Implementation and activation of the BBChina Master Program

The main result of the BBChina Project is the implementation and activation of the BBChina Master Program.

It has been implemented as a “Program on Bio-Based Circular Economy” within the already existing Master degrees. Depending on the School or College involved, the Degree Offered is Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)

As a matter of example, at the “College of Environmental Science and Engineering” in Tongji University the Master Program is implemented as in the following:

Tongji University /College of Environmental Science and Engineering
Study Plan for Master Degree in “Environmental Engineering”
Program on “Bio-Based Circular Economy”

In this case, the final degree achieved by the Student is:
M.Eng in “Environmental Engineering” on “Bio-Based Circular Economy (BBChina)”

The Master Program is presently running in the following Institutions:

  • Tongji University (TJU):
    • College of Environmental Science and Engineering
    • School of Mechanical Engineering
  • East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST):
    • School of Mechanical and Power Engineering
  • Sichuan University, Chengdu (SCU):
    • College of Life Sciences
    • College of Chemical Engineering and Technology
    • College of Chemistry
    • Institution of New Energy and Low-Carbon Technologies

In order to make it possible the inclusion of the new Master Program in the Chinese University System, the syllabus was designed to fully comply with the Chinese university structure but efforts were done to comply as much as possible with the Bologna Process. This also meets the efforts that the 3 Chinese HEIs are actually implementing to adopt a conversion system from Chinese Credits to ECTS.

The BBChina Master Program adds a new research orientation under the existent second-level discipline (such as Environmental Engineering, Thermal Engineering), so it does not need the accreditation by the national level (Ministry of Education). More details about the accreditation process in the Chinese University system can be found here.

In order to ease the acknowledgement of the studying activities, the workload has been planned from the beginning based on the equivalence with ECTS.

The Master Program foresees 60 ECTS of front lessons (excluding the obligatory Public Courses since they are not related to the Degree Topic) and 60 ECTS of thesis/internship/project and side activities, including the newly developed “Entrepreneurship Course”.

This is in line with the Chinese University master structure, where the Master Program lasts 2 and a half year distributed as in the following:

  • 1st Year; Front lessons;
  • 2nd Year and 1st half of 3rd Year; Project (basis for the Thesis), Traineeship/internship (if foreseen), and Master Thesis.

To convert from ECTS to Chinese Credits (back and forth) it has been decided to consider the equivalence of Front Lesson Hours:

  • 1 ECTS = 7~9 front teaching hours;
  • then, 2 ECTS ~ 1 Chinese Credit; 1 Chinese credit corresponds to nearly 16~18 hours of front teaching. This conversion choice is in line with what has been applied in some cases of joint curriculum activated in between EU and China.

It is important to point out that there is not even a unique correspondence in between the Credits and Chinese Credit Hours all across the three different Chinese Universities and, in general, all across the Chinese Universities.

Regarding the front lessons, 1st Year of the Program, the Chinese Structure foresees the following distribution:

  • Public Courses
  • Degree Courses
  • Obligatory Courses
  • Elective Courses

The syllabus of the BBChina Master Program was developed to fit this structure.

The BBChina Syllabus was defined following the results of the Education and Training Needs Assessment (ETNA, Deliverable 2.1 of the BBChina Project), also taking into account the existing courses already available within the EU and Chinese Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

Regarding the single parts of the syllabus structure:

  • Public Courses; these are Courses such as “Foreign language”, “Dialectics of Nature” and “Theory and Practice of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”. These Courses are common all through the Chinese Universities. These courses have not been included within the total amount of ECTS for the Program. In terms of Chinese Credits, their amount is in general around 6 Credits, corresponding to nearly 126 teaching hours. Please note: the equivalence of Chinese Credits for the Public Courses with the front teaching hours is different accounted from the rest of the Courses.
  • Degree Courses; these are the courses that are necessary to get the “Degree in”. These are the basis for the Title and may not necessarily be related to the Topic “Bio-Based Circular Economy”.
    • In terms of credits, their weight is around 8~9 Chinese Credits that corresponds to 144~162 teaching hours. The amount varies all through the different Chinese Institutions. For the BBChina project, their amount has been considered equivalent to 20 ECTS.
    • These Courses and the related materials, being in common with all the other Master Programs, are held in Chinese or English.
  • BBChina Obligatory Courses; these are the obligatory courses of the BBChina; these courses are in strict correlation with the Title of the Degree and are different depending on the College/School. As a matter of example, at the College of Environmental Science and Engineering of Tongji University, the Obligatory courses are “Integrated Solid Waste Management” and “Wastewater Treatment: Theory and Technology”.
    • These courses weights 10 ECTS, this is equivalent to 5~6 Chinese Credits and around 90~108 teaching hours.
    • At least the basis material of these courses is in English, although the courses could be also taught in English.
    • These courses will be developed, integrated or implemented from scratch by the BBChina Project (activity of Work Package 3 “Master Course Implementation”).
  • BBChina Elective Courses; these are the elective courses of the BBChina. These courses are in general not strictly correlated with the Title of the Degree. The student must choose 4 courses in between the ones available.
    • These courses correspond to 30 ECTS; this is equivalent to ~12 Chinese Credits and around 216 teaching hours.
    • At least the basis material of these courses is in English, although the courses could be also taught in English.
    • These courses will be developed, integrated or implemented from scratch by the BBChina Project (activity of Work Package 3 “Master Course Implementation”).

The credit weight of the BBChina Obligatory Courses and of the BBChina Elective Courses is in total equivalent to around 40 ECTS on a total of 60 ECTS equivalent of front teaching.

During the second year and the first half of the third year, the structure remains the same of the “Standard” Chinese Master Program, except for the presence of the “Course on Entrepreneurship” that was developed within the BBChina project.

