# FAQ on COSC Graduation Requirements

As mentioned in the COSC admission interviews, the HKUST computer system does not automatically verify completion of some academic requirements for double or triple major students. It is often necessary to submit paper forms or online requests to change which courses are used to satisfy which requirements.

COSC students should check their academic requirements status in the SIS every semester. If the SIS states that you have satisfied a requirement, then it should not have any problems. But if it states that you have not, then either you have not submitted the proper forms OR you have misunderstood the requirements.

If the system states that you have not satisfied a requirement that you think you have, then check against the items below. They provide "fixes" to most common issues. If your problem is not in the list, then contact the COSC coordinator. Again, we emphasize that you should do every semester. Do NOT wait until your final year. You might have misunderstood the requirements and be unable to graduate.

- The GR-23 form and double counting: Non-COMP COSC electives, Language Courses, ENGG 1010, Linear Algebra, etc.
- Common Core (CC) Double Counting
- The 20 credit uniquely counted credit requirement
- COMP FYT for Science Capstones
- The SIS assigning courses to the "wrong" requirement
- Using COMP 2711 for Common Core (CC)
- Problems that you can't solve yourself

1. The GR-23 form and double counting: Non-COMP COSC electives, Language Courses, ENGG 1010, Linear Algebra, etc.

University regulations are that you are expected to fulfill *all
of the requirements* for both of your majors.

While many courses MAY be counted for multiple requirements (*double
counting*), this double counting is not automatically found
by the ARO computer system. You can check if the system is
double counting a course to satisfy your requirements by looking
under your "academic requirements" in the SIS student Center.

If a course should be double-counted, but is not shown in the SIS, then you will need to file Form GR-23 (Application for Deviation from Curriculum).

After filling in the GR-23, attach the documentation requested in the form notes and pass the packet to Mr. Michael LAU () at the CSE admin office for processing.

The subject of your email should be:

Subject: GR-23 Form for COSC Student (Your Name)

Some examples of GR-23 use are:

**(i) Non COMP courses being used to satisfy COMP
Electives**

COSC requires 6 electives.

- 3 of those MAY, with permission, be COMP related courses from outside COMP. See a list of possible courses for substitution.
- For courses on the list, substitutions will be performed automatically.
- If you would like to use a course not on the list, please contact the
COSC coordinator to ask for approval. If he/she does approve this, you
will then need to submit a GR-23 form: the entry in the Required Course
column should be
**"COSC Elective"**and the Justification should be**"Permission of the COSC Coordinator"**. - To change the automatic substitution assigned by the SIS, use the swapping system described in the FAQ.

**(ii) Language Courses**

Almost all HKUST majors require two 3 credit English Language courses. As examples,

- COSC requires LANG 2030 (for the school) and LANG 4030 (for the department)
- MATH requires LANG 2010 (for the school) and LANG 3021 (for the department)
- QFIN requires LABU 2040 and LABU 2060

We call these the 1st and 2nd LANG courses. You should only take one 1st course and one 2nd course.

COSC will always permit you to substitute your other major's 1st course for LANG 2030 and your other major's 2nd course for LANG 4030.

Whether your other major permits you to take, e.g., LANG 2030/LANG 4030, and substitute it for their respective course depends upon their internal rules. This is something that should have been discussed when drawing up your initial study plan (for example, QFIN does not but MATH usually does).

Assuming the substitution is allowed, the ARO computer system does NOT apply it automatically. You will need to file a GR23 to request this substitution.

**Whom you file the form with depends upon which program
needs the substitution.** As examples,

- If you take LANG 3021, you should file the form with the CSE dept to request having it substitute for LANG 4030
- If you take LANG 4030, you need to file the form with the MATH dept to request having it substitute for LANG 3021

**(iii) ENGG 1010** (Note: This requirement is only for students admitted in 2021-22 or before)

Most schools require a 0 or 1 credit "orientation" course in year 1.

