Welcome to the Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) at HKUST!
We were formed in 2008 as the Interdisciplinary Programs Office (IPO) to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration in education and research. Since then we have grown fast and become an education center to train a new generation of professionals who can work well across disciplinary lines, an incubator to support the development of new interdisciplinary programs, and a research powerhouse in environment, sustainability, public policy and emerging interdisciplinary areas. In July 2023, IPO is renamed as the Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies to reflect our school-level scale, the evolved functions in interdisciplinary education and research, as well as the new role as a special academic zone to carry out missions with flexibility and agility.
AIS has made many new initiatives in interdisciplinary education, includes offering the first bachelor and research postgraduate degree programs in the Greater China area to allow students with academic freedom to create their own majors; launching the first Dual Degree Program in Technology & Management in Hong Kong which provides high-flying students an opportunity to gain two full degrees in five years; the first in Hong Kong to introduce a novel academic framework “Major + X” as a new degree option for undergraduates to excel in an extended major of an emerging hot topic such as Artificial Intelligence or Digital Media and Creative Arts.
Currently, AIS offers 4 undergraduate programs and 7 postgraduate programs in technology and management, environment and sustainability, and public policy which all have strong interdisciplinary components, are highly relevant to our modern world and offered by our world-class faculty members under AIS. These exciting programs have attracted talented students from all over the world. As of June 2023, our 876 undergraduates come from 24 different countries while our 750 graduate students comprise 28 nationalities.
AIS provides a nurturing environment for faculty members from different backgrounds working together for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. The majority of our regular faculties have joint appointments with other departments/divisions like Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Economy, Civil Engineering, and Social Science. The faculties are clustered into three academically significant and socially impactful divisions, namely the Division of Environment and Sustainability, the Division of Public Policy, and the Division of Emerging Interdisciplinary Areas with research focus in air and health, climate adaptation and resilience (CARE), green finance and net zero solutions, science, technology, and innovation policy, environment policy, sustainability, social changes and other emerging areas. In September 2023, the Division of Integrative Systems and Design will be housed under AIS to better position its interdisciplinary programs and research, and to leverage the opportunity of AIS as a special academic zone for new interdisciplinary and emerging initiatives.
AIS is young, dynamic, and distinctive. We are living in a world where technology is evolving in a rapid pace and grand challenges facing humans today need solutions beyond individual disciplines. AIS will explore new pedagogy to develop students’ core competencies of fusing knowledge and know-how from different fields to bring multiple perspectives to the task of changing the world for the better. New research clusters will be formed to tackle the challenging and multi-faceted issues of today in an interdisciplinary way. AIS is also playing an important role in supporting the strategic plan of HKUST, especially the new campus at Guangzhou, Mainland China. As the Dean of AIS, I encourage you to join us in breaking traditional academic boundaries and broadening our reach through partnerships within the community, industry, academia in Hong Kong and beyond.
Prof. Huamin QU
Dean, Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies