketing
- Overseas Study Trip
- Design for Ageing and Silver Industries
- Inclusive and Universal Design
- Social Capital
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Social Entrepreneurship and Enterprise

Why Social Design?

_〈誰要做個 Social Designer?〉蕭競聰 (in Chinese)
_〈設計改變社會 2017 Beyond Social Innovation〉 Credit: U Magazine, 30 December 2016 (PDF format, in Chinese)

Career prospects

Answering to the emerging design demands and market for social innovations globally and in Hong Kong, the School of Design strives to expand its spectrum of design so as to contribute to the newly developed international movement of Social Design. Since social design is transdisciplinary by nature, this top-up programme of the senior year curriculum is set to admit candidates from a broader spectrum of disciplines, ranging from different areas of design to other social or service fields. The programme aspires to breed a generation of well-rounded dynamic designers and project coordinators who will become design practitioners, consultants and changemakers in service of social needs.

Career Prospects

Graduates will become Project Designers and Managers in the fields of Social and Cultural Businesses, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and Design Innovation Consultancies.

Discipline leader

Siu King Chung — Associate Professor, BFA, MA

Siu King Chung

SIU, King Chung is Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Art and Design in Education Programme. He is an art & design commentator, an installation artist, an independent curator and is actively involved in arts policy and art/design curriculum development in Hong Kong. He writes on art, creativity, design, museum and education. He co-organized the 2006 and 2008 Creative Education Summit for the Home Affairs Bureau of HK. His recent research is on “lesser” design, information design, visual culture and museum methods. Since 2002, he has been involving in establishing a creativity-oriented senior secondary school in Hong Kong (

He produces experimental exhibitions and often participates in local and international creative and visual culture projects. For many years, he has been exploring ways to initiate collaboration among students, teachers, designers and artists through organizing exhibitions and publishing projects, such as "The Blackbox Exercise" series (June-Aug. 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 in Osaka, Japan, 2000, in Berlin, Germany) and the "Sentimental Education" series (July 1997 & July 98), which have given him chances to explore and develop possible forms and strategies for exhibition design, installation display, publication design and alternative museum practices.

He was former President of the Hong Kong Society for Education in Art (HKSEA) from 1998 to 2001. ( He co-founded the “Designs You Don’t Know What to Do With Association” ( and the "Community Museum Project" ( in 2002 & 2003 respectively.


Teaching staff


Entrance requirement

Applicants with an Associate Degree or a Higher Diploma in Design/Design Studies, Social Sciences, Technology or related disciplines (e.g. Business Studies) from a recognised institution.

A complete application includes

Details of application procedure to be announced soon