Double degree in construction and law is a “win-win” for students and employers

Regina Lau

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Construction work involves a significant amount of time, money and commitment, and is very often dispute prone. Handling construction disputes demands not just legal skills but also sound technical knowledge in construction.


CityUniversity of Hong Kong is introducing a pioneering double degree programme in construction and law, which creates a unique synergy for both professions and a win-win situation for students and employers. The programme will accept the first intake of 20 students in 2006.


The programme underscores CityU’s pioneering spirit and dedication to providing a cutting-edge curriculum that responds positively to emerging market needs. 


The programme, structured in two portions, offers two degrees in a short span of five years. The first portion, a three-year UGC-funded bachelor’s degree administered by the Department of Building and Construction (BC), offers four choices. Students can choose to major in Surveying, Construction Engineering and Management, Building Services Engineering, or Modern Structural Engineering.


The second portion is a two-year self-financing bachelor’s degree administered by the School of Law (SLW). Students can choose to continue with the two-year LLB component right away. They may also first work in the industry for a period not longer than five years before embarking on the LLB component. For more information of the programme, please visit


“Double degree programmes in construction and law are not commonly available, even though the benefits are quite apparent,” said Dr James Lau, Managing Director of James Lau and Associates Ltd. “Students who graduate from these programmes will have the opportunity to become professionals in the construction industry, as well as lawyers specializing in construction-related business. Both of which are highly sought after professionals,” he said.


Mr Lee Fong-chung, a BC graduate who now works as a project manager in the government, said that in his work he had to deal with many contractual issues, which often ended up in disputes. “It is common for my fellow professionals to pursue qualifications in law. I completed an LLB a few years ago on a part time basis. I wish I had had the opportunity to study under such double degree programme during my years of undergraduate study at CityU,” he said.  


Expounding on the merits of introducing the double degree programme, Professor S Kitipornchai, BC Head, said: “In the construction industry,

professionals have to handle complex legal contract documents. Contractual disputes are common. Our programme is a pioneering arrangement to give students an invaluable edge in both construction and legal professions. Having two degrees will certainly make graduates more competitive,” he said.


Professor Peter Malanczuk, Dean of SLW, said the construction industry was an area where law featured prominently. “Drafting construction contracts, interpreting them and settling construction disputes calls for legal skills and expertise,” he said. “Professionals qualified in construction and law are in great demand in reputed law firms and construction companies. CityU’s double degree programme in construction and law will certainly provide a much-needed pool of talent for the construction and legal professions,” he said. 


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