- Engineering requires ENGG 1010
- Science requires SCIE 1000
- QSA requires SOSC 1210
- SBM requires SBMT 1111

Students will only take one of these courses although, technically, double majoring in two schools requires taking both of the courses from each of the majors, You need to file a GR-23 form to fix this. As examples,

- If you started in Science and are doing PHYS+COSC then you file a GR-23 with COSC to substitute SCIE 1000 for ENGG 1010
- If you started in SENG and are doing COSC+PHYS then you file a GR-23 with Physics to substitute ENGG 1010 for SCIE 1000

**(iv) Linear Algebra for COSC + MATH double majors**

MATH offers 3 introductory linear algebra courses

- MATH 2121 (4 credits): Linear Algebra (for MATH majors)
- MATH 2131 (4 credits): Honors in Linear and Abstract Algebra (for MATH majors)
- MATH 2111 (3 credits): Matrix Algebra and Applications (for BEng students)

All 3 of these courses are exclusions to the other 2.

COSC requires students to take any one of the 3 courses. MATH requires one of MATH 2121/2131.

Technically then, COSC + MATH students should take one of MATH 2121/2131 to satisfy their requirements. Students starting in the School of Science or those taking linear algebra in year 2, do exactly that.

BUT, some COSC + MATH students who started in SENG take MATH 2111 in year 1.

In this case, they need to submit a GR-23 form to the MATH department exceptionally requesting to substitute MATH 2111 for MATH 2131.

Note: while MATH has approved these requests in the past it is still the responsibility of the student to personally make up the linear algebra material that they missed by taking MATH 2111 (since that is needed in later MATH courses).

2. Common Core (CC) Double Counting

**
***Note: This explanation is for students admitted in 2021-22 or before.
The common-core rules substantially changed for students admitted in
2022-23 and double-counting should no longer be an issue.***
**

Different majors may have different regulations for how many courses may be double counted for use as BOTH common core courses AND towards the major requirement. Examples are

- COSC states
*"Some courses can be used to fulfill both Major and University Common Core Requirements. Students may reuse a maximum of***6 credits**of these courses to count towards both Requirements." - MATH states
*"Some courses used to fulfill Major and/or School Requirements can also fulfill University Common Core Requirements. Students may reuse a maximum of***9 credits**of these courses to count towards Common Core Requirements."

If you are double majoring, you must satisfy the regulations of both majors separately. The SIS will check these requirements SEPARATELY. An illustrative example of how this works:

Example: assume that you are double majoring in MATH and COSC
and C_{1}, C_{2}, C_{3}, C_{4},
C_{5} are all 3 credit CC courses that you are using to
satisfy the CC requirement.

- You may NOT use all of C
_{1}, C_{2}, C_{3}to satisfy BOTH the COSC AND MATH requirements. This is because you would be double counting 9 credits between CC and COSC (not permitted) -
You may use

C_{1}, C_{2}to satisfy BOTH the MATH and COSC requirements

C_{3}to satisfy MATH but not COSC

C_{4}, C_{5}to satisfy neither MATH nor COSC

This works because you are double counting 9 credits with MATH but only 6 credits with COSC -
You may use

C_{1}to satisfy BOTH the MATH and COSC requirements

C_{2}, C_{3}to satisfy MATH but not COSC

C_{4}to satisfy COSC but not MATH

C_{5}to satisfy neither MATH nor COSC

This again works because you are double counting 9 credits with MATH but only 6 credits with COSC -
You may use

C_{1}to satisfy BOTH the MATH and COSC requirements

C_{2}, C_{3}to satisfy MATH but not COSC

C_{4}to satisfy COSC but not MATH

C_{5}to satisfy neither MATH nor COSC

This again works because you are double counting 9 credits with MATH but only 6 credits with COSC

3. The 20 credit uniquely counted credit requirement

While there is no limit on the number of credits that can be "double-counted" towards two majors there is a "single counting requirement". This can be found in Undergraduate Programs and states:

*To graduate with an additional major, students admitted in
2015-16 or after must take all the requirements specified for
that major, within which they must complete at least 20
single-counted credits. These 20 credits cannot be used to
fulfill any other requirements for graduation except for the
120-credit degree requirement.*

This means that the additional major must have 20 credits that UNIQUELY count towards that major and are not used to satisfy any other requirement, e.g., that of a 2nd major, minor, school or common core. Based on our calculations, the only double major pairings for which this MIGHT be an issue, are the COSC/MATH (CS-track) and COSC/DSCT one. Even for those pairings, this will only be an issue in very extreme cases. We recommend that you double check that you are completing 20 unique credits for each major. If you think this might cause a problem, please contact the COSC coordinator.

