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History

Our History

The Department of Applied Social Sciences is the largest social sciences academic department in Hong Kong. It began as the Institute of Social Work Training in 1973. The Institute was placed under the management of the Hong Kong Polytechnic in 1977 and became the School of Social Work. In 1986, it was renamed as the Department of Applied Social Studies, which became the Department of Applied Social Sciences (APSS) in 2000. APSS will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023.
 
The Department, ranked 81st in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022, offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in a diverse range of disciplines, including social work, social policy and social entrepreneurship, applied psychology and applied ageing studies. As the hub of social sciences research in Asia, the Department houses four centres and networks to advance research collaboration with academic institutions, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, and government departments locally, in mainland China and overseas. 
 

Our Logo

APSS_logo
The APSS logo design incorporates the images of three people. The combined images illustrate the abbreviation “S” for social sciences and symbolises the Department’s close connection with families, the community and the society. It also symbolizes the Department’s commitment to education, research and service.

 

Our Development


1977
School of Social Work
was established

The School was formed from the Institute of Social Work Training, which was first founded by the Hong Kong Government in 1973. The School first offered three programmes: a two-year full-time Diploma in Social Work; one-year full-time Certificate in Child Care; and one-year part-time Certificate of Proficiency for Instructors of Mentally Retarded Children.

1983
2+2 Full-time Bachelor of Social Work
was introduced

The 2+2 study mode, which allowed credit transfer from diploma programmes to a degree programme, was introduced as a unique pathway to higher education. The School also launched a four-year night-time Diploma in Social Work programme.

 

1986
Department of Applied Social Studies
was established

The Department was previously known as the School of Social Work.

1989
Postgraduate Diplomas in Mental Health and in Student Guidance were introduced

 

1994
Master of Social Work
was introduced

 

2000 
Department of Applied Social Sciences
was established

The Department of Applied Social Studies was renamed as the Department of Applied Social Sciences.

Master of Social Work (China) was introduced

The Department co-offered the programme with Peking University.

 

2001
Three-year Bachelor of Arts in Social Policy and Administration
was introduced

 

2005   
China Research and Development Network
was established

The Department also set up the PolyU–Yunnan University Design and Social Development Centre (2007), Peking University–PolyU China Social Work Research (2008), PolyU–Sun Yat-Sen University South China Rural Research Centre (2008), and PolyU–Peking University China Social Research Centre (2010). All of these Centres have laid a solid foundation for the Department to conduct research on social work in mainland China. The China Research and Development Network was renamed as China and Global Development Network since 2021.

 

2005
Postgraduate Scheme in Applied Social Sciences
introduced


2008
Doctor of Social Work
was introduced

 

2010
Master of Arts in Social Service Administration (China)
was introduced

The Department co-offered the programme with East China University of Science and Technology.

 

2012
Four-year Bachelor of Arts in Social Work
and Bachelor of Arts in Social Policy and Administration were introduced

 

2016
Memorandum of Understanding
between the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, Peking University Department of Sociology and APSS was signed


2017
Two-year Bachelor of Arts in Applied Ageing Studies and Service Management
was introduced


2018
Dual degree program of Master of Arts in Social Policy and Social Development and Master of Social Policy from Brown School of Washington University in St. Louis
was established


2019
Four-year Bachelor of Arts in Social Policy and Social Entrepreneurship
was introduced


2021
Master of Arts in School and Community Psychology
was introduced


2022
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Scheme in Applied Social Sciences
was introduced


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