The global structure of the Program can be summarised as in the table below.

 

Chinese Credits / Hours

ECTS

Notes

Year

Public Courses

6/126

Not applicable

Courses such as “Foreign language”, “Dialectics of Nature” and “Theory and Practice of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

YEAR 1

 

 

 

Degree Courses

8~9 / 144~162

20

These are the courses that are necessary to get the “Degree in”

BBChina Obligatory Courses

5~6 / 90~108

10

These are the obligatory courses of the BBChina

BBChina Elective Courses

12/216

30

These are the elective courses of the BBChina

Project + entrepreneurship + Traineeship/internship
Master Thesis

 

30

Entrepreneurship Course,
Project elaboration,
Traineeship/Internship

YEAR 2
&
First half
YEAR 3

 

 

30

Master Thesis

Total:

 

120

 

 

The BBChina Obligatory Courses of one institution become part of the BBChina Elective Courses of the other involved institutions. All across the different Institutions, we have 12 BBChina Courses running. Some of the BBChina courses were not present in any of the Chinese Universities before the project start and they were developed and implemented from scratch.

The following table presents the status of the courses before the BBChina, the steps performed in order to prepare the material for the implementation of the Master Program and the Partner(s) in charge of the actions.

Title of the CourseStatus before the BBChinaAction performed by BBChina
Bioeconomy, Energy Market and Green MarketNot available in any of the Involved Chinese or European UniversitiesMDH coordinated the development of the Course from Scratch to fit the BBChina Master Program.
What has been changed/implemented?
The course is new and has been developed from scratch.
100% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Biomass Energy: Technology and ApplicationNot available in any of the Involved Chinese or European UniversitiesSCU coordinated the development of the Course from Scratch to fit the BBChina Master Program; contribution from already existing parts of courses from European Universities
What has been changed/implemented?
The course is new and has been developed from scratch.
100% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Biomass process engineering  for Bioenergy ProductionCourse already available at ECUSTECUST shares the material that is updated and upgraded to fit the BBChina Master Program.
What has been changed/implemented?
The program was updated with the latest progress in the biomass to energy field.
20% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Bioreactor EngineeringCourse already available at ECUSTECUST shares the material that is updated and upgraded to fit the BBChina Master Program.
What has been changed/implemented?
Several material added, such as more examples about how to perform chemostat experiments were made available for the students, and practice materials were also added. In general, teaching skills of the teachers were improved by using the real experience acquired through the staff mobility in Europe, in particular through the plant visits held at Rostock University.
40% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Chemistry of carbohydratesCourse already available at SCUSCU shares the material that is updated and upgraded to fit the BBChina Master Program.
What has been changed/implemented?
For this course the parts related to “Preparation, structural character, and transformation of hemicellulose” and “Preparation, structural character, and transformation of cellulose” have been added, in order to better target the topic biofuel; these topics are related to the biomass utilization because the products of transformation could be alcohol or methanol. Also in the discussion sectors, the teacher will use more examples related with biomass utilization such as using the waste straw as substrate to get biofuel.
25% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
CombustionCourse already available at TJUTJU shares the material that is updated and upgraded to fit the BBChina Master Program.
At SCU the already existing course “Combustion Explosion Theory” (Ref. Code M0817Z201) is instead adopted.
What has been changed/implemented?
The previous course materials were in Chinese and used for the students in Thermal Engineering. They need to be changed into English version and updated according to the BBChina program and syllabus, suitable for students with different background.
70% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Integrated Solid Waste ManagementNot available in any of the Involved Chinese UniversitiesTJU coordinated the development of the Course from Scratch to fit the BBChina Master Program.
What has been changed/implemented?
The materials are new and need to be developed according to the BBChina program and syllabus.
100% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Life Cycle AssessmentNot available in any of the Involved Chinese or European UniversitiesSCU coordinated the development of the Course from Scratch to fit the BBChina Master Program; contribution from already existing parts of courses from European Universities
What has been changed/implemented?
The course is new and has been developed from scratch.
100% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Plant development biologyCourse already available at SCUSCU shares the material that is updated and upgraded to fit the BBChina Master Program.
What has been changed/implemented?
For this course a part related to “The regulation of fruit development” has been newly developed and included in order to better target the Bioenergy topic. This is because fruits or seeds of several plants are rich in biomass that can be processed to biofuel, as for example oil derived from Jatropha curcas, palm oil fruits and sunflower seeds. The regulation of fruit development may affect the contents of raw material available in these fruits or seeds.
25% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Renewable Energy TechnologiesNot available in any of the Involved Chinese UniversitiesUNIFI coordinated the development of the Course from Scratch to fit the BBChina Master Program.
What has been changed/implemented?
The course is new and has been developed from scratch. Material has been also specially targeted to the China site specific needs.
100% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Thermal Waste management and WtE technologiesCourse already available at TJUTJU shares the material that is updated and upgraded to fit the BBChina Master Program.
At SCU the already existing course “Treatment and management of solid waste” (Ref. Code M08300205) is instead adopted.
What has been changed/implemented?
The previous course materials were in Chinese and used for the students in Thermal Engineering. They need to be changed into English version and updated according to the BBChina program and syllabus, suitable for students with different background.
70% of the material is newly developed by the Project.
Wastewater Treatment: Theory and TechnologyCourse already available at TJUTJU shares the material that is updated and upgraded to fit the BBChina Master Program.
What has been changed/implemented?
The previous course is for IESD (Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development) foreign students in Environmental Engineering. The materials need to be updated according to the BBChina program and syllabus, suitable for students with different background.
30% of the material is newly developed by the Project.

More details are available in the Report “General Curriculum: Structure and Syllabus of the Master Program”.