4. COMP FYT for Science Capstones

The COMP FYP/FYT is not a COSC requirement. If taken, the FYP/FYT is treated as 6 credits of COMP elective.

All Science majors require a capstone project. In some cases, when the content of your FYP overlaps topics from your other major, your COMP FYT/FYP MIGHT be able to substitute for your science major capstone. This is very common for MATH and MATHECON; not so common for the other Science majors. Note that this substitution is not permitted for Science IRE students.

If you are taking a COMP FYP/FYT and want it to count towards a science capstone requirement you must explicitly request permission from your Science UG coordinator. If you have not already done so you should email them ASAP requesting permission. If you receive permission, submit a GR-23 form right away to your science major so that the SIS records the substitution.

Do not delay doing this. You do not want to be in the situation of a former MATH/COSC student who thought approval was automatic and only discovered after the start of his final semester that his FYP did not qualify to replace his MATH capstone requirement.

Note that if you do get the permission you still need to file a GR-23 form with the MATH department to get this substitution recorded in the SIS.

5. The SIS assigning courses to the "wrong" requirement

The SIS does not check to see if you CAN graduate with courses taken. It follows a fixed rule to allocate courses to satisfy requirements, e.g., uses COURSE A as a Common Core in Quantitative Reasoning (QR) when you need to use COURSE B, instead and use COURSE A as, say, a COSC required course.

This has been known to cause different types of problems such as

- not satisfying the 20 unique credit rule for your second major, because it allocates the "wrong" courses as electives.
- not satisfying the Common Core requirements, because too many credits from your 2nd major are double counted.

This can be fixed by manually swapping courses usage. Go to Graduation and Advisement Services and follow the instructions there.

If you have any problems in using the online swapping system, then contact the Graduation Team, ARO () directly.

6. Using COMP 2711 for Common Core (CC)

COMP 2711 is a 4 credit course that also counts as a Common Core in Quantitative Reasoning (QR).

The difficulty is that you are only allowed to double count 6 credits between CC and COSC.

Double counting COMP 2711 along with another 3 credit course in
the COSC requirements, e.g., COMP1021, leads to 7 credits
being double counted. This is because the ARO system is unable
to "split" COMP 2711 and use only 3 of its 4 credits for CC. So,
it tries to use all 4 of the COMP2711 credits. This leads
to an attempted 7 credit double count between COSC and Common
Core, which is not allowed. Your academic requirements page in
the SIS will then show that you have not satisfied your CC
requirements.

ARO has developed a protocol to manually address this and
effectively permit you to use 3 of the 4 COMP 2711 credits for
common core. If you encounter this issue, please contact
the Graduation Team, ARO () directly. Provide them
with ALL of the details. That is, state that

- you are a COSC student who wants to use 3 of the 4
COMP2711 credits and another 3 credit COSC required course for
CC (state specifically what the other 3 credit course is).

- the SIS will not permit this because it thinks that
you are double-counting 7 credits.

- you would like to request ARO to adjust your requirements so
that you can use COMP2711 and the other 3 credit course to
satisfy your CC requirements.

If that doesn't work, please follow the instructions in the last FAQ point and contact Ms. Pang for assistance..

Supplementary note: Only COMP 2711 can be used for Common Core. COMP 2711H can NOT be used.

7. Problems that you can't solve yourself

Most problems should be solvable using the techniques above.

For items that can't be solved this way (this includes the COMP 2711 problem) send an email to Mr. Michael LAU () at the CSE admin office.

She will need to follow up your request with ARO so your email needs to be very clear.

Subject should be:

Subject: COSC Student Academic Requirement Problem

The email should start with:

- Your name
- Student ID
- Year of Study
- 1st major, 2nd major

Then list your problems. Describe each problem separately.

For each problem, list the current state, e.g., **COMP
XXXX is being used to satisfy requirement A**,
and what you need it to do, e.g., **COMP XXXX should
satisfy requirement B**.